Sunday, October 12, 2014

Prairie Fire Half Marathon 2014

Last year Jeremy, Thomas, and I ran the Prairie Fire Half Marathon.  We chose the race because it was close to where Thomas was living at the time and we could go visit him and run the race while we were there.  We had a great experience.  It was a very organized race with great spectators and cool shirts.  Mom and dad spectated the race and loved how many points of the race they could walk to with the stroller.  Right after the race my mom was pumped up about it and asked us if we'd run it again.  We all agreed we would so she went ahead and registered us for this year.  At the time Ty and I hadn't begun discussing me staying at home and therefore were still thinking we'd have to put 3-4 years between our children so we could afford 2 in daycare.  There was no doubt in my mind I'd be able to run the race.  Dad enjoyed watching us run and after the Boston Marathon bombing he decided he wanted to run a half marathon, so he also signed up.  Ty was registered for his first half marathon that following month and bravely agreed to sign up before even experiencing his first half.
2014 finisher's picture.  Carter wanted to be in the picture too!
Saturday morning we slept in, ate breakfast, took the dogs to the kennel, ate lunch, and then headed out.  We arrived a few minutes before mom and dad.  Once they arrived and we checked into the hotel we headed to the race expo.  It was the first race expo Ty had ever been to in order to pick up his own packet.  The half marathon he ran last November was very small and didn't have an expo.  The expo was within walking distance of our hotel so we walked there and back.  We stayed at the Drury Inn and were very impressed that they served a free dinner to guests.  We ate dinner at the hotel.  They served hot dogs, chili, baked potatoes, macaroni and cheese, salad, carrots, and celery.  Not the ideal pre-race dinner, but I had macaroni and cheese, a baked potato, salad, carrots, and celery.  It was actually quite delicious.  We hung out in the room for a bit and then headed out for some frozen custard per my request.
At the race expo.

We had adjoining rooms and both rooms had 2 beds.  We put pillows under the sheets all around one bed and let Carter sleep by himself.  As I laid in bed with him, helping him fall asleep, I noticed I was struggling to see out of my left eye.  I wasn't sure if I was having the tell-tell migraine vision loss because it was dark.  After Carter fell asleep I headed into my parents' room with everyone else and immediately knew I had the vision loss that accompanies a migraine so I said good night to everyone and headed to bed myself around 9pm.  My head started hurting pretty much right when I laid down so it took me quite a while to fall asleep.  Once I did I woke up about every hour either because my head hurt so bad I needed to move positions or because I was so overheated (thank you bun in the oven for turning me into an oven when I sleep!)  It was a rough night.  And of course every time I woke up I wasn't able to fall back to sleep because I had to use the restroom so I had to get up and potty every. single. time.  Finally at 6:30 when I woke up I decided to just get up.  As I was sitting on the toilet going potty for the millionth time I started dry heaving fiercely.  I thought I was going to actually throw up so I grabbed the trash can.  My head was still pounding, but it was getting better.

