Naperville Half Marathon 2014 race recap

I went into this race with few expectations.  I got lazy (too busy more so) with my training and just prayed I had enough left in the tank to get this race done, and done strong.

I woke up at 4 am, got ready and hit the road to Naperville to meet up with the gang.  I texted Andrea, letting her know I pooped…LOL.  On going joke…sorry haha!

I got to Naperville at 5:45 and waited in the warmth of my car for everyone to arrive. Everyone arrived safely at around 6:15, and we had plenty of time to get settled.  I ate my cereal bar, chugged my 5 hr energy and we were off!

What a beautiful sunrise…and I am NOT a morning person!
These amazing people…I can’t say enough about these girls.
The starting line was lined with flags, and I was truly moved by the beauty of it all!

We lined up at the start, getting in to our respective corrals and bid each other high fives, hugs, and good luck.  I turned and saw Claudia, a woman I met during the Fox Valley training runs I paced, so we agreed to start together.  YAY!  The national anthem was beautifully sung, (sang?) and the race kicked off…it only took about 10 minutes to cross the starting line.  (They could’ve spaced this a little farther apart, as the course was slightly crowded the first few miles).

We stayed together the first couple miles, and she caught me at mile 9 walking-thankfully her motivation got me running up that terrible hill!
We stayed together the first couple miles, and she caught me at mile 9 walking-thankfully her motivation got me running up that terrible hill!

The first several miles felt great.  I thought to myself, HEY…I can DO this…but my excitement got the best of me and I went out too fast.  Rookie mistake.  Beginning mile splits: 9:33, 9:03, 8:58, 8:58, 9:02, 8:51, 9:11, 9:53 (took a walk break to fuel during the 8th mile. I saw Karen at mile 8.5 and nearly sobbed!  A friendly face, YAY!  We hugged quickly and I kept moving.

And then came mile 9…the hill from hell where it felt we were out in the middle of no where.  I walked briefly and then saw Claudia…I tried to stick with her, but it just wasn’t happening.  But I kept her in my sights, along with her awesome hubby who was on his bike throughout several spots on the course.  Seeing him helped me keep going…

I decided the sub 2 just wasn’t going to happen…I had a stitch in my side that refused to go away.

So I high fived all the kids.  I thanked all the volunteers and spectators.  I dug deep and searched for my smile. And I ate a piece of bacon from some amazing dude grilling at around mile 11…and I kept running as fast as I could.

Miles 10 and 11 were 9:51 (another walk/stretch break), 9:20 and my right ITB was SCREAMING at me, making my right knee, and foot feel like they were on fire.  I was done.  I lost sight of Claudia, and I sincerely just wanted to stop.  But I saw her husband at mile 12 and he reminded me “You are doing this for fun,” to which I forced a smile and kept going.

And then…I saw THIS.  (Thanks, Andrea for the picture).

No "Oh I wish I was running the full" feelings here.  AT ALL.
No “Oh I wish I was running the full” feelings here. AT ALL.

The stitch in my side was almost unbearable…but as I hit mile 13 and barreled up the .1 hill to the finish line (having a hill at the finish is just MEAN), I was satisfied.  Slight disappointment for yet another NOT sub 2 half briefly hit me, and the tears brimmed in my eyes. But I reminded myself I wasn’t properly trained, having only run ONE 9 miler since the Fox Valley half marathon in September.  So instead I celebrated all of my awesome friends finish times, and PR’s.  Final miles were 9:30, 9:13, 3:18 for the last .1.  I was blessed to have received my medal from Bob Miller, marathon maniac, and after a hug and smiles, I felt better.

Oh…and all the massages….all the food…and all the beer.

Two Brothers pale ale? You betcha!
AHHHHMAZING perk to this race. Stretching AND massage tents.
I may have eaten two of these…don’t judge.

At the end of the day I did what I set out to do.  Complete this race in under 2:10.  And of course, spend time with some pretty cool people.

Yes...I had about 57 layers on and STILL was cold, while Andrea was in shorts, LOL
Yes…I had about 57 layers on and STILL was cold, while Andrea was in shorts, LOL

I also got to see Carolyn finish her race, PR, AND qualify for Half Fanatics!  YAY!!!!

So proud of this girl!
So proud of this girl!

Pros of the race:

Plenty of port a johns at the start.

Lots of aid stations.

The spectators were amazing

Stretching AND massage tents.  SCORE!

The food/beer was warm/cold respectively

Having the gym open for the runners/spectators

Volunteers!  I can’t say enough about these amazing people

Cons of the race:

Disorganized gear check causing lengthy waits after the race

Not enough signage telling discombobulated runners where to go after the race

Mean security cops/guards.  Cut us some slack fellas…we just ran our butts off!


All in all I had a WONDERFUL time despite some self inflicted pain.  I would definitely do this face again!

Also, I was successful in my November goals by 99% only having missed out on doing yoga.  Score!

Did you race this weekend?  What is your favorite perk of the after race events?

❤ Michelle