The race starts at Fort Sheridan, which was a former Army base and at which an Army reserve complex still operates. The course runs south along the North Shore bike path, and ends at the Great Lakes Naval Base. The 10 nautical-mile distance translates to 11.5 miles.
The race also offered a 3 nautical-mile race (3.45 miles), which started and finished at Great Lakes.
- I stayed at the official race hotel the night before. I was able to have my race packet waiting for me when I checked in! That was a huge timesaver.
- It was awesome to see so many friends at the race, including Marcia, Amanda, Melanie, Jill, and Chris. It was also great to meet Heather in person for the first time!
|Prerace photo with the FNRC run club|
|Selfie right before crossing the starting line.|
Note the military presence right behind us!
- The weather cooperated for the most part. The race started at 7 AM, and forecasts were calling for thunderstorms between 8 AM and 10 AM (perfectly bad timing!) Temps were in the low 70s and it was humid. However, while I did come across some wet pavement and puddles, I did not experience any rainfall on the course. Hallelujah!
- It was amazing and awe-inspiring to run through both Fort Sheridan and Great Lakes. These areas are normally off-limits to civilians.
|Great Lakes Naval Base|
- I got choked up seeing all the military personnel on-course in their uniforms welcoming us and cheering us on. They, along with all the race volunteers, were fantastic.
- I LOVED the race medal! It was so cool to see the emblems for all five military units emblazoned on the ribbon.
- I had a great time at Anne's wedding celebration the night before. This also meant I deviated heavily from my usual night-before-race dinner choices. I was fueled up on sausage, schnitzel, sauerkraut, spaetzle, dumplings, beets, and potato soup. Living on the edge!!!
- Race logistics were a little complicated. Everyone, including spectators, had to park at Rosalind Franklin University and take a shuttle bus to either Fort Sheridan for the 10 nautical mile race, or to Great Lakes for the 3 nautical mile or to spectate. Traffic was a disaster trying to get into the parking area.
- The North Shore bike path was quiet and lined on both sides with trees and forest. However, the path was narrow and it was still open to the public. This created some awkward traffic moments.
|The North Shore bike path|
- Around Mile 6, I could feel hotspots developing on the ball and middle toes of my left foot. This made me nervous. I tried to alter my stride slightly to put less pressure on that area of the foot. It felt a little awkward but it worked.
- Around Mile 7.5, my stomach started giving me hints of discomfort. (I think it was due to drinking Gatorade within a relatively short amount of time after taking a GU.) Restroom options were few and far between, and I was visualizing the worst. Thankfully the discomfort passed after a couple of minutes.
- I wasn't feeling my strongest during the race. I had been hoping to do a 10-minute mile pace, but it felt plenty challenging just to maintain 10:30 miles in that humidity.
- Everyone kept talking about Hero Hill near the Mile 10 marker. It was just as bad as reputed, especially at that point in the course. I had heard military folks would be there to run us up the hill. When I came through, I was actually glad all of them were occupied with others. This meant I could walk as much of the hill as I wanted! (I ended up walking about 80%, heh.)
- The course was long. At Mile Marker 1, my Garmin said 1.15 miles. Mentally, this threw me off. I kept waiting for the extra distance to net out elsewhere, but it never did. At the finish line I forgot to stop my Garmin. When I realized this a few minutes later, it said 11.75 miles. Most folks said they measured the course anywhere from 11.75 to almost 12 miles.
- Marcia mentioned the start line was different than prior years. As it turns out, we did not run the advertised course start. Someone posted the below maps on Facebook showing the published route versus the actual route. Note the big extra loop. One person theorized that the runners started lining up on the wrong side of the starting line, and the organizers just went with it.
|Left: Published route|
Right: Actual route
- As I write this, the organizers have not addressed the change in course or the added distance despite all the comments on their Facebook page, etc.
My official finishing time was 2:04:15. I had been hoping to break two hours, so I wasn't thrilled with my result. But given the long course and the other challenges, it is what it is. I'll call it giving myself plenty of room for improvement in the future!
I am glad to have experienced Fort2Base and to get such a unique glimpse into two military stations. As always, I tip my hat to all the women and men serving our country. Thank you for all you do!!!
Linking up with Jessica, Mary Beth, and Christina for Race Recaps; and April, Patty, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.
My next race: The Super Bears Shuffle 5K on September 10
I agree: the race is excellent but August is always a challenge with weather and that extra loop at the start was wrong I think. It's not a race to really race, IMO. Great to see you as always! Yay for hotel packet pickup! Wow!ReplyDelete
These July and August races are always so killer! I would love if we could move both RnR Chicago and F2B to September or October. How awesome would that be?Delete
Your comment about the new start set-up really resonated with me after I saw how long the course ran. That was a bummer, but you are right - this is not a race to really race. It was great to see you, too, as always!!!
