Posted by: Jen | January 19, 2010

Naples Half Marathon: A Race Report

Naples Daily News Half Marathon
January 17, 2010

Official chip (based on gun) time: 2:14:15 – no mats at the start
Garmin time: 2:13:51

The rain was coming down fast and furious an hour before the start, and I and my fellow DIVAs were worried that it would be raining during the race. We need not worry, because it had stopped by the time we got to the start and there was a nice breeze blowing, though we could feel the humidity.

(For those who don’t know, DIVA is an acronym – Dedicated Inspirational Vivacious Athletes. We are a group of women who met online and there are 50-60 of us all over the country. Nine of us met for this race.)

I started out slowly with two of the girls and we finished the first mile at 10:38. One of them took off after a little while – the spirit was calling to her – and Christina and I stuck together after that. The course was unique in that it had two out-and-back legs, so we were able to see and wave to each other along the way. At mile 4, my left foot started to bother me; I knew my shoe was too tight. I stopped at the aid station to loosen my shoe and we continued on. By mile 6, the spirit started calling to me and I got a little bit faster, and faster, and soon I had left Christina behind and passed Melissa, who had been ahead of us. I had two miles at sub-10:00 during that time and was feeling good. My knees felt fine, my foot was better now that my shoe was looser, and I was breathing easy. There was fog along the second out-and-back and the course was pretty – it went through a really nice residential neighborhood lined with beautiful homes. There were aid stations every 1.5-2 miles with water and Gatorade, my favorite!

By mile 10, I started to feel a little tired, but kept going. The sun decided to peek out at this time and I had forgotten my sunglasses in the truck. Ahhhhhh!!! I felt my energy start to flag but somehow maintained my pace. I looked at my Garmin and saw I was on track to meet or beat my PR of 2:13:27, and that motivated me for a while. Just after mile 11, I caught up to Christina’s husband, who was having some problems – he felt chilled, even though it was hot. We ran together for maybe half a mile, and he fell back to a walk. I kept plodding along, wondering if it was ever going to end.

We finally came to the next-to-last turn; I knew it was a straightaway, a left turn, and the finish line 1/10 mile ahead. That last 1/2-3/4 mile seemed to go on for my whole life… the sun was beating down, I was squinting, my foot was really bothering me, and I was feeling stiff. I just wanted chocolate milk and a cool shower. That mile ended up being one of the fastest, despite feeling slow. I rounded the corner and found enough energy to kick it out to the finish, crossing and stopping my Garmin just after the finish mats, so it could have been 2:13:49 or so – only 22 seconds off my PR. I was very proud of my effort, considering how hot and humid it was and that I had not been training in anything remotely resembling those conditions!

After the race, I grabbed water, banana, and orange slices and stretched out really well. We stopped for chocolate milk on the way back to the hotel, showered, then  had a wonderful lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. I was sad to leave Florida, but the memories will last a lifetime. I look forward to the next DIVA event!

Here’s a photo of all of us at dinner the night before the race:

DIVAs at Buca di Beppo

Can’t wait for the next meetup!

Next race: Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon, February 7



  1. And you’ve probably met more of these ladies than anyone. Great job on the race. I have to admit, I was really worried about the weather for you ladies, too!

  2. EE – it’s true! I have met 20 DIVAs. 🙂

  3. Congrats on the finish. Man, it was as humid as a rainforest!!! I finished in my usual timeframe and was very happy for that. hard to train for that weather in Michigan unless you run inside all winter (which I did for this race). Again, congrats and I look forward to reading more of your training/race updates!!

  4. such a great picture- awesome race report

  5. Aw, you ladies look fabulous and great job on a fantastic race especially in Florida humidity!!!

  6. omg i loved reading this! congrats again, you rock 🙂

  7. So awesome. Congrats and I’m glad you had such a fun weekend with the DIVAs.

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