I really have no idea where to start. It’s been two days since I crossed the finish line and I’m still on cloud nine. I’m still processing my thoughts and feelings. I’ve had several really good races, but I must say this half marathon was the best yet. Everything went right. Every goal was met. So let’s get started with the report.
Thursday night we had pizza for dinner. I woke up at 2am with a stomach ache. Not a good start to a weekend full of races. I decided to go dairy-free until after the race. But then I woke up at 2am Friday night with a stomach ache. Ugh. I dramamined and immodiumed myself. We had signed up for the Run for the Roses 1 mile. It’s our town’s local Fall Festival / Homecoming race and it’s a blast. They do a 5K too, which was my first real race a year ago. It’s a fast out and back on the road we live on…literally 5 minutes from our house.
Noel bet John 10 bucks that he couldn’t run under an 8 minute mile. So he ran a 7:27!! WOAH! Mark ran an 11:31. I’m so proud of that little kid. He wants to love running and tries his hardest! Noel ran a 7:18, his fastest mile yet. I ran an 8:10, which was good considering I didn’t feel great. Noel and I got first in our age groups! My first podium. John got third, and my Mom, who ran with Mark, got first as well. Lots of hardware headed back to the Compound!
We spent the rest of the day resting with the exception of hitting up the Expo to get our Prairie Fire packets. I LOVE race expos. We ran into several friends, including Ironman Dale Bing who gave me a great piece of advice. “Leave nothing in the tank.” Challenge accepted. I snatched up one of the new GoRun 1/4 zips. After the expo, we dropped the boys off with my inlaws who were keeping them overnight. We headed home, watched Neighbors, ate chicken parm for dinner, hydrated, and went to bed.
I woke up at 2am…not with a stomach ache this time…but with butterflies. Oh my gosh…I was so excited. I managed to convince myself to doze off until the alarm went off at 4:45 and then I was up and ready to go! BEAST MODE ON! I forced down my PB toast and coffee and did the other pre-race TMI ritual. I double checked all of our gear and then we headed down to the start.
We got there around 6:45 and there were already LOTS of people there. We hit the porta potties as soon as we arrived and then checked in with the pace groups, hugged a few friends, danced around trying to stay warm in the mid-40 temps, did some dynamic warm-ups, and then got back in line for the porta potties with about 15 minutes until gun time. My stomach was fine, but my bladder has not been cooperating on long runs and I knew I wanted to have it as empty as possible before we took off.
We lined up right with the 2:15 pace group, knowing full well that we planned on leaving them in our dust. We managed to see Karlee from Running Connection and she snapped this picture…the only picture we have from the whole day. We were so in the moment and soaking it up that we didn’t even take one selfie. This picture says it all! Such a happy, fun day!!
And then we were off! We immediately got to work. Noel and I had several very clear goals going into the race. We talked about it for a solid week beforehand. I think this is the most planned out race we have ever had. Often times we won’t know our strategy until the morning of the race, waiting to see how we feel. But this time…we knew what we wanted to do.
- Under 2:15.
- Negative split.
- First mile is the slowest.
- 9:1 run walk. Run needed to be 9:50ish and walk needed to be 15:00 or less.
- Walk through water stations and adjust as needed.
And we did just that. We cruised through the first 3 miles, powered up the hill, and just enjoyed all the sights and sounds. Watching all the runners ahead of us up the hill was so inspiring. Every race through downtown makes me fall in love with Wichita all over again. I only brought one bag of Stinger cherry cola energy chews with me. I ate four at mile 4 as we wound our way through College Hill. After we popped back out on Douglas around the half way point I saw the lead cyclist coming through. My heart literally skipped a beat. And then came the marathoners. The lead guy was just flying. It didn’t look like his feet were even hitting the ground…so effortless. It seemed like a long time before the second guy came through. And then pretty soon we saw the lead girl come through. I hollered at Noel over my headphones that it was Raquel from First Gear!! Prairie Fire had brought in an elite pro to run the race, and I think most people were expecting her to break the course record. She ended up dropping out and Raquel not only won, but broke the state record! I love a local hero story like that!
I kept waiting for the wall to hit, but it never came. At mile 7, Noel and I just kind of looked at each other and picked it up. There was very little talk between the two of us. We just kept nudging each other forward. I ate four more chews at mile 8. Once we hit the mile 10 marker, my legs started feeling stiff and tired. I ate my last two chews somewhere between 10 and 11. My mind went to the quote, “Run the first half with your legs and the second half with your heart.” My legs were just about spent, but my heart had plenty of umph left. I said outloud, “Warm-up over, just a 5K left.” Noel just nodded his head and pulled a tiny bit ahead of me, sensing I needed a chase.
We passed the mile 12 marker and the tears came. I was almost there. We were barely over 2 hours and I knew the 2:15 pace group was about 2 minutes behind us. There was a water station, but I just ran through it. I knew that if I stopped running to walk, my legs would give out. The turn onto the bridge to finish seemed so far away and yet before I knew it, we were cruising around it. I saw the finish and I lengthened my stride and pictured my John sprinting to the finish of all his races. I’m pretty sure I ugly cried, but I didn’t care. I didn’t even see the clock. I was so focused on that finish chute.
I stopped my watch as soon as we crossed, and this is what I saw.
PR! BOOM! We ran the spring half in 2:24:01, so it’s not quite an 11 minute PR. We shaved almost a whole minute off our pace in just five months! Hard work for the win!
We grabbed our medals, two handful of oranges, and our finisher shirts. The adrenaline wore off, and I realized both of my calves were cramped up like rocks. We wandered over to one side and stretched them out. My sweet husband got down and rubbed them as best he could. We walked over to the Back2Back VIP tent and got some pizza, more oranges, and some water and gatorade. I stretched some more and finally got my calves to loosen up.
We wandered about for a bit longer. We watched the lead marathoners come through. We ran into some friends. We waited for a bit for the results, but they were slow. We hobbled to the car and headed to the inlaws to pick up the boys.
The rest of the day went like this. Clean up. Stretch. Stick. Chipotle. Home. Ice Bath. HOT Shower. More stretch. Foam Roll. John’s Flying Angels practice. Homemade chicken and waffles. More stretch. More Stick. More Foam Roll. BED!
The only minor issue I had was my IT band was tight in my left leg for about 24 hours after the race. My left knee hurt on the outside. I RICE’d it for 24 hours, and it seems to be a non-issue now. That seems to have gone away, and now I’m just dealing with overall quad soreness. Oh…and my abs are sore. That’s a new one.
And now I’m already looking to the future. We’ve got some shorter races coming up. On November 1st, I’m going to run a 5K and hoping for a big PR. Then we’re doing the Hangover Half series of two 5Ks and a half marathon in the 24 hours from New Years Eve to New Years Day.
But I’m also thinking about Prairie Fire 2015. As soon as registration opens up, I’m signing up for the Back 2 Back Half-Full. I WILL run a marathon in 2015. And I’ve got plans for another big PR in the half marathon. Sub-2 hour is gonna happen some day! Hopefully if things keep going the way they are…someday SOON!