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