Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Naperville Marathon

Waaaay back in January I registered for this race. I did not know why at the time- perhaps it was being jet-lagged from arriving back Stateside after 9 days in Brasil or maybe the hangover from all the delicious caipirinhas I drank while there, but on January 28, I found myself signed up for a marathon nearly 10 months away. Over the next few months I registered for the Chicago Marathon and Fox Valley marathon- because I wanted at least 1 possible shot at BQ'ing and registering for the 2014 Boston Marathon. So here I was going to be running 3 marathons in a 7 week time frame. Once I realized the magnitude of what I had done, I started questioning myself. The 2 main questions were: would I even be healthy to run Naperville? And what would my race plan be?

In July Kim emailed me to ask if she should run the full or half because she was getting a sponsor entry from a friend. She then asked me what my race plan was- I said "are you saying what I think you're saying?" And it was at that point I knew that I had signed up for this race to pace and run with my BFF (I just didn't know that when I registered).

I was nervous because I didn't want to let Kim down- since I hadn't run much over the past 7 weeks. The week before the race I sent her 27 questions- like what's your pacing plan, do you want me to encourage you in the late miles or STFU, so I had a good idea of her expectations to make sure we had the best experience possible.

The day before the race I took the train out to Britt's place. Her and her husband, D were so generous to let me stay with them instead of having to drive from Chicago way too early the morning of the race. She was so kind to even drive most of the course with me and point out all the interesting features and major inclines on the course. Read: this course is by no means flat.

The morning of the race I was a ball of nerves for Kim. I so desperately wanted the race to go well for her.

While waiting in the heated field house, I ran into a bunch of friends who were running or spectating the race. They recognized my owl head hat.

Ken, Me, Britt, Erin

Soon it was time to run 26.2 miles through beautiful Naperville.

I'll let Kim tell the story about the race experience because this race was entirely about her. Go read her blog for the race report and loads of photos.


•Seeing Kim's family and Bobbi and Erin and Michelle multiple times cheering their hearts out for us.

•The horse spectating around mile 4.

•The 105 people I gave high 5's to.

•Telling Kim early on if both Britt and us were on pace there would be a slight chance to see Britt around mile 14. WE SAW BRITT and cheered for her!!!
Had either one of us been 10 seconds faster or slower we would have missed her.

•Giving Britt's husband, D a high 5 shortly after seeing Britt.

•Having Kim's dad run with us for a block around mile 23.

•Grabbing Kim's hand at mile 26 shortly before the most heinous hill ever and running up that son of a bitch with the biggest smiles on our faces.

Proof at mile 26. All smiles!

•The wave of emotion that came over both of us as soon as we crossed the finish. Kim, I'm so freaking proud of you!!!

Kim's photo post race

Thoughts on the race

This was the first year for the Naperville marathon and I have nothing but positive things to say about it. (Some of the race directors are also the race directors for Fox Valley)

•Extremely well organized

•Ample Port o Potties at the start and on the course

•Heated field house to wait in before the start when the feels like temp was 24 degrees.

•Interesting and challenging course which went through commercial, residential and forest preserves.

•Loads of enthusiastic spectators and volunteers.

The only "negatives" I had were:

•Could have used a few more aid stations. They seemed pretty spread out- had I brought my own water this would be a non issue. I also understand the logistical challenge of getting aid stations in the middle of a forest preserve.

•The forest preserve from miles 14-20 went on forever! It was desolate and hilly and sucked our energy because we thought it would never end.

I'm so happy for Kim getting a new PR and even more happy that I got to run with her and help her achieve something great.

Marathon #10 for me will always be one of my all time favorites.

Now go read Kim's race report.

- xaar


  1. YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOO what an awesome friend you are! Great seeing you, and I was so stoked EVERY time I got a high five. Brought me right back to FVM. Way to rock it ladies.

  2. Gosh, reading both of your recaps is making me all choked up! Such a good reminder of how awesome it feels to accomplish something really amazing, and how much better it is to do it all with a good friend by your side (you know, since Kim was kind enough to be there for me this summer) :)

    Perhaps you should share your 27-question checklist for pacers? Stuff like that is really good to work out in advance, but I'm guessing no one thinks about it too much ahead of time (like, do you want me to make you laugh when you're having a melt down, or just back the eff off??).

    Will I see you and your owl hat next weekend? I'll be sporting an animal hat too :)

  3. You. Are. The. BEST!!!!

    Reading this almost makes me want to do it again. Almost ;)

    You know, I remember asking a few times how you were doing, but I didn't even think about how you might be a bit thirsty, especially back in the evil miles of 14-20! No wonder you felt meh after you drink that thing at the end of the race! You were probably a bit dehydrated!

    I love this recap. You are so much fun to run with. You have the best running spirit. You do it because you love to. And are selfless, as a pacer. Thank you for being my rabbit. What a special day. But dayum, does it ever make me miss you.

    Thanks for the shout out to my recap! And now I need to read and see how Erin and Ken did! I had forgotten all about them in the haze at the end of the race. LOL!

  4. Congrats on the awesome job of pacing. It sounds like you and Kim had a blast out there. It's also cool that so many blogger friends were in Naperville that morning. Very cool.

  5. That is so awesome, sounds like you had a really great time. Love the first picture with the pets and the race numbers. CB looks like he wanted to do the race himself.

  6. Awesome on pacing your friend, that is super nice of you. My friend paced me my first half marathon, it was super nice of him - that is still one of my favorite races ever.

  7. Nice report. So happy you and Kim had a blast running in the town I know call home. Wished I was out there running with you guys (or a few time zones behind), darn cough/congestion. Loved your comment about Green Valley. I run there at least once a month and in the build up to this race did a 15 mile training run there, all alone!!

  8. It was so sweet to finally meet you IRL on Sunday. Congratulations on pacing your friend successfully. I sure wouldn't be able to handle that type of pressure :) what an amazing year of racing you've had, lady. I'm excited to see what else you've got in store for the rest of the year and in 2014. I suspect good things will be coming your way :) xo

  9. This is awesome! So proud of you both!

  10. What an awesome friend to pace someone for an entire marathon! You are amazing. I'm glad that everyone seems to have good things to say about the Naperville race. I know there was some drama back when registration opened so it is nice to see them deliver. November seems like the perfect time for a marathon!

  11. You are so incredible! I bet you were an awesome pacer. I loved Kim's recap, too! Congrats to the both of you!

  12. YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!!! SO happy to hear how well the race went for both of you, and that you had such a great time! It sounds like you were the PERFECT pacer for Kim, too. I am so proud of both of you!!! HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! WE MUST CELEBRATE!!!!!

  13. You are THE BEST!! You did an AMAZING job pacing and it was awesome seeing your bright smile so many times out there. There's something so special about pacing a friend. WAY TO GO!

  14. That's so awesome! Congrats again. And so you did 3 in 7 weeks? Are you a Marathon Maniac yet? Sounds like you qualify. Anyway way to go, great pacing this year. Awesome job. :)

  15. Sounds like you were a fantastic pacer!!!!!!! Also I love your scarf. And the owl hat, duh :)