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Fargo Marathon Race Recap – Part 1

For me to say I wasn’t ready for this marathon would be a blatant lie. With all the miles I’d been accumulating up to this point, how could I not be ready? Granted, I only had one long run in this training period, and even that 17.49 miles was a reacher, to say the least. I wasn’t even prepared to undertake the long run that morning. I just let it happen because it had to happen, and the opportunity had presented itself.

So, can one run a marathon just because they can? At some point last season, I stumbled upon a few of my former running buddies at a local race. One of the women had commented, “You could pretty much run a marathon at any time, being that you run as much as you do, right?”

Perhaps, I thought.

But, no…not just perhaps. The answer should be an emphatic YES. It isn’t necessarily a question of whether I could run 26.2 miles on any given day. The question is how well I could run 26.2 miles on any given day.

That, my friends, is the million dollar question.

Run New Prague 2017 Top Ten Women's Results

Run New Prague 2017 Top Ten Women’s Results

A few weeks ago, I ran the New Prague Half Marathon. I pretty much fumbled through that race. I didn’t feel physically capable to run it, let alone place. As it turns out, I did place 1st in my age group, but I was beaten by a 55 year old and a 62 year old! However, they weren’t in my age group. Regardless, it was a less than stellar performance, on my part. I just got lucky.

I had planned for that to be my last true effort before Fargo, and as it turns out, it was. I managed a few 10 milers between that run and the marathon, but much like before Boston in 2016, I felt burned out from the training. It wasn’t until the final 2 or 3 runs I had just before the race, where I concluded that this was as ready as I would ever be for Fargo. And what would happen on race morning…we wouldn’t know until race morning. Because I had no idea in hell how I was going to run 26.2 miles.

Karmic Screen Shot

Karmic Screen Shot

We arrived in Fargo at around 5 pm the previous evening and decided to head straight to the Fargodome to pick up my bib. In fact, as I waited for my husband to finish his phone call as we left the building, I happened to look down, and the time on my phone read 5:29 pm. I took a screen shot of it, because that number represents my birthday, and I thought perhaps it was a sign. I’m not sure of what, but it seemed like good karma. My bib number for the race was 526. Pretty dang close to 529, too.

We did circle the expo more out of curiosity to see if we should have brought Charmed Running there. That was the original plan, but in the end, we just decided I would run. There weren’t too many vendors selling any kind of bling. We probably would have done pretty well, and with the experience we had with this race, we just might come back next year!

Both the packet pickup and race expo were a premier experience. It was all well organized, and despite our late arrival, there were no crowds and no waiting. There weren’t many marathoners registered, it would appear, since the bib numbers just went up to 2000. And as it turns out, the race results quoted a total of 1301 marathon finishers. That number is just a bit more than that which finished the Kansas City Marathon.

As usual, my husband rolled his eyes when I asked him to take some photos of me with my race bib, but after I reminded him, “Hey, it is publicity for Charmed Running!” his attitude quickly changed.

As I said earlier, we were out the door at 5:29 pm, and immediately set course for our downtown hotel room.

We arrived at the Scandia Hotel near 5:45 pm, finding it rather close to the Fargodome. This would be great for our early morning drive, as well as for my husband to get to and from the dome on race day. It wasn’t a fancy hotel by any stretch of the imagination, but the price was right, parking was free, and we were close enough to do some walking downtown. We decided that we would leave directly after the marathon, although I was rather disappointed. I was so looking forward to spending the evening in Fargo, enjoying the restaurants and getting some milage in after the run. I always do better if I keep those feet moving afterwards. Circumstances had changed for us, and my husband wanted to get home as soon as we could. But, should we return, I would have no hesitation staying at the Scandia again.

My husband has some business to attend to as soon as we checked in. I was getting anxious to get out and fetch some dinner because I was hoping for an early bedtime. As it turned out, we didn’t get out of there until about 7 pm. But we did get a few miles of walking in, plus had a nice meal at a local restaurant called “Twist”. I even had a cocktail, which I usually don’t do before a marathon, but I truly wasn’t anticipating running a good race, so I figured what the hell.

 

By the time we arrived back at the hotel, it was close to 9 pm. And it took me a full hour to wind down and crawl into bed.

With the start line being as close as it was, I decided a 4:45 am wake up would leave plenty of time for me to get it all together before a 7 am starting gun…or at least I hoped. I didn’t even bother taking a “flat me” photo. I’m not sure why, I just wasn’t feeling this marathon. Maybe because I felt so unprepared for it.

I didn’t get the best night’s sleep. The room was warm, and my husband closed the window early to keep out the street noise. But, apparently I got enough since I was able to function in the morning. Not being able to poop pre-race, however, was my biggest issue. And although it stressed me out at first, I decided if I have to stop during the run, well, then I’d have to stop. It wasn’t going to be a stellar event for me, in my honest opinion.

