Fargo Half

Yesterday, we got together with some friends and ran a half marathon in Fargo, North Dakota. I had a good race. It wasn't my best time by a long shot (2:08 today, vs 1:57 in Green Bay), but I'm not in my best shape either. I was very happy with my level of effort from mile to mile. Good times.

The route took us a little bit side-to-side, but mostly up and down. The right side of that river is Minnesota - this was a two stater.

The Race
Our activities immediately pre-race were tame. The most exciting part was when we overhead someone whispering about an undiscovered restroom down in the lower levels of the Fargodome. I went down to check it out and the legends were true! The secret bathroom had an entire row of un-used stalls. I picked out my victim and used it, oh, did I ever... But, you can only entertain yourself with bathrooms for so long, and eventually we decided it was time to head over to the start line.

Our rendezvous point was the official Fargo wood chipper.

To start the race out, they had a lady sing the Canadian national anthem. Then they brought out a guitarist to do a Jimmy Hendrix style electric guitar national anthem. Between the two, it was a little confusing. I took off my hat for O Canada because it seemed respectful. Then for ours, I did the hand over the heart thing, but it was strange doing that for the electric guitar version. The reverence seemed mis-matched. I think the correct answer would have been to hold up a lighter.

It was good that I didn't, because lighters work poorly in the rain. The weather channel had been predicting AM thunder showers and thunder storms later in the day. We got much nicer weather than we deserved. It was cool and cloudy during the race (mid 60s). The light rain even stopped when our race started. A few hours later, the sun came out. I didn't even need to take advantage of the guy standing in his driveway spraying people down with a garden hose (mid-race).

The Race

There were a lot of neat little bands along the course. Fewer stereos in the front lawn, but more bands. The only trouble I had with the bands was the tempo of the music - which was fast early, and then slowed way down in the second half (last 10k). Probably, that was just how I happened to hit them and not some sort of weird musical conspiracy. Song choice aside, I liked the course music a lot. It was awesome that so many groups were willing to come out.

I didn't have many adventures during the race. I started off a little farther back than I would have liked, fueling strategy was fine (gel at 6, gel at 9, drink lots of water), no trips to the bathroom. Here are my GPS watch splits:

Lap 14 is officially only 0.1 miles long, but evidently my inefficient swerves and wobbles added an extra 0.19 to the course.


As for the details, after a few miles, I settled into a 9:45 pace that felt a bit quicker (evidently I'm not in as good of shape as I thought). I hung on to that for a while, but somewhere near mile seven, I saw Rob (from the wood chipper picture, yellow shirt) running past me to finish his full marathon and I thought that was really cool so I sped up to 9:30 min/mile.

I held on to that 9:30 until the last mile, then I sped up to 9:00 for the grand finale and my entrance into the Fargodome. The finish was set up so that you run down into the dome. The coliseum was packed and everybody was cheering. I liked it.

On my way to the finish line, I nearly took out a little girl that was running with her dad. I think she was about twelve and they were both tired. I tried to just cut around outside them (because who doesn't want to pass a little girl at the finish, right?), but they shifted toward me and we barely escaped a pile up (there was minimal contact, but it was close). Maybe there'll be pictures. It was in the darkened entrance part of the dome though, so I think I'll stay anonymous.

After the finish, I suddenly felt woozy. Finishing in the dome is great for cheering, but once stopped I was just in this throng of people and the air felt "heavy". It was fine, but I think the right answer would have been to have us run through the dome and finish as we exited.

The Foods
After the race, we had tasty lunch. Mine had pork and Spinach.

That spinach was tasty! Also shown: either my new purse or Elisa's iPad case (you decide).

I don't even try to take group photos anymore. I just handed the camera to the waitress and hoped she knew what to do. I do feel bad that I didn't make sure the rest of the table was looking.

As you might expect, lunch was only the beginning. After some quick strategizing and cookie distribution (Elisa gave us cookies. Thanks Elisa!), we headed to a local cupcake emporium. Actually, I drove everybody there in a minivan. Mmm, van.

"Angel Cups" This was taken the day before when we reconnoitered the cupcake place (to the tune of four cupcakes) - for quality assurance.

After cupcakes, we got some wine and hung out in the lobby and waited for the world to end (at 6:00). In our estimation, it did not, but you can never know these things for certain.

If I'd have posted this immediately, people on pacific time would have been so relieved. Wait! What if the end of the world just makes clocks run too fast?!?!?

The world having not ended, we were confronted with another cause for celebration - we needed a "yaaay, still here" dinner. Hmmm... Which, we ate and it was tasty. This is getting long. I need to wrap up.

Cultural Differences
Previous encounters with our friends from the Northern tundra have shown us that despite our common midwestern roots, people up here have some crazy names for stuff. We already knew, for example, that up here a "casserole" was called a "hot dish" (the former being a completely unfamiliar term). On this trip we learned about gray ducks and ramblers.

A gray duck is not a goose.

In Kansas, kids play Duck, duck, goose. I don't know why they do, but they just do and that's the end of it. Up in Minnesota, tiny vikings play the same game, but they call it "Duck, duck, gray duck". I thought for a while that they just referred to the large swamp bird with the white stripe as a "gray duck" but that wasn't the case. They just seem to like dafila acuta better than branta canadensis. Cool.

Also, I think our house is a ranch but not a "rambler". I'm not confident about the details, but I think a rambler is a single floor house (e.g. a ranch-style house), that includes a basement. This one wasn't as silly because there really should be a term for that sort of house. Actually, after a bit of research, I think this might be a totally normal, wide-spread term. Julie and I are just ignorant. Still, when someone casually asks if you've got a [random word] and the rest of the sentence makes sense, it does though you off guard. Little kids that don't know many words yet have it rough.

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