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Naperville Marathon - Run

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Naperville, Illinois
United States
34F / 1C
Total Time = 4h 33m 34s
Overall Rank = 668/1078
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 75/112
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4:00. Could not sleep anyway so decided to take my time and have breakfast. Granola and soy milk (my usual). Stuck my head outside to check the weather. It was cold but I decided to run in shorts as planned. Long sleeve tech top under my North Face 1/2 zip running shirt.
Left the house at 5:00 for the 50 minute drive. Made it in plenty of time to get a good (free) parking spot at the central parking deck. Wore my running pants and an old sweatshirt to stay warm. Followed the herd and was soon by the bag drop. Decided to use the porta-potty while no one was there. The football stadium concourse was open so I went in. Nice and warm. Got my timing chip tied to my laces, ate a clif bar and got situated. Took off my pants, grabbed what I need out of my bag and drop it off. Used the potty again, just to make sure.
Lined up about 6:45. It was crowded as the start area was narrow. I wanted to be between the 4:30 and 4:45 pacers but could only get as far as 5:30. Figured what the heck, be flexible, this is going to be a long day. Volunteers had a rope across the start line and were letting people go in groups of maybe 150. Started my Garmin as I crossed the mat. Then it got real.
Event warmup:

Standing around in the football stadium concourse. Warm and out of the wind. Light stretching and running in place.
  • 4h 33m 34s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 26s  min/mile

It was crowded at the start with a few short segments with turns. It was pretty bunched up and I wanted to get up to my 10:00 pace. There were too many people running as a group 4-5 wide and chatting. By about mile 1 it had cleared considerably. This is where I took my first walk break. My plan was for a 10:1 run/walk ratio as I had done in training. This helped at the start because I always go out too fast.
After that, it was just clicking off the miles. It was a beautiful day but whenever we went into the wind, it was cold. We had a long stretch on 75th street to Book Road, and then turned south. Once we hit 5 miles, we went into the forest preserve on onto limestone. I was right at 10:00 min/mile pace and caught the 4:30 pacer at mile 8. I did not really try to stick with him, especially since I was doing my walk breaks, but I found myself within sight of that group.
Came out of the forest preserve and the 1/2 people split off around mile 9. This thinned the crowd significantly. We were now back on the road through neighborhoods. I kept my pace up and knew I would see my wife right around mile 14. There she was, holding a sign. I still felt good, waved to her but kept running. She had a little bag of potential necessities that I did not need at that point. She said I was looking good.
It was at this point that we headed into mostly forest preserve trails, with some running on the access roads. I tried to keep my pace up but felt myself slowing. At one point, I was fishing one of my remaining 2 gels out of my pocket and dropped them both. Stopped to pick them up and that's when I felt the tightness in my legs and back but I pushed on in spite of this.
Although it was mostly runners through this section, some people made their way in to cheer us on. That helped as mile 20 approached.
The route had a hill that we previously ran down, so I knew we had to go up eventually. That happened right before mile 20 and I started.....walking. An unplanned walk break that I swore I would not take. I just could not make it up the hill. Once at the top, I decided to HTFU and finish this race. A 4:30 finish was out of the cards now, but I felt I could break 4:40.
Coming out of the woods, I knew I would see my wife again at the turn back into neighborhoods. There she was. I decided to walk some with her. I may have been mumbling about why the hell I signed up for this. She cajoled me into running up to the next aid station on the next block. Once through that station, I told her I would see her at the finish.
The last part of the race was just a blur. Keep going. Just keep going. I switched to a 5:1 run/walk and that helped. This section was mostly downhill/flat, which helped. The course switched back to a paved path along the river that would take us right back to the finish. I started to try and enjoy the journey as I knew I would finish. Although I walked some, especially the last little hill off the trail onto Washington Street at mile 25, I knew I was going to finish sub 4:40.
But not before one last, cruel, course feature. Winding around the football stadium to the finish, there was a sharp uphill that I walked. At least the finish was downhill with a turn at the bottom into the chute. My wife had made it there and had a prime spot to see me finish. I gave thumbs up as I was elated to be finishing my first marathon. Crossed the line, stopped my Garmin at 4:33:42 (and 26.52 miles; overachiever). The volunteers wrapped me in Mylar, cut my chip off and gave me my medal.
What would you do differently?:

My training plan had only one 20 mile run. Maybe I should have done a 22 miler too as I definitely hit the proverbial wall. I think 10:1 run/walk ratio is good for me if I ever decide to run another. I felt I was well trained and I'll take my time for a first marathon.
Post race
Warm down:

They directed you right into the food tent where I grabbed muscle milk, water and a beef sandwich. There was a nice lady there who opened the milk for me as I could not seem to manage with my sweaty hands. Exited the tent and found my wife. Thanked her for putting up with the training and being supportive during the race. She snapped a quick picture of me and then I sat down to eat, drink and stretch.
Overall I felt fine, a little sore but no blisters or chafing. Once she was sure I was OK, she left for home while I picked up my bag and headed to the car. I cleaned myself up a bit and headed home. Had a nice whirlpool bath and shower and got to see the end of the crappy Bears game. Reward dinner of greasy pizza and bourbon. In bed and out cold by 7:15.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I am not a natural runner. This is probably the best I can do for this distance. Not sure if I will do another.

Event comments:

The volunteers were the best. The race could have used some more aid stations, esepcially early. The first was at mile 2.5, then 5, then 8. That probably had to do with the forest preserve presenting a logistical challenge.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2013-01-29 12:00 AM
04:33:34 | 26.2 miles | 10m 26s  min/mile
Age Group: 75/112
Overall: 668/1078
Performance: Good
Course: Advertised as flat. Sneaky hills throughout. Mostly roads with about 7 miles on crushed limestone through forest preserves. My Garmin had the elevation gain/loss as 1078/1109.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2013-11-12 10:21 AM

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Algonquin, IL
Subject: Naperville Marathon
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