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This weekend was a long time coming. However, my 50th half marathon wasn't something I set out to accomplish from the start. My running journey started in 2007 and every year since I've run at least one half marathon and a max of 6 in 2016. The Indy area has a lot of races now, so I'd just run a few of them every year and it added up. The interesting part about this weekend is that it was also my 50th state *visited*.
When I realized my 50th was coming up, I asked my sister, Morgan, if she would come with me since we're the only two in our family who hadn't yet been to North Dakota. My mom and other sister, Casey, went without us a few years ago and my dad had already been. We got to 50 because my parents took us on RV trips growing up. We had a map on the side of the RV with stickers of the states we'd traveled to and a pin collection inside from our favorite places. I went to Hawaii as a baby and Alaska on a cruise about ten years ago, but most of the other states were driven through.
THE DAY BEFORE
This weekend was also Morgan's 32nd birthday weekend. So it was the perfect reason for our 50th state trip.
The trip to ORD was uneventful and easy. I didn't spot anyone in Indy that looked like they were traveling for a race. But the game changed when we got to Chicago and people started gathering at the gate for our Fargo flight.
And when I say game, I mean the "can you spot the runner?" game. You know the one. Here are the clues:
- Shoes - if someone is wearing HOKAs, Brooks, ASICS, Saucony - runner
- Race Gear - Boston jacket/hat, previous marathon shirt - runner
- Watch - Garmin or COROS watch - runner
- Water bottle stickers - if someone has a Hydroflask with running stickers - well, obviously a runner
Morgan and I sat down across from two women who were clearly runners (Nicole and Jamie). Not only did one have on a Flying Pig shirt, but they were talking about the race. I played it cool and went to the bathroom, but when I came back I asked the Flying Pig girl (Nicole) about her race experience in Cincinnati this year (the weather was awful for the half and full). Thankfully, she did the 10K this year and the weather for her was great. Her friend Jamie had run the Pig previously and said the crowds are amazing and highly recommends I run sometime - I mentally added that to my list of reasons why I should do both the Indy Mini and the Flying Pig next year.
There were a ton of other runners at our gate. Many wearing race gear from previous races - Boston, Disney, Revel, etc. As we were boarding, there was a lot of excited chatter about the race. Morgan and I didn’t sit together on this flight, so I was seated with a guy wearing a Boston Marathon jacket. Naturally, we started talking about running and he told me his Boston time from last year had scored him an opportunity to run as an elite in Fargo. “Me too” the woman in front of us said. They then compared marathon PRs - his 2:50 to her 2:49. 🤯 They are both running the full and flying home the same afternoon.
We talk about the races we’ve run - Chicago, New York. The woman was very complimentary of her experience at the CNO Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and I told her that was great to hear since I’m on the board.
Once we’re in the air, I open my laptop to edit the most recent podcast episode. It takes me nearly the entire flight to edit and once I’m finished I start chatting with my seat mate again. He has a Dreamforce water bottle, so I ask him if he works for Salesforce (it’s their huge annual user conference). He doesn’t but his team runs Salesforce. I tell him I used to work there and once ran the Chicago marathon with my friend, Ashley, and then flew right to SFO for Dreamforce (which is a marathon itself). Not our best idea.
He asks me what I do and so I tell him about Athlete Bouquets and the podcast. I give him my business card and tell him I’d love to have him on (outside of my comfort zone). He opens his notes app on his phone to jot down the name. He’s reading “We Share the Sun” a book about Kipchoge’s coach. I make note of it.
At this point, we finally get each others names. His is Himanshu and he’s from the suburbs of Chicago with two young kids. He is running Berlin in the fall. His friend is sitting next to Morgan and has a Revel hat on. We talk about Big Cottonwood and BQ courses. They tell me about a race in Chicago just for people trying to qualify. “Maybe someday,” I say. The woman in front of us says Big Cottonwood would probably still be faster (it’s down a mountain).
