Another half-marathon is in the books. Although it was not a performance I’m wanting to write about, it’s a step along my journey and I think one that I can learn a lot from when looking back at the 13.1 miles. Whenever a person sets out to do a race they always have a goal in mind. Some times it is to finish the race and other times a person is looking to set a PR. Today was one of those days where I was really hoping to PR. The Fargo Marathon course in is very flat and although can be a windy city, it can produce some fast times. Except for a few days where I had a tight Achilles my training had gone has planned and I thought was 85-90% as prepared as a person could be. The only thing I felt I was lacking was the miles on the legs before starting my training plan.
The race started at 7:30 am outside of the Fargodome. As the rain came down, I think all of us runners looked at each other and thought “Wow yet again does Fargo’s weather ruin a great course and chance at a PR.” Before we knew it the race director started the race and off we went. As we headed down University Drive in Fargo, the streets were lined with fans and I worked to get settled in my pace. I was hoping for a sub 1:35 so I knew I would like to get in the 7 min/mi pace range. As I get settled in, I was feeling fairly well; a little stuffy in the nose, but snot rockets kept my breathing clear for the most part. Shortly down the race course, around mile 4, I ran by my wife, daughter and sister-in-law. It was great to see their faces and hear them cheering. I wasn’t sure how my training would go this spring after my wife had our first daughter. However I was very thankful to continue to train on track and had a wife that always understood.
As I arrived at the mile 8 marker, my right achilles/calf got tight and I hoped it might go away. I wasn’t going to stop and stretch it out as this is what I was feeling on some runs during training and the stretching had only helped for a few blocks during training. I could feel my pace slowing and although I tried to use my arms to keep pace, my achilles/calf just wasn’t having it. I’m a person you’d have to drag across a finish line rather than have me quit so I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. As we entered the Fargodome parking lot and knew the finish line wasn’t more than 300-400 meters away, I knew I would finish. Coming across the line in 1:42:50 was again slower than I hoped for, but I knew this challenge I pushed through would just help in my overarching goals, to someday qualify for Boston.
I look forward to the weeks ahead in my training as I prepare for two marathons this fall (Sioux Falls Marathon in September and Kansas City Marathon in October). I hope for a BQ time at those events, but know that conquering the marathon takes many attempts for people. At minimum I hope to overcome my previous time of 4:13 where I was 4 miles from the finish at the 3 hour mark. Time to get some sleep to rest up and when I wake up continue on this training plan I’ve laid out.