The race started at 7:30 and was really close to our hotel so we left our hotel at 7:15 to walk to the race.  That gave us plenty of time to get there and kept us from having to wait in the long porta potty lines as we got our last minute restroom breaks done in the hotel lobby.  It wasn't nearly as cold as I was expecting as the weather app had said it was 45 degrees and felt like 42 degrees.  I could tell there was a decently strong wind so I decided to go ahead and wear my long sleeved shirt, gloves, and head band along with my spandex shorts (no chaffing for this momma!)  We put all of our warm gear in the stroller and headed for the race start.  I gave Ty a kiss as we approached the area in the starting corral where he would line up.  Jeremy was going way up front so we said bye to him.  When dad heard about my low placenta and the doctor's concern about bleeding during long runs he decided to run the race with me.  Since I'd run my 10 miler at 9:00 pace my goal was to break 2 hours and that was also dad's goal.  We walked up until we found the 2 hour pace group and lined up there for the start.  My concerns during this race were that I would dry heave more during the race, I would have bleeding, and my head would kill.  Luckily none of those things happened.  Every once in a while as a foot would hit the pavement my head would ache and I couldn't find my sunglasses as we were leaving, so the sun killed once it came out.
Walking to the race start.
When the gun went off dad and I had to walk for a while to get to the start.  Our plan was to start off at 9 minute per mile pace.  Our first 3 miles were 8:54, 8:52, and 9:02.  It felt so slow and during the 2nd mile at one point dad informed me that we had sped up to 7:40 pace so we had to rein it in a little bit.  Once we finished the 3rd mile I asked dad if he wanted to shoot for a bit faster pace for the next 3 miles, possibly 8:50-8:55 pace.  Then I realized that we had some decent hills in that section.  We were still able to pick it up for a couple miles with miles 4-6 at 8:55, 8:50, and 9:05.  I was a little worried when I saw we hit a 9:05 mile because I was starting to feel a little bit tired and I knew 9:04 pace was a 1:59 half-marathon.  Luckily it was time to eat our Gu.  Dad had never tried one before and had a bit of a difficult time getting his down, but he did.  Once I ate my Gu I got my 2nd wind.  I had originally thought I'd try for my usual race strategy of picking the pace up a little bit each quarter, but going into mile 7 I told dad I just wanted to shoot for 9:04 or under for the rest of the race.  I didn't want to push it too much and my hips were starting to feel sore.
Our awesome cheer squad with the sign complete with an ultrasound picture!
Close up of the sign.

We went through miles 7-9 at 9:04, 8:51, and 8:49.  We saw Carter and mom at mile 9.  I was able to pass off my gloves, long sleeved shirt, and belt I put our Gu in.  Dad passed off his red jacket he'd been wearing.  I got really excited going into mile 10 because I knew we were heading into the last quarter of the race.  I had to keep telling myself not to get too excited and pick it up too much.  I didn't want to lose steam during the last few miles.  There were a few times I thought I lost dad because I didn't see red in my peripheral vision and I realized dad was now in a blue short sleeved shirt.  We both felt like passing off clothing to mom really made us feel lighter and gave us an extra pep in our step.  We were surprised to see mom again at mile 11.  We saw her before she saw us so we yelled at her.  She got so excited she took off running to get in front of us for a picture and stuff started falling off the stroller.  It was cute because we heard people behind us letting her know her camera had fallen off the stroller.  Runners really are so nice.  Around this time we got passed by the lead marathon runner heading into mile 16 of the marathon.  That was pretty exciting and I couldn't cheer for him loud enough. 
Carter enjoying a banana while we ran.

Miles 10-12 were 8:47, 8:56, and 8:42.  After running mile 12 in 8:42 I knew we needed to really pick it up during the last mile because I like to run my last mile the fastest.  I started to really take off and dad kept right with me.  With about a half mile to go we were really blowing by other runners and then we hit the 13 mile mark in 8:26 and I could see the bridge you cross and then finish on the other side.  As we turned onto the bridge I heard Jeremy cheering for us.  I looked forward and saw a woman in all yellow pretty close in front of us so I decided to catch her.  We went around her and as we crossed the finish line I saw 1:56 on the clock.  Boom, we had run under 2 hours even for our gun time with the walk we had to the start.  Our official finishing time was 1:56:44.  They gave dad the win over me, possibly due to alphabetical order David vs. Elizabeth.  We were handed medals and had to stop in order to get our finishers shirts.  Right after I finished my head which had felt pretty darn good during the race immediately started pounding.  After I got my shirt I started dry heaving as I grabbed water and Gatorade and attempted to get out of the finish area as quickly as possible.  I'm used to being farther up in races where it's less congested and with my head feeling the way it did I was getting really frustrated with all the runners meandering around and stopping in front of me.  I looked back to see dad was way behind me, but I had to get out of the area because I couldn't stop dry heaving. 
Me and dad after the finish.

