Wednesday, February 8, 2017

F^3 Half Marathon Race Recap

I signed up for the 2017 F^3 Half Marathon reluctantly around October.  The reason I signed up was that A LOT of my friends in the Frankfort/New Lenox Running Club were doing the race. It's so much fun when there are so many people you know.  Also, my running had been improving and I thought that maybe I could have a decent half (definitely not a PR, but decent nonetheless).

On the other end, I was reluctant to sign up because I wasn't sure if I would end up getting pregnant by then. Also, you just never know what the weather will be like in January in Chicago.

There happened to be a discount code for $10 off in October. I wasn't pregnant yet and so I thought, if I do get pregnant, I probably would be newly pregnant and still be able to do the half marathon. So I signed up. Why not. Plus is was "only" $50 so worse scenario, I didn't HAVE to do it if I couldn't.

Then I got pregnant in the beginning of November. Faster than I anticipated.  I found out on Black Friday but wasn't really sure how far along I was. I'm not "regular", if you know what I mean. But I calculated based on that anyway and then calculated how far along I would be for this half. I thought as long as I was feeling fine, I would still be in the first trimester and still be able to run.  I also asked my doctor if I could still run and she said yes, just to watch my heart rate.

So I kept up with my training plan. My friends didn't know yet so I had to make sure I wouldn't be running too fast with them on the long runs. Luckily I was feeling good, they were doing their long runs at an easy pace, and we took walk breaks every 1.5 to 2 miles as needed.  I ended up doing two 10 mile training runs for this half. I didn't want to run more than that for training.


I was able to tell everyone before this day that I was pregnant, which helped me out in being able to take my time during the run without people wondering why I was running slowly and walking often. (I know that's all in my head and no one really cares how fast I'm running). Anyway, I had thought about wearing a sign on my back indicating that I was pregnant for fun, but wasn't sure if that was weird. My friend Jill made me a fun "baby on board" sign that I absolutely loved and decided to wear that. If nothing else, I figured it's good for people to know I was pregnant so that if something happened, people were aware for an emergency purpose.

I was pretty nervous about running this half, despite having run almost 30 half marathons, most of which were since 2011. This was the first time doing it while pregnant and there is just a lot to think about with that. I had been fueling with bananas and cliff bars on my long runs instead of with the normal gels in an attempt to be more "natural" with my fueling. I brought a cliff bar and a Huma gel just in case I needed it.

I also ate more for breakfast because I'm always hungry these days. Normally before a half, I would just eat oatmeal and then a banana before the race. This time I ate a rice cake with peanut butter at home, oatmeal in the car, and a banana before the race. Hopefully that would do the trick.  I also decided to wear my hydration belt so I had my own water in addition to the aid stations so I could make sure I was well hydrated.  Yes, I was definitely nervous!

I carpooled with a few friends, which is always nice. Met up with more friends at Soldier Field (the start and finish for the race), which was also nice. And waited in the nice and warm Soldier Field with real bathrooms for the start, definitely nice!  I went to the bathroom twice but I was sure that I would have to go during the race.  The week before this half, my running started getting harder (more out of breath) and I always had to pee on my runs. So I knew without a doubt I'd have to hit a port-a-potty during the half. 

As always, we took a group photo.  Meet part of the Frankfort/New Lenox Running Club.

I, of course, had to take a pre-race photo of my first pregnancy half with my Baby on Board sign.


Prior to the race, I wasn't sure what my "plan" was. I mean, clearly I wasn't going to attempt a PR. I wasn't even going to try to "run my best race." I mean, I'm pregnant and didn't want to exert myself too much. I also didn't want to "bomb" half way through.  My goal for the first time in a long time was just "to finish."

How to accomplish this goal? 

- I thought about doing what I did in training and maybe run 1.5 miles and take a walk/fuel break.

- I thought about doing a 5:1 run/walk interval. There was also a 2:30 pacer that was supposed to do that interval so I thought about joining them. I decided not to join the pace group though as I figured I'd lose them when I went to the bathroom.

- I thought about just running until I needed a break.

