The Wind And Road Ahead

“And I’m also saying that win, lose, or draw, just being involved in such an undertaking was itself ennobling. It was an uplifting enterprise that we all intuitively understood to be such, and I know know that almost incidentally the spiritual force of our effort created a slipstream that drew all else in our lives along with it and made us better in other ways as well. Better, happier, more complete human beings than we would have been otherwise.” — Quenton Cassidy, Again to Carthage

Today marks the start of marathon week for those running in one of the Fargo Marathon events, and it looks like the weather is going to cooperate.

A week later than normal, race week is shaping up to be much better than last week and that should make a lot of people — from runners, spectators and volunteers.

The weather almost always seems to ride a roller coaster during Fargo race week but the forecast through next weekend looks about as ideal as we can expect this time of year. Over the years, we’ve experienced it all on marathon morning: snow and cold, blustery winds and heat and killer hot winds. And often the weather the day before the big day is opposite of what the next morning will bring.

But this year’s shaping up to be near perfect.

And, to top it off, the course — which almost always undergoes tweaks and changes — looks to be the best yet. Sure, there’s a lot of turns, and it’s not as flat as previous courses, but there are some hidden gems in there. You can preview all the course maps or watch the marathon preview video below.

The early marathon miles include a trek through the Edgewood neighborhood, which offers some gentle curves and a tremendous canopy to run beneath. There will be some slight elevation changes between miles 7 and 11, but then it’s pretty flat for the rest of the race. The second half of the race gives runners the chance to run through those great south Fargo neighborhoods, and with terrific weather in the forecast, the fans likely will be out in full force.

The long range forecast does call for a south wind on Saturday. The upside is that it will help push runners back to the Fargodome for the last 6 miles of the race. On the flip side, it won’t offer any cooling effect if the temps soar mid-morning.

With that being said, there’s no sense worrying about what is beyond control, and the weather will be what it will be. Instead, it’s better to focus on what you can control, and there are three keys hat can make or break your race.

  1. Attitude: There’s a strong correlation between attitude and performance. Plus a negative attitude drains energy out of yourself and those around you. A positive mindset, on the other hand, can make a race good or great.
  2. Sleep: Some of the best advice focuses on getting proper sleep in the days and week leading up to the race. Take your normal bedtime and subtract 15 minutes per night, starting on Wednesday night, to get extra sleep. The most important night of sleep, more than any other during race week, is the one two nights before the event (same goes for training runs).
  3. Stress: It might be impossible to eliminate all stress — there’s still the demands of life and work — but focus on keeping an even keel and perspective. Stress can kill any chance at a strong race day performance.