The Bismarck Marathon has come and gone, but my first experience in it was definitely a memorable one.

While it's not as if I participated in the full or half marathon, the 10K gave me all I could handle.

Thanks to the coaching of Verge Fitness' April Lund, who finished 1st in the women's half marathon, I felt more than ready before the race. All this after overcoming a strained gluteal muscle just a few weeks before. I had a game plan, I strategized with April where to make my moves on the course, and the adrenaline was peaking in the hour leading up to the race. If only it could've lasted the entire 10K.

I started out great, I felt like a had a good pace going and was quickly in the top six runners in the first half mile. However, it was at the end of my first mile that I realized it was not the pace I wanted at all.

At the start of the race, I turned on my 'MapMyRun' app so I could constantly check on my pace, but seemed to forget all about it, or the fact that I left the volume up on my phone for that matter. As I crossed the one-mile marker and passed a runner to move into third overall, I heard my phone notify me that it had been one-mile and that my time was 6 minutes, 8 seconds. This was not the time I wanted to run in my first mile.

I know many of you may be thinking, 'That's a really good time for one-mile!' And if I didn't still have five left, I would be thinking the same thing. That is not the pace I wanted to be at. I was hoping something more about 6:30 or 6:40. Had I been at a pace close to that, I could've turned it on at the points where I had been planning to. However, already knowing I was completely off on my pace, I decided to go with it and trust my stride as I had both second and first place runners still in relative striking distance.

It was just after about the third mile where I was really feeling the effects of my race strategy unraveling as if I was hitting a wall, knowing I had gone the first three miles at the pace that I was hoping to finish at. Not only that, but one of the other runners who started out in the first five or six all the way back in the first half mile had caught me and was running a better pace and continually getting better as he passed. It wouldn't be long before he'd be close to the current second place runner. The first place runner was already far out of reach. This is where the internal battle began with myself.

I knew that my race strategy was gone, my legs felt dead tired. I remember thinking to myself that quote from 'Fight Club' when Edward Norton's figuring out that he and Brad Pitt are the same and he's on the run from everyone who keeps telling him he's Tyler Durden (spoiler alert) and says, "I ran until my muscles burned and my veins pumped battery acid." That's what it felt like between 3.5 and 4.5 miles.

Second and third place were moving further out of the realm of possibility for me. But then I knew how much work I had put in to be in the position I was. I probably could've slowed down from where I was, knowing that I had a relatively comfortable hold on fourth place. But I decided to push myself as much as I possibly could over that last stretch of just over a mile and make the best out of my finish in the race. The home stretch was still tough, but I'd be sure to give it as much as I could. The finish line was in my line of sight and I did what would be my version of a sprint to the finish knowing I wouldn't finish in the top three, but a fourth-place finish was at least going to look respectable as I crossed the finish line.

And there it was, I went in wanting to win, thinking I had at least an outside shot at it. If not, maybe a top three finish. But given how I felt after finishing, I'll take 4th overall in the 10K with a time of 40:53. Not only that, but I finished 1st in my age group. For my first 10K in the Bismarck Marathon, I can consider that as a win and I'll be back next year.

Also, ignore my disheveled race hair in the pic below.

TSM
TSM