I had so much I wanted to add to my Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon race report, but I didn't want to make it a trillion and a half pages long. I decided to make a reflection post, more for myself, but also with some information for people considering doing this race in the future!
The course was gorgeous. It was not flat as advertised, and definitely had rollers for the majority of the race. Because 13 miles of the race were around the lake, a windy day makes a significant portion of the race unbearable. I had thought we'd get to run on a path in view of the lake, but we really didn't get to see the lake all that much. It was still gorgeous running through the trees and fall foliage.
The course wasn't as spectator friendly as I was hoping/expecting either. It was actually fairly difficult to spectate. My mom was around mile 4, but from there until 13.1 there wasn't much of an opportunity to drive along and cheer. After the halfway mark, there were no spectators until around mile 17. From 17 to the finish, spectators could drive along side you on the race route and leap frog cheering on their runners.
It was a really small race, but on a day that I s-t-ruggled, I didn't appreciate that. At least when I was dying at the Nike Women's Marathon, I had tons of people dying along side of me to keep me company. There was an entire hour of the race that I didn't see anyone except the race volunteers. For faster runners, this wouldn't be an issue at all.
In all honestly, I should've dropped to the 16 mile race or dropped completely after my knee/back/hip issues cropped up in September (the half was full at the time I was considering, otherwise that would've been perfect). I'm glad I tried so I wouldn't wonder "what if" but a marathon is hard when your training goes AMAZING. When you essentially taper for 6+ weeks, it's really really hard. Had Kyle, his parents, and my mom not planned to make the trip, I would've eaten my race fee and stayed home. But I was really really excited to have them there for it.
Sometimes I wonder if my body is meant to run marathons, given my poor performance history with them. Maybe 2015 will be spent focusing solely on building up speed, fitness, and fixing/strengthening my body to better handle the miles. I'm certainly not throwing in the towel on them, but it is certainly frustrating to think I'm on the right track with fixing my issues, only to have the same outcome.
P.S. FREE race photos! Total plus!