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Naperville Marathon - Run

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Naperville, Illinois
United States
Naperville Marathon
37F / 3C
Total Time = 2h 58m 50s
Overall Rank = 18/1341
Age Group = M25-29
Age Group Rank = 7/54
Pre-race routine:

This race was a little over an hour from my home. Lucky for me, my sister in-law lives about 20 minutes from the starting line. So my wife (who was running the half), father in-law (also running the half) and I stayed with her the night before. Her husband (my brother in-law kind of) was running the full the same day. Lunch was a mountain of rice with an egg and cheese sandwich and a salad. I snacked the rest of the afternoon. We drove down, picked up packets and went to my SIL's (sister in-law) house. The rest of the afternoon was just hanging out, playing with the toddler. Talking about what to wear because the weather was going to start cold (around 33) and possibly reach 42 by the time some of us were finishing with increasing winds. We ate piles and piles of pasta for dinner. I think I served myself 5 plates of pasta with butter. No sauce or cheese. Wife and I went to see my parents at their hotel and talked about what they had been doing all day. Then went to Wal-Mart late (about 9) to get throw away sweatshirts for my wife and FIL. Got home, at a snack, and went to bed. I didn't sleep well, who know why, but I didn't.
Event warmup:

After my oatmeal and coffee breakfast, we left, found parking, and walked quick over to the start line. It wasn't a long walk, there just wasn't a lot near the race. About 10 min. It was cold, but I still felt that I'd picked the right clothes. A long sleeved tech shirt with cotton long sleeved shirt on top. Fleece hat, gloves, shorts. Didn't do any running warm-up. Figured there wouldn't be enough time. Went to the bathroom, checked my bag at gear check and found the line-up spot. Ate half of my banana while waiting for the start.

Before I move on, I ran my first marathon in May of 2013 with the goal of qualifying for Boston then. I ran a 3:21 and crashed hard at mile 19. I swore never to run a marathon again and like everyone else who has promised themselves that, I signed up for the same one a few weeks later. This May of 2014, I went back with the goal of breaking 3:00 and if not, qualifying for Boston. I ran a good race, but crashed at mile 24. I had nothing left. I crossed the finish line in a heartbreaking 3:05;23. I went to the starting line of this race with the same goals: 1) Break 3:00 2) BQ sub 3:05. I knew that if I didn't get it done this time, it would be awhile before my next try. I'm taking a break from marathon for a while for several reasons, so it had to be today.
  • 2h 58m 50s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 06m 50s  min/mile

There's a lot to say. My training was right. This race came together for me. The stars aligned, I drank just right, I ate just right, I paced just right. This was my day.

At the end of it all, this is all that matters: I DID IT!

I wasn't 100% convinced my training was substantial enough for this race. I only had time for a 12 week program. I followed Pfitz's 12/85 plan.

Miles 1-4
1. 643
2. 6:40
3. 6:43
4. 6:44
I felt like I had a hard time finding my pace at the beginning, but the mile times show I did pretty good. I started out talking to a guy I did the course preview run with. He said he had revised his goal but I was sticking with the sub-3 hour goal. I left hi and the 3:05 pace group behind. The pace I wanted was about 6:45 and that's about what I did. I kept looking at my watch and it was always either 6:30 or 6:55 pace. I guess I did ok though. Every water stop was a sip of water on the run and keep moving. I was pretty sure there would be at least one other person looking to run my pace, but I didn't find anyone. I passed several people who had misjudged the pace and just enjoyed it.

Miles 5-8
5. 6:43
6. 6:38
7. 6:43
8. 6:45
This went very smooth. Lots of nice neighborhoods and community support. I did notice towards the end of this section that I was moving pretty quick and I was worried that I was going too fast. However, my rhythm was natural and I felt good. I figured I would see how long I could hold on and kept going. Again, every water station was a sip or two of water on the move. That was probably the best decision I made all day.

Miles 9-12
9. 6:44
10. 6:46
11. 6:42
12. 6:46
Thad had a long, straight, lonely stretch of about 2 miles with no community support and no water because it was through a forest preserve area. I lost 3 places here to a few guys who must have showed up late and got stuck at the back. My goal was time today, and not beating others. I ate a date in this stretch as well and washed it down with water.

Miles 13-16
13. 6:43
14. 6:45
15. 6:36
16. 6:41
This race also did a classic Marathon/Half-marathon cruel trick: they bring you back to the start around mile 12 or 13 for the half-marathon and the marathoners go the other way. It's like seeing a burger when you're starving but saying you have to wait until you're more hungry to have it. There was some guy (spectator) who kept saying in a normal voice "Looking good. Nice and relaxed, keep up the rhythm." Weird, but encouraging. I had another date in here at about mile 14 where I had a scare. I had my date, then grabbed a cup of water and didn't get the sipping right this time. I got too much air, swallowed some air and water, got water in my lungs, and coughed hard. I have a fragile stomach during the marathon, and felt like I was going to puke everything up. I managed to recover and got my pace back. I was scared. I started feeling tired around mile 15, which is early. I was a little worried, but the pace never felt harder, so I stuck with it. Fastest mile of the race was Mile 15.

