After making the five hour trip with my dad as my travel and support companion we checked into the motel room that Eric had reserved from earlier in the year and wasn't going to need the extra room. (this was also the only reason that this race would fit the schedule as all the motel room in the immediate area were full) We walked across the field to the Fargodome and picked up my race packet, made a quick cruise through the expo, and returned to the room before heading back out across the street to catch some dinner. After a movie and a snack it was time to attempt to get some shut-eye.
The morning was cool, clear, and very little wind. (I hear this is a rarity in Fargo) The wind would pick up modestly at the race time, as would the clouds cover the sky, and the gun went off! After surveying the field in the first quarter mile I knew that the main pack of the full marathoners was moving too slow. Except one runner. Four half marathoners, along with me, and one lone marathoner, ultimate winner Pete Gilman, would take out the pace at a steady 5:30 clip. After three or four miles we looked back and no chase pack was in site. The course was all within the city limits and there wasn't a block that didn't have a spectator on it. Crowd support was amazing! We had a nice pace going and the little wind we had to contend with at our backs until the 10k mark. At this point the course started its way back north towards the dome and we were bucking the headwind. I told Pete I hoped we could maintain a decent pace for him and offer a wind block if he liked and he replied back, "If we maintain this it will be perfect." Up until this point I had many short spurts of stomach stitches and it was beginning to take it's toll on me. I had my GPS on but I put on some setting where only the overall mileage and current pace were showing and it was a bit hard to judge how the pacing was going because of the tree canopy on the city streets. Each mile was being measured but after the first five or six miles I stopped paying attention to it. So I had a feeling that the pace was much slower than I had hoped and was just running on effort and not to stitch.
At about ten miles or so we had an aid station and not long after that I looked up and the group had twenty or so meters on me and Pete was pulling away. One guy went with him and the rest of us were being strung out. As crappy as I was feeling it was kind of fun to watch the lead full marathoner busting up our little half marathon pack and he had sixteen miles to go! Impressive Pete. I took a little Powerade and my stomach was feeling better. At eleven miles I had caught the three guys, passed one of them and stayed with the other two and heard him say, "that was a 5:40." I was now a bit pissed. We just maintained through twelve and at that point I had the plan to press no matter how I felt. Slowly picking up the pace I managed to drop the two fellas I was running with and got to the point I couldn't hear their footsteps. I just concentrated on driving forward and staying relaxed. I looked up the street and saw Pete making the split to loop and head back out for his second loop. "Good luck Pete" I thought and set my focus on the last quarter mile to the parking lot of the dome and into the arena. I was a bit surprised to see the clock read 1:12:-- as I made my way towards the finish line and I now had to duck under 1:13. I crossed the line and looked at my watch to see 1:12:57. I closed the final mile + in 5:30. (GPS reading was 13.27 miles) For the way I felt I was very satisfied. I would like to think if I hadn't had all the stitches I may have been able to hold 5:30 pace, but who knows. I'm very happy with the results and the actual work I have done up to this point in my marathon training.
Once recovered, my dad and I watched the jumbo screen and listened to the announcers call out the status on the marathon. They mentioned that the "Kenyans" were making ground on Pete and there would be a race to have. They did make some ground but Pete held on strong and managed to get the victory in 2:24:30ish and keep a minute lead cushion.
One day off today, and I should be able to run some decent runs on Monday and Tuesday and get ready to resume full training by the end of the week. My legs feel super today, the best ever after a half marathon, and hopefully this is a good sign heading towards June 20th.
Weeks Total: 57 miles (six runs)
Years Total: 951 miles