FINALLY! After Fox Valley (and the heat, and the missing sub 2 hour by just a couple minutes), I noticed the Naperville Half Marathon was a short 5 weeks away and just might work for Plan B. I took a rest week after Fox Valley, taking a few walks and short runs before doing a 6 mile “long” run at the end of the week. The next week I re-started the last 4 weeks of my Project 1:59 training plan.
The weather starting getting a little cooler and the runs starting getting a little bit easier without the heat. I even got to do a 3 hour training “walk” as one of my long runs by pacing Ann Trason at Hennepin 100. She was speed-walking the full 100 (had a blast, may just be back to race it myself).
Race day (October 21st) was about 30 degrees at the start – about 50 degrees cooler than my 1st attempt at Fox Valley. 50 degrees apparently makes all the difference. Instead of carrying a handheld water bottle, I pre-hydrated with Nuun, got water at aid stations and carried a Nuun tab to use after the race. I felt much better having my hands free. The Naperville Half is a well marked course with aid stations spaced very well. I never felt like I was crazy thirsty, but then again it was cold.
I started out easy at 9:30 and then stayed in the 8:50-9s for majority of the next 9 miles. Even when I kicked it up to 8:49 for miles 11-12 and 8:36 for mile 13 the pace felt good. Unlike last time, I never felt like a walk break was necessary. I probably could have run faster but I was reminding myself not to get too greedy and focus on the goal for Sub 2. I didn’t want to go fast early and then get burned out.
I caught up to and ran behind the 2 Hour pace group for about the last 2 miles until I kicked it up after hitting 13. It felt pretty good to pass that group! I worked hard for this goal all summer so coming through the finish line under 2 hours, at 1:58:12, was pretty much the best feeling.