Race Report: Grand Forks Marathon 2016

Friday, 09/23: Marathon Eve

The kids and I made an errands trip to drop-off/pick-up library books, stop at the auto parts store and pick up my race number and expo goodies. Besides a brief 3-year-old meltdown in the bathroom of the race expo, all went well.

The Grand Forks Marathon (a.k.a. Wild Hog) has some of my favorite "race swag". I have quite the collection of Fitsoks and drink glasses from the last few years! The marathon jacket is awesome and I hope they continue to have those for full marathoners in the future.

In an effort to eat something boring that wouldn't bother my stomach for race day, we picked up sandwiches at Subway for lunch and delivered one to daddy in the field.

We had a chill afternoon, I actually took a little nap with our youngest, and my parents arrived later that night to stay over. I slept so hard!!! It was wonderful... a million times better than our sleepless hotel experience before the Fargo Marathon.

Saturday, 09/24: Race Day

4:00 AM - After a decent night of sleep (youngest only woke once), I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The night prior I had set out all of my clothes, outfits for the kids, their snacks and all of my race stuff so the morning required very little thought. I made eggs and toast for Leo and myself along with a pot of coffee. My parents would stay with the kids and drive to the race later in the morning.

5:15 AM - Leo and I left for the race. He tried to sleep on the way down and I drove while drinking my coffee and bumpin' the radio tunes. Needless to say, he didn't get much rest because I can't quit talking. The roads were wet and the weather was misty but it certainly wasn't raining!

6:15 AM - We arrived at the race and they opened the doors to our warm up building. We wandered, of course I used the bathroom numerous times and we enjoyed our time being "just the two of us". Anytime without the kids in tow is a date, right?!

7:00 AM - I headed over to line up and Leo left to join up with my family. My original plan was to stick with the 3:35 group but my plan changed to start with the 3:25's and stick between those two pacing herds. The national anthems were sung and it was go time. (Ate Gel #1 prior to lining up)

7:15 AM - And we're off!!! I stuck close with the 3:25 group and resisted the urge to take off on fresh legs. Been there, done that... it certainly didn't work out well for me in Fargo!

I ran smarter this time and our group stuck together for the first 13 miles of the race. This was the best pace group I have ever ran with. People shifted positions as we encountered water stops, etc, but generally we all ran well together in a 3:25 mob. Running with people is so fun! (says the mostly solo runner)

Mile 1 - 7:42
Mile 2 - 7:43
Mile 3 - 7:45
Mile 4 - 7:44
Mile 5 - 7:43
Mile 6 - 7:43

The first few miles were on a wide open country highway with sugar beets growing on both sides. It was very windy out there and we spent many of those miles running into a headwind. I tried to keep a positive outlook and appreciated the fact that there were no beet trucks driving down the road yet. Starting October 1st, they will be everywhere!

We had a jaunt on wet gravel roads. My shoes acquired some gravel inside them but it felt good to get my legs a little dirty. That's the closest I've been to "trail running" in a loooong time.

Mile 7 - 7:41
Mile 8 - 7:44 (Gel #2)
Mile 9 - 7:40
Mile 10 - 7:47
Mile 11 - 7:40
Mile 12 - 7:50
Mile 13 - 7:37

Somewhere around the halfway point our pacers switched out (they were a relay team of 2). When our first guy left, our 3:25 herd fell apart! From then on, I lagged behind the new pace guy and occasionally had the company of one or two other marathoners.

On a couple stretches, we shared the road with some half marathoners and/or maybe 10k'ers. The company was nice but it was also a bit of a problem as they were walking in the middle of the road, unaware of the marathon groups trying to pass them.

My family was waiting for me around mile 15 and it was wonderful to see them! That definitely gave me an extra boost in motivation.

Mile 14 - 7:38
Mile 15 - 7:45
Mile 16 - 7:51 (Ate fruit snacks)
Mile 17 - 7:51
Mile 18 - 7:59
Mile 19 - 7:55

By now my breathing still felt easy but my legs... they were ON FIRE. Maybe it was the amount of up-and-down little hills that we ran or maybe I should have more diligently foam rolled before the race. Who knows. All I know is my quads were aflame.