We arrived at the dome with plenty of time to spare. And, parking was ample and free. Starting the race inside the dome was a Godsend, as it was rather chilly outside. The temperature was hovering around 48°. I was grateful I brought my throw away sweatshirt for the run. I was going to need it.

Where’s Waldo?

Only the runners were allowed down in the starting area, so my husband bid me farewell at about 6:40 am. “Have a good run!” he said, as I looked at him disparagingly. I hugged and kissed him, he asked me what was wrong. I asked him to pray for me.  He chuckled and said, “Of course.”

I entered the starting corral and made my way to the front of the line. I settled in behind one of the pacers, but I wasn’t sure which since I already had my sunglasses on, and I couldn’t see worth a damn. My husband texted me to tell me he made his way into the stands above me and to look up and wave, which I did.

They said The Lord’s Prayer (a nice touch, and rarely heard at an event of this nature), and sang both the Canadian National Anthem and our National Anthem. Then the wheelchair racers were sent off, and we followed some 3 minutes later. It was 7:03 am.

Time for marathon #8…

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Fargo Marathon Race Recap!

The Fourth Time is NOT the Charm. #GetLuckyMN 2017 Race Recap

My husband woke me up one minute before my fitbit alarm was scheduled to wake me.

Huh?

Odd. I guess that means he’s coming with me. I wasn’t quite sure what the story was as it wasn’t discussed in full the night before. My girls had a busy day ahead of them, and if my husband were going to come along, we would have to drop them off at their first stop of the day an hour ahead of schedule. But they assured us it would be OK and that the school would be open. Since that was the case, we all loaded up at 7am and were on our way.

The temperature was nothing like they told us it would be earlier in the week. In fact, take that number and subtract 15. Yeah, 15 WHOLE degrees. If the initial forecasted number were 70°, that 15° would be a God send. But with the starting number at 25°, it was a wee bit disconcerting. I was smart enough to check the weather before I dressed in the morning and I rethought everything from scratch as far as what to wear. I donned a pair of capris under a pair of full length tights, plus calf sleeves, and my woolen toe socks. I added an extra tank under a turtleneck top, and my Under Armour thermal sweatjacket…in green, of course. I had my Get Lucky knit cap on, plus a Get Lucky gaitor from last year’s event. This year, we were promised a new style at the end of the race. But we ended up getting it at the start. I suppose that was because it was so damn cold.

I decided last minute to tote along two water bottles on my waist belt. In the end, though, that would prove to be futile. More to come on that later.

I also packed some warm, dry clothes for changing into after the race. Apparently I’ve learned something about running hard on a cold Minnesota morning.

I made a batch of Keto OS Bulletproof coffee, and we were out the door.

First stop, drop off the kids. Next stop, St. Paul to run my fourth consecutive Get Lucky Half Marathon. In actuality, this was my 5th Get Lucky in a row, but the first year, I ran the 7K in downtown Minneapolis. That one I don’t count.

Last year, it was the unprecedented warmth that made the event a stand out. This year, it would seem, would be the unprecedented cold. Yeah…cold. In fact, dare I say, it was more uncomfortably cold than the Polar Dash on January 1! This was the kind of cold that settled deep into your bones. Plus the fact that the race began 15 minutes later than it was scheduled meant a quarter of an hour of standing around with temperatures barely in the teens. I was just about to the point where I was ready to snuggle up to the nearest guy at the starting line just to absorb some body heat.

Get Lucky Start – 2017

We were told that all the barricades were not yet in place. The race venue was changed yet again this year. And I was a little miffed at myself for not taking a closer look at it before the run. Not that it really mattered. But, preparation was not my strong point for this run. I did everything so half assed, I’m surprised we even made it to the event at all.

The only saving grace about the Get Lucky event this year were the unlimited amount of indoor heated bathrooms at CHS stadium. I was only too grateful for that.

According to my Runmeter, the race start was delayed 12 minutes, and the temperature was a dismal 10°. We were crammed into a stairwell of sorts at the start line. This made me glad I started way up front. But the twists and turns to get out of the stadium were enough to make me slightly nauseous, followed by a  downhill jaunt to get to the riverfront (this told me that the final few yards were regretfully going to be uphill). I had no idea where we were headed. I just kept an eye on the runners ahead of me for guidance. There were pacers, but I didn’t keep track of any of them. I just turned my audio book on and put blinders on for the entire 13.1 miles. I had my runmeter running, but my updates turned down, so I hadn’t a clue how fast I was running, or how slow, for that matter. I just ran.

It didn’t take me too long to recover from standing around in the cold. Everything above my ankles was in pretty good shape.

The worst thing for me about having a delay at the start line is the damage it does to my feet. Of course, once they go numb, I don’t have a problem. It is when the feeling comes back that I’m pretty certain I’m going to pass out. The pain is unbearable. I had to wonder when the feeling came back somewhere between miles 5 and 6 if anyone else was undergoing the same pain that I was.

