Monday, October 23, 2017

Naperville Half Marathon 2017 {Race Recap}

Three words to describe this race:

Holy F*cking Shit or BOOM goes {the} dynamite

Time: 1:35:30 {7 minute PR!}

AG: 1st of 254

Women: 14th of 1275

Overall: 93rd of 2426

TL;DR version: this race went perfectly, exactly as I wanted/envisioned/trained for.

Pre Race:

This goes back further than just the day of the race- which should and likely will become its own post due to all of the variables involved.


•Lost nearly 10lbs since July and 4% body fat

•Overcame binge eating, to eat proper portion size. (I don’t eat bad food, but I eat way too much)

•2 weeks prior to the race I cut out alcohol

•2 weeks pre race I dialed in my food intake to get to race weight safely

•Training was solid and of high quality

•Got my head out of my ass and comfort zone

Race morning -

Woke up around 4:18 to get ready. Ate some oatmeal + banana, took both pups out, and gathered all my stuff so we could drive out to Naperville.

Race morning was around 62 degrees and 59 for dew point. According to a chart I found online (and reference frequently) concerning dew point effect on running- I knew that this combo could result in a 1-2% decline in performance since it wasn’t ideal race conditions. That would translate into around 4-7 second per mile slower for me.

I had a super duper stretch A goal which only a handful of people knew about, and that was to run a 1:35. A 1:35 would be an audacious goal 7 minutes faster than my PR. {Side note- my PR from March of 1:42:34 and all of my 13.1’s thus far have either been half assed or by products of marathon training} I started training for a half marathon back in June after getting puppy brother, Zé. I wasn’t running much due to poor sleep, and felt miserable. So I put in the Hanson half plan into sport tracks to give some structure back to my life. I decided on 1:35 as a stretch and trained for it. As the months went on, I knew I was having some serious gains in fitness and decided to register for a race to see where I was at- that’s how I decided on Naperville- it fit into my plan perfectly, and I assumed it should have decent weather.

My plan going into race morning was to push my comfort zone and try to come as close to 1:35 as possible. I typically negative split longer races with ease and feel I could do more- so trying to sustain a harder pace early on and leave it all out on the course was a very different approach for me. In the back of my mind, I was prepared to fight hard and potentially positive split the shit out of this race. I wouldn’t know if I didn’t try.

The gun went off and I took off through the streets of Naperville. I looked down at my watch and saw I was around 7:20 and felt great. I decided to stay at a similar effort level for most of the race and then kick it in at the end if I had some gas left in the tank.

I kept knocking off 7:10-7:20’s despite the less than ideal conditions and felt great. The course has rolling hills and couple of more significant steep short hills to keep it interesting. There was also a headwind which followed us despite making 90 degree turns, go figure. I tried to draft off of the guys in front of me, but they were tall and skinny and didn’t block much of the wind for me.

Around mile 8 I started to feel like I had to work more to keep the pace I started with. I started playing my power songs on repeat and focused on getting to the next mile marker. I knew I was on pace for a massive PR and with bad math- that I would be close to 1:35. I couldn’t blow it all now.

I zoomed down the final hills into the finish area with the biggest smile on my face ever. I was shocked that I was about to clock a 7 minute PR- 32 seconds a mile faster than my last half. All of the training, all of the tweaks to my nutrition paid off big time. As I crossed the finish line, I let out a “F*ck YEAH” and started to cry. I high 5’d the other women who finished around me and we all congratulated each other- we had been leap frogging each other the entire race.

Damn. Nailing my goal in less than ideal conditions feels so satisfying. I found out post race I had placed 1st in my age group- the icing on the cake to an incredible day. I got a sweet glass trophy for the win.

House keeping:

•oatmeal and banana pre race

•SiS berry drink- carried until mile 11

•Berry SiS gel at the start

•Citrus SiS gel around mile 5, half of which spilled all over me.

•Berry SiS gel at mile 9

•First beer in 2 weeks at 18th Street Brewery post race.

•Got a dinner plate sized medal for finishing Fox Valley and Naperville. The “Valley and Ville” medal

The race was organized and well run. I’d definitely consider running it again. The volunteers were awesome.

I’m so happy with how this training cycle + race went. I’m even happier that I was able to push my comfort zone a lot. This is honestly the first race I feel 100% good about- there is literally nothing I would change about the training or the race.

What’s next?

Probably a 5k turkey trot to smash my 5k PR.

Boston 2018 and some other big goals