Obviously, my brain is malfunctioning a little, as this race review is a day late and dollar short. Actually, it is not a dollar short, but it is short a few photos. In fact, i don't even know where my camera is these days - taper madness has me a hot mess!
On Sunday, i woke up pre dawn to drive up to the great lakes naval base for the 2nd annual Fort 2 Base race! The race comes highly acclaimed, and i was lucky enough to win an entry through Maggie's blog.
The drive to the base took longer than i expected, even at 5 am. Its an awkward distance from home in that its not far enough for me to get a hotel, but its a solid drive to get to and from. Maggie had warned me to get there really early, but apparently my interpretation of early is no where near early enough. When i got to the offsite parking area, the lot was full! Luckily, Mayhem had taken over, and people were just illegally parking everywhere. It was a morning i was very grateful for my mediocre at best parallel parking abilities. From there, we were shuttled to the start line which was somewhere in Fort Sheridan. The line for port-a-potties was REDONK, so i made an executive decision to hold it. And, if you want my advice on any race 13 miles or less where there is an insane porta-potty line- just hold it. Usually the urge to pee dissipates after a few miles. And if not, the lines on the course are usually non-existant. But holding it is good advice for life - so i hope you wrote that down.
I felt a little useless at the start - they were honoring all those who have served in the military. Which is definitely not me. I felt a little guilty. But then the race started and it was awesome again! I positioned myself in between the 10:00 and the 9:30 pace group (my goal pace for Dublin is 9:40, my goal pace for chicago is PARTY) and just hung out there. Somewhere between miles 6-7 an older gentleman started talking to me. He spent a good chunk of his life on the naval base, and just started telling me all kinds of stories. It was so awesome, and the miles just flew by. It was really amazing to see the lake views from the naval base - as a civilian, i would never have otherwise gotten the chance. I regret not bringing my camera, and will totally do so next year! by the time we got to the giant downhill that preceded the giant uphill, my calf started to hurt something fierce. Luckily my older gentleman friend was able to motivate me keep going (he was running repeats on this hill when i was a fetus, he reminded me), and the uphill was actually much easier for me than the downhill.
Minus the pain in calf, i felt strong, and fully capable of continuing on. It's rare that i finish a race feeling good about myself as a runner, so this was a huge boost with two marathons on the agenda next month. And, i suppose its a PR for me, as i have never run 10 Nautical miles before. Sadly, i still don't know what a nautical mile is - i thought that question might answer itself while on the course.
Post race had just about the best swag i have ever seen at a race. No joke. Larabars, cookies, gatorade, muscle milk, CHEESE!, and even deodorant samples. It's like they knew i would be there.
I met up with these hip ladies
And then hopped on a bus back to my illegally parked car.
Topline: This race was awesome. The view was amazing, and everyone volunteering was awesome. Sexy men in uniform can high-five me anytime. ANYTIME. I will do this race next year (schedule permitting) and plan on dragging Matt along too!
Pros: Beautiful course; Chance for civilians to be on naval base; awesome medal and (excellent fitting!) shirt; good-looking menfolk (and ladyfolk!) in uniform motivating you along the course; Better post race spread than most marathons; and great distance (this seems so much easier than 13.1!)
Cons: Parking. My understanding is that it improved, but is still nowhere near seamless; Its a bit a little bit of a trek from Chicago; start area could use more porta-potties.
You know if my biggest complaint is having to wait to pee, it must be a pretty awesome race. I had a great time, and would recommend this to everyone. Learn from my mistakes though, and bring a camera! When else will you be running along the lakefront of a naval base??