It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

October 17, 2012

Prairie Fire Half Marathon Recap

On Sunday, Jim and I ran the Prairie Fire Marathon/Half Marathon.  Jim ran the marathon and I ran the half.   I had eyeballed this race since the previous year due to the medal with the blazing rabbit logo.  I freaking loved the medal, plus Wichita is only about 3 hours from home.  This was Jim's "A" race for the season, but I had no real goal other than to finish.
As I  mentioned in my previous post, injuries have kept me from running or training much lately.  To make matters worse, I had been sick for over a week going into the race.  The previous Sunday I started getting a sore throat, which turned into severe head and chest congestion.  I finally broke down and went to the Dr. Friday night before we left town and found out I had a sinus infection and bronchitis.  I got an antibiotic, but I knew it would still be a few days before I felt better.

Jim and I headed to Wichita on Saturday and went straight to the expo.  We met up with Jon from 2SlowforBoston and chatted awhile.  Well, Jim chatted, I had almost no voice and had to talk in a whisper or sound like a 14 year old boy going through puberty with my voice cracking every other syllable.  But, it was still nice to get to meet him.  Hopefully he didn't think I was rude for not talking more :)

Jon, Me & Jim

Race morning came and I still felt pretty bad.  I hadn't slept much the night before (or really for the past 4 or 5 days) due to the hacking cough, but I was up early and ready to give it whatever I had.  I could tell Jim was nervous and I tried to say motivating and encouraging things.  It was going to be his day, not mine.  Luckily our hotel was super close to the start, so we stayed in until almost 7:30 before we headed down to the starting line.  The race started at 8am.

Me & Jim pre-race
The weather was pretty nice...temperature wise at least  It was about 55 degrees, cool, but not cold.  Temps would likely be in the upper 60s or low 70s by the time I finished the race so I knew it would get warm fast.  The major issue was going to be the wind.  It was about 20 mph at the race start and was only supposed to increase during the day. 

Me & my friend Christa (Jim in background)

My friend Christa was also in town for the half marathon, so we met up before the race started.  She is MUCH faster than me and I hadn't planned to run with her at all as I knew I needed to start slow and take it easy.  But when the gun went off I found myself running with her and talking.  I was feeling pretty winded already.  When we crossed mile 1, I was doing a 10:46 pace.  I know this is slow for most people, but for me, especially recently, it was fast. I told Christa I was going to have to slow down if I was going to make it through the race.  I was already feeling pretty exhausted.  Christa said goodbye and headed off.  I slowed down into a more comfortable pace....or so I thought.  Somehow mile 2 was actually a little faster than mile 1, but yet I was feeling pretty good.  In spite of my cold and lack of running I did a 10:38 2nd mile.  I somehow start thinking I'm Super Woman.  UM, maybe I'm running faster because there is a 20 mph tail wind and I'm going down a slightly downhill stretch......but no, suddenly I start thinking, wow maybe I'm stronger than I realize and I can run this pretty fast today.  I'm an IDIOT.

From miles 3-8 I still managed to maintain a pretty consistent pace of about 11:20, not bad really.  But then at mile 9, it HIT me.  All of a sudden I was running straight into the wind, and climbing a small, but gradual uphill.  The lack of mileage and the sickness really start to take their toll.  I totally crash.  I started wishing this was a 10 mile race like my last one.  13 miles was going to be HARD!  Miles 9-11 were in the mid 12s.  I started run/walking every 5 minutes or so.  I continued to get more tired.  Miles 12-13 were just hard.  I was walking more than running and averaged 13:30s.  I finally saw the finish line and couldn't have been happier.  I finished in 2:37 an 11:59 pace overall. 

I found Madi and Nate (my step-daughter and son-in law) at the finish line and waited for Jim to finish.  In the end, unfortunately the day wouldn't turn out as planned for Jim (you can read his race report here).  I was so disappointed for him.  I knew how hard he had trained and how much this race meant to him and I could feel his pain.

Overall, the weekend was just kind of downer...but that was just due to personal experiences.  The race is great, and I would recommend it to anyone.  They give an awesome medal and a nice technical finisher shirt at the end.  The course is flat and runs through some beautiful neighborhoods and downtown areas.  But sometimes, it doesn't matter how great the race is, it's just not your race.  But we still had a good time in our own way.  It's always great to spend time together doing the thing we love.

Cool Technical Tee finisher shirt


  1. I've had many of those kind of races. YaY! For tech tees and cool medals!

  2. I'm sorry that it didn't go as you'd wanted it to. Those types of races are so tough but they show that you're a runner who just never gives up. Hope you're feeling better soon.

  3. That was a strong finish for you having been so sick!! I've been wanting to hear how your race went ever since reading on Jim's report that you were sick. Rest up and take care of yourself now--you got the coveted rabbit medal. :^)

  4. Sorry to hear the day wasn't one of those great days for either of you. BUT....didn't it feel great finding yourself going faster even when you thought you'd slowed?

    Funny, that crazy wind was also ever present in Vermont on Sunday, when my husband and I ran in the Green Mountain Marathon. Like you, I let the tailwind for the first 12 miles carry me and fuel me to go faster...and faster....

    Then at mile 15, the headwind started. Ouch. It was a tough day, but I figure those tough days are what make me appreciate the AWESOME days even more :)

    Feel better soon and nice job!

  5. I agree that is a pretty awesome medal! Wow way to finish strong I can't believe you were able to power through with everything you've had going on. I hope you feel better soon! But you can still think you're super woman!

  6. Running it as sick as you were must have been hard and you did awesome! Sounds like a good race but not exactly in my neck of the woods.

  7. Nice Work, Michael.
    It's hard to race when you don't feel well- but you stayed with it and ran some pretty fast miles! At some point you will have a half marathon where you average what you did the first 2 miles in. It will just take practice, a good course and weather, and not being sick.
    Love the medal and the shirt! Congrats :)

  8. Great job pushing through. So sorry it was a rough day for both of you.

    I do love that medal, the rabbit is great!

  9. I feel so left out like I should have been there too. Instead I ran a long way away in the same 20mph conditions. I didn't fare much better :) Oh well. we live to run another day!

  10. Ugh! Running when sick is just the worst. Even worse than flying when sick. :( Congrats on finishing and powering through it. Great job!

  11. Good job finishing strong. Sucks being sick on a normal day, can't imagine during a race.

    Love the medal!!!

  12. Nice report. I'm glad you had positive things to say about my hometown race. Sorry things didn't go better for you guys. I guess the law of averages says things can't be great all the time.

  13. Hope you are feeling better by now. Sorry you had a less than awesome race, but the medal is pretty darn cool.

  14. Bummer the race didn't go as planned for either of you...the medal is pretty cool though. ;) Nice report.

  15. I am sorry it wasn't the race you were hoping for. Hope you are feeling better!