Thursday, January 24, 2013

The F^3 Lake Half Marathon

On Saturday, I'm doing something many would think is crazy. I'm running a half Marathon. In Chicago. On the lakefront.

Around 10am on Saturday, approximately 1500 runners and a hundred or so volunteers will gather at Montrose Harbor for the 4th annual F^3 Lake Half Marathon.

What's F^3 you may ask? The F'n Freezing Frozen. Appropriately named considering the weather forecast for Saturday wouldn't you say?

This race is the brainchild of my friend Kim S. She gathered a group of her friends together a few years ago to celebrate winter training with a 13.1 fun run. I didn't get a chance to participate that year. I was rehabbing a sore knee and weak hip. But shortly thereafter that first race, Kim knew she had a unique event to bring to the Chicago running community.

It's been fun and truly amazing to watch Kim grow the race since that first year. She has connected a subculture in the Chicago running community. Some may call us crazy. Others could say hardcore. Truthfully, I think a lot of us share the same disdain for treadmills.

(Fast forward a few days to today, the day after the race. I didn't manage to wrap this one up before the race like I hoped).

Brian and I got together on Friday night to keep to our ritual of drinking three the night before a race. Dinner was followed by laying out race gear (a more intricate task in the winter season) and going to bed. Dave and I headed to the race around 8 ( Dave volunteered), but not before I had to turn around together my bib off the refrigerator. (I'd forgotten the critical step of pinning my bib onto my shirt the night before).

The temperature that morning was what most would call freezing. The light snow the day border made a white blanket over the landscape. Perfect for photos. The wind was light and sun was out.

Dave took a great shot of the start area.

Brian, Jeff and I ran together for most of the race. That is, until Jeff left us in the dust around mile 10. We saw a few friends along the way and marveled at all the faces we didn't know. How quickly Kim's race has grown. We had a few quick walk breaks to alleviate a cramp or to take down fluids, but other than that, we're pretty happy with our performance. Especially with the lack of training we'd both done.

Shortly after the finish, we all met at the after party. It was great to see it so well attended and the crowd excitement for the race. For a short period, a large mass of the crazy winter runners were gathered in one place. We talked, laughed and had a few drinks. Then left each other's company saying we'd see each other soon - whether it be out on the path next week or this summer.

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