2012 Prairie Fire Marathon: #5

Race:  2012 Prairie Fire Marathon
Location:  Wichita, KS
Date:  October 14, 2012
Time:  3:23:28
Pace:  7:46/mile
Overall Finish:  53rd out of 721 finishers
Age Group Finish:  7th out of 63 finishers

While it’s still fresh in my mind, I wanted to share a few thoughts about yesterday’s race.  The irony the day:  I am sorely disappointed that I missed my goal of running a sub-3:15 marathon, but at the same time so ecstatic to finish my fifth marathon.

I am disappointed because I put so much effort into this training session and thought I was better prepared than any other marathon.  I also thought running the same course as last year would have been a benefit as well.

I am thrilled to finish because there were so many times along the race that I simply wanted to quit.  Strategically, I probably ran about the worst race I could imagine.  I stayed with the 3:15 pace group for the first five miles, but broke apart from them before mile 6 fearing the pace was too slow.  I was pretty much on my own after that break — not a brilliant idea on a windy day.  I kept my pace fairly consistent but the 3:15 pace group caught me around mile 15.  I struggled but managed to stay with the group until after mile 18 and then things started to fall apart for me.  My legs felt like they weighed 500 pounds each and the miles seemed to go on forever.  It didn’t help that this was about the same area that I faltered last year during this race — I stayed with the group a little bit longer this year.

One bright spot of the race was my support.  I appreciate my friends and family that were able to make it to the race.  Seeing familiar faces in the crowd always helps, no matter how bad you are feeling.  On the course, the two friends from my office helped tremendously.  In fact, in the last four miles when I was looking for any excuse to stop and call it quits, seeing my friend, Len, in front of me encouraged me to keep going.  Although it wasn’t quite as dramatic as the training partner finish in the 2012 10,000 Olympics meter race, our back-to-back finishes are a testament to the power of training and racing with others.

My mile splits for the race were:  8:04; 7:51; 7:33; 7:20; 7:20; 7:17; 7:11; 7:12; 7:19; 7:18; 7:19; 7:16; 7:16; 7:24; 7:20; 7:28; 7:21; 7:28; 7:45; 7:52; 8:26; 8:45; 8:58; 8:37; 9:04; and 8:49.

Today I’m trying to recover physically and mentally.  I keep searching for some perspective.  Although the race was about four minutes off my personal record, I am consoled by thinking the wind was much more challenging than last year’s race and I was able to better my 2011 time by nearly five minutes.

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