My uncle Larry taught me a card trick once and said "Learn to appreciate it, because no one else will" and while I still pull out that card trick every once in a while and people actually seem to appreciate it, I've taken uncle Larry's advice to heart.
A year ago I came out to Chicago and watched Peter Sagal run the F^3 half marathon (ostensibly I was there to take his photo, hang out with some friends and run three miles with Peter, which was all I could run at the time (and I didn't make that, I'd pulled a calf muscle)) and this year I thought "heck, I've run 15 or 20 half marathons, I should run that crazy one in Chicago with Peter". So we registered, I got on an airplane and went to Chicago to run 13 miles along the lake in 15 degree weather with 20 mile an hour winds. Which isn't nearly as crazy as it sounds.
I got in on Friday while Peter was off at some festival of geeks. I walked his dogs, found out that I had a race number that pleased my OCD to no end and went to bed early and some time in the early hours of Saturday I was awoken by Peter shouting "dog bomb!" and lobbing the same two very enthusiastic dogs onto my bed.
We drove out to the race and I vascilated on what to wear down to the very last minute. I was mostly worried about overheating, because that's what usually happens, even when it's 15 degrees, but the 20 MPH winds concerned me. I eventually went with a shirt, a windproof over layer and a hoodie over top of that. I added gloves and a scarf thingie that goes over your nose and mouth. The down side of this is that while you're waiting for the race to start it's INCREDIBLY FREAKING COLD.
We're ready to crush it. Plus nobody told me I'd given myself a proto-beehive hairdoo.
It was ... really, really, really, really cold.
Once the race started I warmed up. I took the hoodie off around mile four when it got downright hot and the gloves came off around mile 3. The scarf thing worked pretty well, though it was too tight. It kept my face from freezing. About ten minutes after I pulled it down off of my face it had frozen solid, but when I needed it later it thawed out very quickly when I put it back over my mouth.
I warmed up and got to enjoy the view along the lakefront. It was a lovely place to run.
Clickenzee to Embiggen!
Peter passes me on the way back around mile 5 1/2. Clickenzee to Embiggen!
There was slush all over the course which meant it was sort of like running in a dream where you're not getting any traction and every step forward takes you about 3/4th of the distance you're expecting, but once I realized I wasn't going to set any personal records I decided to just treat it like a Saturday run and I came in at 2:09:22 Peter came in at 1:43:47 which meant he got to spend half an hour freezing to death waiting for me to cross the finish line. That's friendship.
I've always been impressed at how fast Peter is (his marathon time is like 3:09, which is an hour faster than Paul Ryan) but then looking at the photos of him running, I realized that one reason he's so fast is because he's working hard -- he's not strolling along, he's pushing. He's not the dude smiling and waving at the camera, he's the guy gutting it out for the best time. This was a bit of a sad revelation to me, that in order to get faster it has to hurt more. I'd been hoping it would just come by magic. Though, to be fair, my times have been coming down, albeit slowly. I started out running 12 minute miles, then 11 minute miles, now ten minute miles, and last week I was able to run ten miles at an 8:45 pace, but I thought I was going to puke for the last half mile or so. I'd like to be able to run 8 minute miles and have it not be a huge deal. Everybody tells me this means I need to do ... speedwork ... which I did once with the West Philly Runners and it was so unpleasant I didn't go back. But now I think I have to. Gah.
Clickenzee to Embiggen the agony of victory
Official photo of me finishing in 2:09:22, which I'm happy with, given the conditions. It's 13 minutes slower than my best half marathon time, but my only race goal here was not to slip and fall.
At the end I got a MEDAL and silveringridd & Molly Robison were there to watch me do my victory dance. Then there was a Top Sekrit photo shoot for Joan Dark's upcoming book #GeekKnits and then the real adventure began....
Clickenzee to Embiggen!
The F^3 was, I think, the fourth "official" half marathon I've run (I've run somewhere around twenty unofficial ones) and it was the best organized and most fun. It's kind of the polar opposite of the Rock & Roll half marathon. (My recap of the 2013 Philadelphia Rock & Roll Half Marathon.) At R&R everything's highly produced, everything costs money & I think it's billed as something of a funrun.
The F^3 was small, and the weather is so miserable I think that mostly the only people who come out are people who run a lot and though all the amenities were there, there was a "We're DIY and we're pros" kind of atmosphere to the whole thing too.
NEXT: Off to some crazy adventure!
Clickenzee to Embiggen the de-icing!
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