Monday, October 11, 2010

Race Result: Fargo Mini Marathon

Event: Fargo Mini Marathon: Half-Marathon, 10K, & 5K events
Date: Saturday, October 9, 2010
Location: Fargo, North Dakota
Weather: 59 (race time) and beautiful
Official Results: Overall text results (all three races)

Personal results:

Goal: 39:59 (6:26 per mile pace)
Official Time: 39:40 (6:23 per mile pace)
Garmin Time: 39:39 (6:22 per mile pace)
Overall: 4th (637 total); top 0.47%; 1st in 45-49 male age group (15 total)

The Recap

Had the ol' grey beard going for this event.
The weather was almost perfect for the 8 AM start Saturday morning at the Fargo Civic Center. There was a slight breeze out of the ESE. The only thing bad about that was the day was going to heat up (it hit 87 F this past Saturday) so when we hit the turn-around we had the wind at our backs and I heated up. Nothing major, though.

This was sort of a weird race. Plenty of people for the 10K event as 637 people completed it. But it was plain from the start that the depth of the competition would be lacking. Two blocks into the event, five of us had already pulled away from the field. I glanced at my Garmin and we were pulling an astonishing 5:20 per mile pace and I asked myself, "What the eff ARE you doing!?!?", and pulled it back to the lower 6's. There was no way I was going to last at that pace.

A little over one-half mile in and eventual race winner (James Schanandore - 32:23) had left us in the dust. That left four of us in a pack. By mile two we had separated into little groups, each no more than forty yards behind the other. I was in the third group and dropping off. At this point I had a decision to make.

One, I could attempt to close the gap with the lead chase group. The risk here being that I catch the cahse group but the result being I could have a nuclear meltdown near the end of the race. Two, I stick to my original goal of going under 40-minutes. I went with option two. That's what I had been training for. It made no sense to go nuts at this point.

This meant that I was now running by myself. I mean, by-my-self. A quick glance over the shoulder and there was no one behind me. I could see no one at all. It was akin to running a workout by myself. This was very strange to me given the number of people in the race. There were five people busting their humps up front and no one else within the same zip code.

This made it a challenge for me to keep on my goal. Interestingly enough, I kept the distance between myself and the lead chase group the same. Shortly after mile three, I could see I was gaining. Again, I struggled with going all Prefontaine or just keeping within myself. It was at this point that we had the wind at our backs and I'm glad that once again I stuck to plan. As I was starting to heat up.

At this point, I need to discuss the first five. Again, Schanandore had pulled away early and was nowhere in sight. There was a second male that had now broken away and had about a 300-yard lead on me. In third was female extraordinaire Gina Aalgaard Kelly who had separated slightly from a fourth male. I was about 60-yards behind those two. And that is how we would finish.

However, as the first set of results were posted I noticed something very strange. I was listed in seventh overall. "That's just not right," I thought to myself. Like I said, there was no one within the same zip code as us. Someone had cut the course was my first thought. So I talked with some race officials just to make them aware I didn't think those results could be valid.

What I think happened was that two people had signed up for the 10K, but somehow ran the 5K course. That explains those two. But later in the day when the official results were posted, I was now listed as third overall! Now I was really scratching my head.

I could see that a Christopher Johnson who had run a 37:59 had been DQ'd. This is the person had had been in second place the whole race. I saw nothing....absolutely nothing....that could have lead to his DQ so I can only assume he ran the wrong race (was signed up for the half marathon) or had a chip malfunction?

Subsequent update - It appears that the results have been updated, moving me from 3rd overall to 4th. Glad to see Christopher Johnson was reinstated.

We had D-tags for this event? Ever had to deal with these? Not easy for the first timer user. I had a race official actually walk up to me as we stood at the starting line to adjust mine.

So whatever happened to Johnson, I don't know. But there is no mention of the fourth runner who would have finished behind Kelly, the overall female winner. So, somehow I ended up 3rd overall and 2nd overall for the males.

I liked the course. We started on roads that wound through the residential section of Moorhead (on Minnesota side of the Red River) before crossing the river again to finish on a very scenic run along the Red itself on their trail system. There was some rolling hills. So again, I was glad I didn't bust my balls and held to my goals and ran my race. My splits:

Here is the Garmin information and map for those interested.

The Family

Yes, this was the debut race for the Well Kept Wife™. And trust me, it was not me who insisted that she begin running. It was not me who planted, then germinated that idea. This was 110% her idea and goal. I provided her the training guidelines and support.

She had been running for a little over six weeks prior to this event. So we had no aspirations going into the event. When she had been reporting her training times to me in the last week, I had an thought she could go under thirty minutes. In fact, I was pretty positive if it.

Before the race we talked about that she would be running much faster than it would seem, especially that first mile. I wrote her targeted mile splits on the back of her hand in green marker just as I do for myself. I knew she would have a good race if she kept to those splits.

But, I did not expect her to go 28:11. Nor did I expect her to literally blow away the competition in her age group (Female 45-49). She was 1:09 faster than second place. She beat thirty other women in her age group so its not like she had a light field. A truly awesome first time effort. I just hope she doesn't expect to be first, or on the podium, at every event because of this! In fact, after the race she asked me when I thought she could try a 10K. I just laughed and let her know we'll see how she does over the winter.

The Boy® ended up with the family honor in the 5K, coming in ahead of his mom. There had been considerable smack talk between the two that morning. What may have hurt is that the Boy® ran a total of TWO TIMES during the six weeks his mom was training. I think he may be training a bit more in the coming two weeks.