As we deplane, we wish each other luck and head our separate ways. I have zero idea how big the race is so I assume there’s a slim chance we’ll meet again…
Morgan and I rented a car. The people working the counter asked what brought us to town and we tell them the marathon. “Oh that’s this weekend?!”, they say as I point to the shoes of people walking through the concourse. “That’s how you know,” I tell them.
Once we’re outside it feels official. 50 states!! The first goal of the weekend has been achieved.
I google trying to find a good lunch spot (with gluten free options for Mo). We ended up at Prairie Kitchen, a restaurant offering Midwest-inspired food (probably why we liked it so much!). Highly recommend this spot if you visit.
After lunch, we went to the Fargo-Moorhead Visitor Center. Since mom and Casey visited first, we knew that when you visit the Visitor Center they give you a t-shirt and certificate for joining the “Best for Last Club”. When you walk in, they have you fill out your information on an iPad and then they ask for your shirt size and print your certificate. The guy working took our photo and told us they have a special Facebook group we’ll get an email about where we can share our photo (we did). I bought a magnet and Morgan got a sticker. We gathered flyers for what the guy recommended we do around town and that was that. Oh, and the wood chipper from the movie Fargo was there too. Second goal of the weekend achieved!
Next up is the expo. We’re tired from traveling but not sure we can check into our hotel yet so we decide we might as well check it off the list. The expo is at the Fargodome, where the race starts and ends. It’s pretty big. I love the setup of the expo. You basically go into the stadium and walk in a loop to see vendors and get your bib and sweatshirt. It’s one of the only races I’ve done where you get assigned your bib number at checkin. They just put a sticker with your name on it onto the bib at the top of the pile. And somehow I accidentally put Morgan’s birthday in for me so we had to get that fixed so I wasn’t competing with 32 year olds.
After that, I impulse bought some syrup fuel packets because I’ve been curious about it and this is as close to Canada as I’ve been in a while. Don’t worry, I didn’t try one during the race. I have also been curious about Race Dots to replace safety pins for my bib. One of the first booths had them so I got some of those too. They worked great. (I’ve tried a competitive product before and they hurt and caused chafing).
There was a booth for “Beyond Running” a local running store with a ton of apparel. Morgan and I found matching Saucony tank tops we liked that say “Beyond Running Fargo, ND”. After that, I promised myself I was done shopping. 😂
We picked up our race sweatshirts, took a few photos inside the stadium with our bibs, and headed out the door. Obviously we took some pictures in front of the Fargodome too.
Now it felt like we’d used up enough time to head to the hotel and hope our room was ready. When I booked our trip, I looked for a room at the hotels closer to the dome but they were all booked. So, I settled on a boutique hotel downtown, The Jasper Hotel. It was absolutely perfect. It gave me Bottleworks vibes with its trendy, old-style decor.
Thankfully, our room was ready and we could finally relax for a bit. Even with young kids I’m not used to getting up at 5am. Our room was on the 9th floor and overlooked the Fargo theatre and famous Mario mural. It was nap time for me. Nothing like a hotel nap with 4 pillows and a bed all to myself. Heavenly.
After napping, we ran across the street to a little market for water and breakfast stuff. I had to buy an entire loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter. Then, it was time for dinner. You guessed it - pizza and beer. Since Morgan is gluten free, she researched pizza places in advance and found one right across the street that had GF crust, Spicy Pie Pizza. The walls were covered with graffiti from previous customers and I found my name already written on the wall in our booth (clearly a good omen). Mo got a cheese pizza and I got a deluxe and a PBR. They accidentally tried bringing us another pizza that wasn't ours and then two more PBRs which I sadly had to turn down. That was painful, but necessary. Carb loading complete.
