Fargo 1/2 Marathon Race Recap

State #43
Half Marathon #53

After 42 states, North Dakota was my first race to travel alone. I do this for work ALL of the time, but I’ve never traveled for pleasure by myself.

Pre-Race

I flew out early Friday morning and arrived in Fargo around 2pm.  I rented  a car and immediately went downtown to explore a bit. I headed to the Fargodome to get my packet, had a chance to listen to Dave McGillery and then headed back downtown to grab dinner. I tried two different restaurants but neither had anything I could eat so I settled on a gluten free pizza. It wasn’t very good and something in it didn’t settle right.IMG_9876 IMG_9879I planned to get on the 6:15 shuttle and woke up around 5:15 race morning. My stomach was upset. NOT good. I had my usual breakfast of gluten free bagel with peanut butter and Nuun and ended up in the bathroom 3 more times before I left for the shuttle.

Getting to the shuttle was quick and easy, a two minute drive and the shuttles were waiting. We were dropped off right in front of the Fargodome and I needed a bathroom immediately. AGAIN. Thank goodness they were everywhere. So many perks of the Fargodome- no need for throwaways and sitting in the cold (it was 40-ish degrees outside), real bathrooms (and lots of them), and comfortable seats to wait for the race to start in. I rarely use a bag drop, but I figured I would want warm clothes when I finished and a place for my keys and wallet while I ran, so I took advantage. I did my stretches and decided to hit the bathroom one more time. The marathoners took off during this time and I headed to the half start.IMG_9884I’ve never started a race inside a dome before, and it was really cool experience.

Miles 1-8

I started between the 1:35 and 1:40 pace group. I must’ve hit my watch start twice because a few minutes into the race I realized it wasn’t on and I had to start it back again. Oops. I would be off the rest of the race but I didn’t really care. The cool air felt AMAZING. I hadn’t ran in temps like this since January.

Coach had originally told me to go for it, so that was my plan. I usually start the first two miles fast, and then settle into a pace for a bit. With cool weather and a flat course, I decided to see if I could hold onto a bit of a faster pace and used the people in front of me as my guide.

The miles clicked by. The course had a fair amount of turns, but they were all pretty smooth and easy to take the tangents. I was running hard, and I could tell that from my breathing, but felt pretty strong. We ran through several neighborhoods, all with spectators along the course in front of perfectly manicured yards and homes. There was a ton of course support and UPS trucks and workers blocking intersections, along with their logo painted on the street for race course markings.

We crossed the state line into MN for mile 3, and back into ND for the rest of the race. I ate my Glukos chews at mile 5.

The course had entertainment every few miles with different bands or DJ’s along the way. We hit the turn around at mile 7 and headed back towards the dome.

Miles 9-13.1

I could tell around mile 9 or so that my endurance wasn’t quite back. I wasn’t really surprised by this based on how long it takes me to truly to recover from a marathon. It was definitely an effort to hold on but the scenery and support was a good distraction from the hurt. I didn’t want to back off, I wanted to continue to push to gauge how much work I needed to do over the next few months.

There were a few people around me that would pass me, then I would pass them, then they would pass me, etc. That kept me going.

We made it downtown around mile 9.5 and the rest of the course was the reverse of the beginning. I ate my Huma gel around this point. The wind was strong in a few areas, but with so many turns it changed often and I didn’t notice it too much.689311_256901781_XLarge

The last few miles merged with the 10k. Huge kudos to the Fargo race for making sure that the marathon and 10k had markings for one side of the street and the half marathon was on the other. It was nice to still be able to run hard without having to go around walkers.

I looked at my watch at mile 11 and really thought I was moving much faster than I was- 7:40 felt more like 7:15. I held out till mile 12 and worked on passing as many people as I could the last mile (and chasing a young kid ahead of me that I could never catch). The last loop around the Fargodome seemed to go on and on (which I was warned about right before the start) and then we headed back into the dome. A solid finish!689311_256635063_XLarge 689311_256898492_XLargeRace ResultsIMG_9886Garmin ResultsIMG_0239 IMG_0240 IMG_0241Post Race

I only hung out in the dome long enough to grab a picture, banana and stretch. The post race party was awesome with a lot of food and had a huge kid zone with jump houses and slides. This isn’t exactly fun for someone who raced alone, so I didn’t stay long and took the shuttle back to my car.IMG_9888I grabbed brunch at the The Broiler Room, shopped, got my nails done, saw a movie at the Fargo Theater, had a cocktail at the Hotel Donaldson (where I wanted to stay), dinner at Mezzaluna, and dessert at Insomnia Cookies.IMG_9874 IMG_9894My flight home was another early one, only to be stuck with delays in Dallas for my connection home.

Overall

The race was one of the most well organized races I’ve been a part of. It’s a great course for a PR, too. I’m not sure there was a thing that I can say that is in the not so much category.

Favs

  • Flat and fast
  • indoor start/finish
  • lots of spectators and course entertainment
  • separate course markings for half/marathon/10k runners

Not so Much

  • I truly don’t think I have one!?!

Travel Tips

  • book EARLY.If you stay downtown, you can get away without renting a car. I waited too late. After looking at the race shuttle map, I decided to stay near the mall area (Fairfield Suites which had a welcome packet and early breakfast for runners) and rented a car to get around.
  • Go see a movie at the Fargo Theatre downtown
  • shopping downtown and the restaurants downtown are great
  • The visitor center has the memorabilia from the movie Fargo

Bling

The medal was bigger than I expected. Love the verse on the back. The medal changes each year with the theme of the race. I will admit I liked previous years better (from what I saw online before the race) but this was  better in person. The tee is a soft cotton long sleeve and the Under Armour bag is a nice, heavy quality.IMG_9917IMG_0316Final Thoughts

I seriously loved this whole experience and race so much. Rich joked I couldn’t go anywhere else alone because I was having too much fun. The people of Fargo reminded me of southerners, all very friendly (with an accent slightly different than mine!).

Do you like to travel alone? Have you finished a race in a dome or stadium? 

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Elizabeth

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