The parking and transportation logistics are a real challenge with this race since you can't park at the finish line. I remember the year I did it we got there REALLY early which meant that we didn't encounter parking issues, but that we had to hang around at the start line (with nothing to do) for a really long time.ReplyDelete
And that's super weird about the course having that extra loop at the beginning! I don't really buy the explanation that they just went with the people who lined up on the wrong side. Why wasn't there someone there to tell people where to line up?
It's always a give and take with these shuttles and getting there early enough to avoid traffic vs having to stand around at the starting area. Not sure which is worse. =( But I'm told the shuttles ran pretty smoothly this year compared to prior years. That's good!Delete
Yeah, I'm still scratching my head about the extra course loop. I really wish the race organizers would address it one way or the other!
I don't think we lined up on the wrong side although I saw that theory. I saw some theories about construction too but I wish the race organizers would address it.ReplyDelete
It sounds like you had a strong race - congrats! The humidity just kicked everyone in the butt! I knew going into it that this wasn't one to try to speed through but I was still staggered by how difficult I found it.
The construction theory would seem plausible. Regardless of the explanation, I agree that I wish the race organizers would acknowledge it in some way, shape, or form!Delete
Thank you! That humidity was insane, indeed. Since the temperature was pretty moderate, I had no inkling that the humidity would still be such a factor. It was to the point where I was wishing it WOULD rain, just clear some of it out!
I'm so happy the storms held off for the race. It's tough when my GPS and the mileage signs don't add up, but then I listen to my music and focus on my running and what's around me.ReplyDelete
I am happy the storms held off, too! I was wondering how the race pacers handled the situation. I don't listen to music when I race but it is interesting to observe the fellow racers. No costumes at this race or anything, but still good people-watching!Delete
That is really awesome that you were allowed access to see that area for your run! Sounds like a great perk :)ReplyDelete
Thanks Alexandra - I think it's one of the reasons this race is so highly acclaimed! We all love being able to get the "behind-the-scenes" glimpses. =)Delete
What a beautiful medal and what looks to be an awesome race! Sorry you had some setbacks -when I ran the Zooma Annapolis 10k my watch didn't sync up with the mile markers either...it is frustrating!ReplyDelete
Thanks Janelle! Yes, it really throws you for a loop when the mile markers are off. I start thinking, will the difference get made up elsewhere? What should I do about my per-mile pace? Did I not run the tangents properly? Was I weaving around too much? It's a lesser concern at a race you're doing for fun, but at a target race it is killer!Delete
You got lucky! We had an absolute deluge here in the city around 9 a.m. -- I don't think I've ever been caught outside in crazier downpour. I'm really glad you didn't have to run in that - it would've been so miserable. That's SO weird that the race started the way it did, and that no one has commented on it. I didn't run the race, but now I'M really curious as to what happened!ReplyDelete
Bethany @ Accidental Intentions
Thanks Bethany! Oh wow - I had no idea the city got pounded that morning. Sorry that you got caught in it. =( We've had the craziest weather ever this year with all these crazy torrential storms! No drought here, that is for certain.Delete
My guess is that at this point, the organizers aren't going to comment on the race start, so we'll probably never know. Sigh. But if they do eventually say anything, I will definitely share!
So nice to finally meet up with you again! And yes, all of us registered that first mile long by about 0.15 to 0.2 miles extra. It was a tad frustrating to be so off right from the beginning but I didn't have a goal so didn't care much. But that map is SO interesting! Why would they let us take off from the wrong way! Geez!! I finished in 2:07 but figured since it did register long, I didn't care much. Nice job!!ReplyDelete
But also, I really did enjoy this race a lot! I had a great time! So didn't mind some of the little annoying details. :)Delete
Amanda, it was so nice to see you again finally after all this time, too!!! I saw Jill on the course around Mile 3, and she thought that the course was being marked in Nautical Miles. At the time, that would have made sense, until the finish. But hey, you're right - it was more just about having a good time and enjoying the festivities. Great job to you, too!!!Delete
Congrats on the finish and sorry to hear that the course was long. Ugh, I hate when that happens. Nice pictures - love the trail one (even though it was too narrow). It would probably be a more scenic course in the fall with the trees changing colors. Also, it would probably be cooler/less humid!ReplyDelete
Thanks Pete! I get frustrated when the course is long, too. It wouldn't have been as big of a deal had the organizers acknowledged and/or explained it, but they haven't said a word so far. Ah well. Agreed, I also wish F2B and RnR Chicago were held in the fall. Both would be so much better experiences in fall weather!!!Delete
It's so frustrating when courses measure long. Not only is the medal very nice, the ribbon is very pretty too. Congrats on pushing through a very tough run!ReplyDelete
SO frustrating when the courses measure long. Even more frustrating when the race organizers don't address it! Sigh. Thank you for the kind words on the medal and the run!Delete
I ran this one in its' inaugural year. Some of your complaints were the same for me back then. In particular, the parking logistics. That year we parked in Great Lakes and took a bus to the start line in Fort Sheridan. And that hill at mile 10? Ridiculous. But it was very moving to be running a course along with tons of military personnel; to have the intersections manned by soldiers...I'd love to do it again, but the weather is just too darned hot in August.ReplyDelete
Great job--especially after eating all that German food!