At the visitor's center, one of the brochures we grabbed was a map of all of the downtown Fargo murals. So, after dinner we went on a little downtown tour to find a few of them. During our tour, we met a couple groups of runners. The first was a mother daughter group who graciously took our picture in front of the Mario mural. The other was a couple we met while Morgan was taking a picture of me standing in front of the "e" of "alley" to make "ally". 😂 They offered to take our picture together and I explained that my name was Ally and what I was trying to do. They noticed my "RUN" sweatshirt and we discovered we were both from Indiana. They were from Vincennes and told us about the half marathon they have in April, The Vincennes Historical Half Marathon.
I'm still in denial about this next part... my heal was hurting. Pretty bad. Enough so that I finally admitted it to Morgan. It was making me really nervous. I'd worn my Oofos slides to travel in and wondered if that was to blame. So, we ended our tour and took our leftover pizza back to the hotel room. I tried massaging my foot while we watched A Man Called Otto. I cried so much watching the movie that by the end I was exhausted and fell asleep pretty easily. Alarm was set for 5:20am.
THE MORNING OF
When I open my eyes it was already starting to get light outside. I panicked and looked at my phone - 5:18am. But how was the sun up already? I Googled - "what time is it in Fargo, North Dakota?" 5:18am. Whew. Ok. Nice that the sun is already coming up. I do my best not to wake Morgan but I swear every move I make is so loud.
I make my AG1.
I make my coffee (turns out what I made was decaf - oops).
I make my breakfast.
Morgan asked me if I was going to travel with my toaster and while it was tempting, I didn't want crumbs all over everything, so I resisted. Instead, made peanut butter and banana ... bread. It did the trick.
Morgan wakes up around 5:50 - we're planning to leave at 6:15. I grab a cold bottle of wine from the mini fridge and use it to roll under my foot in hopes I'll get my heal to feel ok. It helps a little, but I still feel the pain that's there. I get myself dressed, cover myself in Squirrel's Nut Butter, and configure my new Race Dots to pin on my bib. I make sure everything is charged (again) and sync my watch with my phone (again). You never can be too careful. I wait for Morgan to get dressed and we're ready to go.
While we'd rented a car, the race had shuttles running from a nearby downtown hotel, so we opted not to stress about parking. It was a quick, 5-minute walk. The air was chilly. I wonder if I should have packed my arm sleeves to keep myself warm during the race. I'm kicking myself for not packing them as an option.
The shuttle is a school bus and we are on the bus by ~6:20. After a couple more people load in, the bus driver tells others we're full and we take off a few minutes early. I was happy we'd made this shuttle so we didn't have to wait nervously for the next one.
The ride to the Fargodome was pretty short - about 10 minutes or so. We didn't talk to anyone, but there was a lot of chatter en route to the start. We pull up to the dome and the bus driver lets us out. Someone asks where we catch the shuttle back - something I hadn't considered - and she tells us it will be in the same spot.
At this point it's probably around 6:40 or so - nearly an hour until the half marathon starts at 7:30. The full actually started after the half at 7:45 and the 10K (that Morgan was running) at 8am. This was confusing to me at first thinking - how in the hell will we be able to get out of the way for the full marathoners? But, the courses were such that the marathoners and 10K runners went north, while the half marathon and 5K went south.
It was so nice to be starting inside where it was warm. It was also nice that there were and abundance of bathrooms and places to sit. We sat for a while watching other runners milling about. Lots of stretching and jogging going on. I gear checked my sweatshirt and pants (which I now deeply regret - more on that later). Waiting around for a race to start isn't my favorite thing. I was ready to just go. My heal was still hurting and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I just needed to start running so I could see what was going to happen.
We finally line up "using the honor system". There are pacers spread throughout the corral and I make my way up towards the front by the 1:55 pace sign. On my way we passed all of the finisher medals that were waiting for us. A woman next to me jokes, "why run when you can just grab your medal?" I said something about how I don't like to know what the medal looks like until the end but I'd already seen a picture.
