Race Recap: F^3 Half Marathon 2013

Saturday 1/26/13 ~ F^3 Lake Half Marathon
Time: 2:32:40 ~ 11:39/mile pace.

20 degrees, pretty silly cold wind chill, a little bit of snow, but near perfect winter running.

Felt like a lucky number...
Felt like a lucky number…

This was a good one, and a race I felt very prepared for. I was nervous, as per usual, that I wasn’t “ready”, but in the end, the training paid off in the end.

I had my favorite “carbo loading” meal of an Amy’s Harvest Cheddar Bowl on Friday night, drank a lot of water, and went to bed pretty early. Breakfast was toast and peanut butter with a little honey and a banana, and some more water.

I got a ride to the race site, which was moved from Foster Beach to Montrose harbor. It was a cold morning, and I got to the race site about 15 minutes before starting time. There was a lot of snow on the field, and it was cold on the toes so I warmed up a bit on the path and willed time to go a little faster. I took time to snap a selfie:

Ready to go!
Ready to go!

and a pic of the tundra of a race site.

It was pretty cold.
It was pretty cold.

I met up with my training group near our pace sign, we chatted a bit, and then it was time to go. I made a playlist, which I am going to post separately, because it was perfect… and I decided to go this one alone. I kept an eye on my group leader for awhile to set my start pace, but the opening pack was pretty crowded so for the first few miles I concentrated on my footing (slippery sand covered in snow for at least a mile) and not running in to anyone.

I had a few friends along the course, and this ALWAYS makes a huge difference. I saw the first friendly spectator around mile 4. Hi buddy! Perfect timing. I checked my watch, and felt pretty happy about my pace. The course was also great, perfect Northside Chicago Lakefront Path course. North from Montrose to Hollywood Beach, south to North Avenue, and back north to Montrose. This year was my second year running F^3 (2012 recap here) and the changes to the course were just awesome.  This race also had some of the most enthusiastic and supportive volunteers.  It was very well done, and I can’t recommend their events enough!

I saw Roommate at the turnaround, which was about mile 8 or 9. Stopping to say hi, stretch a bit and eat a cookie, it was great timing to know I only had 4 miles left.  She also had an awesome sign, and lots of badass encouragement.  There were lots of friendly smiling faces at the finish line, with some gorgeous flowers, a warm car, and the promise of beer and burgers at the end of the day!  It was really great.  I felt so supported and loved.  Thanks, my friends.

Only two low points in this race. The first one was that I brought Black Cherry gel bloks with me to the race. I’d never had them before, so around mile 6 when I needed a boost, I got one out. It was AWFUL. I hated it. It tasted like medicine, and left a bad bad taste in my mouth. I think it was because I had eaten a Lifesaver before the race, but it was disgusting. I felt sick from it, and that was not happy. Let’s repeat the age old adage, NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY, and that includes eating a new flavor of gels. The second thing was that my final mile was just painful. I was getting sore, it was cold, and I wanted to be finished.

And then, it was over! I am happy with my time, and I felt really good after the race. I was NOT great about my cooldown and stretching postrace, so I spent the next day incredibly sore. Next time, I will remember to stretch out post race, before gorging on my beer and burger. But all-in-all, I was very happy. Oh, and speaking of next time, Spring Half Marathon Training starts February 16th. My goals? Blog my training and stick to my strength training!


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