The morning of the race I woke up with some lingering knee pain. I don't normally take anything before a run, but since it was still early enough I took a couple of ibuprofen. I had a little bit of time to kill so I watched TV until Erin got up and I decided that a trip to Hardees for breakfast sounded good. Her friend Sabrina was staying with us, so we got ready and informed her about the change of plans. She was a good sport and just rolled with the change. I had some cinnamon and raisin biscuits at Hardees and then we headed over to the civic center to meet up with Erik.
We arrived a little bit early and to wait a bit, but Erik was right on time. After we meet up we went over to the start line to watch the 5k and 10k races start. One of the unusual things about this event is how late the half marathon starts. Most of the 5k participants were finished with their race before the half marathoners started. The starting time was a common complaint among those I talked to. As we waited to start we met up and chatted with several of our running buddies. Eventually the time came to get started and we lined up. I finally too Rick's advice and line up at the very back of the pack. Once the race started I made sure I was the very last person across the starting line.
My goal for the race was to treat it more like a tempo run then a race. My focus right now is on the 50k at Surph the Murph three weeks from now. Even though I started last I quickly caught up to Erin, Erik and Chris. I guess I still have to work on my starting pacing even if I start dead last. Once I caught them I slowed a bit and settled in at my warm up pace. I figured I'd slowly bring my average pace down to something comfortable the first 8 miles and then start to push it, if I still felt good at 10 miles I'd push the pace a little harder.
The first few miles passed quickly. I was moving up the field of runners and could constantly focus on picking off the next person ahead of me. A couple of miles in I spotted a solder running with a couple of packs on. I tried to catch him, but he was holding about the same pace I was. I continued to follow him for a couple more miles until I was finally able to move past. I held my lead long enough that I had forgotten about him when he came up behind me and said I was keeping a good pace and he was trying to catch up to me. We chatted briefly and then he sped off. On our way back North I passed him a second time and I knew that he wouldn't be catching me again. I had started off the race a bit faster then what I'd planned, but it was still a conservative pace. Now it was late enough in the race that I didn't need to hold back anymore.
After crossing the bridge back in to Fargo the course kept going North for a bit. I ran past the finish line and though about how nice it would be if I were done already. I continued on into oak grove where I heard Judy, my former piano teacher, shout my name. She had already passed the turn around and was on her way back. I felt like I had more to give and tried to gain ground on her. With around a mile left I passed Erin on her way out. She told me that Judy was just ahead. I continued to push hard and after turning a corner spotted Judy just ahead. When I caught her she remarked about how quickly I had made up the distance since she spotted me. She encouraged me to finish strong and I did. My finishing time was 2:15:25. As I crossed the finish line Heather spotted my and came over to talk. We chatted for a while before I went in to get my medal and some chocolate milk. After I came back out we waited together for Erin to finish. Erin's goal was under 2:30 which she was able to achieve by about 30 seconds. After the race, Heather, Erik, Sabrina, Erin and I headed over to Rhombus Guys pizza on main. It was a great end to a good race.