Day 7 of training, 50 days left.
So far so good. Not great, but good. I have run five of the last seven days, but I'm not where I want to be right now. It is just so easy to sit down and have coffee with an old friend instead of running in bad weather. And let me tell you, we've had bad weather. So far I've been stuck in a horrendous blizzard, rain showers, and 40 mile an hour gusting wind. What am I putting myself through? The good thing is that I'm training at between 4500 and 5000 feet above sea level. That has to count for something, right? The marathon, which is in Fargo, ND, is at 900 feet.
Speaking of which, I can't believe I forgot to mention that the marathon is in Fargo Rock City! Some of you may laugh at the mention of Fargo, but you are truly missing out. With winters colder than Antarctica, summers hotter than Georgia, and bugs the size of dinosaurs - it's a gem! No, but seriously, the marathon's website boasts that the best thing about the race is the people, and it's right. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Last summer Newsweek ran a double spread on how Fargo is on the up-and-up, and becoming a mini-metropolis.
Unemployment is low, the state's budget is steady and healthy, and Fargo's cultural scene is growing at a rate similar to Minneapolis. But the people are what it's all about. Sure, if you go into Fargo looking for close-minded conservatives, you're going to find them. But if that's what you're looking for in any city, you will find them everywhere. With the race motto, "Rock fast, rock friendly, run Fargo," you just have to laugh at the kindness that is embedded into the city.
A few years ago I was home for some time in the spring and got to watch the race. The entire city was out with lawn chairs, decorated signs, and fog horns. I'm sure that many people didn't know a single person in the race; they were simply there to support their neighbors and give Fargo a good name. I'm told that local gymnastics teams, string quartets, and bands at every mile will be there to encourage the runners on. How can you scoff at a city that brings out the local marching band to cheer you on?
If you need another reason to appreciate Fargo, turn on the local news this time of year and watch the Red River flood updates. Neighbors watch out for one another, making sure no one is in harms way. School is canceled and stores forced to close so everyone is involved in sandbagging and volunteering to save the city. It has become a way of life, a sort of return to the days when homesteaders took on the burdens and workloads of their neighbors, not because they had to, but just because. I will bet you that, when asked why they help out in the city, many people of Fargo would say "just because it's what you do."
So everyday I run I imagine myself running down the familiar streets of Fargo, watching people cheer, dance, sing, or whatever they'll be doing that day. When I will struggle, (and I will struggle,) I know that I'll have the people of Fargo Rock City to carry me to the finish line.