Fargo is about 5 hours northwest of where I live, so it was quite a drive to the race. My sister and I left for Fargo on Friday. It was a LONG drive, but we made the best of it, and I tried to keep Anne entertained with my AMAZING singing!! At one point, I was laughing so hard I was crying, mainly because my singing was just that bad! Haha!
When we got to Fargo, we went directly to the expo and packet pick-up. Picking up our race packets was the easiest thing ever! They just wanted your bib number, and didn't even ask for any identification, not a waiver in sight!
Lines were short, but there were a TON of people at the venue. After picking up our bibs, we made our way to pick up our race shirts. Again, there was hardly a line! The race shirts are probably some of the most unique shirts I have ever seen! They are very colorful (remind me a little of the 80's), and have the official race artwork on the back! This war the 10th anniversary of the Fargo Marathon, and everything had a giant 10 on it to celebrate!
Under Armour had a huge area at the expo with all of their clothing, and lots of race specific merchandise. It was fun to see another brand representing at a race!
We made our way into the expo area, and while the packet pick-up and shirt pick-up areas were wide open and spacious, the expo area was jam-packed with people. It was really just too small of a space, for all of the vendors and people. It was hard to enjoy it because you were literally just being knocked around. It was VERY hot in the arena too.
There were 2 Fargo based running stores at the expo that were selling some really cool race merchandise. One (I completely forgot the name of!) had everything printed on Nike gear, and had some really unique logos, etc. I was going to buy a DryFit shirt with really cute Fargo logo, but the crowds were making me crazy, and I just wanted to get out of there.
Before leaving the expo, we just had to stop and see my hometown girl, Stacy, from Punkeelove Headbands! She is always so much fun, and such a sweetheart! I seriously love this lady, and love her headbands!! They are made in the U.S.A and her business is located right in Kato! We talked racing for a bit, and I found out that she will be running Wine and Dine in the fall!! Woot! This is amazing news, and I am so excited to see her down there and have her meet a lot of you!
After buying a couple of Punkeelove headbands, we headed to our hotel. During check-in we asked about the possibility of a late check-out, so we could come back to the room and shower after the race. We were met with a big "NO!" which meant that we would have to figure something else out. We were, to say the least, a little put out.
After studying the maps for parking, we decided we better drive around and figure out how we would be getting to the race the next morning. The map provided to us was so messed up!! We drove around in circles for quite sometime. Google maps on my phone would not recognize Fargo, and kept telling me I was in California (I wish!!). My sister's Garmin seemed to be drunk and also would not accept the addresses we tried to feed into it. So, we were stuck with the map, and my navigation skills.
We did eventually figure out how we were getting to the race, and where we were going to park. I felt better knowing we had a plan, because race-morning-Anne can be quite a stress, and I don't need anymore stress pre-race then I already have!!
We ate dinner, got our race clothing set and went to bed, after watching a little "Say Yes to the Dress". We had decided to get to our parking spot early, so we would miss the traffic and be sure to get a spot, so we were up really early, and were one of the first cars in the parking lot. It was only 37 degrees and I was worrying about my outfit choice. Luckily, I had saved my space blanket from DC and happily napped under it while we waited in the car.
Runners needed to be on the bridge an hour before the start of the race! It was super crowded, and the whole corral-system they were using was pretty much not working. Anne and I decided to just jump the fence into the corral, instead of walking another 2 blocks in a hugs crowd in the wrong direction!
I followed Anne up to her corral (there were no formal corrals), this was mistake #1 for me!! Anne is trying to run a sub-2 hour half, so we lined up there…. I am nowhere near this! The wait for the start of the race was so long and so cold! The wind was blowing and my tinfoil blanket wasn't providing enough warmth. I was freezing! I was also super nervous! I had suffered charlie horses in both calves throughout the week, and my calves were so tight! I have also been battling allergies, and am just really run down from trying to breathe in enough oxygen to survive!! I knew from the start it was going to be a rough race!
It seemed like an eternity until the starting gun went off, but once it did we took off fast!!! There was no way to slow down, the course was very tight, and since there were cars parked on the sides of the road, there was really no place to pull over and try to get into my pace! I was just pushed along. My legs were burning, and I was having trouble breathing already by mile 1. I knew I was going out too fast, but there was nothing I could do, there was simply not enough room to slow down!
Miles 1-6 went by really fast, but I was suffering, I was hurting and I was getting scared, knowing that I would never be able to keep this pace up for the rest of the race!
The course was really interesting, it is mainly run through residential areas, and was TONS of crowd support! Lots of people were having parties on their lawns, and the course was lined with music and bands! It was quite a scene!! There were many corners on this very flat race, which made it interesting because you never really knew where you were headed.
At mile 7 the 2:15 pacer ran past me!! Holy shit! I was going TOO FAST!! This is where I mentally fell apart! Running for me is such a mental struggle, always has been, and I have a lot of negative self talk that I have to block out. I was unable to block it anymore and it kind of took over everything.
I stopped to use the bathroom at around mile 7.5 and thought I had pulled myself together a bit. Mile 9 came and I was feeling better, I was finally settling into my own pace and relaxing a bit. But by mile 10 I was done, I just didn't have anything in me, nothing left.
I glanced at my Garmin and was on point for a PR, if I could maintain a 10 minute mile for the next 3 miles. Normally this would have pushed me, but I was seriously done. Mentally and physically, I was beat, I just wanted to lay down in the street and take a nap.
I ended up walking a good majority of miles 11, and 12. I just couldn't get my body to go….it was so frustrating!
I made it to mile 13, and was overcome with joy that soon this race would be over! I powered through the finish line with mixed emotions. I was proud that I finished, but upset, knowing I could have done better.
Anne was waiting for me at the finish line, she had run a PR..again!! I am so proud of what she has accomplished, but at the moment, it only made me feel worse about my poor finish.
All I wanted to do was sit down and get away from the crowds. 22, 000 people ran this race, and it was super crowded from start to finish. I just wanted some space. BUT… we had to walk to our car, which thanks to the fucked up Fargo map, was over a mile away from the finish line, even though the map shows it being just across the street!!!
After finally sitting down, I was happy to have finished another half marathon, and proud of myself for pushing through all of my negative self talk. I was very proud of Anne for her strong finish (2:03).
The day had heated up really fast, and it was in the upper 60's and very sunny when I finished. We both stunk, and needed a shower! Remember that we couldn't get a late check-out at our hotel? Yeah. It would have really sucked to drive over 5 hours home in stinky! Being very resourceful, the night before the race I decided to see if Fargo had a Planet Fitness, as a member I can use any Planet Fitness in the country!! Luckily they did, and we were able to shower at the gym before having a quick lunch and heading home!
Overall it was a good experience, and a lovely race. Both the course, and the weather were beautiful, the race gear was amazing, and the expo, while too crowded was plentiful!
Now it is back to training for me, my next race is in 21 days!! After completing that, I will be 1/2 finished with my 2014 goal of running 14 half marathons! Woo!!