My week of vegan eating ended successfully. I am not still eating vegan. I knew that right before the half marathon and while traveling it would provide more challenges than the benefits it would provide. I drove Friday afternoon speeding along I-94 headed towards Fargo. The drive was uneventful but it was an unusually hot day. I stopped at Wal-mart bought bananas, an apple, pineapple and sunscreen. The 95 degree weather made me fear a sunburn. My pale white Minnesota winter skin is not ready for 95 degree blaring sunshine. The last thing I wanted was to run looking like a lobster. I sprayed myself down in the parking lot, wind challenging me, blustering the spray anywhere but near my skin. Finally, I figured out that if I held the can six centimeters from my skin it would get to where I wanted it to go. Sunburn avoided.
I arrived in Fargo two hours ahead of my friend who was driving in from the Western end of the state. They blamed my “maniac” driving, I blame their slow poke attitude and a time change not quite coordinating our arrivals properly. It worked out to both our benefit because while I waited, I went to pick up our packets. I checked into the dorms and walked over to the Fargo Dome where the packet pick up expo was held. The signs hanging read Welcome to Fargo, Get Ready to Rock and other advertising around the event. The Fargo Marathon is sponsored by Scheels in partnerships with other companies like UPS. Our bags were reusable backpack style bags that are neon green and blue. It was really fun that and earth friendly that it’s not just a plastic bag. This is now my third or fourth race where this has been the case and I really enjoy it. It compliments the hippie runner I believe I am in spirit. Not always in practice, but spirit yes.
The race was the next morning at 7:30 a.m. By then the weather adjusted back to normal May temperatures and perfect running temperatures. It was humid from the rainstorms before but the wind helped alleviate the sweat that quickly piled on to my face. The course takes you through residential areas of Fargo. This is great for two reasons. It’s flat. The crowd is awesome. Seriously, the crowd was awesome. Signs were clever, such as You Trained Longer for This Than Kim Karadashian’s Marriage! There were numerous bands, DJ stations blaring music and one Elvis Impersonator in his lawn providing great moves. Many times it was so LOUD I couldn’t even hear my own iPod. My GPS location threw itself off and by mile 6, it was routing me almost a mile ahead of where I actually was on the race course. This was my own fault for not resetting it and just thinking eh it will be fine. Instead, it proved really demotivating because I realized I wouldn’t make my sub 2 hour goal time. I was on pace until mile 6. Then I slowed down and couldn’t get myself going faster partly because my GPS led me to believe I WAS on pace. It was a combination of my own stubborn behavior. I wanted to believe the GPS was right. It wasn’t. I probably could have attempted to finish in sub 2 but by mile 11 I was so mad because I was convinced I couldn’t do it. There was no way I was going to finish the last two miles in at a 7 mile pace. My chip time was 2:03.
I learned two things from this experience. I need to change how I train for these races if I want to break below two hours. I need to work on the last 7 mile push versus trying to start off strong and then fall apart by mile 10. This was still a strong race for me in terms of time. This is my 7th half marathon. This is my third fastest time. I am confident that I can hit below two hours, I just need to figure out how to make it happen.
The best part of this trip was seeing my best friend. Watching her finish her second half marathon and knowing that the proud feeling I have for her she had for me. I’ve now added my 8th state!
Fargo puts on a great half marathon. If you want a well organized, fun, awesome crowd race, I would recommend this one.