Once I get into my spot I chat with the woman next to me who is 47 years old and from Bismark, ND. This is the only race she's ever done but she's done it a few times. I tell her Indiana is equally as flat and that she should come to run Monumental. I make sure I start my watch and get it ready so I don't have to fumble to start it like I had to at the Mini. As I'm looking around I spot Morgan's flight buddy, Himanshu's friend, behind me. We recognize each other and wish each other luck. Then it was time for the national anthems. That's right - anthems plural. I guess it's very common up north to have both the Canadian and American national anthems. It was cool. The guy singing was also running the full marathon. And then FINALLY it's time to run.
My race plan from my coach, Rachel, was 3 blocks of 4 miles and then the last 1.1. I started at an 8:35 pace and then the idea was to get progressively faster. My goal was to beat my time from the Indy Mini which was 1:53:24. Her plan had me coming in at 1:52 and change.
We start the race by going up and out of the Fargodome. It's not really a hill to speak of, but a slight grade that lasts maybe 200 meters. The moment we get outside in the sun I'm thankful I did not pack or wear my arm sleeves. While the air is still cool at this point, it's going to get warm. I tell myself am dressed perfectly for the weather.
We make our way out of the Fargodome parking lot and then we're off to who knows where. I have no idea what to expect outside of knowing the course is really flat. Will we be in fields? Will it be pure sun the whole time? Is there a possibility we'd get stopped by a train?
Next to the Fargodome is North Dakota State University. We don't really run through campus - just alongside it. I actually had to look back at the course map thinking maybe I'd missed it.
Mile 1 - 8:44, ugh a little too slow
We basically run through streets lined with houses. They were nice and somewhat shaded with old trees - at least it wasn't pure sun. The streets were in good shape. There were a good number of people out to cheer on the runners.
Mile 2 - 8:26, crap, now too fast
Mile 3 - 8:36, damn near perfect. I take my first Gu.
Now we turn to run through downtown for the first time. It's not long, maybe a half a mile. There's a lady holding a sign that says "YOU GOT THIS". There are bagpipes playing. A dude dressed as a gorilla giving out high fives. Once we leave downtown we run under some railroad tracks. There's a slight downhill followed by a slight uphill, but it's not bad. In fact, it kind of feels good on my legs. However, there's no longer any shade to speak of. It's pure sun.
Mile 4 - 8:34, finally got the hang of the pace and now it's time to speed up
Mile 5 - 8:28
Mile 6 - 8:33
Similar to the Indy Mini, I take water and Powerade at every aid station. I pinch the lip of the cup and take a sip of water - throw it in the trash. Repeat with Powerade. I'm always shocked by the number of people who don't pinch their cups. Races should make signs for that...
After mile 6, there was a weird little turn where you turn around right in the middle of the road. At halfway in, it's an awkward and difficult movement, but passes quickly. Kind of like the first half of the race that's already behind me.
I brought two gels in case they didn't have any on the course. I'm the runner that doesn't study the course map before a race. If I had, I would have seen that right after halfway there was a Gu station. As I looked over at the volunteers I saw they were holding my favorite flavor - salted caramel. I'd already had my salted watermelon and had a lemon lime in my pocket. I grabbed a caramel from the volunteer and downed it right away - although wishing I would have waited until I was close to a water station to wash it down.
Mile 7 - 8:34
Mile 8 - 8:15, getting antsy - only 5 miles to go
There are a lot of families out cheering in their front yards. I do my best to give as many kids high fives as I can. At one point, there was a little girl holding a bubble machine and I ran through her bubbles. There were tables of oranges, gatorade, water. There were people with bowls of Jolly Ranchers. If you're going to spectate a marathon - I highly recommend giving runners some kind of fuel. You never know whose race you're going to make as a result.
Mile 9 - 8:23, one lap around my parents neighborhood left
Shortly after mile 9, we head back under the railroad tracks. We start spotting marathoners. I see my friend from the plane, Himanshu, and scream at him. He lifts his arms and smiles in recognition. The full marathoners are about 10.5 miles in at this point. They started 15 minutes after us. These guys were cruising. Not too long after, I spot the woman from our flight, but I never got her name so I didn't say anything to her.
