async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Race Recap: Naperville Trails Half Marathon

Monday, September 14, 2020

Race Recap: Naperville Trails Half Marathon

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, I receive complimentary entries to all their races in exchange for social sharing. My opinions are my own. The Naperville Trails Half Marathon this year was a virtual event. 

A recap for a virtual event? Please don't click away. Would it be better if I called it a pseudo-race or a simulrace? It was definitely more than a virtual race. There was no actual start or finish line, no spectators, and no post-race party, but the actual running part felt pretty real for me! 

All Community Events did their best to provide an option that would make the Naperville Trails Half Marathon as close to a live event as possible by providing live directions and tracking via the RunGoApp. Initially I was skeptical, but decided to give it a try. I've been wanting to run the Naperville Trails Half Marathon for several years but for different reasons, I wasn't able to participate. 2020 was going to be the year but as you know, very few live events are happening. 


After a rainy week, I woke up Sunday morning to sunshine and coolish temperatures in the 60s. My training runs had gone well and I was confident that with 4:1 run/walk intervals, I could achieve a 2:15 finish time. I had completed a 12 mile long run the week before with 10-ish m/m using this strategy. 

I made a game day decision to wear my road shoes to run on the limestone trails. I fueled with a pineapple banana smoothie on the 30 minute drive to the Danada Forest Preserve, the site of the actual race. The parking lot was mostly empty when I arrived. I fired up the RunGoApp, turned on my Spotify playlist (I was able to use both simultaneously!), and walked to the 'start line'. I also used my Garmin because, Garmin. 

The initial 3 miles took me through the equestrian center and out to a retention pond. The RunGoApp did a great job--at times too great--of warning me of upcoming turns. I was a little confused by a sudden turnaround, not realizing this section of the course was an out-and-back. Once I was back to the horse barns, I stopped to use a conveniently located, clean port-a-potty. I was concerned about how high my heart rate was already--I had already peaked in the 160s--and I was sweating more than I would have expected this early in the race. 

I pressed on and continued under a tunnel and into the preserve. Much of the course was through prairie with little shade. It wasn't hot, but I was definitely feeling the sun. There were a few forested sections and the cool air felt so good. There were a few gentle hills, but for the most part, the course was pancake flat. The RunGoApp kept me on course. But I just could not get into a groove and my pace suffered. I started to feel really bad every time I picked up the pace. 

As I approached the 'finish line', RunGoApp announced 'FINISH', but both my Garmin and RunGoApp showed that I had a half mile to go. I pressed on, looping around the parking lot to complete the half marathon distance. Interestingly, I had different mile splits and finish times on RunGoApp, Garmin, and Strava. How does that even happen?

3 tracking apps, 3 different results
Click on image to enlarge

When I got home and out of the car, my right hamstring cramped up and wouldn't let go. I tried everything--walking, stretching, and massaging it--and while it released enough so I could hobble into the house and put all my stuff down, the cramping persisted. I continued to stretch it out and after a couple of agonizing minutes, the cramp finally let go. I got in the shower, hoping that would help me feel better. I was incredibly nauseous, a feeling that lasted for several hours. I was finally able to eat something and I started to feel better. Believe it or not, I had NO DOMS the next day, but I did feel fatigued and still a little queasy. 

So what happened? It's baffling to me that I felt so awful for this race, in spite of a great week of training building up to this race, a good night's sleep, and adequate fueling. My high heart rate early on indicated some kind of stress internally. Just what that was, I have no idea. Had this been a training run, I have bailed on it, but I was determined to treat this as if it were a real race. Was that the right thing to do?

Runners. We're funny, aren't we?

*****************************************

By the way, I'll have another chance--actually 2--to redeem myself. On October 3, I'll be participating in the Prairie State Half Marathon, which is still scheduled to be a live event. In November, my favorite race, the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon, will be run virtually, using the RunGo app on the actual race course or the course of your choice. These races and the Country Sole Half Marathon are part of the Fall Haul Series. Runners who complete 3 ouf 4 of these races will receive a special finisher's shirt. It's not too late to run the Naperville Trails Half Marathon-- you have until the end of September to claim your finisher's medal. Use my code AMBASSADOR2020 to save 10% on your entry. 



