Race Report: Fargo Marathon 2019

Marathon #11 is complete! Finding time to even type up this recap has been a tad bit difficult.

Life is just rolling; and with great, exciting things. Loving on my three kiddos, finishing up our homeschooling year and starting up with fun spring/summer activities just feels like a very full plate. (I know years from now I will look back and think of how "simple" these young days were, I'm sure)

Let's jump in here before I run out of time.

Fargo Marathon in one word:  Finally


Friday, May 17: Kid Drop-Off & Travel Day

My husband and I loaded up the kiddos (+ dog) and hit the road to Grandpa and Grandma's farm on Friday morning. First things first: drop off our oldest's t-ball registration form at the elementary school. He's super excited about that. Then we were on the road for the 1.5 hour drive there.

Arriving at the farm, my husband helped my parents and the vet work cows for preg checking and shots. Our oldest boy "helped" and I did my best to keep the little two out of trouble. After cows and lunch, Leo and I said goodbye and headed off for our marathon/anniversary weekend. This was the first time we've both been away from the kids overnight since 2015!!! Needless to say, it's been a while.

We enjoyed the three-hour drive in the car, just the two of us. Once in Fargo, we headed straight to packet pick up. Then to Saver's for a hot thrift store shopping date (where we ran into friends from home!) and ended at the West Acres Mall food court for supper. We know how to keep it classy!

I drank as much Gatorade and water as I could comfortably stomach to prep for tomorrow. Since my Fargo Marathon 2016 blow up, I have learned to hydrate well in the week prior to race day. As for "shake out" miles, my only run on Friday was from the race expo to our vehicle. Good enough!

We headed to the hotel after supper, got checked in and watched TV. It's not often that we watch non-kid shows so that was somewhat of a "treat" minus the fact that HBO is mostly trash now. That was a bummer! I (obsessively) checked the weather a few more times and finally decided on this outfit for a very cold, rainy race day.

Saturday, May 18: Race Day

4:00 AM - My alarm went off and the first thing I did was check the weather, of course. After seeing the current forecast shown below, I thought I would confirm by looking out the window. Yep. It's raining like crazy. Awesome. As my husband says, "Remember, you signed up for this!"

I opted for capris instead of shorts today along with a lightweight rain/wind jacket and a hat. Psalm 59:17 was my Scripture focus for this race. This was the first time I have honestly not wanted to run a race. The thought of going out in that rain for 3+ hours sounded insane to me.

I need the Lord's strength everyday, all day, and I would definitely be needing an extra dose to keep it  together in this race.

"You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely."

5:15 AM - I hopped on the shuttle at our hotel and headed to the Fargodome. Being able to ride the shuttle was awesome because Leo didn't need to head out in that weather. I packed my running shoes along in my bag and attempted to stay as dry as possible.

There was a friendly group of runners all riding that shuttle from our hotel and visiting with them calmed my nerves. We talked about the weather, of course, and I said this is why we train in all sorts of weather in the weeks leading up to race day. One runner said that she always hits the treadmill if the weather is rainy or cold... and I wasn't sure how to respond to that. In that case, weather like this particular race day's would suck!

Arriving at the Fargodome, we were able to wait indoors which was perfect on a day like this. Starting and finishing inside the Fargodome messes up my watch but it's worth it to stay dry and warm.

Danielle and I ran into each other this morning just like at Grandma's Marathon 2018. I was so glad to see her again and to catch up! Being marathon-running, homeschooling, moms of 3 boys gives us plenty to talk about.  I was her good luck charm at Grandma's last year (as she ran a sub-3 hour marathon!!!) and <spoiler alert> she proved to be my good luck charm in this race!

After a couple bathroom trips and bag drop-off, and a quick wedding (yeah, an adorable couple got married before running!), it was time to line up. My plan was to stick with the 3:15 group as long as possible. I threw any aggressive pacing plans out the window due to the forecast! The plan was to just hang in there.

7:00 AM - The full marathon herd takes off in the rain. Steady, not light but not quite downpour, rain. I jumped puddles for a while but soon gave up before finishing the first mile. This race was going to be a sopping wet mess.

Squashing wet shoes and thankful I wore my thinner socks, I stayed consistent with my pace group. Marathons are a guarantee that I will meet amazing people. Everyone has an interesting story and every runner I have met is very chatty.

One guy was from Birmingham, Alabama (marathon #38 for him). Another guy, who looked very cold, had flown up from Florida to run. We talked about interesting Fargo sights with a local woman runner, a mom of 4 who stopped to hug her teenage son mid-race and still ran a sub-3:15. And then there was the marathon maniac gentleman running marathon #91 and a track coach from Wisconsin who had run a marathon 3 weeks earlier yet came back for more. I'm always in awe of the people I meet on the run!

This race never lacked entertainment, whether it was fellow runner stories, cheering fans or live music on the side of the road.

Each mile flew by... until they didn't, around mile 22.

I entered the mental and physical pain cave at 22 and struggled to hold that sub-8:00 pace that I needed. The man running his 91st marathon said that the marathon is a dull, throbbing pain while racing shorter distances is a burn. Well said.

Personally I would say the marathon feels a lot like those monotonous labor contractions before things really start to heat up. I felt very thankful to not actually be in labor that day. I decided to keep the labor thoughts to myself as I figured he couldn't relate?

To pass those struggle miles, I let myself walk through a couple aid stations as I sipped Gatorade. Not because I needed more to drink at that point but to boost the overall morale. Those last miles can be a little crazy on the emotions!

Being in the hurt tank but knowing I chose to do this.
Loving it at the same time.
Thanking God that I CAN do this.
Seeing kids on the sidelines and missing mine.
Wanting to stop running but not wanting the race to be over.

Physical exhaustion turns me into a basket case! My watch couldn't pick up anything too close to the Fargodome but I increased my pace and finished in what felt like the 6-min mile zone. I love finishing in a people-filled Fargodome; it's an exciting way to end it all!

3:16:34. I didn't know my finish time until Leo looked it up for me, thanks to my psycho watch. As for that 8-year-old PR of 3:22:05, I was ecstatic to blow it out of the water. Falling out of my 3:15 pace group wasn't a disappointment at all. I hung on and all went well.

I just kept saying to myself: FINALLY!!!!!!!

After being stuck in the 3:20-3:30 marathon times for so many years, I am so glad to have finally broken free! Who knows what future races will bring. The victory is that, a wedding and 3 kids later, I was finally able to break that 2011 PR. A bonus is that the weather was perfect for my last PR and it was pretty rotten for this new PR. That feels awesome. A sub-3:00 marathon just may be a possibility years down the road. We'll see.

Even sweeter than a new PR, this guy, my husband of 7 years now, arrived just in time to see me finish:

AND my aunt, cousins and cousin-in-love braved the weather to cheer me on with the sweetest signs ever:

I love these!!!

Thank you to my husband for a wonderful anniversary weekend and for 7 years together. To my family for coming to cheer me on and a HUGE thank you to my parents for watching ALL THREE boys while we were away. And, as always, I praise the Lord for the ability, endurance and health to run at all! 

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