Saturday, May 17, 2008

"How Far will you Go?" Fargo Marathon

This is one of those races that I really wish I could do over…and maybe I will once all the states are completed. I woke up this morning and my throat was bad. I was in and out of the bathroom 3 times before we left for the bus. My only hope was that I would feel a bit better once I started running.

My wife and I met the other girls in the lobby of the hotel and drove over to the mall to catch the bus. It was about 47 degrees and not a cloud in the sky…a good day to run!

We got the bus and rode it to the FargoDome…in retrospect we should have just driven here ourselves but oh well. We did the customary bathroom stop (number 4 for me!) and milled around for a bit before heading out to the bag drop and the starting line.

This is my wife’s first attempt at a half marathon and I know she is going to do well. Her goal is sub 10 and she has a stretch goal of a sub 2 hour half. Both the half and the full start at the same time so we all line up together and the gun goes off…and we walk to the start line. There was about 5-7 thousand people between the two races so it was a bit of a bottleneck.

The race was very flat and I had been hoping for the last 2 weeks that I’d be able to break 5 hours…well it didn’t happen. I was going along pretty well until around mile 5-6 when I stopped for another bathroom break…and just to avoid the repetition I stopped again around 10, 14, 15, 19 and 23.

The course was great, the road not so much, the people were very nice and the neighborhoods we ran through were terrific! I saw many people outside partying and cheering on the runners…this community is really behind the race which was very nice to see. We ran through a number of parks and so many neighborhoods it was tough to count and there were people throughout the course ringing bells, offering support and some just watching. One of the local businesses even had flat Coke available to runners around mile 15!!

There were 2 Gu stops and I used them both but did not use one of my own…by that time I was walking and it seemed useless to use it then. I have to say that the Banana-strawberry Gu was rather tasty, much better than the mango Gu I had a couple of weeks ago.

Once I hit mile 19 I was done. I had been in and out of bathrooms too many times…I was run down…my throat was soar…and to be honest I really didn’t want to do this any more…but I’m 19 miles in. I can do 7 miles standing on my head practically…so I decided just to walk it out. Based on my rough numbers I would still be able to make it in less than 6 hours.

I talked with a number of people along the course and was surprised to hear how many were from Canada! I finally saw my wife at around mile 22. I immediately harassed her because she was not wearing her medal. She completed her race in 2:09:03!!! WOW, I was impressed! This is the same woman that just over a year ago said she would never be a runner and thought that the whole thing was rather dumb…now here she is a half marathoner!

I explained what was going on…told her I shouldn’t have started the race but at this point was going to complete it. She walked with me for about a mile and then said she would meet me on the flip side (there is a small loop to the North). We met back up around the 24 mile mark and she walked with me all the way to the FargoDome. I ran the last 0.2 in…just to show some effort. Completed the course in 5:58:09

That makes state number 12, 4 marathons for 2008 (so far), 2 marathons in the last 13 days…I’m tired and I think I’m going to take a small break.

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