Go ahead, all of you mountain runners can laugh at the North Dakotan "hills" :)

Mile 20 - 8:03 (Ate GU gel from aid station around this point)
Mile 21 - 8:16
Mile 22 - 8:12
Mile 23 - 8:10
Mile 24 - 8:14

Here's my mental breakdown. With only 2 miles left I wanted to walk. I told myself "I did not just run 24 miles to walk now"! I did make a compromise by walking through the aid stations and drinking a sports drink in search of a "sugar rush". Anything to keep my feet moving.

Many times, especially during the 20+ miles, I looked down at Isaiah 40:31 and found strength. Running seems like such a trivial thing (heck, I signed myself up for this marathon!) but this stands true especially for the marathon of life.

This is God's promise to us. Those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.

When He is our hope, we are unstoppable.

So I kept running. I will run and not grow weary. Relentless forward motion.

Finish it off with a sprint down the homestretch and, praise the Lord, I did not trip over my feet in front of all those people!!! (that's a fear of mine!)

Mile 25 - 8:30
Mile 26 - 8:04
.49 Mile - 7:09

I crossed the finish at 3:28:13, just a hair under that 3:30 goal I was hoping for.

They had an array of food lined up and I couldn't stomach the thought of eating anything at the moment. I met up with my family and friends shortly after and it was wonderful to see everyone! I love small-ish town races.

He doesn't get this whole marathon-running-for-fun thing, but he's still my biggest fan!

After sitting in the grass and stretching briefly, we went to find coffee and meet up with my mom, sis-in-law and the little boys. They were so well-behaved while I was gone!

The cool weather, cloud cover and no-show of the forecasted rain was perfect for this race. The wind was fine because that's the norm for North Dakota.

Another thing that went well in this race was that I never felt like I was starving! My body needs extra calories while I train/race because I'm still nursing our youngest and, thankfully, my stomach could handle my breakfast, the gels and sports drinks.

E racing Auntie Dbo! Photo Creds: My Mom

Overall, the Grand Forks Marathon went really well. It wasn't a PR but it was the best I could do that day! Turns out I placed 3rd Female Overall but totally spaced on sticking around for awards. Woops.
Finish Time - 03:28:13
Average Pace - 7:57/mile
Placing - Overall: 15th/239. Females: 3rd/92, AG: 2nd/23
Well, that's a wrap! Until my next race, that is... in 9 days.

Thank you all for your support, thank God for the health to run crazy distances and good luck to you all in upcoming races!

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.


  1. Congrats on placing high and a fast finish time! You have another race in 9 days? I hope you have a chance to put your feet up for a few days first!

    1. Thanks, Tina! The past two weeks were all about easy runs and foam rolling 😎

  2. Wow!!! Loved this recap!!! Congrats on your time AND placement!!! Way to pull through y
    Those last 6 miles. I know it was probably more challenging mentally. Love how you write bible versus on your arm too!!!
    I hope you get some rest before the next race. Is it a 5k, 10k?

  3. Congrats on such a strong race Amy! You did great and woot for 3rd overall. That is amazing! Great swag at that race. How great to get a jacket!

  4. Awesome recap, and congrats on a great race! You make a sub 3:30 seem easy LOL (I love that Isaiah verse!!!)

  5. I'm so glad you recapped this race! I am just in awe of your paces lady! I have yet to hit in the 7's in speed work for just 400m. You had a very strong race! Congratulations to you on this awesome achievement!

  6. Great recap. Your paces are fantastic! Congrats on that sub 3:30 finish and 3rd overall female. I hope they will mail you the award! I love the picture of you fiving your family at mile 15. I agree any time without small kids in tow is definitely a date! Thanks for linking, Amy!

  7. You did awesome! Not only did you come in under goal but earned an AG award. Congrats! Also, that is cool that they had a warm building for you to wait in!

    1. The warm building is such a help on race morning!

  8. Congrats! I pray that you will keep accomplishing and as you do, you inspire us all! {hugs}


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