As we climb out of the underpass and turn right into downtown, I spot a guy wearing a bright orange Indy Mini shirt. I run up next to him and ask, "Indianapolis?" "Me too!" I spit this out in a single breath. "Avon, " he says. "Carmel," I respond. I sputter that I'm unable to talk much given my current level of effort and wish him best of luck for the rest of his race. (After reviewing my race footage I actually saw him earlier and didn't notice).
It's so great to be back downtown. We run past my favorite Fargo mural. We run near the bagpipers again. The gorilla guy. We see more and more marathoners heading the opposite direction. I do my best to cheer them on, but I'm pushing now. I'm wondering if I'm pushing too soon. I figure I have to give it a shot if I want to see what I am capable of. I can always pull back on the reins if I need to.
We run past our hotel (the tallest building downtown at a dozen or so floors). We run past the Fargo theatre. We turn right and hear people cheering us on from their rooftop deck. "What a great place to spectate," I mutter to whoever is around.
Mile 10 - 8:09, my fastest mile yet, I don't want it to be my fastest of the race
When we turn left after mile 10, we see more and more marathoners. We are sharing the course. They're around mile 9. Now I realize we are backtracking from where we started. Less than 30 minutes of running left. When we could see the full marathon mile markers early in the race - that made me wish I was already at mile 8. Now, just like that - I was nearly done. I think about how I was looking for my coach at mile 11 of the Indy Mini a couple weeks earlier. I start looking into the sea of marathoners for a familiar face. A way to distract myself.
Mile 11 - 8:17
After seeing Rachel at the Mini, it was time to see what I had left in the tank. Now, I'd already started picking up pace but I was feeling really good. I figure now I keep pushing and I'm telling myself that this is what I've come all this way for. Paid all this money for. To run as fast as I could in the last miles of the race. I start setting my sights on women ahead of me. Just catch one more of them, I tell myself. And then another.
Mile 12 - 8:14
We've now turned away from the marathoners. Only a little over a mile to go. Less than 10 minutes of hard running left. One of the spectators says, "Dome in sight!" and my eyes frantically search the horizon for the stadium. It's got to be around here somewhere. Instead of the dome, there's a large building that serves some other purpose and I still haven't seen the finish. Ugh. Come on.
The marathoners have been replaced by 10K runners that are nearly finished as well. I see a mom pulling AND pushing a stroller. I think she has at least 3 kids in tow. Holy shit. "Hell yes, momma," I say as I pass her. "Thank you!" she replies. She motivates the hell out of me. I look for my sister, Morgan, who may be one of the runners on my right.
Then, there it is. The Fargodome. We have to have under a half a mile left now. I haven't looked at my watch to see the overall time so I'm not sure how close to my goal I am, but I know I've achieved it. I pass a couple more women. We run along the side of the dome again to find the exit that will now be our entrance to the finish.
Mile 13 - 8:03, last mile, best mile
The end is downhill into the building. Time to sprint. I am breathing so hard. I am so ready to cross the finish. The cheers of the spectators inside is a welcome sound and I also hear the race announcer say my name. Even though I'm wiped, I force a huge smile as I cross the finish while simultaneously stopping my Garmin. It's done.
AFTER THE RACE
A few moments after finishing, a young woman comes up behind me and taps me on the shoulder. She thanks me for the mantra on my shirt, "Run the Mile You're In", she says it got her through the last miles of the race. She also complemented me on my "nice kick" at the end - the first time I've ever received this complement and hopefully not the last. She's from North Dakota - Bismark. I'm surprised at how many "locals" there are at the race. I figured everyone would have traveled in. But I guess people do live in North Dakota after all.
We get our medals and then line up for post race snacks. No bags, but a paper plate that I pass over thinking it won't help carry stuff. I regret this in retrospect. There were all of my favorites. Kettle potato chips, bananas, chocolate milk, ice cream, and donuts. I took one of everything and must have looked ridiculous balancing everything with a donut in my mouth and a banana sticking out of my pocket.
