I am happy to say I am a half marathon finisher! On Saturday, August 22, I completed the Go Far Woman half marathon in Fargo, starting and ending at the Scheels Arena. I really have so much to say about the run, but I’ll try to keep it short and to the point because I don’t think most of the things running through my head on a daily basis are all that interesting to other people. Ha!
This was my first race I have ever run. I have walked a few 5k’s with my Mom and completed a sprint triathlon last fall, but never a running race. Jeez, I don’t even like to say race. It isn’t like I went in with expectations of winning, I was just wanting to finish upright. I guess the only race I consider it to be would be a race against myself. I have to thank my friend Robin for getting me convinced I could complete this half. She has already ran a few and I consider her a seasoned vet. We were pretty tight buddies back in high school and just recently reconnected over similar fitness goals. I am happy to have her back in my life because the woman is seriously funny. I am also happy to have her to virtually connect with via text to cheer each other on. I don’t know if I would have gone through this without her encouragement. Her attitude is a never give up, do your best, have fun, don’t be too serious, good-time person. I’m so thankful for her guidance and her taking me under her running wing.
We (my parents and I) went to Fargo Friday morning. It is about a 4 hour drive from Hazen. We stopped first thing at Scheels Arena to get my registration packet and check out the small expo. It took hardly any time. After that we went shopping in the big city and then met up with my sister to crash at her condo and go out to eat. I went to bed early to get a good night’s rest.
Saturday, my alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. I stayed in bed a while reading my phone and then got up to eat my usual long run meal while my sister and mom got ready. My dad stayed back a bit to sleep in but he met up later so they were all at the finish line. Unfortunately, it was quite windy that day, about 25mph wind. I was ready to deal with heat or humidity, but I was really hoping for no wind. We stayed inside and chatted until it was about 10 minutes before the race. I had asked my sister to be my photographer so her and my Mom snapped the majority of the pictures. Thank you ladies for the support and cheers. Thanks Dad for being my driver and carting me around on any crazy idea I have. How lucky am I to have parents still so supportive of my events after 35 years? Very lucky. I love this picture of Mom and I below.
In the past I have seen race reviews broken down by mile. Mine kind of blur together except I can break it down in 2 parts (well 3 if you count before race nerves as exhibited below):
The first half – I felt great, strong and on track to finish under 2 hours. We were running through parts of Fargo and West Fargo full of mansions (seriously – what a waste to have such a huge house?!) and I felt like the wind wasn’t too bad
The second half – the wind got to me, I struggled, many walking breaks, I did not feel strong and just wanted to finish
The course winded through residential areas of Fargo and West Fargo. I was kind of glad I didn’t know where I was at for most times. I just had to keep chugging along. I’m not exactly sure why the second half was so brutal for me. I have many theories but who knows? Not enough training at longer paces? The wind? The unknown? My stomach hurting? I always push myself to do the best but even my regular mantras and trying to “suck it up” wasn’t working for me. It was simply my worst long run ever. I told myself it was OK to walk and I admit I felt like crying at one point. I knew my family was waiting for me and that is what really kept me going.
I could see the clock as I came in to finish at 2 hours and 8 minutes. I really had wanted sub 2 hours and I was bummed with a capital B. But I was smiling. I was so happy to finish and of the accomplishment. I felt slightly light headed for a minute but my sister got me some water and I had some ice cold chocolate milk that seriously hit the spot. I chugged some more water and watched other runners come in. I watched as a disabled woman came across the finish using crutches and smiling. I knew then to be super happy and proud of my finish. I never, ever would have thought that I would run a half marathon. Certainly not when I was growing up – I don’t think I even knew what they were. And certainly not 75 pounds ago being so overweight. So yes, I am proud. It wasn’t my most stellar day. And that is kind of what irks me about paying someone decent money to run on a day where you have no control of how you feel, the weather or the conditions. But that is why it is fun also. That is probably what keeps people coming back. I know I have a sub 2 half in me. Maybe I’ll run it on the streets of Hazen? Or maybe I will be crazy enough to do another half marathon? I don’t really think so at this point but you never do know.
I do know that this Sarah on the left (feels like a whole separate life) would never expect the Sarah on the right to run a half marathon. I am proud. It isn’t the numbers, the pace or the results, it is the journey that got me here.
2009 on the left, 2015 on the right.
A race can’t be too bad when you have some hunky fireman handing out medals and taking photos with you!!
I was very happy to enjoy this ice cold chocolate milk and later a few beers with other gals that ran the half.
P.S. I write a column in Be Magazine, a Bismarck Tribune publication. I will be taking a different recap of my half marathon and writing about for the Oct.Nov issue. Please check it out.
And if you made it this far – congrats! I have been slacking on this blog. I haven’t been feeling I want to share as much or have as much to say. I am still cooking, baking and doing different fitness things but I am really trying to enjoy my social life and the people here with me in real life in these last weeks of summer so posting will likely continue to be light. Thank you for reading!