- I thought about doing a 9:1 run/walk interval.

My ultimate plan was decided when I started running. I decided to do choice number one, which was mostly what I did during training. I decided on running 1.5 miles and taking a 1 minute walk break (which turned into a 1 or 2 minute walk break depending on what I needed).

Here's how the race went down.  I had to use the bathroom as soon as I took my first run step. No joke. I rolled my eyes at that. I decided to wait until hopefully mile 4 or 5.  When I got to mile 3.5 and there was a bathroom, I decided to stop and use it just in case the other wasn't for a while.

I tried to keep my pace steady and slow. I tend to run faster than I want to because I'm just used to running that pace. And a few times, my run pace was a bit too fast. For the first 10 miles, I kept to my plan. Run 1.5 miles, walk 1 or 2 minutes. I ran a straight 2 miles from mile 5-7 just because I decided I felt fine and I would wait until the turn around to walk.

I was pretty happy that I kept my intervals for the first 10 miles. However, by mile 8, I knew I needed to use the bathroom again. Luckily I was able to hold off until after the race. I did NOT want to stop again! Also by around mile 8, I was starting to get fatigued. I could feel my butt muscles getting sore. I was just trying to keep hanging on as long as I could. 

By mile 10, I decided to bring my run interval down to 1 mile. By this point, I was actually struggling to keep running 1 mile.  I was feeling fine as far as the baby went. My legs and butt were just fatigued and I was really feeling it at this point. I managed to stick with the 1 mile run intervals the last 3 miles though and I was pretty proud of that.

As far as the sign on my back, let's just say I did get lots of comments. All the comments would come at the same time and then there would be a long break of nothing, then more comments, then nothing. Once at mile 5, I was taking a walk break and eating half of my cliff bar (more like stuffing my face), when a few women ran by and congratulated me. I thanked them with crumbs in my mouth, looking like a stereotypical hungry pregnant woman. lol

I got lots of "Congratulations!" comments, I also got a "good job pregnant lady!", which I thought could have been phrased better, lol. But my favorite were these 2 guys in bright yellow jackets that played leap frog with me from around miles 8 through 13. "Congratulations! I could barely get myself out here and you are doing it for 2! You are awesome! Way to go!", etc etc etc. They were so much fun and definitely helped brighten the end of my run. They also introduced me to someone after the race! I think they were truly amazed a pregnant woman was running. I was too guys! I was too! lol

I finished in 2:25, which wasn't bad considering that's what my halves were last year before I lost some weight and started improving them. I was pretty happy to have been under 2:30. No, I didn't set a time goal. I didn't really care as long as I finished and did it safely for the baby. But the time still made me a bit happy!

Around mile 2
Getting rough somewhere probably around mile 10 or so.
You can also see my favorite guys in yellow jackets just behind. I LOVED THEM!
Finished. Done.
For fueling, I was glad I brought my own water. I drank at the aid stations maybe twice but I liked having my own water to drink when I wanted to drink it. I ate half the cliff bar. I also chowed down a package of the Gatorade chews they handed out like I'd never eaten before!

After the race, I gladly took a bagel and proceeded to inhale that as well. Clearly I was hungry.

We met back up with our friends inside, I went to the bathroom, took some finisher photos of myself and sat down for a while. All in all, I was glad it was over, happy with my accomplishment, and did nothing for the rest of the day!

Happy Finisher
Don't mind my hair in the photo. I had a hat on during the race and didn't care what I looked like afterwards!  Half marathon at just about 13 weeks the done column! Thankfully.

Sweet medal and I loved being able to stay warm before and after the race inside Soldier Field.


  1. Anonymous2/08/2017

    Congratulations, on both the pregnancy and the race! I hope that pregnancy is in my future too, and it makes race planning a whole lot more challenging!

    Also, congrats to Baby on his/her first half marathon! :)

  2. Congrats on the finish! Love the "Baby on Board" sign. Very cool that those bright yellow jacket guys were so motivating!

    1. Thank you Pete! Yes those guys were the highlight of my run!

  3. Yay congratulations!!!