Race Report: FM Friday Fright Night 5k & Halloween Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry for the FM Halloween Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This past weekend was full of racing and a lot of cousin fun! The kids and I headed to Fargo for the Fargo Moorhead Halloween Run weekend which kicked off with the Friday Fright Night 5k that night. The race started at 6:30 pm and I took my youngest with me to lessen the load on my kid watchers. 

As we lined up, I was thinking "I wonder why I'm the only one with a stroller here". Then we got running and I realized why. Ha. Scary people actually pop out of the woods while you run down the path during this race and, as the sun went down, it was pretty creepy! Thankfully my fourth born is my fourth born. He's a tough little stinker and said in a calm voice, "I'm scared", and then he was good. 

So maybe I'm the world's worst parent for taking him (let the perfect parents out there cast the first stone) with but we were sure blazing saddles! Hopefully going fast enough that he didn't have much of a chance to be more scared. 

We ran hard and then stopped in the middle of the path. LOST. I waited for the guys behind me to catch up and then just stuck with that group. 

The Friday Fright Night 5k was not well marked out and being a mostly dark race didn't help things. S and I blew past the finish area and thankfully a giant taco waved to us to turn around and come back. When we finally crossed that finish line, we were at a 20:41, which is almost a stroller PR for me I guess? My watch also finished at 2.9 miles, so who knows what happened on that run! 

S got his candy at the end of the run and he was as happy as a clam.

The little guy and I headed back to my brother and sister-in-laws house for more cousin fun and PIZZA! Then to bed and I was headed back to the race on Saturday morning.  This time the entire crew stayed with my family.

I lined up with the 1:30 pace group and planned to hang with them until the last 4 or so miles of the race. There shouldn't be any getting lost with a pace group! This was originally set to be a workout for California International Marathon training but I really wanted to push it the whole length of the race.

I dressed as Mando for the 5k (S was my little Grogu) and the Mickey Mouse onesie was the costume of choice for the half marathon. There wasn't a test run for this costume so I just went for it. It is super soft but I felt like a giant puffball running! 

Main goal for this race was to go sub-1:30 and to have some fun.

The weather was perfect and my legs felt ALL the grind of marathon training. This has been the first week ever that I have ran 7 days in a row and that actually went really well. I didn't feel any freshness to my legs (last night with the stroller probably didn't help either) but I was able to hang with the 1:30 pace group. 

By the last few miles, the group spread out a little and there was only one bobble where I wasn't sure to turn. Thankfully the 1:30 pacer was just behind me and confirmed the turn I was questioning! There were quite a few turns on the course.   

My Mickey hood didn't want to stay up while running but I did put it on for the finish! I won't say I felt strong throughout the race but I was happy that I could grind through that pace on tired legs. Crossing the finish line in 1:28:32 was fine by me! 

I swapped into some regular clothes not long after crossing the finish - that Mickey suit is NOT sweat wicking and I was drenched (gross!). Overall this was an encouraging workout and another brick to stack on for marathon training. For running both the 5k and the half, I received a bonus Monster Medal as well - so that was pretty cool. The kids thought they were pretty gnarly! (I gave one to almost 5-year-old C for sharing his costume with me)

When I run mostly solo, having a group push me along while I don't necessarily "feel" like running a specific pace was helpful. And this was a nice practice run of running with a pace group for CIM - where I hope to hang with that sub-3:00 pace group by the skin of my teeth!

 If I can keep that 6:40 average pace on untapered legs, can I hold a 6:50 for twice as long after a peak and taper in this cycle? We'll find out soon. No matter the outcome, this training cycle has had some major breakthroughs and I'm excited about that! 

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Race Report: Bemidji Blue Ox 26k 2022

I went back to one of my favorite semi-close to home races this past weekend and this time with all four boys + my parents to cheer me on. That was pretty special! Leo isn't able to make it to October races due to the sugar beet harvest but it sure was great to have this group with me. 

Watching mom take off!

This year was a little different than the previous times I have raced the Blue Ox, in that I ran a 26-k's instead of 26.2 miles. The race weekend ended up with the most beautiful Fall weather you could ever ask for. As far as I can remember, I think this was the most beautiful Blue Ox Marathon I have ever ran! 

As far as the course goes, I basically skipped the first 9-mile loop and a mid-race out-and-back with this shorter distance. The 26k distance served as a nice training brick for the California International Marathon coming up in December and was an amazing experience. 

While some of my 26.2 race years here have been downright miserable in the end, I pretty much loved that 26k! 

Amazing fall photo that my mom took!

My goal going into the race was to keep an even 6:45/mile pace, essentially practicing and gaining confidence to hopefully keep that pace for the full marathon in California. I debated on wearing headphones for this because the full marathon distance can get so lonely at this smaller race. Thankfully I decided against it because the 26k was anything but lonely! 

After only a few miles mostly solo, I was running through the half marathoners and had their company (and a ton of people weaving - mixed feelings on that!) for the rest of the race. I do enjoy running with other people and it was nice cheering each other along! 

Splits that were a lot more even on paper than they actually felt! 

As we hit the rolling hills portion of the race, Coach Pooley told me to run up at a 7.5 effort and then speed up to a 9.5 on the way down. That worked beautifully and this was the first time ever that I didn't walk or really even struggle on those hills! Lets hope that translates to stronger hill legs for the upcoming marathon - and maybe I can come back next year and kill the hills running the Blue Ox full marathon instead :) 

The Psalm I thought of throughout this race (and in the course of life in general): Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24. There is no use in shrinking back and being intimidated by hard things to come. Face them head on, with the strength, courage and hope that comes from only our Lord Jesus Christ.
What we don't see: my left big toenail, deciding it hates me (I didn't even know!)

Almost everything went off without a hitch in this race! There was no need to carry my own hydration this year, as their aid stations were back to normal now after covid. The biggest troubles were trying to weave around half marathoners while running on the side of the highway with traffic and a teeny road shoulder to squeak by on. 

And then stopping a car from pulling out in front of me at the final stoplight, a mile or so out from the finish line! I put my hand up to signal "STOP!!!". In hindsight, good thing the person actually did stop because my legs didn't stop running either. Had it gone the other way, I may have been Blue Ox 26k roadkill... Hopefully volunteers will watch that intersection next time though I do understand that recruiting volunteers is no easy task. 

1:48:13 and an automatic PR - this is likely the only race course I will ever run as a 26k :) I wanted to finish under the 2-hour mark at least and it happened! The pace felt good, hills weren't terrible and I wasn't limping away at the end of this one. And the other thing - I felt like my legs didn't have much power at the Dick Beardsley Half last month and I ended up beating the time I ran there during this 26k effort (1:27:07 at the half). So that's encouraging that the training progress is being made!

After congratulating my fast friend who won the half (and I missed out on celebrating with another friend who won the 10k on Friday!), the family & I headed to find food and the Paul & Babe playground. We couldn't miss out on this perfect park-playing weather! 

Happy 10-Year Anniversary, Bemidji Blue Ox!

6:39 per mile, not 6:29 ;)