I came out of Rock ‘n’ Roll NOLA 13.1 almost 90% sure I would be running Fargo’s Half Marathon in May–pending how my shin would recover and hold up with short rest and going into a 8 wk training cycle. I wanted a PR with my #1 goal to be sub 1:55, knowing that if I could toe the line, stay healthy, and have a cool day- I could pull it off (which was very likely for middle of May in ND). It was not very long after NOLA when I signed up for Fargo 13.1 and started into another, shorter training cycle. I had about 8 weeks to work and temps were finally warming outside in ND for runs. The shin pain I experienced leading up and going into NOLA seemed to dissipate with a little rest and shorter long runs on the weekends. I tweaked my paces after getting a PR in NOLA. After running what seemed to be a smooth race in NOLA, I knew the work I put in and the training program I followed worked for me. With that in mind I pulled up my Nike Half Marathon training program and started 8 weeks out from Fargo with my paces adjusted to account for my new, shiny PR. After taking a 1 week break of no running after NOLA, I was ready to work!
With the Fargo Marathon/Half Marathon being 5.18.2018 and living in ND, the majority of my runs during the week were on the treadmill due to snow covered streets and winter still holding strong in early spring. However, I was very thankful to have met up with another local runner in town who is a marathon maniac and just finished the LA Marathon. He was also training/running the Fargo Marathon, and I was lucky enough to have him introduce me to his running paths (aka gravel roads) on the outside of town for our long runs on the weekends. The snow was slowly beginning to melt off the roads, and I was able to finally get outdoors the first weekend in April. It sounds strange, but temps warming to the 20s/30s was a very much welcomed change from a long winter of -20s to -40s.
From that first weekend in April on I was able to build my weekly weekend long run mileage from 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, to my record-high mileage run of 14 miles in Minneapolis on actual bike/running trails with the hubby cycling alongside me. I felt confident going into the taper with 150.1 miles logged for April. As long as I stayed injury-free I knew that I was capable of hitting my goal of sub 1:55.
My husband and I had a lot going on at the end of April. We were preparing to move from ND back to MO as my husband was transitioning jobs that summer. Beginning of May, we loaded our boys up and drove them back to MO to be with the grandparents to allow us to fly back up to ND in time for my race in Fargo and to finish packing up our entire home/load into a U-Haul for transport back to MO after my race. This time could not have come at a better time than the taper. I was able to finish up my runs outdoors in MO in the heat and humidity before flying back to ND for cooler temps the week prior to race day.
After my overall plan seemed to work for “NOLA 13.1” both digestive and GI wise before/during the race–that was my game plan again, and I was sticking too.
Lunch: subway footlong club sandwich that was very bland- meat, cheese, lettuce, and a little mayo.
Dinner (7 PM): large stack of pancakes from IHOP (I do use butter and syrup)
Morning (5 AM): 2 more couple pancakes while preparing for the race.
RACE FUEL- The Clif shot bloks seem to give me the extra energy I need when my sources are depleted during the race and that appears to be every 4-6 miles, along with water/Gatorade as needed during race.
Conditions- The hardest part of this race was determining how to dress. It gave me anxiety all night and up to the start of the race. The winds were blowing 20-30 MPH the entire race and lows were in the 40s. I decided to go with my Lululemon tights with Pro-Compression marathon socks, Nike tank, and I added a throw-away long-sleeve layer over it- knowing if I got to warm I could toss it.
The set-up could not have been better for the forecast conditions by being hosted in the Fargo Dome. It was such an awesome experience to start in the dome where you could stay warm, use regular bathrooms with no lines, and have the opportunity to cross the finish line with your picture on the big screen. The swag was some of the best I have received with a nice long-sleeve hoodie and drawstring- backpack.
When we lined up for the half- marathon they did not categorize us by estimated finish time corrals. Ratherwe just lined up behind the pacer you predicted your finish time would be. I determined on training runs I could finish with a PR, but was very nervous with the windy conditions. I was very anxious at the beginning because my Garmin would not give the the green light that the GPS was loaded fully, but I hoped it would still track my pace/time when started.
The horn blew and I was off. Once I got outside the huge overhead doors and dome greeted me with that nice 20-30 mph wind. Thankfully, running in northern ND, I was use to training in windy conditions. Wind was common-place at all times for outdoor runs, but not quite at such high velocities. The entire race was a blur, but I felt my fueling was where it needed to be. I did not have to stop at any point for any GI issues, so I’ll mark that part as another success from not having to stop to use the porta-potties. Around mile 6 I started to get a little warm so I stripped my throw away long sleeve shirt off. There were times where the wind would blow and I would be chilled, but by the end of the race the sun started to come out and that chill was quickly forgotten (this maybe a case where arm warmers would have been nice to have.)
The course was beautiful; There were a couple hills to run up, but running through downtown Fargo was gorgeous.
My splits: miles 1-7 ranging from 8.13- 8.33 pace
mile 8 & 9 I held a 8.46-8.49 pace
miles 10-13 ranged from 8.51- 8.57 pace
Ultimately, I finished strong at 8.13 pace per my Garmin connect. Over the course of 13.1 I finished sub 1:55 with a new PR of 1:54.22 and an average pace of 8.44 min per/mile. I placed 827/3860 runners, 297/2410 females, and 62/397 females in my age group 30-34. Not only was I beyond happy to finish with a sub 1:55 in the windy conditions we had, but I also found a month later that I was 4 weeks pregnant! It was definitely a race that I will not forget.