That is because I see the score possibly being evened up in a couple of weeks in Arizona. Then we'll have the series tied at one apiece going into 2011. Hmmmm.

The Boy® ended up with a new PR of 27:48 and ended up 6th in the male 14 & Under age group which had 22 total runners. He was beaten by a 14-yo, 13-yo, 10-yo, 12-yo, and a 13-yo. But he beat a bunch of kids four years older than himself. He was pretty happy, but that may have been more to beating up on mom than any thing else.

The Well Kept Wife and the Boy® with their medals.

Let's get back to the event itself and break down the typical components, discussing what was done well and what needs improvement.

Packet Pickup - As far as I know, there was only same-day packet pickup. So we had to scream out of the Twin Cities at 3:30 PM Friday to make it to the Fargo Civic Center before 8 PM in order to get our packet. What was nice, we unexpectedly took the exit that took us right past the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” house in south Moorhead that was still under construction. It looked great. Amazing work and amazing story for those that follow that show. The house was handed back to the family this past Sunday.
Grade - B-
Suggestion - Packet pickup itself was fine. Hardly any wait. Everything was in the bag. Maps of the course posted. There had been a change due to continuing work on flood walls in south Moorhead. I am docking the grade, though, as several attempts to verify if race day packet pickup would be available went unanswered. I expect better from race officials.

Volunteers - All the volunteers from packet pickup to post race were splendid and very helpful! I was especially impressed with the number of enthusiastic teenage volunteers. That is always good to see.
Grade - A
Suggestion - Just repeat in 2011

Run Course - As I said, there had been a slight course change that really only affected the half-marathon. The 5K course apparently was very nice, taking the runners past the Hjemkomst Center. The 10K was just beautiful fall foliage. It was special to me to again revisit some trails that I ran on when attending school at NDSU. I was recalling some XC meets as well when we hit Gooseberry Park. I believe I earned my very first XC medal ever in that park way back in the day.
Grade - A+
Suggestion - Just repeat in 2011

The Hjemkomst Center
Awards/Goodies - Long sleeved T-shirts were given for the 10K runners and short sleeved for the 5K runners. The good ol' cotton variety. And believe it or not, finishers medals were provided to all three events including the 5K! That was really cool. And they are nice medals. The top three overall males and top three overall females also received something but since I was not listed as within the top three males at the time of the award ceremony, with the DQ's coming later in the day, I have no idea what those would have been. The top three in each age group in all three events received gift certificates for Go Far Sports in Fargo. It is a very nice runners paradise and we shopped there after the event as I had a $20 gift card and my wife had a $10 gift card for our first place age group finishes. I'll be writing about some of the new gear in the coming days.
Grade - A
Suggestions - Offer to mail the gift cards next year. We had to wait for well over 115-minutes for the gift cards.....very much appreciated, mind be passed out.

The Maas medal collection from Fargo

Post Race Food - I've not included a review of post race food in my race reports before. But the Well Kept Wife...this being her first event...made a point about it and wanted me to make mention as she was appalled by the nutritional value being put forward. I told her it was no worse than any other event I've ever done and that some events don't offer anything at all. Still she found issue with the bags of potato chips and chocolate milk. She wanted protein and granola and something healthier. You food. They also had orange juice (which I loved) and banana's. Like I explained to her, any food after a race is a bonus and not a expectation. Lots of this stuff is donated and you have to love sponsors, otherwise these events would not happen. But I can see her point. Less processed food. More natural selections. Oranges, apples....fruit! And some good old protein bars or natural snacks as additional options. I'm sure other readers have a take on post-race food as well....feel free to share.
Grade - C
Suggestions - Introduce a focus group and be sure some mom's are represented. What would they like to see on the list of possible foods for 2011?

Overall - Loved the race. Great setup. We really lucked out with the weather. I will be very much considering this event for my 2011 race calendar. I whole heartily recommend it. Over 2500 people competed in the three events and one would not have known that as it was so well put together.

It is always nice to go back to the state of my birth and visit with the family. And yes, we visited the massive Scheels promised....twice. Let me tell you something about that store, and I'm not making this up: They have a better collection of running gear than any store in the Twin Cities. Bar none. Heck, they even have tall and short sizes of most things. They also carry items such as heavy duty UnderArmor for winter events that I've not seen here, even at Dicks. Just love that Scheels store. And the Well Kept Wife™ spent more than me this time around!

Next Event - Oct 23 at the 42nd Annual Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA Half Marathon + Family 5K Walk & Run, Phoenix, AZAll three of us are doing the 5K Run. This will be fun. I'll be setting no goals. Just go out there and try and stay ahead of my family! If you see these three people at the starting line, be afraid. Be VERY afraid!

The Maas family is coming soon to a race near you!


Mario said...

Nice work, Running Family. The TarahuMAASa.

Brian said...

Ah, very good Mario. For those who might not know the Tarahumara are an indigenous people of northern Mexico who are renowned for their long-distance running ability. Not sure we qualify for that just yet....but I would rather have that weather!

Matt L. said...

Thanks for taking time to come and visit the store. We love supporting the running community, if you are interested you should check out next years Fargo Marathon!

We look forward to your next visit,

Matt L.

bwheat said...

Hey great job all around!! The Kick-Maas and took names family! Way to go! You're going to have to get a bigger trophy room at this rate.