Who gets married in Fargo? Lovely God fearing runners. It was to be the largest wedding in the history of Fargo and I was going to take part.
Getting to Fargo
Southwest Airlines does not fly to Fargo. I could have flown Southwest to Minnesota and driven, but that requires a car rental. I had no plans to rent a car this weekend because I chose to be frugal. I had not planned to tour Fargo. I only had one place to be, a wedding in the Fargodome.
I searched and paid for my flights as soon as the flights opened. I flew American Airlines in the basic economy seats and no I did not sit in the middle aisle seat, I had a window seat. I sat next to a marathoning teacher on the plane, she graded papers when she wasn’t pretending to be a bobble head nodding off to sleep.
O’hare was the connection for this trip in Chicago. I was afraid because whenever I travel through here we are almost always delayed. I coordinated a ride from a stranger, a fellow runner, in the Bonnie and Ed wedding party.
The teacher woke before the landing to potty and asked how I was getting to the expo. I responded reluctantly, ” I’m riding with a lady I’ve never met.” She asked if I could ask the person I was riding with for a ride. I was instantly more uncomfortable. I felt pressured to ask a stranger to give another stranger a ride. Ugh stress! Does this only happen to me? I don’t know why I didn’t say, no I can’t. Instead I sent the person I was riding with a message, but she didn’t respond right away. I exited the plane slowly hoping the running teacher would ask another runner. Nope, not in my lifetime. She slowly walked in front of me. I even stopped at the gift shop, still no success. I took airport puctures and selfies. She still hung in there.
So of course when I met my driver I greeted her and before I could say anything the teacher stood next to me. I had no choice, but to asked for an additional ride. My driver agreed, surprisingly. Maybe she felt pressured too. We were all going to the same place initially so it wasn’t too bad. The teacher was nice, verbose, but nice.I sent an apology and a warning, but the driver, never opened the message. I thought to myself she must think I’m crazy picking up strangers.
It took us a few minutes to find the car rental because the teacher talked my driver’s head off. It was really entertaining to watch. We passed the car up initially got to the end of the line and had to turn around and go back to the car. We got in and headed for the Fargodome and went to pick up our packets.
FYI: There are hotels across from the Fargodome.
Fargo’s airport is very close to the expo a whopping 9 minute drive.
Because the ladies were picking up marathon packets and I was picking up a 5k and half marathon packet we decided to separate and meet up later. The bib pick ups were in the opposite direction.
The expo was in a huge athletic complex, the Fargodome. The expo itself was small and spread out. You walked around in a circle, duh it’s a dome. There may have been 30 vendors you passed on your way to grab your bag and swag. This was my second time recieving a race hoodie as swag I was stoked. Canton Hall of Fame gives one to the 5k participants.
Packet Pickup was nice. There were many volunteers eager to help. The pick up was grouped by bib numbers. You were allowed to pick up race packets for friends and family without a copy of their ID and there was no limit. Sometimes there is a limit to the number of packets you can pick up. I was picking up 4 packets, 2 packets for two people I had never met. Yeah, surprisingly I was contacted by a Fifty States Half Marathon Club member via DM and she sent me her information and I picked up her packet. After we grabbed out packets they ladies I rode with met up with me and walked around the Fargodome and headed towards the car. I never made it to the picture taking station. The teacher stayed ay the Fargodome and waited for her friend. My driver and I left to head to the hotel.
On the ride over I discovered we were not staying at the same hotel. I of course offered her money for gas, she refused. I left a few dollars in the middle console and hop out at the Hilton Garden Inn and enter. I thanked herfor her generosity and kindness.
Hilton Garden Inn was a typical Hilton. They provided snack bags for the runners on race morning. Inside the bag was two bottles of water, fruit, and trail mix.
As I walked in I ran into Shonda a 50 state half marathon finisher I met on Facebook. We checked into our seperate rooms and decide to meet for lunch. We had a great lunch and conversation at Uncle Maddio’s Pizza.
When we returned to the hotel we ran into the bride and groom in the lobby. After chatting a few minutes we all went our separate ways. The people in Fargo were just so nice.
I prepared myself for the 5k. I brought my pre-race sandwich with me from Subway.
Note: Fargo has a week filled with events a dog walk, a bike event and kids events too.
I called an Uber for a $12 fifteen minute ride to the Fargodome. I met my Julie and her friend Elizabeth, instead of running the 5k, I enjoyed it with them. It drizzled on us a little, but the weather was nice and cool. There were many spectators staged on the college campus to cheer on the runners and walkers. There was one handcyclist participating in the 5k.
