The mood at the starting line was jovial, and all of the women were encouraging one another. It was a nice vibe, and the race director gave a very moving speech about the background of the race. The race was established to honor a woman who was a runner and doctor in the area who lost her life early. She was an ob/gyn in the area, and she was responsible for bringing hundreds of babies in to the world. She was a woman who loved life and loved her family. I felt privileged to be part of a race of all women running in her honor and to raise money for the local NICU department at the hospital where she worked. Next, an a-capella group sang the national anthem and then we were off!
|National Anthem at starting line.|
The race was going well enough, I tried to stay with the 1:50 pace group as much as I could, and for the first 7 miles I was well in front of them, but the humidity and wind were taking a lot out of me, and the looping in and out of the neighborhoods made the race route seem tedious at times. But fans were friendly along the way, and I kept seeing these two women over and over again as I continued on the path. The person they were cheering for was somewhere behind me, so each time I passed them, and then their runner passed them, they'd hurry ahead to some other location further along the race, and I'd see them again. Eventually I started to joke with them that they should run the race next year because they were so fast. We had fun each time we saw each other, and those moments help a lot when you are hot and tired and losing steam.
By mile nine I was definitely feeling spent. I pushed on along the best I could, but running against the wind was exhausting, and there was a long stretch of straight-away sidewalk that required just that. We finally turned in to another neighborhood (with enormous houses in it!) which quieted the wind for a spell. The return trip back out on that straight sidewalk had the wind at my back, which was good, but then of course the humidity felt immense. As flat as Fargo was, it wasn't an easy race to run.
The last few miles for me were just about survival. The 1:50 group had long since passed me by, and I just wanted to finish in my overall "under 2 hours" range. Finally I could see the expo center where the finish line was, and I couldn't get there fast enough. It felt like I had sandbags tied to my legs, but I pressed on. I provided some words of encouragement to some of the walkers I passed as I made my way to the finish line. They were finishing the 5K and 10K races that they walked.
As I approached the finish line, I started looking for my fans. There they were off to the right hand side, my girls, my husband and my friends from home. I blew them all kisses as I crossed the finish line with an official time of 1:54:30 which I was really happy with. I thought I'd be much slower. Handsome firefighters were at the finish line handing out the medals. I collected mine and went to find my peeps. I ended up finishing 39th overall (out of 235) and 9th in my age group (out of 38). Happy to be finished I found my gang and told them all about it.
|Hot & humid & crossing the finish.|
|Me and my new favorite fans.|
|Finisher's medal, number & shirt.|
|Sign at World's Largest Buffalo.|
|World's Largest Buffalo, indeed!|
|Family selfie with giant buffalo.|
What a wonderful trip we had! I don't know if we ever would have selected North and South Dakota as a vacation destination, but I'm sure glad we went there. You never know where running will take you!
|North Dakota card.|