Race Report: Blue Ox Marathon 2016

This is my last race report for the year, I promise!

The last two weeks have been my version of a "2-for-1" deal: two marathons for one training cycle.

Saturday started with a 4:45 am wake-up. After breakfast and packing up, Grandma (my mom), the little ones, and I drove 2 hours to the Blue Ox Marathon.

After running the Grand Forks Marathon two weeks ago, my mom said, "So what about running in Bemidji (Blue Ox)?" At first I laughed a little. I had never entertained the idea of running two marathons so close together. Meh, no thanks. Mom, you're crazy!

A few days later, my legs were feeling much better and the idea sounded more appealing. I could always use another marathon under my belt. And if she's volunteering childcare, why not!?

We arrived about an hour before the race and I hurried off with little W in tow to grab my number. Grandma and E made their way at a slow toddler pace because E was in awe of all the action.

Number on, kids settled, and it was time to line up.

Unlike the Grand Forks Marathon, there was no pacer for 3:25 but we managed to make our own "pace group". Honestly, I didn't know what pace my body could handle after only partially recovering from the last race. My flexible goal was to run around 7:45-8:00 for the first 13 miles and then either slow down to "enjoy" the race or keep on pace.

Ready, set, go!

Mile 1 - 7:28
Mile 2 - 7:50
Mile 3 - 7:52
Mile 4 - 7:44
Mile 5 - 7:48
Mile 6 - 7:32

I was with quite a few other runners but the group was starting to space out. I had been watching one of the marathon's biking guys for a while and realized he was leading the way for our female group.

[Light bulb moment]

If I can keep up with that bike for 20 more miles, I can win this race! The prospect of being the first female finisher seemed real but we had a long way to go. Just 20 more miles... ha.

Whatever the outcome, I prayed that God would help me to be content. Winning would be great but that's not why I run.

Psalm 119:18 was the verse that kept my perspective in this race — to focus my eyes on what God is doing right now and not get stuck in my own little tunnel vision. I want to soak in all of God's work, what He has put on my heart, and where He has me at this very moment in my life.
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law. 
PSALM 119:18
Mile 7 - 7:28
Mile 8 - 7:29
Mile 9 - 7:32
Mile 10 - 7:33
Mile 11 - 7:41

By now I really could have used a cheeseburger. I took in calories at almost every station whether it was a sports drink or gel because I was just plain old hungry. Actually, I had felt hungry the whole week! (Forget pregnancy cravings, howabout marathon cravings?!)

The aid stations were not as frequent in this race but it didn't cause any issues for me. They did have the Salted Caramel GU at a couple aid stations and they were SO good! I have always wanted to try that flavor :)

Mile 12 - 7:43
Mile 13 - 7:41
Mile 14 - 7:42
Mile 15 - 7:40
Mile 16 - 7:40
Mile 17 - 7:50
Mile 18 - 8:03
Mile 19 - 7:56

The field was spread out and I was very thankful to be running with my iPod. That was something new I did in the Grand Forks Marathon and this race and I really like it!

Between chasing the lead bike and listening to music, I needed to keep my mind off the paincave that is the last 6.2 miles of the Blue Ox. This was my college town and I remember the Birchmont Drive hills well. My hope was that I ran fast enough earlier in the race to make up for hill troubles later in the race.

By now, my legs were very much remembering that they had ran a marathon two weeks ago. On the last few hills, I power-walked a few strides to loosen up my muscles. Those muscles that were "aflame" during the Grand Forks Marathon were burning once again but the power-walk strides seemed to help.

Mile 20 - 8:05
Mile 21 - 8:10
Mile 22 - 8:27
Mile 23 - 8:38
Mile 24 - 8:11
Mile 25 - 8:01
Mile 26 - 7:47
.29 Mile - 7:26

I really wanted to walk at mile 24. Like really, really bad. I kept a decent pace through the finish but I honestly didn't have any "kick" left in me. I was spent.

3:25:36. I beat my two-weeks-ago self on a harder course and that felt awesome.

Crossing the line as first female and breaking the tape was icing on the cake!

Photo Credit: Bemidji Pioneer

Finish Time - 03:25:36
Average Pace - 7:51/mile
Placing - Overall: 9th/124. Females: 1st/54, AG: 1st/14
Here ends all of my racing endeavours for 2016. I am thankful to end the year on a good note and I do look forward to returning to the marathon again after a year or two break. I still need to break that 3:15 barrier someday. And, who knows, maybe 3:00 after that? A girl's gotta dream!

Thank you all for your support and encouragement!

Praise the Lord for the ridiculously awesome sport of marathon running and thank you to my mom (a.k.a. "Grandma") for basically running her own marathon while watching the kids that day! And, of course, thank you to my amazing husband who supports my love for running long distance, even if he doesn't understand it!

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


  1. Huge Congrats on a race well run and finishing first female. I am super impressed especially so soon after your other marathon!

  2. I'm a new reader but CONGRATULATIONS on your WIN! I think it's so awesome that you saw the bike, realized you were the lead female, but still prayed to be content with whatever happens. You had the right attitude about it, but you're working hard and truly deserve the success. I love your prizes and the picture of you breaking the tape, too, and how this happened in an unexpected, unplanned marathon. Sometimes those are the best races.

    I hope you have a wonderful day, some needed recovery, and some downtime before you plan your next racing endeavors!

    1. Welcome to my blog and thank you for your kind words, Amy! I agree, unplanned races are sometimes the best. Less time for me to get nervous 😀

  3. I like the way your mom thinks! Big congrats to you on your win - so glad you didn't give in to those thoughts about stopping!

    1. I like the way she thinks, too! A little crazy is a good thing 😊

  4. You are a total boss!! I am so proud of you and how you represent JESUS through your talent and hard work! :)

  5. Congratulations! First female winner is awesome! As I was reading this recap I was cheering for you the whole time, I was hoping you would be able to keep that biker insight, which I'm sure was a huge challenge. Great job! Enjoy your recovery!

    1. Thank you!!! I'm hardcore recovery mode now... aka no running til who knows when 😀

  6. Yeeeeeee!
    Congrats on the race and the WIN! How cool is that to get to break the tape!!!
    LOVE your mindset during the race.
    you are a total rock star and supermom!!!!!!

    1. Thank you, Melissa! Running through the tape was the COOLEST!!! It was a first for me but hopefully not the last 😊

      Your encouraging words mean so much - especially coming from crazy fast runner mom like you!

  7. Way to go!! You are awesome! Congrats on the first female finisher!! So amazing since so close after another marathon! Great job!

    1. Thanks, Sharon! I was by how enjoyable running back-to-back marathons was. 2 weeks in between was perfect!

  8. What an awesome race for you Amy! I am just amazed by those paces, I can just now hold a 1/4 of a mile at your slowest pace in this race! But we're not comparing we are celebrating and my friend you can do whatever you set your mind too!

  9. Congrats on the awesome race and on the win especially after racing 2 weeks ago!! That is awesome!! That is funny (and fitting) that they gave an ax to the winner! I haven't been to Bemidji in years but love that area!

    1. Yes, an ax was really creative! Now I need to figure out what to do with it... hang it somewhere... or hide it from the kids somehow?! Bemidji is a gorgeous town!

  10. You are truly amazing! How awesome to get to break that tape. And you sound like me racing on the spur of the moment! LOL. Thanks for linking, Amy!

    1. Thank you, Holly! Sometimes spur of the moment races end up being the best ones :)

  11. AMAZING! Just one word. AMAZING!


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