Monday, August 26, 2013

Go Far Woman 1/2- Fargo, ND State #44

The Race:

State #44
Lifetime 1/2: 54
13 in 13 Progress: 12/13
Official time: 2:06:30 

Pre Race:
Ever wonder what happens when you realize WHILE you're in the security line at the airport that you don't have your license?!?! Well let me tell you- you break down in tears thinking you're not going to get on your flight, beg the security guard that your work badge and credit cards are enough proof you are who you are, and then get escorted to the front of the line by a TSA agent saying you're "high security risk and to move out of the way", capped off by a cavity search and all your bags riffled through. This set the tone for the weekend....  (to avoid this when I head back home this upcoming saturday, I had my roommate overnight my passport to my friends place where I am staying) 

Originally Kim was going to fly into Fargo and kill time while I fly into Minneapolis (got a r/t for $230, HUGE savings) and drive a rental to meet her. Thank the lord she had changed her mind to fly into Minneapolis to keep me company, and out of Fargo on way back. I was able to switch rental to her name since I was sans license- crisis averted.

The 4 hour drive from Minneapolis to Fargo is anything less than exciting, especially when due to large amount of traffic getting out of the city turned the trip into 5 hours.  

Packet pickup was held at the mall (also where the race start would be) and it was open till 9pm... I'm pretty sure this is the latest packet pickup I've been to and we needed the extra time as we got in shortly after 8pm. Quick trip to Scheels to see if they had compression shorts (one more thing I forgot- its always something) and then we're at our hotel which is within walking distance to race start in morning. 

Go Far Woman 5k and half marathon is the first annual race and I was thoroughly impressed with the turn out for it's first year. There were ridiculously good looking firemen at the start who would be handing our medals out at the end (2nd week in a row we get our awards from cute men,  Kim has been on the ball and scored a photo op twice, next week I'll work up the nerve to ask a hunk to pose with me so I can be cool like her...) 

State #44 for me and #25 for Kim... she had it backwards and it reads 52

You know you're far up north when you have to sing the Canadian National Anthem in addition to The U.S anthem... I have to say that this was a race first for me, especially because it was sung by an all female "mature" capella group.

The race itself started and finished in the local mall parking lot right out of Sears (out and back) No fancy corrals or designated pace groups, just a "on your mark, get so go" and all the ladies took off, or in my case, took it easy.

I'm dead center in the blue socks and shirt going crazy fast... 

From the get go this race was proving to be a challenge. Since June I have run 3 half marathons and all 3 I have been miserable with debilitating calf / shin / achilles pain (mostly in left leg) and then normally around mile 8ish or so it goes away. I haven't been running that much (i.e. anywhere from 0-15 miles / week), so self-diagnosis / confirmation from roommate is that I"m trying to go out at speeds that I was once running when I was putting in the miles and my body just can't go from stationary (i.e. no warmup) to race speed like it once could.  Since the temps were pretty balmy and I could care less the outcome of this race, I decided to see if starting out slower right from the beginning would allow time for my muscles to 'warm up' and be pain free. 

I'm normally not great with sticking to plans, but with the temps in the mid 70s with high humidity at the start, it made taking it slow that much easier to adhere to, and although no pain ever set in, there was no desire to go any faster because I kind of like running pain free and I didn't want to push it. 

 Since the course was an out and back, there were only 3 aide stations along the way- The Average Joes, Firemen, and body builders, very clever.  I almost always skip the first water station, however today I needed every ounce of fluid I could get. By the time we ran back and the first station was now the last, all the men (the body builders) had taken their shirts off--- if they're hot handing out water, imagine how we felt! 

