Learn : Half Marathon Story  

Running Background:

marathon photoI consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for stress relief. My family and I moved to Detroit Lakes six years prior and because of work and other life conflicts this was my first opportunity to run the "Beardsley".


I didn't follow a specific training plan. My weekly mileage (~30) does not change significantly throughout the year but I made an effort to put in 3-4 long runs of 10-12 miles prior to race day.

In terms of training advice, I would say there are no good substitutes for long training runs.

Race Day:

The 2007 Dick Beardsley Half Marathon was what I expected. The race course follows my typical training route and I was excited to finally have the opportunity to run the "Beardsley"!

Registration was held in the newly remodeled Pavilion which also serves as the pre- and post-race gathering point. Parking is limited near the Pavilion so most (including me) had to park a few blocks away at the local high school.

In addition to the half-marathon, a 5K shares the same start and route making for a fast paced group at the beginning. The morning was cool and overcast and rain was predicted with temperatures in the low 50's. It started to rain before I had completed the first mile. A lone singer/guitarist was providing some early entertainment with a song about "rain" which got a few laughs from the crowd.

The first 5 miles are very flat and went by quickly. The weather had settled into a steady soaking rain with little to no wind but I still felt warm.

Mile 6 begins at the base of the first and only significant hill on the course and it was here that I unknowingly past Frank Shorter. The motto for the Dick Beardsley Half-Marathon is "Run with the Legends" and this year the legend was Frank Shorter. Mr. Shorter was the gold medalist in the marathon at the 1972 Olympics. I was not aware of my "accomplishment" until after the race when another local runner came up to me and said "can you believe we beat Frank Shorter!?!"

Miles 7 through 11 consist of a series of low hills which I have run a hundred times but the steady cold rain was starting to wear upon me. I felt chilled and my wet shoes felt liked they weighed ten pounds a piece.

Because of construction, mile 11 started on a dirt road which was now mud and made for a slower pace. This road has since been paved over and should not be an issue for future races. With less than two miles to go I felt cold and told myself to run harder in order to generate some heat. I ran the last few miles with a fellow National Guard member who decided to turn it into a two person race with a few hundred yards to go. I won by a margin of one second. I should note that she was ten weeks pregnant at the time and that I outrank her. I think she let me win.

Because of the cold rain, the post race atmosphere was subdued and most left the area as soon as their timing chip was removed and they had received their finishers medal. Space blankets were provided along with water, juice, cookies, bananas, oranges, dinner rolls and ice cream. The ice cream line was really short.

The course follows the shoreline of Detroit Lake making it a scenic run. Other than the short (half-mile) section of construction the route was paved with water/aid stations every few miles. Local support is excellent with mixed entertainment along the way. Overall, a well organized race with a small town atmosphere.


I didn't have any recovery problems. An afternoon of dark beer, fried walleye and college football allowed me to resume my normal running routine two days later.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Adidas Supernova Cushion 6 Running Shoes
These are the only shoes I have found which do not bother my left arch after 5 miles.
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Curad Sensitive Spots - Bandages
Cheap and effective protection against chaffed nipples.
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Garmin Forerunner 201
I love the technology but the oblong design begins to irritate the back of my hand on longer runs. I believe the new Forerunner series (x05) will solve this problem.
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

I find it smugly satisfying the Monday morning after a race when someone asks "What did you do this weekend?" and I respond "I ran 13 miles, how about you?"

Plans to Run Another:

I would like to run at least two half-marathons (or longer) each year for as many years as I can. For my next race, I would like to increase my training miles.

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