A virtual race that's as real as possible? Maybe a little too real. I kid you not! via @oldrunningmom @allcommunityeve @rungoapp #running #runchat 
Have you run any virtual races this year? Have you tried the RunGoApp? Will you be joining me in the Fall Haul? Any feedback on what happened to me? Would you have stuck with it or would you have have DNF'd?

I'm linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics and with the Runners' Roundup: DebbieDeborahJen, Laura, and Lisa.  

38 comments :

  1. 'After A Rainy Week' What Is This You Speak Of - Good On You For Running/Walking/Enjoying This Adventure - What A Beautiful Location As Well - Which Ever App Says What, Congrats On Grinding It Out For 2 And A Half Hours, Outstanding - The After Race Cramps And Belly Issues Are Such A Drag - Sometimes They Show Up And Other Times We Have Bodies Like A Spring Chicken - Ether Way, So Pleased You Prevailed - Bailing Out Sucks Mentally For Weeks, Cramps Only Last For A Few Brief Moments In Time - I Say IT WAS The Right Thing To Do - Be Brave, Work Had, And Remember That It Is Only Chemistry

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a tough one! Quitting wasn't an option and I'm glad I didn't. I am finally feeling better today and am looking forward to lacing up again tomorrow.

      Delete
  2. Again I'm so sorry this wasn't the race you wanted or had trained for. Running is a mystery sometimes. Cramping that won't let go typically points to a hydration/mineral depletion issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was still feeling a little off today. I almost think I had a bug...

      Delete
  3. I love reading virtual race recaps.

    I bet if it were a real one with the crowds etc, you would have aced it.

    But you never know. I've done well when I least expected it and then again had poor performances for no reason. But this year is a strange one anyway.

    I have never run the virtual one on the real course. Nor have I ever used that app.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad it wasn't 'real' because this was humiliating enough!

      Delete
  4. I love that the race provide live directions for the race course. I think that definitely makes it feel more like a "live" race.

    I'm so sorry that you didn't feel well during the race. I've had this happen to me a few times before and I am never able to pinpoint the reason - but I think that we all just have an off day. I'm glad that you didn't have DOMS the next day though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved using the app! It was very cool to have directions and this is definitely the way to do a virtual.

      Delete
  5. I typically get different numbers on Suunto, Strava and TrainingPeaks and that's with my Suunto watch uploading directly to Strava and TrainingPeaks. I wrote a post about it years ago, comparing calories burned on a 22 mile run - I got between 1,100 and 3,500 calories depending on which app I looked at.

    The only time I had an out of control heart rate was during a race in Hawaii - I blame that on the heat, so not sure what happened to you. Sorry you didn't have a better race, but you finished it and that's a win in my book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had on DNF and I'll never do it again unless I physically can't finish!

      Delete
  6. Well done, Wendy, for pushing through! That was a tough one.

    When I have those symptoms it's because a few things come together: not enough rest days, not enough sleep and alcohol the night before (= dehydration). It doesn't look like any of these fit your description.
    I thought about whether menopause could be the root cause, but I had these symptoms when I had my period regularly.

    I hope you will be able to redeem yourself on 3 October. And a live race, too! How exciting!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's cool that you got directions like that, but I'm sorry about the cramp and nausea. The only time I've had cramp, on a training run, I had eaten too near to running and my digestive system just stopped, so I never absorbed my gels etc.

    And I have done three distance related virtual runs with no set route, one for the hospice, one for the mill museum (you had to start or finish there and there was a suggested route that I thought was a bit narrow) and one to do a marathon in a week. Then we had a club 10k with a route to do and there will be a half-marathon in October with the same, which are replacing the official ones that run those months. Finally, there's a do-what-you-want, just pay entry race for the local LGBTQ running club where you get an audio guide to a 10k around the city, which I will do with a friend, although it's aimed at a faster speed than us (a middle of what most people achieve) so we will have to pause it as it's just a podcast, not linked to the route). All keeps an interest going, doesn't it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right! I like how creative these virtual races have become!

      Delete
  8. In normal times, i'd say I'd stick with it. I can be pretty darn stubborn. Would I stick with it for a virtual race? I just don't know.

