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Race Report: Fargo Marathon Weekend

May 20-21, 2016
Fargo, ND
Marathon #16 (State #11)
Events #98-99

I had no business running a marathon last weekend.

None.

The reasons I did so are listed in my previous post, but I was massively under-trained.

After my back-to-back full marathons in October, I took a prolonged off-season (where I did next to nothing), followed by a bronchitis that took over 7 weeks to clear up (where I did absolutely nothing), followed by looking for excuses to do even more “not much of anything”. Occasionally, I would hop on the bike trainer for 30-45 minutes, but I almost never touched the treadmill.

In the 7 months since the Des Moines Marathon, I ran both Disney/Star Wars half-marathons (which are more “events” than races as I jog from photo stop to photo stop), along with the 10k and 5k run/walks that were part of those two weekends. Aside from that, I did a winter 10 miler and a winter 5k (both part of the TC In Motion Summit Challenge running series. Both were painful). Aside from that, I might have done a 5k training run every couple of weeks or so. Basically, I wasn’t trained for the half marathons or the 10 miler…and it showed.

I “upgraded” my Fargo Half Marathon to the Full Marathon mostly out of nostalgia (“Stupid is what Stupid does”). When I did Des Moines, I was considering that it could be my final marathon. Over the winter, I came to the conclusion that my marathon days were behind me. That said, I felt a little sad about that. A sentimental part of me wanted to do it one last time, knowing that this would be the final time. I upgraded with less than a month to go. I immediately regretted it as I was in no shape to run a marathon. I started “training” with about three weeks to marathon day. It wasn’t pretty. I basically tried a few times to do a “long run”. The best I did was 9 miles with a handful of 10k and 5k thrown in. Finally, with 2 weeks before race day, I completed a very slow 18 miler. It would have to do. I did a few more 5k and a 10k slow runs leading to race weekend.

I live about 3 hours away from Fargo, and this race had always been on my bucket list of races to run. The course is very flat, and Fargo has a cute little college town charm. The course winds through neighborhoods, downtown streets, 3 college campuses, some bike paths along the Red River and crosses the river into Moorhead Minnesota. The expo was held on the floor of the FargoDome which would also be the start and finish lines for almost all of the races (indoor start and finish for the marathon, half marathon, and 10k).

I drove up on Friday morning and headed to the expo. It was your typical mid-sized expo. It had the normal array of vendors, groups promoting their own events, samples, and the official event merchandise store. I only picked up a cotton Fargo Marathon T-shirt for $10 (I have a ton of technical fabric finishers gear, but it’s nice to have a few basic Cotton shirts for day-to-day wear) and an event poster for $10 (I usually don’t get these, but I had plans for it).

I checked in for the marathon (bib, timing chip, 1/4 zip long sleeve tech shirt, Under Armour Event Bag). The 5k registration desk was nowhere to be found. When I asked about it, the vague response I received was “somewhere upstairs”. I go upstairs and wander around (there are no signs giving directions) and eventually found it on one of the concourses in front of one of the arenas entrance. Got my bib, chip and shirt, but no bag (one per registration…and since I was doing the challenge, I only registered once). I asked a volunteer where the starting line for the 5k was being staged…and I got a blank stare. She asked the others, and nobody at packet pick up knew where the race was starting (answer: just outside the doors they were standing in front of all day…in the arena parking lot).

These are examples of my biggest complaint about this event…multiple organizational blunders. This race is 12 years old, and has 15,000 participants, but volunteers have no idea where packet pick up is held, or where races start, and there was no signage to help. There was also no course map ever printed for the 5k (Edit: there was one buried on the website, but not in the guide or printed up like all the other races were). The whole thing seemed amateurish and disorganized. This was a recurring theme all weekend.

I then went in search of the charity I was running for. A post popped up on the Fargo Marathon FB page indicating that runners running for a charity would get a bonus medal. I looked at the charities and I signed up to run for a local animal rescue (and I made a donation). I received an email prior to the race stating that I could pick up a running bib before the race to help promote the charity during the race. I inquired about it at the race information booth…and I got the Fargo Blank Stare (I was getting used to this look). The volunteers at the event information booth directed me to ask about it at the volunteer check in booth (seriously?). I eventually just stumbled onto a small booth next to the “bib number lookup” table with a sign that stated “charity runners”. The booth was unmanned and empty. More disorganization…

Mark Allen (6 time Ironman World Champion) was a keynote speaker at 4pm. I asked where it was located at the “info booth”. Fargo Blank Stare. They didn’t even know there was a talk. They pulled out the race booklet and found out that it was on the second floor. I head up there and find…nothing. There were four conference rooms with no signs indicating where, when or who would be speaking (more disorganization). Eventually, others wandered upstairs and we just started entering random rooms until we found one that looked like it was setup for the talk.

