Fargo Marathon Race Recap – Part 2

This run is dedicated to Steve Roxberg, our neighbor and dear friend, who passed away May 21 following a sudden illness. He is now free to “shoot big deer and catch big fish” everyday in eternity.

Part 1 is here!

7:03 am

As soon as I heard the gun, I started my Runmeter app, only to learn a minute later that it was meant for the wheelchair participants. I quickly cancelled the run, and waited to restart the app once we were on the move.

Starting inside the Fargodome was a great perk, as the weather in North Dakota can be as fickle as Minnesota in May. It was a cloudy morning, but it sounded as though the rain would hold off until later that afternoon. This too, was good. I did, however, bring along a throw away sweat jacket with a hood, which I wore with the intention of ditching later in the run. As it turned out, I wore it for 99% of it.

As I mentioned earlier, there weren’t too many participants in the marathon, so starting inside didn’t create any kind of starting delays. We were out of the stadium in a flash as we ran out of the building’s loading area, into the parking lot, and then onto the University streets of Fargo. I tried to determine immediately where we were and where we were heading, but since I barely glanced at the course map, I honestly didn’t have a clue. I did realize immediately that wearing the jacket was a good idea. It was chilly. I was a little disappointed in myself for not bringing a pair of gloves along, but in the end, I wouldn’t have needed them anyway. My circulation was good that morning.

I honestly tried to go out slow, but since I was chilled, my pace was elevated on impact. I had my Runmeter app’s speaker on so I could hear comments on my Facebook page, but I had it set to update my every hour, rather than every mile. Sounds extreme, but I have recently become accustomed to running without any updates whatsoever. I didn’t want to live and die this run by my pace, rather I wanted to just run it comfortably and see how I could do in the end. I knew that I’d have to maintain something a little faster than a 9 minute mile in order to get another Boston qualifier, but we’d just have to wait and see at the end of the hour how that was transpiring. I also set it up that way so that I’d remember to take my pill packet consisting of my EnergyBits, Sports Legs, and Perfect Amino Acids every hour on the hour.

The course started winding through local neighborhoods right from the start, and with the exception of a few miles through the local college campuses, and a brief stint along Broadway in downtown Fargo, it was primarily neighborhoods. The course had scattered onlookers throughout the 26.2 miles, mostly local families set up on their front lawns with signs and banners. I’d say there were more here than in Kansas City by a long shot! The race course also had a spattering of live bands and local DJ’s playing some great tunes. I even slapped hands with Elvis!

I had a podcast playlist set up to listen to the latest episode of the Runner Girls, followed by episodes of Run #Selfie Repeat (for which I thank Sue of Runner Girls for the recommend), all of which totaled 7 hours of playtime…just in case. As it turns out, the playlist was perfect, because I felt like I had running friends with me along the entire course, despite the fact that many times, I found myself running alone.

I know I already mentioned that I had my Runmeter set up to get updates every hour, but it didn’t occur to me that I’d have to run over the timing mats set up by the MTEC timing folks. Most marathons have them at the 5K, 10K, 13.1 mile and 20K splits of a marathon, and this one was no exception. So, I already had a notion of how I was running by the clocks at these positions. My 5K time of around 25 minutes told me I’d hit the 10K mark at around 50 minutes, which was exactly the time split I had at the Boston Marathon the previous year. This, in turn, told me that I was on track for a 3:45:00 finish, God willing. But it was early, and as we all know, anything can happen.

I also stayed ahead of the 3:35:00 pacer for quite a time until I was passed up somewhere along the Red River. I didn’t let it faze me, though. I was quite surprised I kept ahead of them as long as I did. I had a distinct feeling I wouldn’t be catching up with the group, but I was OK with that at this point in the run.

I was still feeling pretty good. My Achilles weren’t giving me any trouble, but I attributed that to the Advil I took the evening before. The run was also moving fast. It just seemed like time was flying by. I wasn’t complaining. This was a good thing.

I thought, perhaps, I’d dump my jacket at the half way point, but I still wasn’t feeling extraordinarily warm yet. I was a little sweaty, but not enough to risk ditching the garment. All I could think was that if I did have to slow way down, and didn’t have that jacket, I’d be hypothermic in a split second, and that wouldn’t be a good thing for me or my Raynauds.

And as crazy as it sounds, the halfway point was in the middle of a sidewalk that cut through the Minnesota State University at Moorehead! Not only were we running through these college campuses, but we had been running in Minnesota! I was oblivious. Seriously, not sure how I missed that!

