After drafting this race report I decided to split it into two separate parts.
3:29:29 / 8:00 overall pace / Average HR 187 / New PR by 15 minutes!
Packet pickup and prerace
Before I arrived at packet pickup I had no bib. When I left I had a bib and a timing chip. I honestly think that the Chicago Marathon packet pickup has forever spoiled me for what an over the top debacle a packet pickup can be. That said, Fargo held it’s own. In the goodie bag was a cool long sleeved technical shirt (my first) and a nice golf sized towel. For that matter, the goodie bag itself was a really high quality Adidas bag that I think will now be my new gym bag. They had a bunch of vendors selling stuff and giving away free samples – who doesn’t like that??
On race day, I did my usual routine, got in the car with my wife, brother in law, and in-laws and was off. Little did we know that the roads in a town of 175,000 are ill-equipped for 13,000 runners and crew. I had planned on getting to the starting line around 7:30 and relaxing until the race. Instead, I jumped out of the car on the road (I was driving) at 7:45, jogged to the port a potties to pee, saw some girls from my hometown, and then jogged to my pace group. 2 minutes later they started prerace announcements and we were off! Whew.
First 10k – 49:28
The first six miles were, just like any other largish race, really busy. I started two rows back from my pace team leader and I spent the first 3 or so miles trying to catch back up with him. Most of the time I was doing my best to dodge people to try to keep up with my pace group. It was like I was playing my own personal game of Frogger. I was trying to get from point A to point B which sometimes meant jumping over and around people without going splat (tripping). I felt a little bad at times because I know that I was cutting people off trying to keep up the pace, but honestly the slower pace people who started towards the front were probably a bit to blame too. Either way, no harm, no foul. Anyway, during the first few miles I realized that my Garmin was going to be a bit off because we were hitting right at 8:00 pace based on the stopwatch, but the GPS said we were running around 7:53 pace. This worried me a bit because I was going to have to run ~ 35 seconds per mile faster than training pace. Uff-da! (Inside joke…. I guess that is something that people from North Dakota say a lot?)
Middle 10k (miles 6 – half) - 1:43:25
Miles 6 to 13 are usually my best during a marathon and these were no different. I continued to hold my Garmin indicated 7:50 pace and by doing so even gained a few seconds each mile ahead of my 8:00 pace group. I found something about myself and pace groups during this time. Around mile 6, I was able to get ahead of the pace group. When I was running with or behind the pace group I felt like I was scrambling to keep up. You know, think of a little lap dog trying to keep up with a speeding car. However, when I was ahead of the pace group, even if only by a little bit, I felt like my effort was substantially less.
Once I was ahead of the pace group, I took the time to look around and enjoy some of the local fans. I especially liked the accordion band made up of 10 old ladies playing polka music and the 20 kids on the jumpy thing with YMCA playing in the background…. “Its fun to stay at the…..Y M C A!!!” Yes, I did do the YMCA with my hands, and yes they did go crazy screaming when I did it. I think that there may be some race photos of that too.
More tomorrow on the second half!!