I could actually feel the numbness traveling through my forefeet and out through my toes, as if squeezing five tubes of toothpaste at one time. Once all the toothpaste was out, I was perfectly fine. But as I said above, it took 6 miles…just about halfway…before I felt like I had any kind of relief.

I passed by all the water stops knowing I had water in my belt but I had no thirst whatsoever. And, I had no desire to fuel at the halfway point. I don’t know if this was because I didn’t want to take my windproof mittens off to fish it out of my pouch, or if I just didn’t care. To be honest, I believe it was the latter.

Besides, the fluids in my water bottles were now frozen. I could get them opened if I wanted to. Oy…

I played catch up and retreat with a few runners for the final six miles. But by the final 3, I had lost them all. We caught up to the runners and walkers of the other two distances running that morning; the 14K and the 7K. At the turnaround of the 14K, the traffic was minimal, but the contestants in the 7K were nothing short of a human bottleneck. I remember reading on the event website, the plea made to the walkers of the 7K to “KEEP TO THE RIGHT” for the sake of those running the other events. Apparently, no one else read that plea. It was serpentine…weaving through the crowds… the entire final 2 miles of the run. I swear it turned 2 miles into 4. To make matters worse, once we entered the stadium for our final trot to the finish, there was nothing but wall to wall people being stuffed through a 10 foot wide finish line funnel. NOT fun. I was so cold and uncomfortable and THIRSTY, I didn’t care. I just pushed my way through.

Pushing my way through the bottleneck.

Still, it cut a minute or two off my time. My garmin was dead, and I turned off my runmeter. It said something a little over 1:45:00. Good enough! I kept plowing ahead, just wanting to find my husband and get the heck out of there.

They shuffled us up and out of the stadium. This meant walking UP stadium stairs after running a brutal 13.1. miles. I emerged where the half marathon medals were being handed out, and managed to swipe an extra for Delaney. Then I spied the beer truck and considered grabbing a frosty one for my husband. But the line was long, and I was cold. I texted him and he told me he’d meet me at the entrance.

All done! Metal earned…

Somehow we found each other. All the while, I was trying to open my hydration bottles with no luck whatsoever. They were frozen shut. After he snapped my finish photo, he said they were handing out snack packs and water a little further down and I should just grab a bottle of water there. In fact, he had already grabbed a snack pack for himself, God love him.

The crowds were more than thick, and getting through was a chore in itself. I managed, though, and even spotted him waiting for me outside the stadium. We didn’t waste a stitch of time. He threw his coat over my shoulders. I was so blessed cold.

The walk seemed longer back to the car than it did earlier that morning in the opposite direction. By the time we reached the parking garage, my fingers were frozen and beginning to burn like my feet did earlier that morning. Still, I stripped down, put the dry clothes on, and we worked to warm up my hands while heating the car up, before heading out of town.

What a catastrophe for Team Ortho. I feel kind of bad for them. There was just no understanding as to how the event would end with such a bottleneck with the staggered starts. Too many people in a tight space all at once. Bummer. Good thing I didn’t much care. For me, it was just another run. And I was happy this one was over.

We had to make a few stops on the way home. I just sat in the warm car. This made it far worse to get out when we arrived home. In fact, walking at all the next few days was quite a chore. Was it the cold? Was it because I overtrained? Or is it because I’m just getting old. Yeah. Probably all three factored into this equation.

Race Results

Seeing I ended up first in my age group was a bonus. Who would have believed it. I ran pretty quickly, in fact. I was quite shocked to see my average pace just over 8:00 per mile. No wonder I was so darn sore.

I’m still recovering, in fact. Over a week later. I feel like I did after I ran my very first half marathon. I haven’t been this sore in years after a run. Just goes to show you…what, I don’t know. But it just goes to show you.

I did get my Manhattan that night. Sometimes, that makes it all worthwhile.

Time to move on. Recovery’s a bitch. So is winter in Minnesota.

Yup. Time to move on.

Was I Ready to Get Lucky?

These days, I’m not as anal about running events as I used to be. In fact, it is safe to say the thrill is gone. More than likely it is because I haven’t been thrilled about my running.

Autophagy: Eat Yourself Silly.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT a nutritionist. I am an athlete and a runner. And I like to look good and feel good. All of this information in these blog posts comes from my own personal experiences. It has worked for me. Consult your own physician before attempting any major life changes. Educate yourself first and foremost.

This is a 3-part blog post. Find part 1 here. Find part 2 here.

A Lesson In Abstinence

Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT a nutritionist. I am an athlete and a runner. And I like to look good and feel good. All of this information in these blog posts comes from my own personal experiences. It has worked for me. Consult your own physician before attempting any major life changes. Educate yourself first and foremost.

This is a 3-part blog post. Find part 1 here. Find part 3 here.

7 days. 7 whole days. Maybe that was pushing the gamit. But I decided to give it a try.