I still haven't looked at my watch to see how I finished. At this point, I have no hands and no desire to set everything down only to have to bend over and pick it back up again. Like I mentioned earlier, I had checked a sweatshirt and pants before the race, so I got in line to get my gear and slowly finished eating my donut. Usually after a race I'm a little delirious and content with simply being there. I am so sweaty from the race day heat. The people in front of me don't look like they ran at all. It's good for me to be standing I tell myself.
My ONLY gripe about this entire race experience is with the gear check. I've literally never checked gear ever until before this race. 50 half marathons and I wait until now to do it. And I didn't even need my sweatshirt and pants because we were inside after the race. Face palm.
Morgan still hasn't finished the 10K yet. They started 30 minutes after we did and her goal was to run walk in 1:30. I check Find Friends and see that she should be done by now. I text her and try to use my very tired brain to explain where I'm standing. It didn't work well, but luckily I spot Morgan climbing into the stands behind me. I call her and we wave at each other. She heads down to me.
We hug and get a finisher photo together and then separately. Little do we know we're going to stand in line for my gear for nearly an hour. They are short on volunteers and seemingly very unorganized. People were saying that it's not usually like this. Lucky us. After I hand over my ticket, I watch as the girl goes to start looking. I wait maybe 5 minutes or so before I finally duck under the barrier and go in to look myself (as many other runners had started doing). I find the volunteer with my ticket and she tells me she has three others looking for my bag. I finally found it after nearly giving up hope and leaving my Sarah Marie sweatshirt and Vouri joggers for a lucky stranger... whew.
Finally Morgan and I sit in the stands and I eat my other snacks. My ice cream is cream at this point, but I eat it anyways. The chocolate milk still takes so good. I savor every sip. We wait around to watch the marathoners finish. I want to see Himanshu finish and try to spot the woman from our flight. It's nice to be able to watch people cross the finish line on the jumbotron. There was a woman who ran her 100th half marathon wearing a sash - I'm wishing I would have made myself something special. I will for my 100th.
The top male finishes and we wait to see the top female. To our surprise it's her. The woman from our flight. Her PR is 2:49 which is actually just slightly lower than the average winning time for a female (2:50:05). But with it being an Olympic Trials Qualifying year I thought the winning time would be super fast. I mean, nothing against her but it was great weather and a flat course so I was picturing a time similar to the Carmel Marathon winner ~2:33. I tell Morgan I want to go over and congratulate her, so we do. I yell, "hey winner" over the finish chute barrier and she looks over and waves. I say "we're from your flight!" and she nods and thanks us.
We wait around a while to see if we can spot Himanshu, but I feel bad making Morgan wait for much longer than she already has. So, I tell her 5 more minutes and then we'll go. After 5 minutes, we give up and start walking to the stairs. And there he is! "How did I miss him finish?!" I ask out loud. We hug and chat about the race. His race was slower than he wanted it to be given the heat but he was still happy with his result. We get a picture of us together. I ask him if he saw that our friend from the flight won and he said he'd just met her. Her name is Sadie.
I don't remember what else we talked about in that moment but we did chat for a bit longer before wishing each other the best and promising to stay in touch. (He stayed true to his promise and emailed me a few days later, we're also now friends on Strava). Stay tuned for his podcast episode later this year after he runs Berlin. His response when I ask him to be on: "Sure happy to, if you think folks would be interested in listening to me 😀"
We make our way out of the dome and outside where we see more marathoners rounding the dome to the finish. We basically walk around the whole thing before we find the big yellow school bus shuttles that will take us back to the hotel. We also see the race director on the phone with a stressed look on his face. As we pass him I say quietly, "Thanks for a great race!" He nods in appreciation. No matter how good of a day the race director's job is always super stressful.
We hobble up into the bus and wait a few minutes before we depart and head back to the hotel. There are probably 8 of us on the bus and no one is talking. Everyone seems ready to nap. I know I am ready for one.
