Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon Report

My 20th marathon is in the books.  Sunday I ran the Wichita Prairie Fire Marathon.  I'm pleased to say this turned out to be one of my good performances despite not setting any personal records.  

Before I talk about the race, let me first mention the PF Expo the day before.  I was scheduled to work the last couple hours of the expo in the RunWichita running club's booth.  Before that however, I got to meetup with running bloggers Jim (50 after 40) and Michael (Slowly Tri-ing) who were in town from Missouri to tackle the full and half marathons respectively.  I had met Jim before at the Austin marathon in 2011, but this was my first time getting to meet his wife.  Michael was a bit under the weatherly, but we had a great conversion for probably 20 to 30 minutes about all things running.

Blogger Meet up with Jim and Michael at the Prairie Fire Expo. 
As we were saying our goodbyes, the PF race director walk by and asked me if I'd do an interview for the local news.  I spent about 10 minutes in front of the camera, and thankfully he did lots of nice editing so that when it appeared on the ten o'clock news, I sounded halfway intelligent.

Screen shot of my 2 minutes of (local) fame.  Don't try and press 'play' it's only a picture.
Now, on to the race.

My mindset heading in was to shoot for a 3:30 (8:00 pace) if everything was perfect.  If not, I felt setting a new PR was still in the cards, I just needed to maintain an 8:10 average pace, which my long runs told me was possible.  With the injuries I've had this year, my mileage base was low.  I have literally done one 16 mile, one 17 mile, one 18 mile, and one 20 mile run all year, so I wasn't sure how I would handle the last 10k of the marathon.  With that in mind, my 'C' goal was to average about an 8:20 pace, or finish sub 3:40.

My pace wasn't all I was thinking about.  I had a marathon fail last year when I focused too much on pace when there were early warning signs pointing to it being too fast, I mostly ignored them and I paid the price.  Since then I've dedicated myself to paying attention to my heart rate and not allowing it to go over certain levels.

This time around, my marathon would be based off of my heart rate.  For the first half dozen miles, I planned on a HR around 165 bpm.  For miles 7 - 12, I was prepared for my HR to gradually increase up into the low 170s, and make sure it stayed under 175.  For miles 13 - 20, I was hoping to keep HR between 175 and 180.  If I hit 181 before mile 20, it would be time to slow down.  If those heart rates sound high to you, it might help to know that my max heart rate is over 200, and my lactate threshold heart rate was tested to be 183 over the Summer.  By mile 20, it should be pretty obvious how my race is shaping up, and I can go back to running by feel for the last 10k.

Here is my Wichita Prairie Fire Marathon 2012 race breakdown, courtesy of Garmin:

SplitTimeDistanceElevation GainElevation LossAvg Pace Avg HR Max HR

If you take the time to go over my splits above, you'll notice that I ran a pretty controlled race with my heart rates slowly increasing, and my paces staying fairly consistent as the wind or inclines would allow.

Speaking of wind.  That was the main enemy of this race.  The official wind data reports showed 12.3 mph average wind speeds with sustained winds at 23 mph, and maximum gusts of 31 mph.  That coupled with 58º starting temps, and finishing temps in the mid 60s with sunny skies.  It seemed no matter which direction we ran there was a headwind.  Of course there were some tailwinds to help out including most of the last two or three miles, but the damage was already done.

My official chip time was 3:39:46.  I missed my first two goals, but scored on my third.  When all the above factors are combined with finishing only 5 minutes over my PR, I felt really good about this race.  I'm honestly not sure what I could have done differently that would have given me a faster time.   This might have been my smartest marathon to date.  Compared to the rest of the field, only 13.4% of the runners finished ahead of me whereas last year that percentage was 0.5% higher.

Marathon Pics:

Rate My Ensemble:  Ladies, Fashion Police (and queer eyes for straight guys), do I get extra points
for successfully coordinating different brands of blue shorts and shirt while having an exact color
match?  Or do I look like a box of pastel chalk threw up all over me? 

