Monday, September 24, 2012

Fort2Base

Last year, Fort2Base is what I'd consider a breakthrough race in a series of fall PR's.

I have fond memories of my experience in 2011, some had to do with running and other have to do with the significance of the race. The 2011 race was held on September 11th, and just in case that wasn't enough to get me teary eyed, my brother was stationed in Afghanistan at the time. I decided to dedicate the race to him.

Fort2Base is a point to point race from Fort Sheridan to Great Lakes Naval Base. Distances for the race are measured in nautical miles (that's 1.15078 miles for us land dwellers). There's a 10 and 3 nautical mile option. The 10 nautical mile race starts in a large loop on the streets of Fort Sheridan and then merges onto Green Bay Trail. This race has generous shade which is always a plus! Around mile 8, runners exit the trail and onto the sidewalk surrounding the base.

Entering the base is emotional for me. I think of all the people who call and have called Great Lakes home. I remember the time I drove my brother to the hospital there to see a doctor one time when he was on leave. I think of my family and friends who have served. I wonder if I can ever put in to words how grateful I am for their service.

This year's Fort2Base started out early with a 3:30 am alarm.

Jeff and Kim would swing by at 4 am to pick me up, then we were off to grab Jen and Sara.

As we drove through Wrigleyville, we saw people just leaving the bars. We were early risers this morning (can you call waking up in the 3am hour an early riser?) instead of night owls.

We made great time up to Great Lakes. Being that it was so early in the morning, we navigated with the help of a Garmin and off memory from 2011. We arrived at an entrance gate to Great Lakes and were let in.

From there, we had little direction as to where we were to park. So we drove around. In the dark. On a military base. Until finally one nice soldier said he thought we should exit the base and park in visitor parking. So we followed his advice. We looked over the visitor parking lot to see, well, not that many cars. This couldn't be right.

We were told a bus would be by to pick us up in the parking lot. We saw some other runners who were in the same situation as us, so we waited patiently. After we boarded the bus, we drove over to the medical campus. Here's where everyone else parked (and so much for us reading directions in the packet!). From there, we traveled onto Fort Sheridan.

It was a cool fall morning. Not something we're used to yet. We didn't look forward to handing over our warm clothes to gear check, but hopefully we'd be moving soon.

It didn't take long to warm up once the race started. The cool and overcast weather made running feel effortless. I like this distance. Too bad more races aren't measured in nautical miles.

Once the route took us on to the base, I turned my focus onto "hero hill". I believe it's the steepest hill I've ever run up. In the last mile or so, we turned a corner and were looking at it.

There was nowhere to go but up and the fastest way to get there was to run.

Once we reached the top of the hill, I knew the finish wasn't far. We turned another corner and saw the finish line.

We all finished within a few minutes of each other. We grabbed some post run treats, grabbed our bags and headed to the car.

Fort2Base complete. Next mission : brunch.

1 comment:

Kelly Janowski said...

I filled up on Larabars and corn cakes at the finish line, so no brunch for me.