Monday, May 11, 2009

2009 Fargo Marathon

A day with some very high hopes ended with a goal P.R. still unreached. Despite that, I had a lot of fun at the Fargo Marathon. I ran a hard race, I went after my goal, came up short, but I never would have been close to it had I not gone after it. I ended up running 3:01:40 and placed 31st overall out of around 1,250 runners. It was second fastest marathon ever so I'm still fairly happy with that.

The start of the race was very emotional and inspiring. With all of the flooding the city of Fargo had dealt with and fought through, there was a lot to celebrate with this event. The mayor came out to be the official starter of the race. The national anthem was very moving and the invocation prayer by a local pastor was very moving and uplifting. With this being a slightly smaller marathon I was able to get myself directly behind the elite runners and was only about two or three steps behind the starting line. The horn sounded and we were off running down University Drive going right by my old college campus.

I felt like the first mile was so slow, I felt like I wasn't working but it's amazing what adrenaline can do to a man. I ended up running 5:54 for my opening mile! It felt like a 6:40. I went to the bathroom on mile 2 and eased up on my pace. Still, it took me a while to ease up enough to get down to where I had wanted to be at. Ultimately this was probably a big part of what prevented me from running stronger later.

At the halfway point, I was in 14th place at 1:23:19, my 4th fastest time for a half-marathon ever! I managed to make it to around mile 18 holding steady at my pace before the pace began to fall off. At mile 20 I was still in 15th overall but my pace had slowed considerably. The last 6.2 miles were complete survival mode. I averaged over 8 minutes per mile for the final 10K and I just managed to keep running to the finish. In my young marathon career this was only my second marathon in which I did not walk at all (my P.R. of 2:59:01 is the only other one). The finish was very cool inside the FargoDome. Lots of people in the stands cheering really loud, being very supportive just like all the spectators along the course had been all morning.

After I was done, I got interviewed by some local reporters on camera. I don't remember where they were from and for a few hours I couldn't remember what they had asked me. I got so light-headed I couldn't think or remember much of anything about the race. When I went to lunch later, it began coming back to me though. It was a little scary for a while though when I couldn't. Today many of my students were amazed by what I had just done. It's hard to believe that when I crossed the finish line I was a little disappointed that I didn't P.R. or reach my goal time. I still finished a 26.2 mile race in a little over 3 hours. Most people would love to be able to do that. I just have a determination and a drive to try to get better that I don't want to accept a finish like this, despite how good it actually is.

I chalk every race, good or bad, up to being a learning experience. If I don't learn something new about myself during the course of a race, then I really feel I didn't accomplish anything. This is the hardest I've ever trained for a marathon before. Perhaps I trained too hard. Analyzing my training plan will tell me more about that in the days to come. I had a bad hamstring that flared up on me again. I am going into the doctor's in the next week to get that looked at. It also could have played a part. It could be something as simple as I just went out too fast and paid for it late in the race. It could be a combination of all of them.

It could still be that the course was longer than 26.2 dad's co-worker ran the marathon with a GPS on and at the finish her GPS recorded a distance of 26.7 miles, half a mile longer than it should have been! Now, this of course is unofficial and won't change anything in the final results, but it is potentially a bit disappointing if that were to end up being the case. Half a mile for me meant a new marathon P.R. or not. Oh well, nothing you can do about it. I'm happy about how things are going with recovery and I'll be running again soon and in a few short weeks, training for the 2009 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and another attack at 2:45 will begin.

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