High five for my 8 year old who's now inspired to run a half marathon.  Is my hair on fire?
Crossing the finish line in 3:39:46 chip time.
Finisher shirt.  Check.  Finisher medal.  Check.  Time to find the beer garden.
It's really hard to smile looking into the sun.  My wife and kids come out to support me at all my marathons.
Note: Wife behind camera.  She's a great race photographer.
My 4 year old daughter had a long morning.  She fell asleep on the car ride home.  But that doesn't stop us
from taking her picture when she pouts.
Update:  If you would like to read more about the race itself and less about me, visit my next post where I review the Prairie Fire Marathon.


Laura said...

Congrats on the race! You speedsters inspire me!

Jill said...

Do you know how long it took for me to scroll through all the comments to leave mine? Sheesh!

Okay, smart ass aside...what a fantastic race you had - nicely played out and that's so important, especially for your sanity, as you know! I am very impressed with your finish time considering your injuries the first half of the year and your last post title. Well played, sir! Hope you have overcome all the setbacks and 2013 will be a fantastic year for you.

Congratulations again. Hope your daughter - and you - got a well-earned nap later that day! :)

abbi said...

Congrats on another marathon and still hitting one of your goals!

Johann said...

Congrats for #20! Well done! Good run for a very good time. Nice to meet other bloggers. One I will too. Rest well.

Boston Bound Brunette said...

Congratulations on a great race and #20! Looks like your hard work is paying off big time!!

Nelly said...

Sounds like you ran a perfect race!

Nice job on running the race via heartrate, that is how I generally like to race too, since most of the time you end up running within yourself I think. Bummer about the wind though.

And whoa, blue man group lol

Michael said...

I totally love the blue on!

It was great to meet you. Sorry I couldn't talk more, but maybe next time.

Great job on the race. And thanks for not thinking I was insane when I couldn't find Jim at the end of the race!

Robin said...

Congrats on a great race. You are right we have things in common! However you forgot one, the wind! So four things in common. Well done, nothing feels better then a well run race even if it doesn't produce the time you wanted most.

Nelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dane said...

Kudos on a tough day.

ajh said...

Congratulations and how cool that you got on the news. You did a great job! Fun blog meet up too.

Terzah said...

Great job, Jon! A really great time for post-injury!

I loved seeing how those HRs played out for you in the marathon. I'm still waiting for my coach to get back to me about where mine should be for my half this weekend--and in fact if I should be watching HRs or pace. I've been watching HR in training, so it's now my new normal. And I'm also not sure how to translate everything to sea level. Feeling very impatient!!

Anyway, you did really well. I hope my next two races are that smart.

Char said...

I actually thought your heart rates sounded pretty normal. It's those people who run at 145 bpm that are weird - not us. And in my half on the weekend my Garmin thinks that my HR got up to 223. Not bad for an old chick.

Well done on a great race. I've read Jim's report and he's not so positive about it.

Coy Martinez said...

Well, first congrats on running a smart race on a windy day. Mother nature can make fools of us all. Secondly, I'm wildly jealous that you got to hang out with Jim and Michael. Ok, maybe not Jim, you can have Jim but Michael is my sick friend! :)

Suz and Allan said...

Congrats on a great race and on making it on the news!

Jose said...

Congrats on the race! Sounded like it was almost easy for you.

This race sounds awesome. This is the third review I have read on this race. I want to one day do this one and get myself that sweet medal!

On the Right Track said...

You look great in blue!!! all shades ;) Great race, especially with the wind factor...and so cool to meet up with Jim and michael...Love the pics, especially the one high fiving your son...

TR said...

20 marathons down? crazy!
congrats on the race :)

Yo Momma Runs said...

Great race! And I'm impressed that in 26.2 you only went .02 over the distance. I always end up with an annoying amount of extra mileage. Great pacing too. It's nice to finish and know you ran smart.

XLMIC said...

Always, ALWAYS take a photo of the pouting cutie!

I am so impressed by your heart rate! Jeeeez! That sounds like mine through my twenties and early thirties! I feel maxed out now when mine hits 160!

I love your analytical chart. And you did great!

Anonymous said...

too cute...and yes you did a good job coordinating the outfit...not to shabby!