At 4pm, Mark showed up and gave a great 1 hour presentation. Many in attendance were Ironman finishers who were eager to hear someone who had such success in these events. After the talk, I had the chance to meet him, get a photo and got an autograph on the event poster. Great souvenir for me from this event!

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By that time, the 5k was starting to line up. I did a quick change into running gear and headed to the starting line. The organizers made an attempt to keep the runners and walkers separate…they even had separate staging areas and a separate starting line for walkers, and volunteers were clearly holding up signs for the different paces. It helped a little…but I still ended up with a lot of walkers around me.

I lined up towards the back of the 25-30 minute coral. As soon as we passed the starting line, we had 2 sharp turns which was a huge bottleneck and it slowed everyone down. We then turned onto a side street. Unfortunately, that side street was very narrow, and had parked cars on both side of the road. The remaining path was about wide enough for a car to drive through…and way too narrow for 6500 runners…and there were small area areas of construction as well. For the first mile, I walked a lot (and even stood still from time to time). By mile two, things started to loosen up and I was able to run the rest of the way.

Fargo 5k Finish Time – 30:06.

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After the race, I got my water and medal (very nice medal for a 5k!) I went back to the expo and there was still nobody at the volunteer runner booth. There was a box with the “charity runner” medals in it. It looked like somebody had broken into the box and there were multiple medal 50 count packs in the box…one of which was torn open. I ended up just taking a medal and leaving. I figured that they would be on the arena floor at the start of the race or at the finish line. They weren’t. If I did not help myself to the medal, I never would have received it. Another sign of the disorganization that permeated this event…

I then left the FargoDome and headed to Noodles & Company for some carbs (huge lineup at the restaurant). After I headed to the hotel and realized that there was construction (bulldozers and jackhammers) right outside my room window. Despite my complaints to the hotel (Fargo Inn and Suites), the construction continued well past 10:30 pm. I got about 3 hours sleep.

I was up early on marathon morning. Coffee, small breakfast and headed to the FargoDome. As always, I was about the first one there. I got a prime parking spot just in front of the arena’s front door. Once the doors opened, I headed inside and watched as the runners filtered in and the anticipation start to build. There was an indoor bag drop, indoor bathrooms, and real seats, so the indoor venue was a massive perk.

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In time, marathon runners were permitted onto the floor to line up for the start the of the race. Once we had lined up, the half marathoners and the 10k runners filtered down. I decided to join one of the slowest pace groups…5:30 finish time. I met a fellow Marathon Maniac (65 years old, and finishing off his 50 marathon/50 states quest). He also planned to run slowly (and doing intervals…run 2 minutes, walk 30 seconds). We started running together and it was a nice distraction as I was hoping to be able to talk with someone to help the time pass. The race started and we headed out (a little faster than a 5:30 pace). The weather at the start was ideal (high 50’s, sunny, light breeze), but I knew it would heat up.

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The first few miles let the runners thin out. The starting leg was through residential neighborhoods, and was a different route than the half marathoners and 10k runners, lightening the course congestion for everyone. After awhile, we ended up on a bike path along the Red River then crossed a bridge into Minnesota. The course then headed towards University of Minnesota-Moorhead campus. We did a loop through campus followed by more bike trails. By this point, I was getting hot, tired and I was fading fast. I had started fading by mile 10 and hit the wall by mile 15. I had expected this, but it was discouraging to feel this bad this soon. Also, by this point, the sun was climbing in the sky and the mercury was climbing fast. It was well into the low seventies by this point.

A few comments about the course. The organizers did a pretty good job of showing off their community and there was a nice variety of scenery. Course support was average (aid stations every 2 miles until mile 20, then every mile), with two GU stations. Crowd support was pretty good with lots of candy, water, signs, and beer. Photographers were sparse, but the entertainment wasn’t…58 bands on the marathon course.

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Miles 15-20 was a painful slog. My new best friend kept me moving forward (I told him to run his own race, but he indicated that he didn’t care about his finish time and kept me going). At mile 18, we changed the intervals to 2 minute run, one minute walk. At mile 20, I waved him off as I was really slowing him down, and I really was starting to feel that I couldn’t continue with the structured intervals.

