Fargo Marathon 2012 Recap
Have you ever done something illogical for a person of the opposite sex? That is what this race was for me. A girl I met a couple months ago knocked herself silly on a tree out here in Utah and let us just say we have kept very much in touch since she lives in Minnesota. I had this great idea to join her in Fargo since she was running her first half-marathon and I particularly enjoy running. Since she suffered a severe concussion on the tree, she ended up walking the half in Fargo. She still finished which I thought was pretty awesome for someone who was unable to train in any manner. Perseverance gets you through anything.
Well this started on a whim that I would join her for the fun that is Fargo. The logo is Fast, Flat, Friendly. Having run the Country Music Marathon three weeks ago I was pretty scared terrified of this race. My quads mainly have felt heavy on all runs since Nashville. I haven’t had the bounce to my step that I so thoroughly enjoy. Yes, I also raced last weekend and did pretty well, but I still think I could have done better if it hadn’t been for Nashville. Having rolled my ankle pretty severely a week after Nashville or two weeks before the Fargo Marathon really couldn’t have helped my odds out either.
There were several factors that brought the fear into my system. First was the piss poor race I ran in Nashville. 4:35 marathon time really? I should have just stopped running all together after that time. I am better than that on my worst day, or so I believed. I also hadn’t even mentioned to anyone about my legs being heavy since I figured if I don’t say anything it can’t be true. Generally waking up every day they were still tired. I know REST is what my body was screaming, but I am 26 so still young, dumb, and invincible right? No worries, I will still believe that whole heartedly when I am 75. Age is just a number anyways.
I left work Thursday and flew to Minneapolis to cheer on Shanna, the girl I was going to see, in her one mile race she was doing that evening. She had to walk that one as well, and I could tell it really ate at her having to walk. I felt bad but was stoked for her to get out there and competed. She will bounce back might still be a few months away, but she will be running soon enough.
Like I mentioned above I pretty much don’t know how to rest. The training called for an easy 2 mile run. Since it is triathlon season though, I brought my wetsuit and wanted to get some swimming in. This is the land of 10,000 lakes or some nonsense like that. I am pretty bitter I only counted 38 lakes the entire time I was there. 10,000 pshhh they are tripping. Not to digress, Shanna thought it was rather funny I went out into the lake to swim. The water was rather chilly and I forgot my lube at her place. I only got about 1000 yards in according to my Garmin before the chaffing started on my neck. Since I was running a marathon the next day I opted to go back to land.
I brought my bag with my so I did a quick transition and was on my way to run a nice easy run. What should have been a nice stroll of around 9 min/mile pace I figured a 7:30 pace was what my body wanted. Of course though my legs were heavy the entire run but I had a nice stroll around one of the 38 lakes I country in Minnesota. Once I got back to her place it was time to pack up and become Fargo bound!
I had never been to North Dakota so I was extremely excited to head to Fargo. I know who gets excited about North Dakota right? Well due to Shanna’s whacked noggin, I ended up driving most of the way which was a pretty nice drive. In case you were wondering, yes, the wind does blow an awful lot in western Minnesota. We went straight to the Fargodome when we arrived to the beautiful metropolis that is Fargo, ND. It was packet pickup time. I was rather surprised/disappointed in the fact they did not have any safety pins for the bibs. So I took my usual dirtbag approach to this type of situations. I looked on the floor and found tons of them! Score I don’t have to buy / barter with anyone for safety pins. Regardless I got my bib and was ready to rock the race. Why yes that is my name I chose for the race.
It was pretty cool the fact they had the 5K race the night before. I had been tempted to sign up for it and run it leisurely, but I was super glad I did not. The heat there was just STUPID! It was like being in Nashville all over again. I would have died. Once we finally fought the traffic and got to Shanna’s Aunts hours it was time to rest.
An interesting thing the Fargo Marathon does is start the Half before the Full. I understand why they do this, but it still irritates me. If the heat had been the same as it was on Friday I would not have finished the race most likely. Thankfully a cold front moved in and start time temperature was around 60 degrees. Score! The full started at around 8:15 and there were not many people running it. I tried to do my usual routine of stretching and I ran about a half mile before the race to just stretch it all out.
I walked up to the start line roughly 5 minutes before it was to begin. There were people holding signs for corrals. I picked the 4ish hour corral since I figured I could shoot for that. Realistically, I was shooting for 3:45 or 3:40. I know I can do that time even though my PR of 4:23 does not reflect that.