Thanks Wendy! I am going to go back and read your recap from the inaugural year. Didn't the race take place in September back then? I think some other folks said the logistics were awkward that year with really long shuttle lines. It sounds like the organizers have made a lot of improvements from that front! It's always such an honor and a privilege to be running a course flanked by military personnel. So moving!!!Delete
Great recap and way to go on finishing a tough race!!! Hate when the course measures longer and weird that there was a course change. The medal looks awesome and so cool that there were military personnel cheering you on.ReplyDelete
Thanks Sharon! It is amazing how much of a difference humidity can make even when the temperatures are moderate! Yes, it was very frustrating to experience the long course and the course change - I'm guessing there was some last-minute mishap. Ah well. The medal is one of my favorites and it was such a huge boost and honor to run alongside military personnel!Delete
Congrats on another race! I totally understand the frustration that comes with an inaccurately-measured race course. I once ran a race that was like a quarter mile too short (and it was a 5k too!) and it was never addressed even though everyone complained about it on Facebook. These race organizers should know how picky runners are when it comes to this! That medal though, beautiful!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much, Irina! OMG - I remember that 5K you ran which was a quarter-mile too short. That is so frustrating! Terrible that the organizers never addressed it, either. I'm not sure if it's worse when a course is too short or if it's too long - but either way, it's tough. Kudos to the organizers, indeed, on the medal. =)Delete
So cool that the official hotel left your bib for you at check-in. Man, it must have been nice to avoid the traffic and rush of the expo!!ReplyDelete
I love the medal. Despite your challenges on course, I think it was worth it.
The packet pickup at check-in was a wonderful perk! My only beef was that the race website indicated you could have this arranged, but then didn't specify how. Then, about 20 of us all posted the same question onto the race's Facebook site and were each individually told to email the race director with our names. Why couldn't they just post that info on the website to begin with? Oh well.Delete
Kudos indeed to the organizers on the medal! You are absolutely right, the medal made it worth the effort!
Congratulations on your race! Great pics and awesome medal! My GPS is always a little off from the race course too. I bet that wedding the night before made for a little bit of a slower morning than you'd like.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! Usually my GPS is off a little bit, too - it makes me very conscious of running the tangents. =) You are absolutely right, going to a wedding reception the night before a race sure adds to the challenge of waking up at an already difficult time in the morning!!!Delete
The medal is so cool this year! This course is so neat - I had never run at Fort Sheridan before I did this the inaugural year, and thought it was such a cool location. But like another commenter said, seems like they still hvaen't figured out a good way to handle some of the race logistics. I hope they get it together. And move it back to Sept. LOL.ReplyDelete
Happy you got to try it out! :)
Thanks Kim! I remember when you ran F2B in its inaugural year! I saw some of your pictures from the path and they are very representative of what it was like out there. Yes, I think anytime you are trying to park/shuttle a thousand-plus attendees all at the same time, it is going to cause traffic problems. I would love if they moved this race into September or October. The foliage along the bike path would be gorgeous at that time of year!Delete
Sounds like a fun race, but that extra loop added quite a bit! Good job on hitting 2:04 with the extra mileage.ReplyDelete
Thanks very much, Erika! Kudos to those folks (not me) who still managed to PR despite the extra distance!Delete
That looks like such a fun race and cool medal! Sounds like the extra loop threw everyone for a loop! It is hard to that extra distance when your head was ready for something different! Thanks for linking up with us!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Mary Beth! Yes - the extra loop definitely threw everyone for a loop, both literally and figuratively. =) Thanks for hosting the link-up, as always! I love reading all the recaps!Delete
I remember the whole transportation thing bothered me. I like to drive to the start line and start there instead of taking another bus. So weird about the extra loop at the start line. Hero Hill is no joke. There is a similar hill at the North Shore Half Marathon.ReplyDelete
YES on the logistics! You have to add so much extra time for parking and then another shuttle bus. It's tough when it's so early in the morning. Yikes on the hill at North Shore! I've considered running North Shore before but now I'm going to be scared of the hill there, too!Delete