It was very hot my then (80F) and my lack of sleep was hitting me hard. I started breaking up the remaining distances into the smallest possible sections…the next block, the next tree, the end of the current song, etc. I glanced a few times at my watch and thought that I might be able to avoid a personal worst. I was guzzling the power aid and pouring water over my head at every aid station. I had stopped sweating…which is an ominous sign. The miles ticked down more and more slowly.

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I had wondered what I would be feeling at this point of the race. I signed up for it out of nostalgia. I wondered it I would be questioning my decision to sign up for this race, or my questioning my decision to stop running marathons after this event. Would it be sad or bittersweet?

Nope. It wasn’t. I couldn’t wait for this to be over.

It reaffirmed my decision that this was my last full marathon. It was with overwhelming relief that I saw the FargoDome coming up. There was a short run through the parking lot, down the ramp into the dome and the finish line.

Marathon Finish Time – 5:29:27 (personal worst).

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I got my medals (these things are huge and beautiful), water, and finishers photos. Post race food was pretty basic (pizza, banana, chocolate milk). I used the free access to shower facilities at the stadium (free for all runners…thank you Fargo Marathon for this perk!) and headed out.

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Post race, there was a pub crawl in downtown Fargo. No purchase was needed….just get a passport, go to every bar, get it stamped, and get a bonus medal (just like the finishers medal, but a bottle opener). As expected, nobody seemed to know anything about this. The event guide listed a website for details but the website didn’t exist. I went downtown, found a participating bar, talked to the bartender and figured it out. I had to walk around downtown for about an hour (after running a marathon), but I wasn’t going to leave any bling behind! Once finished, I started to head back home.

Overall, Fargo is a mixed bag. The things they focus on (nice route, amazing medals, race entertainment, indoor staging area), they had surpassed expectations. But, they kept overlooking basic things that any event should be doing. Lack of signage and not giving volunteers some basic information about the race and packet pick up led to a lot of needless pre-race stress. Their ability to reply to e-mails or FB questions was inconsistent (over half went unanswered). The course support and post race food was barely average. With these multiple gaffs, I would have to rank Fargo as delivering an average to slightly below average running experience, with the caveat that there are some exceptional features for an event of this size.

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My Muscle Memory Marathon Training Plan…

“Respect The Distance” – Every Marathon Coach Everywhere

“Trust In Your Training” – Yoda

“As A Runner, You Will Do Some Dumb Things. But Try Not To Do Anything That Is Really Incredibly Stupid” – Me

“Whoops! I don’t know how it happened, but I accidentally signed up for another  marathon…” – Facebook Meme

Welcome to my “Incredibly Stupid” race preview…Fargo Marathon Edition.

Last season, I ran 5 marathons and one ultramarathon. I finished the year in October with 2 marathons in 2 days…and I was completely burnt out on running. My plan for this season was a much lighter racing schedule, less half-marathons and absolutely no full marathons. In fact, I ended last season wondering if I would ever run another full again.

As the off-season progressed, I came to a conclusion. My marathon running days were behind me. I had a lot of marathons left on my “to do” list and came to the conclusion that (baring a return to running several years from now and tackling a really big race like New York, Chicago, or MCM) the marathons on my dream list would stay there. Running long distances just too too much of a physical toll on my body and I wasn’t having fun anymore.

So, this season had a modest 4 half marathons on the schedule. Two were Disney races, one was part of a local series that has always been on my schedule, and the last one was Fargo.

Fargo Marathon would have been a race that I would have run sooner or later. It is a 3 hour drive down I-94, is a pancake flat course, and has a really good reputation. It offers a full and a half and I signed up for the half since I could get the experience without putting my body through the full marathon training.

Winter training went poorly. Lack of motivation and a 7 week bout with bronchitis left me on the couch for most of the winter. I struggled with completing my Disney Half Marathons.

That said, part of my brain (the emotional half) was not yet ready to let go of the full marathon distance. I think it was ok with it in theory, but wanted to have one final farewell race. My rational side told me that my longest training run since October was 10k. My three long races (a 10 miler and the two Disney halfs) were painful and I struggled to finish. My rational side told me that I had absolutely no business transferring to a full.

My emotional side waxed nostalgically about one final marathon. My rational sided countered that it could only end with a DNF and possible injury. The emotional side countered that there was a 7 hour cutoff time…I could walk most of it if need be.