The course was a mixture between park paved trails and neighborhoods, both pancake flat. There was zero shade, only a slight breeze every few miles, but THERE WAS sprinklers. I made it a point to run through every one ( I counted 8)

Don't let this photo fool you, I don't recall any shade ;)

 My favorite part in the race was around mile 5.5 / 7.5; there was a sprinkler and a guy spraying runners with a hose. What I assume was his dog was running back and forth through the water and alongside runners... with a tutu around it's neck. This was so stinking adorable and luckily I spotted him / her on the out and again going back back... somehow Kim missed this? (we decided that we ran different races as she also didn't see all the gu they were handing out, or the giant male genitalia that was drawn with chalk on the sidewalk) 

Although I live in Nashville and I'm used to heat and humidity, I do try to avoid running in it by choosing earlier or later running times- despite being 'acclimated', it was still pretty hot. The sunglasses I normally run in were not with me on this trip, so I felt that it made it that much more hotter by having to squint the entire time (or I could just be making that up). I was absolutely DRENCHED and I was having a very difficult time keeping the sweat from my eyes.

 Early on I had told myself I would run for 4-5 min, then walk (about 30 sec to 1 min), so during those little breaks I kept lifting my shirt to wipe myself off- it was pointless. In conditions like these I would normally take my shirt off and use it as my sweat rag, however as mentioned above, I haven't been running or working out, but I HAVE been enjoying my beer, so my stomach is not something I want to be showing off right now while running. 

Regardless of how a race is going, I generally try to put forth a valiant effort for the last 2 miles and pick it up- today it never happened. The speed was potentially there, however running 11 miles at a 9:20ish pace then with walk breaks built in made it difficult for the body to even try to pick it up at that point, so I just kept chucking along. I told myself not to walk during the last mile, but alas I took 4 walk breaks. (I hate when I stop caring because it makes the task of finishing that much more anti-climatic) Eventually I did finish, and it was the first time in a LONG time I didn't have a kick.

Although I was miserable from heat / sweat/ going slow and constantly getting passed, I was ECSTATIC about the no pain and not a single amount of chaffing. (body glide has become my best friend now after proving itself in swampy conditions)

  I understand that I can't fairly judge the race itself based on the weather, because the conditions today were not indicative of normal weather in Fargo, so that aside, I'll list the cons and pros. 

  • Not very scenic. When I think of ND, I think of nature. I got the feeling this race was just mapped out on where they could fit a 6.5 out and back and decided to make it a race. I could have been in any state with the views I saw. 
  • Wasn't a fan of having to start and end in a mall parking lot- not a deal breaker, just blah
  • Finish line refreshments were okay, but I always LOVE to have some type of fruit afterward and unfortunately the only thing to quench thirst was a smaller than normal size water bottle, orange juice, and a freeze pop. 
  • There was a relay option where the exchange was at the turnaround point. I thought for sure there would have been an aide station. There was not so that meant we had to go back to the "last station" before getting fuel again... from mile 5 to mile 8 were unsupported
  • Medal was nice, but it didn't say city or state on it... must be a Dakota thing since that happened last week too?
  • Didn't really feel like a first year race since there was no major snafus that were apparent
  • Really liked all the sprinklers and even a misting tent you could run through, made the heat that much more bearable. 
  • Markers every mile and for once my garmin was pretty in sync with theirs... so rare these days I thought it deserved a mention. 
  • Firemen handing out the medals at finish line- enough said. 
  • Logistics of this race- host hotel was across the street, and the hotel Kim and i stayed at was a quick 10 min walk away. 
  • Although course support wasn't huge, it is a smaller race (305 finishers for the half) and it WAS its first year, so the amount of people that were out, was pretty significant.
  • EXPO open till 9 (consistent with mall hours), if it hadn't been open that late, we would have just defaulted to packet  pickup in morning. 
Soaked to the bone (sweat and sprinkler water) but happy to be finished.

State #44 - North Dakota- complete. 
Next up is this weekend, Women Rock! in Minneapolis MN. (another all women's race...)


  1. Gotta love a race report that includes a cavity search and the mention of genitalia (even though I didn't see it and you don't have a photo).

    Next time guys are shirtless handing out water, one of us MUST get a photo. Honestly.

  2. bummer on forgetting your drivers license! what a pain!

    Can't wait for you guys to come here and read what you think about one of my favorite half marathons!!!

  3. Oh man - I can't imagine the panic that must have set in when you realized you didn't have your license! Way to use your resources though! Super impressed you made this race and finished. It sounds like weather conditions were ridiculous! Nice work!