The course was flat and well supported. The weather was in the low 50s.
Upon completion of the race Elizabeth drove me back to the hotel for the Pre-race dinner.
Bonnie and Ed had two feedings one for nonrunning guests and the other for runners and volunteers. It was a beautiful setup, awesome DJ and great fellowship. There was a photographer and a photo booth. Runners got their eat on, drink on and dance on to celebrate with the beautiful couple.
The only problem here was the minister (no pictured) getting a gazillion beers to drink and ready to party. As we left the party a few of us sat in the hotel bar area. I unfortunately volunteered to provide two people with a place to stay. I will never do that again. Their car battery died and it took them longer than expected to arrive. Out of courtesy I stayed away so they could get into the room. Had I fallen asleep I would not have awaken by phone or door knocking because i had a very long week. When I’m exhausted my body contracts and it becomes very painful, the inly relief is rest. I try not to get too tired and I get to sleep fairly early, but being nice really hurt my body. I tried staying awake by talking to the drinking Pastor, he wanted to go out and have more drinks. He kept telling me, you are ONLY doing the half. Each time I declined he tried to persuade me more. We then talked about Team RWB and suicide prevention. He was really passionate about helping others, nut he was struggling with demons of his own. His roommate arrived and he insisted on waiting for my roommates to arrive.
I was so happy when they arrived, I felt like I was saved by the bell. The minister still wanted to hang out so he and his friend left the hotel in the pouring rain.
Four hours later I was awakened by a premature alarm. I was exhausted and I could feel my body beginning to contract more. It was to be an interesting half marathon. My roommates had a car so I rode with them. It was a chilly wet morning. It was an awesome ride until all of the lights came on in the car, engine light, air bag light, seat belt light and the list goes on. The driver said I’m running out of gas. She meant she was loosing power the winshield wipers began to move slower slower. Our once 70 mph was down to 40 mph to 0 mph as we coasted a mile down the exit ramp and into a gas station. She conveniently parked right at pump. Yup, that battery issue yesterday they had was indeed an alternator. I’m no mechanic, but that was easy to diagnose. So instead of riding with us to the wedding the driver panicked called AAA and waited to get the car towed. It was 6 am on a Saturday morning car shops are open that time of day, I would have ditched my nonrunning car. She drove from Iowa to see the wedding and now she was going to miss it. I rode to the Fargodome in an Uber with the other runner. It seemed a little insensitive to leabe her, but what could I do?
We made it with time to spare, thank goodness we left at 5:40am. We took prerace photos. The wedding party wore Disney ears and tutus. It was a lovely sight! The bride was being interviewed, the mayor attended and history was made in the Fargodome. The drinking minister didn’t make it to the ceremonyon time. Thankfully God already had a plan in place. A minister from a local church was there and able to marry them in their minister’s absence. It was a beautiful ceremony and the largest wedding Fargo had every seen.
The Canadian anthem and the National Anthem were played, it was officially race time. A group of us lined up and we were ready to party and celebrate with our newly wedded friends. There was a different handcyclist getting ready to race today. He took off first, the marathoners ran behind him. The half marathoners started a few minutes later. North Dakota was cool and wet! It wasn’t miserable, it was an awesome race! Great crowd support, flat course. Yes there was a decline and incline because you go under a bridge or two. Other than that the half was flatter than Houston Texas. The run was through a neighborhood, through downtown and you get to run past the Fargo theatre sign, Bonus! You also receive free videography at that point of the race. They charge for 5k photos but the half and marathon photos are free.
The start and finish is in the Fargodome. Which means you are nice and toasty and dry before the start of the race and you get to warm up and get comfortable after the race. There are plenty of seats to sit in, but you have to climb the stairs to get to them and to exit.
This lovely group and I decided to start together. I had no idea I was going to be the Unofficial Pacer for the race. This was the first race where I had left my trusty dusty Garmin 920XT. If you don’t know most runners keep pace with their watches and I did not have a watch. When we took out the plan was for De Moe to pace, but he kept running off getting liquor to drink on the course. I grabbed my rubber chicken. His new name is Pace-R Chicken and he squawked for the start of a run segment and I choked him again and he squeaked for a walk segment. I decided we would do Fartlek for 13.1 miles.
I had never paced before, but I had run with a pacer once for a few miles. I can never kept up because I use the walk run method and I am easily discouraged. Most pacers run a consistent pace, I need some walking sprinkled in.
