Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Was it a 2 hour 58 minute and 53 second long dream?

My marathon experience at Prairie Fire is still sinking in, and is still surreal!  I'm not even exactly sure where to begin, except by saying that this is going to be a multi-post series, haha!  I’m going to make this one a mostly facts post, and then follow-up with race details and my aftermath thoughts.
It was a good day for Ibbetson PRs
I ran a PR marathon in 2:58:53 on October 9 at the Prairie Fire Marathon in Wichita, Kansas!  My biggest goal was to run a sub-3:00 marathon, so 2:59:59 would work, but with how well my training block had gone, I really hoped to get in the 2:58s.  My previous PR was 3:01:44, and who can let their marathon PR stay at 3:01?!  I really wanted to get that sub-3:00 off my back and I felt prepared to do so. 

I made a customized pace band for 2:58:51, in fact.  If there was a competition for the closest prediction on marathon time, I would have dominated that one!  I am generally pretty good with knowing what times/paces I’ll run in various races based on recent training and races, and based on how well-rested I am (especially if I’ve run the course before, although I had not on this one) but have never been exactly this close for any distance.
The pace band
I planned a conservative start, and hoped to come through the half just under 1:30, and then to run the second half a little faster.  I used an awesome website that helped with pacing variations based on course elevation changes.  Although Prairie Fire is a flat marathon, it had around 160 feet of elevation gain (my Strava only showed 115, but I noticed some other runners had 300-some, so I’ll trust the online listing), which influenced some mile split goals slightly.  I mainly noticed it in the incline in mile 5, the drop in mile 16, and the tiny hill that felt like a mountain and led to my slowest mile split (and my only Garmin mile over 7:00, boo) in mile 25.

Elevation per my Strava

Elevation per another runner's Strava
I executed my pace plan about as well as I could have, I think.  My first half was 1:29:40 and my second half 1:29:13.  My 10K was 43:16 and my 20 mile was 2:15:32 (there were just 3 mats on the course).  I wish I could have closed a little faster in the final 10K, because if I’d have kept the same pace I had from 13.1-20 for the final 6.2 I would have run in the 2:57s, but it just wasn’t quite in the cards for me.  My final 10K was 43:21, so it was really close to my opening 10K; I'd just hoped to negative split a little more.  I had many runners around me for the first 6.5ish miles of the race when we were with the half marathoners, and then when the races split I was in no man’s land!  I passed 5 men between mile 16 and the finish, and looking ahead and reeling them in helped, but I never actually had anyone to run with for nearly 20 miles of the race and at many points with turns and curvy roads I couldn’t even see another runner (more about this and the mental energy it took later).  Despite this, the race felt like the shortest marathon I've ever run - and of course it did take me less amount of time on my feet than any other - but it really flew by!

Run happy (and solo!)!
During my final few miles, I thought I was going to be close between high-2:58s and low-2:59s, and that kept me going for the hardest miles.  I also kept thinking, “I feel so much better now than I felt at this point in Dallas!” at every mile marker.  When I came to the final stretch and could see the finishing clock, I knew I’d better turn it on with all I had to get in the 2:58s, so I kicked it in and made it!  The situation made my finish a lot less emotional for me; I’ve had other marathons where I teared up in the final 0.1-0.2 when I knew I was going to PR or win, but I didn’t get that in this one because I was pounding it to make sure I got a 2:58.  That probably also ruined my finishing pictures, haha! 

My overall pace was 6:49.36 for the 26.2!  My Gamin read 6:47 average pace and I was happy with how close it was since the course had a lot of turns.  I kind of thought I’d have to average 6:45 on my Garmin to pull off my time goal since the course turned and weaved so much (my Garmin will be spot on the distance in certified courses without turns, but the more turns the more error, typically), but I mainly relied on my pace band and the course mile markers anyhow. 

Garmin splits

Garmin splits - darn mile 25!
Results can be found here.  I was 4th overall female, but the top three women ran 2:50-2:51 and I never saw them.  My primary goal in this event was time, but we expected that I would place higher than I did if I could run sub-3:00, but it just shows it’s all about who shows up.  At the awards ceremony (video here!), the announcer announced that I’d run the 8th fastest marathon ever run in the state of Kansas in the history of certified road races! 

Aiming to run the 5th fastest marathon ever run in Kansas was actually how I’d settled on trying to run in the 2:58:50s (after I ran the 6th fastest women's 15K ever run in Kansas and learned of this website), but “lucky” for me, the three women who beat me ran the 3rd, 4th, and 5th fastest marathons of all time in Kansas.  The announcer also said that my time would have won this race almost any other year…yeah, rub it in a little more!  Clearly, this was a deep field for this event, and also 2:50-2:51 is way out of my reach right now so it's not like I could have done anything to place better, and I am satisfied that I executed my race plan well.  I feel very blessed to have reached my time goal!

I'm pacing my photo posting so I'll have some for each post (Will I negative split on that?  We shall see!).  We get free professional race photos so I hope to have some decent ones, but since I did not race in sunglasses it’s unlikely my face will look decent in any, haha!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Dave! Hoping to run the same one as you someday!

  2. I've been so excited to read more about your race! I looked at the race results from all the previous races the day before and told Ty you would most likely win, possibly place 2nd. I was shocked sub-3 was 4th place!

    1. I definitely picked the year with the deepest field by far to run it! It wouldn't have surprised me to have one lady would could run a 2:50 show up, but to have 3 of them there was a surprise. As usual, I Google searched the women who beat me, and the first place lady (who was a pro from France) was the first place overall masters winner at the Boston marathon in 2012 and 2013 and has run several marathons in the low-2:30s. Second and third have both competed in the U.S. Olympic marathon trials. They were all amazing strong women (2 of them very strong, not waify!), and have inspired me to dream bigger!

    2. Wow, that is amazing! I wonder why they chose the Prairie Fire.

    3. Right?! Who chooses Wichita as a marathon to travel to? Haha!