Why the F^3 Lake Half Marathon is Great Motivation for Winter Running

Why the F^3 Lake Half Marathon is Great Motivation for Winter Running

So, you like to run.  And you live in Chicago.  You have two choices for half the year: hibernate and become friends with the treadmill or suck it up and run outside in the cold.

Personally, I prefer to suck it up 90% of the time.  I despise the treadmill.  But how do you keep yourself motivated to keep running when you’d much rather curl up under a blanket with some hot chocolate (or a glass of wine, in my case)?

Sign up for a winter race.  Yes, you heard me.  A winter race.  There are groups of people who actually like running in the cold.  So many, in fact, that the F^3 group decided to put on a half marathon to accommodate them.

The fourth official F^3 Lake Half Marathon (Which stands for F*ing Freezing Frozen, by the way) was last Saturday, January 26th.  And it sold out.  Yes, there were over 1300 people out there running 13.1 miles along the lakefront the day after it snowed and in sub-freezing temperatures.  Including a sub-set of the Chicago Running Bloggers.

Amanda, Kelly, Me, Maureen, Maggie

And a contingent of the Oak Park Runners Club.

The F^3 team really know how to put on a race.  Tents with heaters to wait in at the start (although, we could have used more of these), a DJ who kept the crowd pumped up, an on-time race start at 10:00 AM, plenty of parking at Montrose Harbor, a well-marked course with excellent aid stations, and the best post-race bagel I’ve ever eaten.

Plus, I had my own personal spectators with signs and every thing.


I may not have followed Chicago Runner Girl’s advice exactly about what to wear but I didn’t overheat and I wasn’t cold in my layers (capris & tights on bottom, Underarmor cold gear mock turtleneck and Adidas jacket on top).

And just in case you think running in the winter means slower speeds, I’ll have you know I ran my third fastest half marathon time on Saturday with,admittedly, way less training that I did for my two fastest.


See, I told you F^3 knows how to put on a good race!

So the next time you think, “There’s no way I’m running outside in the winter” try signing yourself up for an outdoor event, buying some good gear, and get out there.  You won’t be alone.

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    Erin Vandenberg

    I'm a 30-something who decided to get off the elliptical and expand my fitness horizons. Since moving to Chicago in 2008 I've run marathons and biked miles. I've done group fitness classes and lifted weights on my own. And now I want to share my fitness finds with you!

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