Dreary and foggy morning, but that fog kept the heat overnight so it was still over 40degrees this morning. Met up with 7 dudes and bussed to Polk City (NW of Ankeny). The plan was to run to downtown Des Moines, ~20 miles. This was apparently a tradition for a few, sometimes doing a January marathon in much colder conditions. They called it the IOW, which afterward I found out what it meant: "Idiots of Winter"... oh well, I'd hardly call this a winter run with shorts on.
I'm sure all of us were thinking that we'd start off slower, stick around ~7:30 miles for a bit. But by the 2nd mile we were already testing the 7min waters. It didn't help that the first 3 miles were all net downhill. Then we had a few uphill miles to prevent us from continuing to get faster.
Our first stop was at nearly 8 miles when 1 guy was turning back for a shorter 15mile while the rest of us took a whizz. I then had a few uncomfortable miles on the hills and just kept to the back of the pack. 10 miles marked the base of the final hill; from then on we were basically on a flat bike path with 1 more decent hill. I started to feel good again as our pace crept up and 3 of us separated ourselves. Of course, we still had a ways to go, so we had a few miles repeating the same sequence: casually accelerating to 6:20's, then someone mentions this is dumb or slows down, so we go back to 6:40's and repeat.
Nevertheless, it was soon just Sutton and me together, and I was feeling good. Unfortunately, we had a planned stop around 17 miles where someone had stashed some water. We waited for everyone (which didn't take that long), but I think any stop would have ruined my momentum. When we began again, I felt terrible and slow (not that it was actually that slow, next mile was still <7). We also weren't sure how long to go we had as it was clear it would be over 20.
I started feeling slightly better just in time to feel the miles in my legs; still Jake and I ended up hitting 6:30's for the last 3 miles. It was quite painful by the end, but we did have enjoyable food and beer to drink at our destination, which also was next to the Woman's March so we got to witness that. Longest run since 2014 I believe, and longest non-race ever for me?