Eventually, (with just three weeks to go before race day) I checked online “just to see” if a transfer was even possible. It was. And a few ill-advised clicks later, the transfer was complete.

What the hell had I just done?

I quickly scrambled for a training plan online.

Shockingly, there are no THREE WEEK marathon training plans.

Who knew?

So, about the only training plan I could come up with is what I am calling the “Muscle Memory Marathon Training Plan” (or 3M plan for short). Basically push myself out the door and see what I can do, see how fast I can ramp up, and hope the legs remember the rest.

Kids, do NOT try this at home…

So, last week, I went out 3 days in a row. One lap around the neighborhood is about 3 miles.

Day one, I managed one lap.

Crap, I may not last long enough to get to the first aid station to register my DNF. Wonderful…

Day two, I managed three laps (9 miles). So much for Muscle Memory…

Day three, I was shooting for five laps, I gutted out four.

When I started this process, I honestly had no idea at all what my legs would be able to do.

The answer, apparently, was “not much”.

Thursday, I tried again. Three laps….

I was in trouble…big time.

The marathon is now two weeks away. I need to complete some kind of long run, even if it is just to boost my confidence (and hopefully build my stamina and endurance). After this weekend, it would be too close to race day to try.

I went out the door today with the plan to go as slow and as far as I could. The weather was cooperating. By the end of the morning, I had completed 6 laps (18 miles) in four hours. Finally!

Of course, this is still far less training then I usually do heading into race day. Often, I get 3-4 training runs that are over 20 miles. Not this time, but 18 miles will likely be enough to help get me to the finish on race day.

My remaining training schedule will be a few short runs…likely just some 5k and perhaps a 10k as I taper.

Race day plan is to join one of the slower pace groups (likely 5:30) and hang with them as long as I can. I did something similar in Des Moines (the second leg of my back-to-back marathon challenge) and it worked nicely. The pace was slow enough that it allowed a lot of chatting…which distracted me from the pain and suffering. Hoping that works again.

We will find out in two weeks.

“May Fortune Favor The Foolish” – Captain Kirk

 

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Looking Ahead To My Spring Races…

Compared to previous years, my spring calendar is sparsely populated. This is a good thing since I was waylaid in my training for SEVEN WEEKS with a bronchitis that just would not go away.

I got sick right after the DisneyLand Star Wars HM. I am just now feeling about 100%. During those 7 weeks, I did some infrequent spinning on the stationary bike, and I went for just…ONE…run. That was the Valentine Day 5k…and it kicked my butt. It was on one of the coldest days of the winter and my lungs were not up for the challenge.

In the last week, we got some early warm weather, and I decided that I would go out for an easy 10k. Well, when you have done a total of 5k in 7 weeks, the words “easy” and “10k” should not be used in the same sentence. I was slow. I also managed to (slightly) injure myself. My hip was throbbing by the end of the run, and I felt a little bit of plantar fasciitis setting into my foot the next morning. Since then, I have limited my runs to 5k, and something aches after every one of them.

This does not bode well for my next race. It’s a 10 miler, and it’s this Saturday. I have never been worried about such a short distance (at least, not since I started running in 2012), but my run fitness is just not there. Unfortunately, the weather will be miserable as well (mid 30’s and rain). It is a part of the race series that I am running this year and I don’t want to sacrifice it. So, I will go into it as a long training run and focus of not doing myself any harm.

After that, I have a string of 3 Half Marathons at about monthly intervals before I start my summer triathlon season. I am not too worried about these. If I can pull off the ten miler, I should have little trouble adding an extra 5k over the next several weeks.

First up is the Walt Disney World/Star Wars 5k/10k/HM weekend. That should be a blast. A month later is the Fargo Marathon Weekend. I am scheduled to run the 5k and HM. I had strongly considered bumping it up to one last Full Marathon but the lack of training (and how I was feeling after running a 10k) would make this incredibly stupid. Pity, since the race is supposed to be great, it’s a pancake flat course, and has great bling (they even have a medal for the post race pub crawl!), it would also have added one more state to my marathon list, and they allow a full seven hours to finish the race.

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Love this bottle opener “medal”!!!

Finally, I have the Red, White and Boom Half Marathon on July 4th (annual tradition race for me, and the third race of my series). After that, my long races are done for the year. I have a few sprint triathlons over the summer, then a 5k/10k/10 miler combo at the Twin Cities Marathon Weekend to finish the season.

