Prairie Fire Half Marathon
The Blonde talked me into doing the Prairie Fire Half Marathon. It is her hometown race. We ended up signing up for it while we were still at Disneyland.
After doing Disney races, it was a big switch to go to a local race. We were able to walk right into the expo and pick up our packet. Which was quite a change from the hour wait that we had at DL.
We got to the race pretty early as we were unsure of how the traffic was going to be. We probably got there a bit early. We sat in the car for a while and then headed over to the race start a couple of blocks away. At this point we started to do our warm ups. My time in downtown Wichita is limited at best. I never realized what a nice river front there was down there. We ended up running for 20 mins or so at a slow pace with some strides sprinkled in.
A bit later they started calling all of the runners to the start. The Blonde wanted to start near the front. We ended up a little too close to the front in my opinion, but that was ok. We ended up standing right next to the woman who set the state record in the half that day.
My training had not been going as well as I had liked. The plan at that point was to help pace The Blonde for the race. Coach Caleb gave us the instructions again of the half being a gradually increasing casual run with a 5k at the end.
We started off running along the river and then turning through downtown. We were getting passed quite a bit, which is different from our normal race positioning. However, we did start off a bit faster than planned due to our positioning and being surrounded by faster runners. The first three miles were a pretty straight stretch with a slight incline. The pace for the first three miles were 7:37, 7:53, and 7:51.
Mile four peeled off of the main road and into a neighborhood. At this point the course started curving a bit and going uphill. The neighborhood was pretty nice. Miles four and five was through these neighborhoods. The pace for miles four and five and 7:47 and 7:38.
Mile six is where the course took a turn and headed back to the downtown area. At this point, the marathoners broke away from us. The course was still heading a bit uphill. The pace for mile six was 7:47.
Miles seven, eight, and nine were pretty much straight back West. There were some gorgeous houses on this part of the route. Some older houses and some ginormous houses. Mile eight was all downhill. While I had packed some fuel, I left it at the in laws. Fortunately, The Blonde had a bit of Tootsie Rolls. So, we split this at mile eight. I think it was more psychological at this point, but it was a bit of sugar. The pace for miles seven, eight, and nine were 7:44, 7:34, and 7:38.
Mile 10 was a bit rough. The problem was that we turned away from downtown. So, mentally it was tough. It was also tough because I knew how tough it was going to be starting at mile 11. I really did not have much of a drop off at this point per my watch because I took off when my watch hit mile 11 vs. the course. We were able to run pretty close to the marked course due to not having a lot of people. However, we certainly had a bit of extra distance compared to the marked course. The pace was 7:39.
Miles 11, 12, and 13 were the hard part. I had been pacing The Blonde up until this point, but I figured I would push it here. So, I took off at a pretty decent pace. Since I was not familiar with the area, I really had no sense of where I was. I was just going by my watch of the distance. Mile 11 headed back downtown. Around mile 12 there was a DJ blasting “Eye of the Tiger”. I know it is cheesy, but it is hard not getting pumped with that song blasting. Mile 12 curved around the river and mile 13 came back along the river. At this point the route merged with the 5k route.
It was here that I started to pick people off. There were not a whole lot of people in front of me at this point. I picked off a group a four runners. There were also a couple individual runners at this point I also picked off. However, for most of mile 13 I had no one immediately in front of me. Unfortunately, this entire mile was into the wind as well. Again, I wanted to stop and take a break, but I knew that I only had a bit more to go. The pace for miles 11, 12, and 13 were 7:01, 7:06, and 7:02.
The last official .1 miles (.2 miles by the watch) was across the bridge over the river and curved in the finish. Here is where the bulk of people cheering were. At this point I knew I had a chance to break 1:40. I picked it up again and gave it what I had left. My pace for the last .2 miles was 6:26.
The weather was pretty much perfect for us. It was sunny yet cool. I wore my new #teamwickedbonkproof team shirt with arm warmers. My official time was 1:39:34. That was good for 9th in my age group, 79th for gender, and 97th overall. The Blonde came in with an official time of 1:40:31 doing much better than she thought. That was good for 5th in her age group, 21st in her gender, and 108th overall. Both of those times are PRs for us.
As I mentioned earlier, we were next to the female finisher at the start who set a state record. She finished in 1:14:34. The male finisher also set a state record. He had a time of 1:06:50. We hung around for the marathon finisher as they were hoping he would also set a state record. Unfortunately, he did not accomplish that, but it was still a super quick time. He ended up with a 2:23:11 time.