I don’t promise the best order or organization in this post, but this is pretty much my Bass Pro Marathon word vomit that I wanted to put out there so that I can look back on it! My "real" marathon recap can be found here.
|Professional shot from around the half of our unofficial sub-3:00 pace group|
- Below are my Garmin split comparisons between Bass Pro (BP) and Prairie Fire (PF). My Garmin had me running 0.22 farther at BP, which is consistent with my “bonus” jaunt (I was 24 seconds ahead of my pace band at mile 20, then I was about 55 seconds behind my pace band at mile 21 after my detour and correction). The course split mats were in different locations on the two marathon courses, so the only official course splits I have to compare are a 43:16 first 10K at PF vs. a 43:06 first 10K at BP, a difference quite negligible (even more so considering I started closer to the line at BP). BP had more elevation changes than PF, and when I look at those in comparison to my splits they make sense as well (for example, mile 4 had more downhill and mile 5 more uphill). As you can see, I closed a lot stronger at BP, which is how I like to finish marathons and made me quite happy! 9 of my final 12 miles at BP were in the 6:30s, and the miles that were not were planned as slower course miles due to inclines. The final 2 miles on the course are also slower course miles, but I managed to keep them in the 6:30s (with a final 0.6 at 6:28), and that made me optimistic about what is to come!
|The best I could splice this together!|
- My other course splits at BP were 15K in 1:04:15, 25K in 1:45:50, and 30K in 2:07:15. These are all correct since my error was between mile 20 and 21, and the 25K and 30K are PRs for me at those distances! My previous PR at 25K was 1:50:16 (on a challenging course; I’d run faster in other marathons but without official timing mats), and I’ve never raced a 30K so that one was an automatic PR.
- Even though my official time doesn’t reflect it, I ran stronger at BP than at PF. This was the opposite of what I expected, since PF was my goal race and I was running BP with PF on my legs - not to mention that BP is a more challenging course. I think that it comes down to 4 reasons though: 1) cooler temperatures, with 38 degrees at the start of BP vs. 54 degrees at PF, 2) having someone to pace with for most of the race at BP vs. running mostly solo at PF, 3) the awful stomach bug that landed me at Urgent Care 10 days prior to PF vs. no illness close to BP, and 4) no pressure at BP vs. nerves at PF. I paced very similarly early on in the two races, but I finished a lot stronger at BP (also funny because I didn’t feel as fresh at the beginning of BP). At BP, I also adjusted for what I thought was a gel mistake at PF with my third gel being a different type that was saltier and may have resulted in a side cramp, so that may have helped too (I fueled exactly the same in both races otherwise, and had no cramps at BP). At PF I was uncertain whether I had a sub-3:00 in me, while at BP I knew that I did, and it was more of a matter of whether I did or not again so soon.
- My family cheer crew was again amazing! This time it was my parents, Jon, Albani, Thomas (brother-law), Christopher (nephew), and Samantha (niece). I know having her cousins along made it more enjoyable for Albani, and sometimes I feel bad about taking her to all of these races, so I am glad she had the time of her life with her cousins as usual (even though afterwards when I told her that my favorite part of the marathon was hearing her yell “go mama!”, she told me that her favorite part was taking a nap, hahaha!). Since this was a hometown race, Jon was able to navigate everyone to many locations on the course, including the start, around miles 6, 10, 13, 16, and 19, and the finish. I loved seeing them all so much, and this is a huge benefit of running smaller marathons in familiar places! They had a copy of my pace band so they knew when to expect me and how I was doing with my goal pace. Here are my dad’s awesome videos!
|Thumbs up around mile 16.5|
|On course around mile 19 (no more pace group here)|
- This was my third time running BP, and each time the course has been just slightly different for various reasons. They moved the finish to a different location from 2010 to the more recent races, and this year they tweaked some of the later miles of the course due to construction downtown and around MSU. All three years the weather has been similar, and I’ve had an amazing family cheer crew on the course. The main difference this year was that I didn’t get the lead female bike (although this was my fastest BP by almost 5 minutes). I sure missed the bike navigating the course just ahead of me, but I also knew going in that I wouldn’t have it since I knew that Kim was running (and that was much better than thinking I might have it and not!). I got comments here and there from spectators telling me my place, which was 3rd overall female throughout the race. I never had a chance at moving up with the first two ladies running 2:44 and 2:52, and 4th finished in 3:32, so it was a very solid 3rd. Overall placings in a race are always so much about who shows up; I've run horrible times that won races, and I've run PRs that didn't get me on the podium, so I'm always more focused on my time than on place because it's more meaningful across events. Although I can't say I don't have quite a competitive streak, the older I get the more it is all about being the best runner I can be. You can't control anyone else's race, but you can go out there and run your heart out in a smart race.
- When I came into the finish, the announcer said something like, “Sara Ibbetson finishing the full marathon; Sara was our women’s champion in 2010 and 2015”, which I thought was fun! Jon got a clock shot by stretching his arm out into the finishing shoot and "photographing aimlessly" (his words). I was impressed because I couldn’t even see the clock when I was coming in until I was pretty much at the finish line, due to spectators obscuring the view.
|Clock shot 1|
|Clock shot 2 + screaming lady|
- At the awards ceremony, the race director talked about this year being the fastest women’s race in this marathon (my hypothesis about this happening at both PF and BP is because the Olympic Trials qualifying window isn’t yet open for the 2020 trials, so women of that caliber are running slower marathon courses to win some cash instead of vying for standards and PRs). She also said, “If you’d have shown me a list of entrants and asked me to pick the top 3 women, these are exactly who I’d have picked!”
- What I dislike about marathons comes after the race: post-marathon insomnia! It has to be an adaptive response; I figure my body is thinking that there is no way I’d have pushed it to the extent I did was unless my life was in grave danger, so it won’t let down to sleep in case the danger is still present. I’ve experienced this enough that I try to proactively combat it, but this time around on marathon night I only slept about 2 hours in spite of the 3 Melatonin I took (on a normal occasion 1 knocks me out!). After PF I managed 4 hours with Melatonin, while after both BP 2015 and Dallas 2015 I did not sleep a wink. Next time I’m getting something stronger than Melatonin! I took off work on Monday since I needed to use my “birthday holiday”, so I wasn’t as worried about it this time (I worked the day after PF), but then come Monday night I still couldn’t sleep! I got about 4 hours that night, which as a 7-8 hour sleeper is minimal. Tuesday night I was back to normal sleep, but let me tell you, running a marathon + 2 nights of inadequate sleep + daylight savings time + traveling for work Wednesday and Thursday = exhaustion the weekend following the marathon! We went to a 7:00 movie on Saturday evening and I fell asleep in the theater (in a super loud IMAX 3D movie!), even after napping for about 90 minutes on Saturday. Usually I can only nap, in super comfortable positions, when I'm sick so this was extreme.
- Overall, the Bass Pro Marathon has been good to me. The race director and crews do a fantastic job, and you can’t beat sleeping in your own bed before and after a marathon (well, at least pretending to after!). I plan to run it every year I can, although I’m not sure it will ever be my “A” race, and maybe it doesn’t need to be!