Once I finish my last HM of the season, I will have to re-evaluate my future in running races. I have the start of plantar fasciitis and IT band issues. My chronic ankle injury is misbehaving, my knees are not happy with my runs, and my motivation isn’t there. The next few races will likely help me decide my running future. But one thing is certain, Disney and Fargo will be my final destination races for the foreseeable future. To much time and money to keep up all of this traveling. Knowing that these will be the final trip actually has me looking forward to these instead of dreading these events. But, for now, I have to get through this weekend’s 10 miler. Hopefully the cold rain clears out a little earlier then predicted…

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The Team Ortho Debacle and Other Miscellaneous Musings…

Not much going on right now, but a few small updates.

My refund for the Minneapolis Duathlon finally came through. This was the event that was postponed…for a full year…because the inept race director did not realize that the downtown construction would cause a problem (even though several of us questioned it six months earlier). The new date conflicted with a 2016 sprint triathlon that I had already registered for…and gave me a decent excuse to get out of the last event I had scheduled with Team Ortho. They were the group that organized my first race and first marathon. But their incompetent inability to stage an event (for a ton of money) without a whole bunch of screw ups left me without much choice but to boycott their events in the future. I am not the only one.

They got written up on local news for how little they actually donate to their charity partners, and got written up in Runners World.

KARE 11 Investigates Team Ortho

Runners World Expose on Team Ortho

They carry an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Better Business Bureau F rating of Team Ortho

They responded by sending many of us a free buff and propaganda response to the allegations. Here are the scans.

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I have run most of their races for the past four years. The events are fun, and the swag is nice, but they are a disorganized mess. I once received three bibs (one in person, two in the mail) for the same race. They now only have water at the aid stations (no Gatorade…for a half marathon). They charge $30 to mail a bib (or to allow race day packet pick up). They canceled a marathon…at the starting line…because of light rain…and had no way of announcing it…but they distributed the “finishers” medals. They also have different swag and medals for the half and full marathon…but they all state “marathon finisher”. Their “warming tents” at the -30F Polar Dash were  completely ineffective. So were the timing mats used at the Monster Dash a few years back (leading to the request that we email our official finish time to the timing company…lots of PRs that day I would guess). Several more PRs at one of the Polar Dash -30F half marathon…where runners were encouraged…over the public address system…during the starting announcements…to cut the course because “we won’t be checking”. When they moved the Monster Dash 5k to the same course and time as the Half Marathon, they could not accommodate the volume of runners…so the faster half marathons had to stop because the last mile was packed with the 5k walkers. Of course, this year, they separated the finish lines, but the 5k finish area was so jammed packed that people stood around for 15 minutes…100 yards from finishing. Then, series members had to wait about an hour in the cold rain just to get the series medal. I could go on, but the Women Rock Chicago event in the Runners World article was even worse (see link).

Their approach to customer service is…unique. Questions on their Facebook pages (and e-mails) are ignored. Negative comments posted on their Facebook page are deleted (so, someone is reading them). When the KARE 11 story broke, they erased every single post-to-page on every single one of their Facebook pages.

Needless to say, I am glad to be done with them, and relieved that I got a refund for the “postponed” event.

In other news, my offseason is in full swing. It is too cold and icy to run outside. My training is way down, and I am struggling to do the recommended 150 minutes of cardio/week. I hop on the treadmill from time to time, catch up on movies while on the bike trainer, I have been to the pool and indoor track a couple of times each. But my fitness is fading a little and I am starting to get concerned about my upcoming races. However, it has been good to let minor nagging injuries heal, and to take some downtime from constant training.

I have been good with the diet over Christmas. My weight has dropped from 152.5 lbs to 144.5 lbs (I have not seen anything below 145 lbs in over a year). I would like to drop about five more pounds before I head out on my trip next month, and can then go back to maintenance mode.

My Star Wars/DisneyLand Half Marathon/10k/5k event is under three weeks away. I have not done anything close to a Half Marathon distance since October, so I am a little worried…but this isn’t a PR race…it is a jogging between character photo stops type of event. I get to go someplace warmer and take a little fun.

After that, I have a 5k in February, a 10 miler in March followed by an another identical Star Wars event in Florida in April. In May, I am scheduled to run the Fargo Half Marathon. I may still bump it up to a full if I can ramp up training enough in the spring.

Thats about all that is happening in my offseason. How are you handing your offseason and winter training?

 

 

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The Allure of the 50 Marathons/50 States

First of all, I have given up on this idea and I am NOT changing my mind about it.

