Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fargo: Race Report

After eating whatever I wanted for dinner last night at Friday's, dessert at Dairy Queen, and breakfast at McDonald's today, I guess I have thoroughly celebrated my calorie burning day at the Fargo Marathon. I'm ready to tell you all about it!

Right before we left to drive to Fargo, the McMillan Calculator and I had a serious discussion. With all of my determination to not worry about my time, I still needed to figure out if the 4:30 pace group was the right group for me. Since I've already done some racing this spring, I have some current times to put into the calculator. No matter what I put in, it kept spitting out 4:40 as a marathon finish time. That sealed it for me. I would start with the 4:30 pace group and hang with them as long as I could.

For all of my worrying about the weather, it couldn't have been better for running a marathon. The temperature was probably 36F for the start and couldn't have gotten too much over 40 by the end. It stayed cloudy with light winds. There were a lot fewer spectators than last year, when temps in the 70's and high humidity brought out the crowds. I love the spectators, and I felt sorry for them in the cold, but I couldn't have been more thankful for the weather yesterday.

Within a few miles, I knew I was in the right group. The pace was challenging enough that I didn't feel like I was going too slow but not so fast that I didn't think I could keep up for a good part of the race. I found another runner to chat with on and off and cruised through the first 13.1 miles feeling like I figured I was supposed to be feeling: tired but not struggling.

Each mile after, I just concentrated on keeping the pacer right in front of me. By mile 16, I knew I was going to have to lose him eventually. By the 17th mile marker, my Garmin said 17.44 miles. Being part of a large group, it wasn't possible to take the turns very tightly, so I'm sure this added distance. Because of the added distance, we were actually running closer to a 10 minute pace instead of 10:18. At mile 18, I made the conscious decision to slow down a little. At the mile 19 marker, the pace group was still only 20 yards ahead of me. You would think I would be happy, right? I was more like a scorned lover. I was done with them, knowing that I couldn't keep up. I didn't want to think about them any more. Having them ahead of me was a visual reminder that I was falling behind. By mile 22, I couldn't see them anymore and I was happy.

Miles 24 through 26 I ran around a 10:50 pace. I was tired. It was all I could do to keep myself running. I was thankful that there were many water stops along the way, often with more than one per mile. I walked through these and then got myself going again. I just wanted to be done.

Even though I was tired and hurting, I was not in pain. At TC Marathon, I was in pain, the kind of pain where you know your body is telling you something. Throughout this whole race, though, I was so happy that all of my parts seemed to be working. No back pain, no foot pain, not knee pain... I couldn't believe it. It made me so happy. All of the stretching and visits for ART have actually resulted in a pain free marathon. I don't mean that those last 6 miles didn't hurt, because they most certainly did, but it hurt like a marathon should. I came in at 4:34:35 with a smile!

So, I guess it's time to stack up the race against my goals. I did not shart myself. I did not worry about having to take a bathroom break, although I was thankful that I didn't have to. I talked with some other runners along the way and chatted with a couple of women that I had met at the Ron Daws 25K. I did not practice my race day phoblography, but only because I trusted my camera to my kids who promptly forgot it in the car. Oh, well. Most importantly, I felt like I ran the race that the day and my training brought me. It was hard, but I was happy. I know for certain I crossed that finish line with a big smile on my face.

Since we didn't have a camera at the race, here is a picture of me after we got back to the hotel. It had been a cold race, so you can see my lips are still purple.

Here is another one of Mike and I before I gorged myself at Friday's:

Next time I'll tell you what I thought of the Fargo Marathon as a race and whether I liked running with a pace group. Thanks for muddling your way through this long post and for all of your kind words and encouragement!


Chad said...

Nice job, Beth!!!

Velma said...

Nice work - it sounds like a very good experience. Great time, and I really like the shirt. Happy Mother's Day! I can't wait to hear more - sounds like there are a few pros and cons of pace groups.

jlou said...

Great job! I'm glad it was pain-free for you (and glad to know a pain-free marathon is possible).

Mark said...

Beth, congratulations! Finished with smile!! Plus you beat the McMillan calculator! Glad you're feeling good, looking forward to hearing how you feel about Fargo.

IronJenny said...

great post!!! Bobby says, "great job beth! Way to go!"
Love your report and not sharting is always a welcome feat! You looked great out there. Xoxo

Guy said...

Beth, big time congrats! Awesome race, and with the bonus of being pain-free. Of course, you had to show the shirt; WAY nicer than last years, and now I'm bummed I didn't run it :)

The Virtual Runner said...

Well done Beth. Sounds like it was a good run and it looks like it was too if your smile is anything to go by.

Sunshine said...


Our friend Shirley ran Fargo, too. (Sorry it isn't clickable)
She came from Florida in January and ran the Zoom Ya Ya Marathon in Northfield.

Looking forward to the rest of your report.
A million congratulations.

Jean said...

Excellent race, and a wonderful report, Beth! Congratulations to you. You must be quite pleased with your race after all the hard work and dedication you put in. I also agree with you completely about the weather. I found it ideal for running.

Nicely done, and way to go! :)

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Woohoo! Congrats on an amazing race, sounds like you did everything right, and finished strong! Well done!

Helen said...

Congrats Beth! nice job up there and great story. nothing better than crossing the finish line with a smile. recover well.

Dori said...

AWESOME race, Beth! You beat last year's time and the MacMillan prediction. Enjoy your recovery --you deserve it. :-)

Ali said...


You deserve every single calorie!

I Run for Fun said...

Congratulations! Great job and you met all your goals. Glad you found the right pace group and ran your own race in the end. And carb loading pays!

Nitmos said...

Great job! A very strong race. And you didn't shart yourself? Double bonus!