Fargo Half Marathon Race Report
Friday I headed over to the Fargodome to pick up my race packet, check out the expo, and take in a bit from the motivational speakers. This was the biggest race I was going to be participating in and I wanted to take it all in. Sarah Reinertsen was one of the motivational speakers and she did an awesome job. A couple things she said that will always stick with me:
- "A DNF is a whole lot better than a DNS."
- "Two ways to stay motivated:
- Register for the event, and
- Tell everyone you know about the event you are going to do."
Saturday morning I was up early and ready to go. The marathoners and half marathoners were to start at 8am, with the 5kers shortly behind at 8:15. They suggested everyone to be at the Fargodome around 7am as the traffic was going to be horrible. Horrible it was. There were thousands and thousands of people at the dome. I took the time to take it all in ... the people, the atmosphere....
Before long, I was checking my bag and finding my way to the starting line. I found the 5 hour pace group and squeezed myself into the group, towards the back. A guy with an amazing voice sang O Canada and then our National Anthem. The temperature was approximately 50 with a slight breeze. The sun was shining and I couldn't wait to start. The wheelchair racers took off first and shortly after we were moving. The Mayor of Fargo and Senator Kent Conrad were there to wish us luck and send us on our way ... along with the music of U2 blaring ... "A Beautiful Day." A beautiful morning it was.
Mile 1 - 4: I found a great group of ladies to pace myself with. I ran the entire first 4 miles without stopping .. but at a very slow pace. The crowds were amazing. The first 2 miles was through the residential area of North Fargo. So many people, yelling, shouting, encouraging. Even Subway Jared was on the sideline cheering us on! Into mile three we were starting to head into downtown Fargo and ran down Broadway and onto historic 8th Street. There were people playing music in their yards, music from their stereos, music from an old man's keyboard, music from their own band... We passed what I believe to be a retirement home and there were a handful of older people line dancing ... for entertainment.
Mile 5-8: I was still feeling pretty good. I was taking a few more walk breaks than I did in the first 4 miles. The crowds were still impressive. People were cheering, kids were screaming and begging to give high fives! The volunteers were awesome. At about mile six, we were warned that the marathoners were coming through. Cyclists, followed by a couple cop cars were leading the two that were in the lead for the marathon. I am guessing that they were at about the 15 mile marker. Head to head, a white guy and a Kenyan. There were only two Kenyan's participating in this race, and supposedly the other Kenyan was participating in the half marathon and finished in 1:04 something. Amazing. It was so cool to see them pass by! By mile 7 my groin muscles were getting a bit sore and the feeling of blisters on my feet were becoming apparent. At about mile 8 there was a GU station, which was perfect for me because when I checked my bag, I forgot to take out my sports beans. I know they say you should never try something new the day of a race, but I needed it ... and it wasn't bad! We crossed a bridge over into Moorhead and headed back up north, crossing another bridge back into Fargo. The second bridge had a handful of Norwegians dressed in their attire and dancing to their music. There was even an older lady handing out lefse pieces to the racers ... mmm sugar and butter rolled into a tortilla made from potatoes... I wanted one so bad but didn't want to stop.
Miles 9-10: The feet were starting to hurt more. I was afraid the blisters that had formed were getting worse and possibly bleeding. But, I persevered... maybe with more walking, but I kept going.
Miles 11 - 13.1: These two miles took us through north Fargo, once again. I was hurting. I was doing a lot of walking. A lot of walking; more walking then running. If I wouldn't have been dealing with the excruciating pain from the blisters, I probably could have ran more. At this point, the ND wind was starting to pick up. The crowds were still out and cheering and letting everyone know how much they had left. I remember turning that last corner and then heading into the Fargodome parking lot... rounding yet another couple corners and before I knew it, we were heading down into the the dome ... the finish line was inside the dome with thousands and thousands of spectators cheering everyone on ... we were pictured up on all four jumbotrons. Despite the pain in my feet and the soreness in my legs, I kicked it up a couple gears and finished strong.
That, my friends, was my goal.
Post-race: After running across the finish line, I realized I forgot to throw my arms up and smile. I was in such a zone, I couldn't even remember my finish time. A handful of volunteers were handing out water bottles and then the finisher medals. Congrats they all said. I picked up my bag and grabbed a banana. They served bananas, orange slices, nutter butter bars, ice cream sandwiches, etc. It was great. I wanted to stay and cheer on some more racers, but I was afraid that if I sat, I wouldn't be able to get up. I headed home and attempted to take an ice bath, pop a couple ibuprofens and ate a nice lunch before taking a good nap.
I want to give a huge thanks to the race director, all the volunteers, and all the spectators along the race. Without the wonderful work of all these people, the race wouldn't have been the exciting race it was. I also want to thank all of you readers, family, friends, for supporting me through my training ... the ups and downs... positives and negatives ... especially the challenges and frustrations of minor glitches...
Half Marathon - 2008
May 17th, 2008 - Fargo, ND
|overall place:||3416 out of 3690|
|division place:||423 out of 449|
|gender place:||1907 out of 2145|
|gun time :||3:05:10|
Once I get the pics via email... I will try to post some ... hoping that they are decent!
If anyone is looking for a great Boston Qualifier race that is mostly flat, good temperatures, and a great atmosphere ... this would be it! This race has been in existance since 2005, increasing in participants from approximately 2,000 then, to 13,000 today. Last year they only had 9,000. I can only imagine what next year will be like.
Heck I might even do it again. I do have a PR to break now, ya know! I can't believe I just admitted that.....