The entire morning I had a fear of my legs being so heavy and once I nosed the start line the feeling hadn’t lifted. I was worried about my ankle, my hip, and my legs coming into this race. The funny thing is the ankle and hip is all on one side so at least I have 1 good side right? The first couple of miles went by without much.
I did my usual of telling myself to slow down. I was running roughly an 8:20 pace through the first 5K and I felt good. My legs were a bit heavy but I tried to tell myself they were not. The mental games I play with myself during a race is nearly insane I believe. I don’t know of the mental games other athletes play but I swear I play more with mine than others. I continued to pass people and get passed by others. Perfect it seems that this is where I wanted to be. The 60ish degree “heat” was perfect running weather as well.
Once I made it through the first 10K of the course I clocked though at still an 8:20 pace. I felt I was running really smart. I felt I could even write the book at this point on running smart. Talk about setting myself up for failure eh? The wind had died down so I felt I was on top of the world. Walking through each and every aid station to drink only water for filling up my sweet water bottle fanny pack I bought after Nashville.
Having such a terrible experience with Gatorade I knew I had to bite the bullet and purchase one. I had NUUN tablets in the water bottles and GU in the fanny pack. Talk about a good looking guy that’s for sure. Once I crossed the half marathon line I thought I had a realistic opportunity to smash my goal. I crossed the half at 1:51. What could possibly go wrong? This was the type of race I knew I could put together. Side note: 1:51 is my second fastest time for a half mary.
I knew I just had to stay together and continue telling myself that my legs were not tired. That is simple I figured. This was actually a really nice part of the race course as well. It was through a very residential area where a lot of people were cheering and just having fun. It was really good to see just an awesome vibe. It didn’t hurt that I was running along a lot of people wearing their BAA, Boston Athletic Association, gear on, which made me feel like a balla.
Around the 17 mile mark though my legs were screaming at me to walk and take a break. I tried a 45 second walk on each mile. When the GPS read 7:15 for my current mile I would walk until it read 8 minutes. This was a great strategy since my legs felt great after walking as well. The downfall is that I was also still walking through aid stations.
Sticking to this strategy for roughly 3 miles I still felt really good. Around mile 20 though my legs were telling me I will get in under 4 hours and I should start walking more. Stupid legs tricked me. I started taking two walk breaks, and after each break it was much more difficult to run that after the previous break. Clearly the thing I needed to fix this was food. I was saving my Bonk Breaker bar for mile 24. I figured a nice delicious random looking Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich is what my body would want. I went ahead and had half of it around mile 21. Only 5 miles left I could do this I thought.
Then at the 21.5 mile spot my saving grace appeared. People handing out PINEAPPLE! If you actually know me on a personal level you know I LOVE pineapple. That is like my favorite fruit ever. I still continued to crash and crash hard for that matter. At roughly the 24 mile mark I mentally wrote off the 4 hour mark. I knew I only had 2 miles left, but I was so tired and sore no way would I cross it in time. At about this point the 4 hour pace group passed me. If you want to talk about morally deflating that is it.
I tried to keep up with the group but my legs just would not move fast enough. I didn’t want to look like a fool and just fall down while chasing this group. So I did the next best thing, I walked and changed to a song that would lift my spirits. The whole time I was thinking there is no way I am letting that stupid 4:15 group pass me.
The stroll from there to the end of the race was a mere mental battle. It was mainly with my body wanting to run, but my legs screaming no. I finally convinced myself on the last half mile rest was for the weary and it was time to get my tail in gear and get to running. I paid the money to run so I better run. The finish was pretty uneventful except getting cut off by the relay team. The team opted to run across while holding hands. Pretty lame if you want my opinion. I totally should have played Red Rover with that group if I had been thinking in a clear mind.
Even though I was pretty stinking tired after the run, I got my medal on preceded to the snack line. Since I was tired and ready to call it a day I might have saw an opening in line and took it. I took 3 half pints of chocolate milk. Yes, I love chocolate milk more than anything. They also had cookie dough on the table which I was completely stoked on. I don’t know if I have ever had a better post race meal than chocolate milk and cookie dough.
After the race, my Garmin read off a time of 4:04:54. This is a PR by roughly 19 minutes. The time is also improved upon my Nashville time of 31 minutes. While I set a PR by almost 20 minutes, I was still rather bummed about it. I do want a 3:45 marathon time. I have kept that pretty much to myself until now. I will try again most likely in October. Now I will switch my focus to triathlons since apparently I seem to perform much better in those. Here I am relaxed and rather tired after the run. Always is a good day when you can run a marathon and set a PR. It might not be the fastest, but it is a PR regardless.