We found mom and I was excited to see Carter.  Finally after drinking plenty of water, putting a towel on my neck, loosening my ponytail, and taking off my sweaty sports bra my head started to feel a little bit better.  I walked to the spectator area to watch Ty finish and also saw the first marathon runners finish.  I started to wonder if part of the reason why I felt so sick, other than my migraine, was because I needed to eat.  So I headed to the finishers area to get a chocolate milk.  I thought mom and dad would wait for me where they were, but they followed me without telling me.  I headed back to where they had been and they were gone.  I had heard them mention that they might as well start walking and assumed they were either going to walk toward where we knew Jeremy was or to the hotel.  I looked for them for a while and then decided to walk back to the hotel in case that's where they went.  I arrived at the hotel and didn't see them so I asked to call the room.  No one answered.  After sitting in the lobby for 30 minutes and assuming that they were either in the room and not answering the phone or out searching for me, it finally dawned on me that mom had her cell phone with her.  So I asked the front desk to call her.  Mom, Carter, and Ty were all still at the race searching for me while dad and Jeremy had walked back to the hotel to check there.  Dad was also in the lobby but had gone through different doors and I was facing the wrong way to see him.  I felt really bad everyone had spent so long looking for me and wished I'd thought to call mom sooner.  But I was thankful it was finally time for a shower!

I think the official finishing times show gun time, not chip time as Ty's Garmin showed a faster time.  I didn't stop my Garmin as I crossed the finish line, but I know I saw 1:56 on the finishing clock as we crossed the finish line and I know we walked for a bit to the start.  Jeremy finished 38th out of 1,995 finishers with a time of 1:29:27!  That put him 10th out of 131 runners in his age group.  Dad and I both finished in 1:56:44.  That put us 427th and 428th out of 1,995 runners which shocked me!  Dad was 20th out of 48 in his age group and I was 26th out of 192 in my age group.  Not bad for a pregnant lady!  Ty finished in 2:25:47 good for 1,338th out of 1,995 and 72nd out of 90 in his age group.  He struggled a bit in the race and was almost 10 minutes slower than his half marathon last year, but actually trained better for this race.  He said he went out in under 10 minute pace and felt that hurt him later on in the race.  Something I've learned through my years of running half marathons is that it's best to take off conservatively and try to make up time in the 2nd half rather than go out too fast because things deteriorate quickly.  Although not quite what he hoped for he was still positive and enjoyed the race.  He said the miles went by so much quicker in this race because he was always running with a pack of people.
Jeremy looking strong during the race!

Due to being pregnant I was cautious during the race.  I drank water at every water stop and even took 2 cups at some of the stops.  I didn't pick up the pace when I really felt like it until the very end of the race.  I was pleased to break 2 hours which was my goal and to finish with no bleeding.  It was so much fun to run with dad and the last time I remember running with him was back in high school when he'd run 5ks with me.  It was like a blast from the past and I really enjoyed getting to share in his first half marathon with him.  We had to rush off after lunch so we could make it home in time to pick Harper up from the kennel so we wouldn't have to pay for another night.  When we got home I told Ty this is the 2nd most sore and tired I've been after a half marathon.  He quickly responded with, "And the 2nd most pregnant you've been during a half marathon."  I thought it was hilarious and it is so true!  Even though I don't really look pregnant yet, I sure feel pregnant!  When my mom texted me to say they made it home I relayed Ty and my conversation because I thought it was funny.  She said dad said "This is the sorest I've ever been after a half (it was his first one) and I'm pretty sure it's because this pregnant woman tried to kick my ass."  I thought that was funny!  He told me the last mile of the race when I picked it up he thought about not going with me, but told himself he was going to run the whole race and finish with me so he took off too.  Sounds like he'd rather have coasted it in to the finish!


  1. Pretty cute post. And a fun time all around. Except for Carter's fall.

    1. It was fun, thanks for signing us up and for the hotel room! Carter falls all the time, he's wearing that bump as a badge of honor!

  2. What a great weekend with a lot of strong finishes. Congratulations to all. Leina