Morgan got a Truly at the finish line, but I was holding out for a beer. As soon as we get in the hotel lobby, we belly up to the bar and I get a beer to take up to the room. Out our window on the 9th floor, we can see a water station and runners still making their way towards the finish. While Morgan showers, I take off my shoes, drink my beer and watch the runners. After my shower, I fall asleep and nap for so long Morgan thought she was going to have to wake me up to go to dinner.
We sit in our beds and debate whether or not we should go on one more adventure before dinner. It's a little early for dinner in ND - about 4:30. A couple people have told us about a newer spot we should check out called, Brewhalla. Their Instagram profile refers to it as a "food & entertainment wonderland". Since it's highly unlikely we'll be back in Fargo another time to go, we decide to make ourselves go. After all, it is less than 10 min drive from downtown.
Brewhalla is a large black building that looks very new. It's seemingly in the middle of nothing else - a lot of warehouses and pawn shops. If you're from Indy, it reminded me a lot of City Market or The Garage Food Hall. Outside there are people dressed for a wedding. The signage states that the first two floors are shopping/food/brewery and the top two floors are hotel and "more hotel". It's really cool. I'm glad we came.
We get drinks from the brewery to walk around with and we do a little bit of shopping. Then, we sit to finish our beverages and watch people mill about. After we're done it's time for dinner.
The couple from Indiana we met in the alley last night had told us that the restaurant on the corner we'd walked by was good, so that's where we headed. We asked to sit outside and ordered cocktails and some potato chips and cheese dip. All good decisions. For dinner, Morgan gets salmon and I get a bison burger (when in Rome). When the waiter asks if we want another round of drinks we look at each other and Morgan says, "why not?" So we have another cocktail.
In the alley by our hotel there's also an ice cream place that has cookie dough that's served like ice cream, Scoop N Dough. Morgan gets some sorbet and I opt for two scoops of traditional cookie dough. My eyes were way bigger than my stomach. We take the dessert to go and plan to get in our PJs and finish our treats in bed while watching a movie. The perfect end to the perfect day.
THE TRIP HOME
Our flight out of Fargo was at 7:50am, so not too early. As we're going through airport security I see people with race medals and attire. A man in front of me is wearing his full marathon medal and I ask how he's feeling today after the race. He tells me it was his 75th marathon and that he's feeling pretty good. "Holy shit" I say. He's from the DC area so I tell him about our Memorial Day plans and how I floated the idea of a Georgetown Half Marathon to my family only to get shot down (rightfully so).
We chat with another runner, Joe, who tells us he's a travel nurse and lived in DC for a while. Ironically he worked for the same hospital network my SIL works for, Medstar. Now he's in Atlanta, but he moves every year or so.
Now that it's been nearly a week, I don't remember all of the details of our conversation, but I gave them each one of my business cards and told them they should come on my podcast. 75 marathons guy tells me he's not impressive and his average time is 4:20. I laugh and ask how in the hell he doesn't think 75 marathons is impressive... Joe tells us he likes running up mountains vs. running on flat courses. Runners are the best.
Morgan and I sit together on the flight to ORD and discover when we land that our itinerary had changed. We were stuck in Chicago for 4.5 hours - longer than it would have taken us to jump in a car and drive home to Indy. But we made the most of it. Got food, drinks and while we were drinking we noticed a guy with a huge race medal that wasn't from Fargo. Turns out the Chicago Spring Half Marathon was that Sunday. The guy with the medal had just run his first 10K. I wished I was wearing my medal.
The flight home to IND was short and uneventful. We flew right over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where you could see race cars zipping around the track for day 2 of qualifying. I thought about how I had run around that track just a couple weeks before. What a great trip. Thank you for coming with me and celebrating your birthday and our 50th state with me, Morgan! I can't wait until the next one.
Huge thank you to my husband, Zach, for watching our girls while I was gone. I am very grateful to be able to do what I love. Happy running!