    I'm sorry that it wasn't the race your training indicated it would be. It actually sounds like dehydration maybe? The fatigue, the cramping. But sometimes we just never know.

    here's hoping that the next one is better!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your app sounds interesting. Did you have to look at your phone to be able to follow it? I'm sorry this didn't go as well as you expected. It definitely sounds like you were prepared to run a faster race. The next one will be better!

    ReplyDelete
  10. That would be interesting having an app lead you through a race course. Bummer it wasn't the experience you'd hoped for. We've all been blindsided by races that didn't go as planned. Best thing is to just shake it off and move on.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am sorry this was not the race that you had hoped for. Running is so finicky sometimes. I love that you were able to do the race on the real course. Too funny that you used 3 apps simultaneously. Congrats on finishing.I was supposed to do a real half in October kind of glad its not happening. I am in no shape for a virtual half either!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wasn't planning on using all the apps, but my Garmin automatically uploads to Strava, so there you go!

      Delete
  12. The set up for this race is really cool - a great compromise between virtual races and live events. I am sorry that you did not have the race experience you expected! I often attribute crazy heart rate spikes to stress - and goodness knows we have no shortage of that in 2020. You are awesome for sticking through it and finishing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep thinking that the excessive sweating and high heart rate had to be due to stress. There is no other explanation. Boy, that did a number on me, tho!

      Delete
  13. Aw sorry about the nausea etc. That's tough esp when the race is virtual--no pick me up from other runners or the spectators.

    I've run two virtual half marathons, both last spring before my foot broke. Won't lie, that was tough esp the second one because I was being kind to my knee so I ran a short loop in my neighborhood again and again and again. Ugh.

    Wish I could join you for the other races, even if only virtually but alas. This stupid foot is not cooperating just yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry to hear about the foot still bothering you!!! Hoping for some healing because yes, I could use a friend!

      Delete
  14. I'm sorry this race didn't play out as you had hoped. One of the great mysteries of running is why training runs and races don't always match up! Congrats on pushing through and finishing!

    That RunGo App sounds pretty cool - though how odd that the three apps were so different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You nailed it Michelle! I'm thinking that maybe I picked up a virus. What happened and how bad I felt this week just doesn't make sense! I'd love to know what it was so that I can learn from the experience.

      Delete
  15. Saw someone's comment that said "running is a mystery" and it really is sometimes. I felt great a couple of days ago but had the most horrendous run. So I was dreading today's run which was twice the distance and everything just felt great. But so glad you finished the race like the true fighter you are and also happy you have a couple more races coming up!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sorry to hear about the nauseau and leg cramps. Glad you are feeling better and had no DOMS. I've run the Windrunner 10k at Danada a couple of times. Also, I cross country skied there way back when.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was just so odd, since I have been running so well this summer and felt so good!

      Delete
  17. Oh, no! I'm sorry you ended up not feeling well! That stinks, especially if you're not sure what happened.

    I am doing a virtual challenge, with a group of four other runners/cyclists, and I registered for the Team Nuun Virtual Half Marathon in early November. That may have been a mistake, but no guts, no glory, right?

    Congratulations on getting it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (Luna stepped on my keyboard). ... Congratulations on getting it done in spite of the challenges. You never cease to amaze.

      Delete
  18. Ooh, I get that cramping after a race sometimes and it is crippling! How was your hydration? Being inadequately hydrated could explain a lot about what went wrong during your race and the cramping at the end. Sometimes when the weather cools off we tend to drink less because, well, it's cooler.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I felt like I was well hydrated but I was sweating more than I expected. So odd.

      Delete
  19. Isn't it frustrating to have a rough race after such a good week leading up to it. I've had some of those and it's often impossible to know why. Have you had any lingering affects from the cramping? To answer your question, I've run two virtual races this spring/summer, both 5K's.

    I am often baffled as to why my Strava and Garmin differ when Strava data comes from my Garmin.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am sorry you felt that way. It looks like you were well prepared for it. That data would drive me crazy. How can Strava be off if the data comes from Garmin. It should be the same. I stopped using Strava for that reason and really Garmin gives me all of the data that I need.

    I haven't done virtual races. Well, I've run 5ks, 10ks, etc., but it was mostly because they were runs assigned by my coach.

    The other two races sound like fun! Not sure if I want to do a half. So far my longest run has been 7 or 8 miles and that is enough for now. :-)

    ReplyDelete