A weekend in Fargo, by the numbers

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

1 minivan. 7 hashers. 3 kinds of chips. 7 passports with amusing photos and never-before-revealed middle names. 1 contraband banana. 3 rude songs. 12 pumpkin ginger spice Krispy Kreme donut holes. 1 stop at the Duty Free Shop. 3 pairs of running shoes delivered to a very shady US mail drop, and 1 breakfast burrito with an attitude.

120 minutes in to a 3 day adventure. 358 kilometres from Winnipeg to Fargo.

45 seconds spent at the hotel dropping off gear. 73 wrong turns trying to get to the Fargodome. 73 "recalculating" breaks taken by the GPS unit. 5 half marathon and 2 full marathon race kits successfully retrieved. 3 GU packs bought for the race. 1 really really big truck, parked outside the Fargodome for no apparent reason.

4 cross-border shoppers itching to hit the stores. 1 nascent world traveler who's been out of the retail game for a long time. 2 boys along for the ride. 90 minutes at the mall. $130.95 USD for 1 Skype headset, 1 2GB micro SDHC card with USB adapter, 1 package of PDA/digital camera screen protectors, and 1 pair of Keen's sandals. 4 "things to get" crossed off the list. 1 run to the liquor store for 12 cans of American beer, 2 bottles of $3.00 wine and 1 bottle of premixed mojitos.

1 fresh driver. 1 more battle with the GPS unit. 7 plates of pasta and accompanying local delicacy, eaten by 7 friends in the company of 500 other runners and 1 annoying announcer. Hundreds of kids streaming across the finish line. 1 trip to the grocery store for race day breakfast items, including 3 bananas, 6 tubs of yogurt, 4 bagels, 2 mini blocks of cream cheese, 1 mango and 1 bag of Nutter Butters.

6 hours of fitful sleep. 1 wakeup call requesting up-to-date weather conditions from anxious fellow runners without internet access. 1 degree above zero. Bib number 952, attached with 4 safety pins. 7 pre-race shots of mojito, shared among 7 true hashers, at 6:30am.

0 wrong turns on the way to the Fargodome for the 3rd time in 19 hours. 2 hugs from friends before heading out for 5 minutes of warm-up running heading south. 1 anxious moment wondering whether 1 long sleeved shirt + 1 short sleeved shirt is too much clothing. 5 minutes of warm-up running heading north into 10km/hr winds. 1 anxious moment wondering whether 1 long sleeved shirt + 1 short sleeved shirt is enough clothing. 4 quick sprints before heading to the start line. 2 national anthems. 1 realization that we're really not in Canada anymore upon viewing 3 armed forces veterans saluting during the Star Spangled Banner. 1 blessing of the runners. 1 starting gun.

8 minutes and 24 seconds per mile for 26.2 miles with hopes of finishing in 3 hours and 40 minutes. 3 miles to get on pace while dodging 2,459,928,492 runners who started too quickly and got in the way of faster or more experienced racers. 1 vanilla Gu at 6 miles. 1:49:21 at 13.1 miles. 1 chocolate Gu at 16 miles. 1 nasty stitch in the side at 17 miles. 1 marathon bond formed with a total stranger at 22 miles. 4 very long miles to the finish. 1 run into the Fargodome after 3 hours, 44 minutes and 31 seconds of running. 2 cheering friends, and 1 very sweaty hug from a former total stranger. 1 personal best not achieved, but 1 hard-earned medal gained.

1 bottle of water, 1 slice of pizza, 2 more Nutter Butters, 1 can of fizzy orange drink.

30 minutes of stretching while attempts are made to locate 1 errant marathoner. 10 more minutes of stretching after errant marathoner is located in the massage area enjoying a well-deserved break after posting a new personal best. 7 medals displayed in 1 photo:

1 hot shower. 1 cold beer. 8 slices of bacon on a 6" BLT sub. 1 more shopping trip. $196.99 USD spent on 1 sleeping bag and 1 self-inflating mattress for 23 days of overland camping in Africa, and 1 pin-on compass for orienting world travelers to local maps. 3 more "things to get" got.

2 hours to nap before supper and sangria with 6 friends. 1 rude song performed for 0 other patrons of a Greek restaurant.

7 people in 1 hotel room with only 5 places to sit, sharing 2 more bottles of $3 wine and 2 more bags of chips. 11:00pm bed time.

40 minutes to wait for a table at IHOP on Mother's Day.


2 cups of decaf, 2 eggs, 2 strips of bacon, 2 sausages and 2 Nutella/banana crepes with strawberries and whipped cream.

127 kilometres from Fargo to Grand Forks. 6 people waiting for 1 shopper to emerge from a Gordman's fitting room. 4 cans of Boddington's from Happy Harry's Bottle Shop.

126 kilometres from Grand Forks to the Pembina border crossing. $1,100 worth of exemptions from tax for 7 people gone for more than 48 hours. 1 last stop for cheap gas and American candy bars.

112.5 kilometres from Pembina to Winnipeg. 10 minutes to sort out 1 vanload of running gear, shopping and empty bags of chips.

2 more hugs. 1 empty house to come home to. 2 loads of laundry.

1 realization that I'm leaving behind these 6 good friends in 24 days. 1 long moment of doubt.

And 1 damned good weekend.

5 Comments:

Gillian said...

Congratulations Pam!! What an amazing time - maybe not a personal best but it sounds like the weather was not the best either. And what a great way to spend one of your last weekends with friends. You'll take that feeling with you as you travel and meet new friends along the way. Cheers!

marg said...

Such a cool race report. I felt a sad twinge reading that last line. Get them all on skype! :-)

Karen said...

I'm very happy that we can add that our list of 'things we did together'.
You tell stories like no other person I know. You summed up the weekend and the trip so well. You made my heart jump into my throat with the second last sentence but then I nodded with agreement at the finish...1 damned good weekend...I agree wholeheartedly.

Mitch said...

Super well written. Really enjoyed this post! That is one cool truck!

HTFU Natalie said...

Awesome race report. You will be missed while you are traipsing around the world... but you will also be admired.

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