Soon after, we were in the “quiet zone” where we ran along side the river again. But it was a park like setting, so there were no bands, and very little crowd support. But it was rather lovely, to say the least. At this point, I was still rather astounded that I was beyond half way done. It didn’t seem fathomable as time was passing by so quickly. All I kept thinking was I want to get to mile 20 to see if there was a “wall” set up and to see how I was feeling at that “wall”. It was somewhere along here where I learned that the Red River is the only river in the United States that runs toward the north! Cool factoid that I couldn’t wait to share with my husband.

This was most assuredly the windiest (not windy-est) marathon I have run to date. We were running short out and backs and then running head to head with the other marathoners at many points in the run. Then, we would be in another neighborhood with lots of support and another string of DJ’s or a band before encountering a water stop. During the first 10 miles of the run, I didn’t stop for any water, but I was tiring of the hydration I had brought with me (this run I had mixed NutriKeto Cherry Limeade and Vega Electrolyte Hydrator) . Once we were passed the halfway point, I did grab 3 or 4 cups of water from some of the remaining stops, while taking the opportunity to walk 30 or 40 feet or so. This helped to keep my heart rate in check a few times, and give me just enough rest to inspire a few mini comebacks of sorts.

Mile 20 arrived quickly, and there wasn’t a wall set up, but there was a water stop, and I overheard someone say a GU station ahead. I’m not a GU person, so this didn’t matter to me, but all the same, I knew that this was the home stretch, and I felt I had it in me to up my pace a little.

My failed Runmeter data

 

With my Fitbit data, you can see where I walked.

 

Elevation, or lack thereof.

The course was flat as a board. Had I been in better physical shape, this could have easily had been a PR run for me. Looking at my Runmeter data, my heart rate strap obviously failed early on, which was a bummer. My Fitbit did a better job tracking my pace and heart rate.

After the “wall” I knew that we’d have to hit Broadway at some point, as I remember telling my husband we’d be running on a small portion of it during the marathon. I didn’t realize it was this late in the event. We hit it in between miles 22 and 23. Just 3 miles to go, and I still felt like I could pull this one out of my butt.

At hour 3, I heard Runmeter tell me I was just 3.5 miles short of the finish line. This seemed extraordinarily fast to me, and I wasn’t sure that I heard her right. Could I pull off a PR? Or was I just not thinking straight? It seemed possible, but I had to think back to when we “started” which was a few minutes after 7 am. My timing was off, but not by much. If anything, I’d be close to my Kansas City Marathon time, and considering all I had been through these past few months, that seemed like nothing short of a miracle.

The crowds thickened here as we approached the finish. I can’t remember if I grabbed water at this last stop or not, but I do know I finally shed my jacket. I didn’t want to be wearing it as I ran over the finish line because I didn’t want it in the photos! LOL! Funny what you think about after 25 miles of running non stop. The final mile was run in just a tank…and it was still chilly. I had made the right decision to wear it through the event.

Finally, the stadium was in view, and the crowds were cheering us on, “ALMOST THERE! YOU GOT THIS!” Those are the best words EVER. I was so happy it was almost over, yet at the same time, I felt like this was the smartest marathon I had ever run. Maybe it was because it was so chilly. I was able to keep myself on the straight and narrow the entire time. I removed my headphones so I could finish with just the sound of those around me. We entered the Fargodome, and the finish was right there…fast and final. I raised my arms at the end, and it was over, just as fast as it started. Slowing down to a walk wasn’t easy, and I feared I wouldn’t make it on my feet for much longer, but I did…and my husband called out to me at the end. I spotted him and waved, but kept moving. Stopping would be an awful mistake.

I gathered up my medal, and found a photographer to take my finisher’s photo, but I couldn’t see any finisher’s photo wall set up anywhere. By the time I met up with my husband, I had forgotten all about looking for it. Damn. I’m sorry that happened. But we did get a few photos of our own.

My husband was impressed with my finish. “Was that your fastest??”

“Nope,” I answered. “But it is in the top three, I think.”

I gave him my pizza and my donut holes, and all my carbage, as we walked the dome. He continued to tell me how much he enjoyed this forum. It was a well presented event and one in which we look forward to return.

Stay tuned for Part 3 and the conclusion of the Fargo Marathon Race Recap.

Rest in peace, Steve.

 

 

2 Responses to Fargo Marathon Race Recap – Part 2

  1. This sounds like an interesting race! One of our son’s teammates (college swim team) was from ND and his mother told me about this race. IT’s great to read an actual recap of it 😉 Congrats on your amazing finish time!

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