Six-word recap: A lovely weekend run, with medals.
I won a race entry to the sixth-annual F^3 Half Marathon from Emily. I had thought about doing this race last year because it fits in so well with my training for Circular Logic. Alas, the weather is really unpredictable this time of year and I didn't want to commit. Who would have known it would be 40 degrees and sunny on Saturday? It was really an ideal day, but I just couldn't pull it together for a PR.
I carpooled with the run club, so I rolled out of the house at 7:15 to meet up and drive in. We decided to split parking at Soldier Field and it was the best possible call. We parked steps from the United Club, walked in and that was it - $22 well-spent, especially when split five ways.
There were indoor restrooms that we all used, as well as gear check that we declined and left items with our colleagues instead (thanks Erika!). The race is in its sixth year and they have it down to a science - runners warm up indoors and then all walk out to the start line together at the last possible second. The start line was rather congested, but once we all got into the chute, it moved along.
The first two miles were not fun for me. I don't know if anything was wrong as much as I was just not feeling it. After three miles, I started to settle in and rebound. I actually really enjoyed the course. Runners go north from Soldier Field, then south past Burnham Harbor towards the South Shore Cultural Center, then loop back. I liked this because with the turn around, you see everyone who's racing. I saw a ton of familiar faces, which was a nice distraction as I was running alone without music. I don't know what I was thinking with the music thing, but it was a hectic morning.
I took a gel at eight, and somewhere around the nine-mile mark my left calf started to bother me. It felt really tight and sore, and I stopped at one point to stretch it out. It's still sore today, and I'm guessing it's from running on snow and ice.
In the finisher's chute, there was hot cocoa, water, organic protein drink and KIND bars. I found my group and we cheered on our remaining runners, then headed inside. I took advantage of the indoor restrooms and changed into warm clothes, then snagged my free beer.
The medals were these fantastic fully colored bottle openers on a ribbon that featured the Chicago skyline. I liked that instead of another shirt, runners got a nice hat and running gloves in a little nylon drawstring bag.
In all, I thought this was a well-coordinated race that had a nice course and good swag. I don't know if I would pay $70 to run on the Lakefront Path, and I'm not sure how I'd feel about this race if it was -30 instead of 40 degrees. Any way you slice it, I had a great day and it was fun, even if I wasn't fast.
Cost: $70, free for me
Pros: Nice course, great swag, lovely medal, all the festivities were indoors
Cons: It's expensive for a half, and the weather is unpredictable