But I can still see the allure of it…

Starting with a blank map, you start to fill in the spaces. Before you know it, you have a fair size chunk filled in.

I completed a back to back marathon weekend a couple of months ago, and filled in two states in one trip…Missouri and Iowa. The map now looks like this…

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There is a nice solid and satisfying streak down the middle of the nation. Is does bring up the temptation to fill in a few more…

I am registered for the Fargo Half Marathon next spring. Upgrading that to the full would let me claim North Dakota. Sioux Falls (South Dakota), Omaha (Nebraska), and Olathe (Kansas) are all on the eastern borders of their states and a fairly easy drive from Minneapolis. That would really beef up that filled in area on the map. Of course, Chicago is still on the “must do” list. That would leave Indiana as a blank gap in the Midwest. I suppose I could fill in the gap during a trip home to see family in Detroit. Then, of course, there is the NYC Marathon (New York) and Marine Corps Marathon (Virginia) that would really start filling in the Northwest…

Yes, I can see how it can become a bit of an obsession. I think that I will just stick with what I have already got.

Well, except maybe Fargo, since I am going there anyways…

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The Offseason Finally Begins…

My last race of the year was on Halloween. My legs were beat up from a very heavy running season, including 3 marathons in October. My plan was to take a week off, then move back to “offseason” mode.

The weather had other ideas.

For once, we had a very mild fall. It is Thanksgiving day in Minnesota and we have not yet seen snow. I could not let the mild weather pass. I would be trapped on the treadmill any day now. As long as I could, I would run outdoors.

The weather has finally become chilly…cool enough to make me think twice about going out the front door. I will still do it (until the Mercury drops too far, or the roads start to get slippery), but indoor training is becoming more appealing.

I visited my local indoor pool for the first time since August, and swam a mile yesterday. Nothing has changed. It never gets easier, harder, faster or slower. The only change I noticed from intense training years ago was endurence improved (since I will be limiting myself to sprint triathlons again this season, it will not be an issue). I felt really good.

I also got back on the bike (currently perched on the trainer in front of the tv). Again, it was the first time since August. That didn’t feel so good (never does after a long break). Legs were jello, and my butt hurt after 5 minutes…

I have done a couple of short treadmill sessions (hate that thing), and I will work my way to the elliptical and indoor track soon enough.

I thought about doing a Turkey Trot yesterday morning, but I am burnt out on races. The thought of driving across town, parking, getting my bib for a 10k just didn’t appeal to me at this point. I will keep the schedule empty until the season starts with some Disney events in January.

And my “never again” on marathons is already wavering. Fargo half is in May. The thought of bumping it up to a full has crossed my mind. The event should not sell out and I can make that decision at the expo if my spring training permits…

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Tapering With Uncertainty…

Yesterday, I ran 10 miles. That should be the last long-ish taper run of my marathon training.

I just don’t know which marathon I am running (if any)…

There are a lot of non-running life events that can affect running plans. Mine is the severe illness of a beloved pet (Peanut…one of my two “fur-babies”). This dog has had a lot of health issues in her life, and she has scared us more then once. She is thirteen now, and I didn’t think that she would pull through this time. She was started on THREE different antibiotics, THREE other stomach medications and had her high dose steroid (for a different health issue) cut down. I was doubtful that any of it would make a difference.

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Meanwhile, I was scheduled to fly home to Canada next weekend to visit family. Pittsburgh was a short (ish) detour on my way to Canada and I was scheduled to run the Pittsburgh Marathon next Sunday (along with the 5k the day before to complete the “Steel Challenge”). A few days ago, I decided that I might have to reschedule the trip and would have to cancel Pittsburgh…my first DNS. Since I was trained for a marathon, I started to look around locally for alternatives. Fargo is having their marathon the following week. It would be a three hour drive and an overnight stay…a much shorter trip if I could not get to Pittsburgh ( and if if her health was stable enough that I could safely book an overnight trip). I have not yet registered but I did find a motel room and booked it as a back up.

I told my wife about my proposed change in plans. She told me not to be so hasty. Having a plan B is fine, but to see how Peanut responded to treatment before canceling the trip.

She got better…fast. Twenty-Four hours after starting the treatment, she was our old dog again.

So, plan A is still a go but subject to cancelation. I am holding my motel and watching the registration cap at Fargo to be sure I don’t get shut out of that one, and will watch my little girl and hope that she continues her miraculous recovery…

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