I hesitate calling the Fall 20 a “race” since I ran it primarily as a training run. The Fox Valley Marathon offers a Half, 20 Mile, and Full Marathon; making it a great opportunity to get a supported 20 miles that I wouldn’t have to do solo.
The race starts in downtown St Charles right along the Fox River. All three races start at the same time, giving runners plenty of pacer options for any race. I decided I would start my race with the 3:30 pace group to prevent myself from getting sucked into a race environment in a training run.
We started off heading down the road along the river before turning into the town of St Charles around Mile 2. As we moved from St Charles to Geneva, we ran through neighborhood streets where we got a significant amount of hill work in.
Around Mile 5, we got into a smaller park and onto a bike path. I pulled away from the 3:30 group here as I started feeling good, and I always tend to pick up the pace in bike paths going through wooded areas.
I carried on for a couple miles before we crossed the river (for the first time) just before we got to Batavia. I hopped into a porta pod for a quick pit stop, and rejoined the 3:30 pace group for the next few miles. We rolled on a couple more hills, crossed the river (the Half split off here), and jumped onto the Fox River trail and headed south.
Again on a wooded bike path, I picked up the pace a bit and left the pace group behind again just after Mile 8. I should also note that here is where I noticed that my shoes were squishing with every step. It was hot and humid folks!
I pushed a little bit up until 11.5 when we entered North Aurora and the 20 milers split off from the marathon. Now it was back up the river to the finish.
As the temps continued to warm, I noticed at an Aid Station that the race was already under a Red Flag, furthering my comment that it was hot and humid. But with only a couple other runners in sight, I opted to run patiently from AS to AS. No need to push on a training run.
We rejoined the Half with about 4 miles to go. Mentally, it was nice to move from runner to runner instead of running solo through the heat.
As we emerged from the trail, we had about a mile and a half to go. I did start noticing that the Half still had a mile longer than the 20 and Full, which I thought was odd. Turns out, the Half had a quick out and back across a bridge to pick up the extra distance.
The highlight of the race was that there was a mimosa stop at 19.5! They told me I was the first 20 miler to stop to grab a drink. How could the other runners pass that up?
Any way. I rolled back into the finish still feeling strong, despite the heat and having run a tempo workout the day before.
I finished at a 7:51 pace including stops, which I was happy with. Right around where I wanted, and still feeling good despite the heat. All in all it was a good day. Plus, I got my post race beer, and what’s more important than that?