Greetings from beautiful 70 degree Minnesota!
I know you’re probably thinking I got married or something on October 10 last year, but you’re wrong. Last year on 10/10/09, picture this:
Where: Fargo, ND (I’m sure this brings some image or stereo-type to mind)
When: 10/10/09 (I guess we’ve already established that)
Weather: about 20 degrees with very light snowflakes for an 8am start (because we all know I LOVE to talk about weather)
Why: Lisa wanted to run a half marathon. Lisa has a best friend named Nicole who happens to live in Fargo. Fargo had an inaugural fall half marathon last year. Perfect. Nicole would run the 5K, Lisa would train for her first half. If she failed miserably, she could still spend a lovely (or freezing) weekend in Fargo with Nicole and run the 5K.
Now to be fair, Fargo (or Minnesota for that matter) isn’t normally that cold that early in the fall. And, snow is rare before Halloween. We didn’t actually get enough snow that day to even turn anything white.
I wasn’t blogging last year, so I’ve decided to take a “better-late-than-never” approach to a race report. I’m sure a lot of pertinent details might be forgotten, but you’ll get the idea. Here we go…
- But before I start, let me just say congratulations to all the bloggers I know who ran the Chicago Marathon today. You rock. Yes, you. And, I’m looking forward to reading your race reports much more than I’m looking forward to writing my own out-dated one 😉
Inaugural Fargo-Moorhead Half Marathon – Fargo, ND
This being my first half (and actually my first race longer than a 5K) I decided to take a conservative approach to pacing. Survival. My plan was to try to not start out too fast, because I’d done enough pre-race research to know that’s a death trap. I also knew not to try anything new (no new foods, clothes, shoes, etc) on race day. So armed with these good tips, I nervously toed the start line. For the 20 degree weather, I had donned a lot of clothes:
Bottom Half: running tights, shorts, regular socks and my Nike’s.
Top Half: sports bra, long sleeve wicking shirt, short sleeve white shirt, Adidas wind breaker, light gloves and hat.
The hat and gloves were things I had never worn before (gasp!) because it just hadn’t been that cold during my training. I later realized a fleece headband over my ears would have probably been enough, but the hat didn’t really bother me either.
Miles 1-2: Things were good. I got pretty warmed up after the first few miles, and was keeping a steady pace. I had no watch, no garmin and no rational idea of how fast I was going. I figured it might be better this way. I hadn’t really timed myself on any of my long training runs, so this was probably a good approach. Not many spectators, but the ones who were out were loud and encouraging.
Miles 3-5: I went through the first water stop – jogging slowly – and just had some water. I had Jelly Belly Sports Beans with me (I have since decided they aren’t really my favorite) and had a few of those before each water stop too. Still feeling good, but a bit lonely. I noticed that many people were running in groups of 2 or more, and I was just – me. It wasn’t really a bad feeling, but I still felt like it might be nice to have a sister, friend or teammate with me when the going got tough.
Miles 6 – 8 I think mile 8 was the point my legs started getting tired, but nothing serious. Right after the mile 8 water stop, I can still see the runner in front of me telling a volunteer that he had to quit. He was a fit and speedy looking younger guy, but I guess he just wasn’t feeling quite right. This shook my confidence . “If a guy like that who looks like he belongs here has to quit, how am I going to make it??” But, I was feeling good, so I chugged along.
Miles 9 – 12 – Things got tougher as I went, and I was actually getting cold by this point. (guess I didn’t put on too many clothes) The course was pretty along the Red River, but a cold wind was whipping around and my hands were ice. I wished for thicker gloves.
Mile 13 – At this point I was on auto-pilot. I was tired, but I felt much better than the previous few miles because I knew I was almost there. A small uphill brought me in sight of the finish line, where Nicole was waiting for me!
My realistic goal was to finish under 2:20. I’ll leave my unrealistic goal un-named because I truthfully don’t remember what it was. My final time was 2:17:04, and I’m still proud that I didn’t stop to walk a single step. I even ran the water stops, which probably slowed me down as I sloshed powerade all over myself. While my time is nothing spectacular, slower than average, it’s still my time and I earned it.
I was feeling good in a few hours. Gone were the “what the heck was I thinking” thoughts, and I decided more and faster races were in my future.
And for the good part; here’s some pictures. Please be kind and realize A) I just finished running 13.1 miles and B) These are actually some of my better looking race photos.
Yes – there is a cow on my shirt and it says “Got 13.1?” I designed and ordered it online because I decided I needed a lucky race shirt.
Care to share about a time when you accomplished something you never thought you would do?