It’s no secret that I like to combine mini-vacations with races. I got the idea to come to Chicago in the fall to visit my girlfriends and run the Fox Valley Half Marathon.
The race is a pricey one, I’m not gonna lie. But what a great weekend it was!
This race follows the Fox Valley River Trail, from St. Charles to Batavia and back. The area is just adorable and so much GREEN! It’s so great for this desert dweller to see. I used to live not too far away in Aurora/Oswego, so I kind of felt a bit at home doing this race.
On Saturday I headed out for packet pickup (and lunch with friends). The expo was tiny but it was easy to get in and out quickly. I studied the maps and made sure I knew how to get to the right parking areas in the morning, with all the road closures.
It was 52 degrees when I rolled up to the start area. A little chilly for me LOL. Conveniently located next to the start line (literally) was a coffee shop. Hot Coffee AND a real bathroom. Score!
In addition to the half marathon, there was also a 20 mile run (last big training race for those running the Chicago Marathon) as well as a full marathon. We all started at the same time with very short wave starts in between. The course was hillier than I anticipated. The first half of the race really didn’t follow along the river. I could see it through the trees from afar, but we were weaving in and out of city streets, coming down towards the river, then climbing back up. It was a beautiful morning, for sure.
There were pace groups, and it got pretty congested on the river trail at one point. I was torn between treating this race as a training run for the Tucson Marathon coming up in December, or trying to run “fast” and get a good finish time. I started out fast – like 8:20 pace for the first 3-4 miles. By the half way point my time was more like 8:40. I was trying to take in the scenery, but was starting to run out of gas a little bit.
I just did the best I could without stopping to walk. I ended up with 2:01:23. I would have preferred under 2 hrs, but it is what it is. I was in the top 1/5 of my age group. The medal was pretty cool with a fox on it. Great post-race food like macaroni & cheese!
I would totally recommend this race – and will most likely do it again! Fun to get to go out and celebrate with friends afterwards.
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!