On Saturday, I competed in my first race of 2016: The F3 Half Marathon. Signing up for a race in January in Chicago is a gamble but we were lucky enough to have perfect conditions- clear, sunny skies, high of 32°F, and just a slight wind. It’s hilarious how that same temperature felt miserable when I ran the Detroit marathon in October, but Saturday it felt balmy!
Packet Pick-Up and Swag
The pre-race communication was great and the organizers sent out a list of all the places you could pick up your packet- they offered locations in the suburbs as well as downtown. The shirt was a long sleeve- always appreciated- but it did run small, especially in the sleeve length. They also gave away a beanie. Instead of a giving out a clear plastic bag, your bib and race day necessities came in a large foot bag which I will definitely be reusing a lot!
The Course and Crowd Support
The F3 Half Marathon is a straight out and back course. We started at Soldier Field and ran south along the Lakefront Path for 6.5 miles before turning around and heading back. Fans were sparse, and except for the kick-ass November Project station I saw only one other cluster of fans. Most of the interaction came from the other runners; when the course heads back north, runners are on the right side of the path and pass the participants still heading south. I was able to exchange lots of high fives with fellow NP and Clocktower Runners.
The race started at 10am. Beforehand, participants waited indoors at the United Club (much appreciated!). Katie and I did a mile warm-up and drills beforehand, which also gave me a chance to test out when I was planning on wearing. So glad I went with capris and two lighter top layers instead of the full length tights and thick jacket I had originally been thinking of!
No matter how many times I tell myself to start slow and gradually pick it up, as soon as I get into the corral and my adrenaline starts pumping I start thinking, “Fast, fast, fast, try for a PR!” The first three miles were supplied by enough adrenaline to be 6:43, 6:46, and 6:43. Passing the fantastic November Project cheering station around mile 2.5 certainly helped. Hearing them scream their lungs out as I passed by put a huge smile on my face.
But then as my excitement and adrenaline subsided I became hyper aware of each mile. “I’ve only run 3 miles?!?” and my pace slowed into the 6:50s. Around mile 5.5 (and then again at mile 8ish on the way back) we had to go up a slight hill and I remember thinking, “This is like Heartbreak Hill in Boston!” I guess I’m not used to hill training yet.
Ate half a packet of Honeystinger chews at mile 6.5, and then a few more around mile 10. For miles 8-11 I held a consistent 6:56 pace, so in spite of my acute awareness of the length of each mile I was able to run steadily. Got another much-needed boost from passing the NP station on the way back in, but miles 12 and 13 were over 7 minutes (7:02, 7:06). Official time of 1:30:51.
After the race, runners again went into the United Club where we collected our finisher shirt and beanie and had access to foam rollers. I spent about 15 minutes rolling out my quads and calves before grabbing my gear check bag and reuniting with my friends. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I finished first in my age group! A nice polar bear presented me with a ribbon and gift certificate to Road Runner Sports. Guess I have an excuse to buy more running gear!!
Then we all headed to Reggie’s for the after party.
Overall, I had a blast at the F3 Half. It’s well-organized, very runner friendly, and an easy course. It’s also a great chance to test your fitness level at the start of spring marathon training and get realistic training paces for speed work and tempo runs. Highly recommend this race, and will plan on running it again next year!
Week 3 Training Log
Monday: EZ 8. Day’s total = 8 mi , 7:45 pace
- Treadmill before work
Tuesday: EZ 7. Day’s total = 7.1mi, 7:44 pace
- AM: Treadmill before work
- PM: Massage
Wednesday: November Project Speed work (6×800). Day’s total = 8.5 mi
- AM: November Project, 2 miles total + lunges, burpees, core work
- PM: 6x800s with Fleet Feet. We didn’t warm up very well so I didn’t feel loose until the 5th interval! I tried to do drills on my own, but the group started right away so I felt pressured to jump right in
Thursday: Rest day/Cross Train. Day’s total: 0mi
- AM: Tabata for 1 hour. Tried out a new ClassPass class today at I.D Gym and really liked it. We did 3 rounds of 45 seconds at 4 different exercise stations. After 3 rounds we switched up the exercise
- PM: Yoga for 1 hour. Tried out CoreRestore at CorePower and hated it. Too much static stretching and not enough flow for me
Friday: November Project + EZ 7. Day’s total: 9.5, 7:47 pace
- AM: NP + 6.5 mi run home
Saturday: 14 miles. Day’s total: 14.5, 6:56 pace
- F3 Half Marathon
Sunday: EZ 7. Day’s total: 6.0mi, 8:02 pace
- AM: Recovery Run
- PM: 1 hour, Pure Barre. Holy quads.
- PM: 1 hour Bikram Yoga at 105F with Katie.
Total Week’s mileage = 53.8. A few miles shorter than last week. Slight tenderness in the bottom of my right foot, but it goes off and on, nothing to be too concerned about. Didn’t do as many ClassPasses as I would have liked, but I’ve already started scheduling them in for next week. Happy to get a race in this week so I have new paces to base my speed and tempo workouts off of!