Warning- Extremely Windy. This was the first race I have ever run with a jacket on the whole race. This was a very large race. It sells out annualy because it is a very ouled machine that moves smoothly. The course runs mostly through the neighborhoods, but the streets are closed off and the people are out cheering you on. Aid stations were plentiful. They were however scooping the water out of garbage cans. I was glad I decided to carry my own water.
Most of the group stayed together. I lost one person. I was sad about it for sec. I did what I came to do and I was pleased. I shared my testimony with one person on the course and I was happy to have been chosen to unofficially pace. There were 20mph winds, rain and just plain fun on the course. We laughed, we talked, we encouraged each other for 13.1 miles. I have never been so happy complete with a group at a race than on that day.
As Chuck and I ran side by side around mile 10. A marathoner ran up and asked if we were the lucky couple. I frowned without thinking and quickly said no. First the bride and groom look nothing like us. Secondly we are most definately not a couple. He just happened to run beside me at that moment as we talked about health concerns in our community. I told him my father died in the VA Hospital in Houston at the age of 55 he was diagnosed with an unknown lung disease. We chatted for about 15 minutes before he moved on. By the time we reached mile 11 De Moe told me we were at a 3:15 pace, I slowed down to get them closer to 3:30.
I slowed to let them finish with all their glory and I slowly trotted in a few seconds behind.
The race was finally over and it was time to get post race food, take more pictures and head out to get lunch. After I hit mile 13.1 I am famished! Thank Goodness they had cheese pizza, cookie dough, and other treats to keep me satisfied temporarily. We stayed they for a while waiting on friends to finish. So what do you do? Take more pictures.
We have 84 mutual Facebook friends and never met yntil today.
After we left the dome I was extremely hungry. It took my roommates 2 hours to shower and head out for food. By that time I was hangry and hurting.
We went to Lucky’s pub where I ordered Fargo’s Best Texas Chili. Being from Texas I thought it was garbage, but it was the best they could do. I ordered Pizza rolls that were pretty tasty considering the roll part was flour tortillas.
I enjoyed their loaded fries, of course the food would have probably tasted better has I eaten it there instead of boxing it up in styrofoam and hading back to my room which was a 5 minute walk.
Julie and Elizabeth basically kidnapped me and made me go see the Fargo Woodchipper. I resisted as much as I could because I was exhausted. Resistance was futile, I was assimilated, by tourist, not the Borg. The temperature was dropping and I didn’t bring a coat, I was really toasty in my Fargo sweatshirt they gave us with packet pickup.
After the race there is a Mile 27 party, they give you a medal. The Boston marathon has a mile 27 party also, but they don’t give you a medal.
Post Race Dinner
The reception was lovely. There was another photo booth, great friends, great food and outstanding music to groove too. The couple did not have a head table. I actually sat at their table that night. Definitely a joyous occasion!
The desserts were to die for, they found a local nurse that bakes as her therapy. She made the desserts for the wedding. Everyone in Fargo was just so warm and loving.
Although it was not my wedding, I had a blast. This was my first race wedding. I had a delightful time and was thankful that they thought enough of me to invite me. This definitely made half # 65 and state #37 memorable.
Delayed, delayed, delayed. It was delayed coming out of Fargo. You guessed it my flight originated in O’Hare. We can’t control weather so sometimes you just have to deal with a delay when you travel. The problems with delays are missing your connecting flights. I made my connection, but returned home in my bed at 2 am. I had to return to work at 9 am. Needless to say it ws painful getting to work.
It seems like I am gone ever weekend, but I am truly not. I do travel quite a bit. I get offended when people say you are gone every weeknd. There are 52 weekends in a year. I am gone 20 weekends or 24 weekends at best. Some fifty states travelers do turn and burns. This means they fly in to race and fly right out. I have done that once or twice. I typically like to fly in and stay a few days to see a few sights and then head out, unless I know I’m returning for repeat trip. Others run B2B, back to back, races. This is where they run in one state on Saturday and drive to neighboring state and run again on Sunday. I have done a few of those, but what I enjoy most is staying a few days in one state. My job doesn’t always allow me to, but I do it as much as I can. It does take planning to travel the fifty states, you don’t have to be rich, but you do need to budget for the costs. If you ever want some travel tips let me know. I will be more than happy to share some tips I have learned along the way. Such drop your question in the comment section.
Thank you for reading the adventures of Kandi Kane. We all face different challenges in life, but we can also overcome them.