Miles 17-20
17. 6:50
18. 6:48
19. 6:52
20. 6:50
Here's where the pace started to slip a bit as you can see. I wasn't worried because I planed for that. I think it was mostly due to the hills as there were many more than I had trained on. I didn't push it up the hills but took it easy. I skipped the water station at mile 18 for stomach reasons and switched to Gatorade at about mile 20 or so. That was also a great decision. I immediately felt a boost. I drank Gatorade for the rest of the run. I was tired. My legs were tired and the cold had gotten to my nose. My nostrils felt like they were closing because I couldn't get enough air through them and a hard sniff would close them. I was getting a bit worried, but the pace kept coming fairly easy, so I kept pushing. Passed 2 people between miles 19-20. Passed the first person crashing at mile 19.

Miles 21-24
21. 6:53
22. 6:49
23. 6:59
24. 6:51
This is where I fell apart in past marathons. I realize now that my failure was mental and not physical in the past. I gave up on my primary goal and settled for something else. I didn't let myself do that today. I looked at my watch, saw I was still running a pace for sub-3, and decided I was going to do it. Right when I did that, I knew I couldn't go back and think about giving up. No more focusing on how tired I was and how much I just wanted to stop. Right after I did that, a lady was shouting out of her window "Keep going! You're in the home stretch!" There were still 5 miles left. Then I thought, there's ONLY, 5 miles left. That's nothing compared to what I've been doing. I could do this. That comment convinced me that I could do it. For some reason, it worked. Once I saw the time for mile 22, I knew I was going to make it, but also knew I couldn't give up yet. Passed more people crashing hard in this section. I thought, that used to be me. Also caught about 4-5 others who were getting really tired. I still felt strong, but tired. Gatorade again. Awesome choice.

Miles 25-26.2
25. 6:51
26. 6:49
I knew without a doubt here that I would qualify for Boston today. I remember just before mile 25 that I knew it was going to happen. I felt good and it gave me motivation to continue. At this point, I couldn't see anyone in front of me and I heard spectators shouting for someone behind me, but I couldn't see or hear him. The pace kept coming pretty easy. I had to push myself a bit and really focus on keeping my legs moving at the same rhythm, but it was never a life or death struggle. I never visited those "dark places" that I had in the previous 2 marathons. I could see lots of cones in front and a left turn. People said "Last turn! Go go go!" The guy behind me was next to me know and we passed mile 26 marker and turned left. We saw a hill. i was pretty sure I had sub-3 but didn't want to celebrate yet. I made it up the hill, the other guy pushed it but I didn't. I was worried about my stomach. The finish was still a ways away and my watch said 2:57:40. I couldn't celebrate yet. I kept my pace and focused on making it. When I was close enough to read the clock, I celebrated. My family was yelling "You did it!" The wife yelled "You got it! Keep going!" I admit this, I had genuine fist pumps, I celebrated myself. I yelled "YEESSSSS!!" more than once.

I RAN, not hobbled, not shuffled, not walked, I RAN across the finish line with my head up and a smile on my face. I did it. I ran a sub-3:00 marathon.

They had recovery jackets for us which I couldn't get on in my post run haze. A volunteer had to zip it for me. I couldn't get my hands around the medal so they had to put that on me. I hugged my family, took some pictures, and headed for Gatorade. I clutched a cup in each hand and downed 6 cups. I was shivering pretty bad at this point. I got my bag with dry clothes, and went inside to warm up. That took almost 30 minutes. Waited for my BIL to finish, ate some food, and went home. I was so happy.

What would you do differently?:

Post race
Warm down:

See above.

One more comment on the race that I noticed later. I was very proud of my pacing for this marathon. I ran the first half in 1:28:28. I was worried about how slow that was, but underestimated my consistency for the second half. The second half was 1:30: 22. That's pretty good considering the amount of hills in the second half.

Also, my watch and many other runners' watches measured the course .2-.3 miles long. Without that extra .2 miles, I would have been about a minute faster. In the end it doesn't matter. I still made it.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Limited marathon experience. I'm still a marathon newbie with only 3 starts and 3 finishes. With time, I'll get better.

Event comments:

Honetly, a very high class event. Lots of police and medical presence. A volunteer at EVERY intersection for traffic control and at least one police officer at every semi-major and major intersection. TONS of volunteers. I would highly recommend this event to others.

Last updated: 2014-11-09 12:00 AM
02:58:50 | 26.2 miles | 06m 50s  min/mile
Age Group: 7/54
Overall: 17/1341
Performance: Good
See run comments.
Course: kind of three separate loops branching out from the starting point. The first loop being the biggest. Several small rolling hills in the second half including one at mile 26 leading up to the finish. Cruel...
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
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? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2014-11-10 9:37 AM

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Waukegan, IL
Subject: Naperville Marathon

2014-11-10 9:59 AM
in reply to: #5066477

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Subject: RE: Naperville Marathon
Congrats on a well run race. Those were very consistent miles. Congrats on the BQ!
2014-11-10 10:17 AM
in reply to: KWDreamun

New user
Key West
Subject: RE: Naperville Marathon
Glad you made your goal. Great race!
2014-11-10 7:24 PM
in reply to: #5066477

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Franklin, TN
Subject: RE: Naperville Marathon

You nailed it! Way to go!  Your pacing was really me that says you put in the right amount of volume to hold those numbers.  Good luck in Boston.

2014-11-11 7:46 PM
in reply to: JoelO

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Waukegan, IL
Subject: RE: Naperville Marathon
Thanks guys. I know a lot of people spend a lot longer in pursuit of a BQ than I did, but I felt so victorious and I actually enjoyed this marathon.

I feel like I earned the soreness in my legs this time.
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