Last Sunday I was lucky to run the Naperville Half Marathon. Running any race is a blessing as far as I’m concerned. Each race is its own magical experience that teaches me or reaffirms something amazing about myself. I learned that I don’t have to PR to have a successful race and that having amazing running friends is something I hope to never take for granted.
Packet pickup for this race was a breeze, same as last year. I went the Friday evening before the race. I was able to pick up my packet as well as my friends’, which is always a great perk.
Race morning my friends Kim and Molly met me at my house and we drove to Naperville together. We easily found parking about a half mile from the start. On our way to the high school field house, where we stayed inside and kept warm until the last minute, we found a secret, clean, indoor bathroom with a sink and hand dryer, which of course we used. Way better than waiting in the long lines at the high school or the port-a-potties.
After taking our before picture we headed to the starting corrals. We were let in to the corrals with the faster crowd so we had to shimmy our way back a bit. Many people were trying to do this as well so there was a bit of a traffic jam. I really think they need to rethink this and reorganize entry to the starting corrals for future races.
For the first 2-3 miles I felt like the roads were a bit crowded, but it did clear up eventually. I didn’t know what I had in me for this race, but at mile two I declared to Molly and Kim that I might not be able to keep their pace for much longer. I wasn’t feeling like my legs were very fresh. My legs wanted to remind me that I did indeed kick the Chicago Marathon’s ass just 4 short weeks ago. Or rather the marathon made my ass sore.
At mile 6-ish I decided to put my ear phones in and go inside my head. I was still keeping up with my peeps at this point. Eventually I drew back. I was able to see Kim and Molly up ahead of me the entire time, but I just couldn’t make my legs move any faster to catch up with them.
With about 4 miles I started telling myself with every step I was releasing something I no longer needed to hold on to (as my yoga teachers’ always preach). For example: Take that c-section 1! Take that c-section 2! You didn’t take me down postpartum depression!” I felt invigorated and proud that I found running and have over come so much.
I pushed myself to the end and felt like I left it all out on the course. I really had nothing left to give. Molly, Kim and I all finished within 30-ish seconds of each other. I finished in 1:54:22.
I enjoyed being inspired by my fast friends and I gave it my all the entire race. I learned that a PR isn’t necessary to run a good race and that friends can make it all that much better.