Monday, May 30, 2011

#48 Fargo Marathon, Fargo, North Dakota

     North Dakota has only 3 marathons and no ultra's so only a short list to gain this state.  I had always felt that ND would be my 50th state due to so few runs available and time of year for those events.  This year Fargo worked out so Fargo Marathon it was to be.

     The 50 States Club had the summer reunion with the Fargo Marathon so for only the 2nd time I was able to attend.  It is nice to visit with runners with the same goals and bents.  The club meeting room was full and a nice meeting was had, as well as many runners receiving their awards for 50 State completions.  Hopefully I will soon be a recipient.  So packet pickup was on Friday as well as the meeting for the club.  All in the Fargodome, home of the North Dakota State University football team.  Now on to the race........

      Fargo Marathon was on Saturday, May 21, 2011.  The weather for the start and during the marathon was not promising:  60-70's, high winds (15-25 mph) and torrential rain.  All was had except for the rain, not a drop.  However it was overcast the whole marathon.
     The race course meandered through the downtown of Fargo and residential streets.  Having tree lined roads helped diminish the winds, except when in open areas.  Some small hills were found, but far and few between.  This should be a nice race with mostly a flat course.
     My plan mirrored the plan used for Colorado Marathon breaking the race down into 3-9 mile segments.
Pushing the 1st 9 miles, then getting to the half marathon at 13.1 and assessing based on time.  I was over 2 hours so I throttled back as no stellar time was going to happen on this day.  Ran to 18 miles and was loosing my focus, so I stuck with a group I was running around to the end and pushed the last 2 miles.  The finish was in the Fargodome creating an excitement for the finish of the race.  I always hate to have anyone pass me the last 3 miles and in fact I passed 4 to 5 runners to the finish.
     The stats:  4:41:14; 1470th/2211 place overall; 954rd/1290 male; 31st/53 AG(60-64).  48th state!
     For those who read this, I would recommend this race.  Small size field for the marathon, even though the half marathon runs with the marathon on two sections feeling like a larger field.  Bands galore along the course and even more in garages.  The number of spectators along the course was impressive for the size of this race, but maybe they were out to see and hear the bands.  The finish was a nice touch and even had your mug on the large screen in the dome.  Food and goodies were great.  They even had chocolate milk. 
   While the visit was brief and the return home was mostly uneventful except one little tornado in Minneapolis, close enough to us but far enough we did not know it.  So there you have it another adventure completed by yours truly.

Friday, May 6, 2011

#47 Colorado Marathon, Fort Collins, Colorado

The 47th state to be completed a year after it should have been done.  Originally Estes Park Marathon was supposed to be my Colorado marathon, but was doomed.  So the Colorado Marathon out of Fort Collins will take it's place.
The area is beautiful with the Rocky Mountains looming to the west.  Old Town Fort Collins is a happening place.  If you are a runner or like biking this town was designed for your interests.
Arrived on Friday, April 29th, went and picked up my packet with #79.  Spent the remainder of the day exploring.  The next day was windy, cloudy, and rain/snow.  Betty and I went for a 4 mile walk and later I ran one mile to shake out the cobwebs.
The elevation at Fort Collins is 4915 feet and at the start of the race over 6,000', so elevation will be a factor.

Race Morning:
Got up at 3 AM had oatmeal, dressed and headed for the bus pickup in Old-Town Ft. Collins.  The bus left around 4:15 AM to drive us to the start line 26.2 miles away since the finish is at Old-Town.
Arrived at the start area a little after 5 AM in the dark.  I had a flashlight, so all was well for me.  The temperature was 35 degrees which was better than originally thought (28).  We remained in the dark for a while but the sun slowly rose to some spectacular views.  What a gorgeous palate this race was going to be run against.
The race started at 6:15 AM with little fanfare at the Steven's Gulch Campground in the Poudre River Canyon.  The Poudre River will wander alongside of the runners the entire course.  Even though I was close to the start line it took me over a minute to cross the line.  Fortunately it was chip timing, so no big issue.
So my plan was to run like hell while the course went down mountain.  So much for plans!  While I thought I was running well and efficient, my times indicated otherwise.  The course did go down mountain for 18 miles with two tiny uphills in that distance.  I broke down my race in thirds.  The first 9 miles I had hoped to run 8:15 to 8:30 miles.  I ran around 8:50's.  The next 9 miles (10-18) I planned to run around 9 minute miles but was around 9:30's, so my game plan was not working out as planned.  Between 18 and 20 miles were the hills and they were not bad, but were 2 miles worth with a small downhill.  So with my plan of a great marathon time gone, I eased back and just enjoyed the rest of the race.  The coursed went onto a bike path around 22 miles and into the finish at Old Town.  The finish was welcomed and as I approached there were three kids in a line about 3,4,& six years old holding up there hand to be slapped by the marathoners as they came past them.  However the runners were focused on the line and no one was making the kids day, so moved to my right so to greet the kids and hit each hand putting a smile on each ones face.  The little one I had to bend to get down to his hand and thought I was going to fall right over.  It's amazing the effort it took to do a little thing like that.
A few more feet to the finish line with a time of 4:26:28 and state # 47 in the books.
The marathon was well run, downhill course and a beautiful setting.  I would highly recommend this race if you desire a road marathon in Colorado.  Low lander the altitude may have some effect on your performance, but view is well worth the effort.