Last Saturday, October 22, I ran my 10th half marathon in Fargo. I had high expectations for this race and went into it knowing I wanted to dig deep to set a big PR.
This was my third half in 2016. The other races ended in failure – in May I ended up collapsing from heat exhaustion because of a bad cold at mile 11, and the other in September, I got lost with a pack of other runners and ran an extra mile because of a stolen course marker.
I ran hard on both of those races and was primed to PR until disaster struck…twice. Needless to say, I was out for redemption in Fargo!
Derek and I left work at 3:30 on Friday to make the 2.5-hour drive to Fargo. Once there, we hit packet pickup and went to Noodles & Company for dinner. I figured out my macros early in the day so I could have the Japanese pan noodles, a giant bowl of carbed-up heaven.
We went to bed early and woke up at 5:15 a.m. The race didn’t start until 8, but I like to have plenty of time to get up and get things moving before a goal race. The morning started with a small cup of black coffee. I ate a Clif bar at 6:30, then a pack of sport beans around 7:30. My target was 65-80 grams of carb pre-race.
After arriving at the Fargo Civic Center, I found the 1:35 pacer and lined up. My mind flashed back to May when I ran a half with a friend. He commented the huge time difference per mile between 1:35 (7:15) and 1:40 (7:38) as we lined up with the 1:40 group. I remember thinking,”I could never run 13.1 miles at that speed!” Of course this popped into my mind as I lined up. Cue my nerves…
I met a girl who also lined up at 1:35 and chatted with pacer Mandy before we started. Talking always helps calm my nerves. The inside start was convenient. No pre-race shivering from the cold!
The weather was picture perfect: a calm 38 degrees. If you know anything about North Dakota, you know it’s windy here nearly every day. The universe was throwing me a bone with the weather. The course ran along the river, mostly on paved paths. It was well-organized and pretty, showcasing the colors of autumn.
I chatted with pacer Mandy as the miles ticked by. She kept me on pace and all was well. At about mile 10 I sped up just a little, and I could hear Mandy cheering me on through the final miles. I didn’t speed up much, just enough to cross the line at 1:35:03, equating to 7:16 per mile, an eight minute PR from my half a month ago.
My A goal was to break 1:35, but at only four seconds away, I was satisfied. This race ends my busy 2016 racing year and I could not be happier! I am ready to take a physical and mental break before Boston training starts in mid-December.
Derek ran in 10k and also PR’d, coming in at 45:02, which is 7:15 per mile.
After the race, we celebrated with brunch at a new all-vegan place downtown called Green House Cafe. It was so, so good. I ordered French toast and followed it up with a peanut butter dream bar.
All in all, it was a very successful race and I was finally able to snag an official half time I am proud of.