Run: Race Previous Next


7:12 AM

13.1 mi


11:44 mi


72 F

Race Result

5651 / 7382 (76.6%)
605 / 827 (73.2%)
  • Splits
  • Graphs

Wait Initializing charts...


Dam to Dam

(Garmin read 2:33:39, for 11:44 pace.)

Timing Mats:

@ 5 Mile - 57:55

@ 10 Mile - 1:57:39

Jason at Strength Running created my training plan, which included injury-prevention routines and active warmups. I didn't follow it perfectly (or even very well, at times), but it gave me some new possibilities for future training (like strides). Unfortunately, I did miss some training runs and didn't get my long run up to 13 miles like I had wanted to.

I ate fairly lightly the day before, but then had a large, late dinner. Garrett came back to the hotel from hanging out with friends and wanted a room service dinner, so I got a quesadilla and a dessert. I tried to go to bed at a reasonable hour, but I couldn't fall asleep. When I finally did, I woke up several times. At 3am, Heather's stopwatch alarm went off and woke me. Sheesh.

You couldn't drive to the race start; everyone had to take a bus from one of several locations. I had to be at my pickup location by 5am, so I got up at 4:15. I didn't eat anything, just drank some water. I already had my gear laid out, and I knew it would be warm and humid. I wore my Prana capris and a t-shirt, plus my hydration belt. I filled my water bottle with watered-down G2 and packed some shot blocks.

I took a cab to the pickup site. Totally got ripped off... $10 for a 5 minute ride. The bus ride was uneventful. I drank some more water, but didn't eat anything. I got to the dam and checked my bag, then wandered around for a bit. I sat off to the side for a while and hung out, then used the restroom about half an hour before the 7am start. Still didn't eat anything.

I lined up on the dam a little ways back from the last pace sign (12min, I think). I had no idea what pace I would maintain, but my last time was 2:48, and considering how my long runs have been going, I thought I could get under 2:40. (I don't know why my long runs have gotten so much faster lately. Part of it may be that I've been running them at Gray's Lake, which is flat and paved, and I get a bit of a boost because there are other people there.) If things went really well, I thought that maybe, with race day magic, I could get under 2:30. I knew it wasn't likely, though, because of the hills and the humidity. They made multiple anouncements over the loudspeakers that it was really humid and to make sure to hydrate, and maybe back off the pace a little bit.

It took over 10 minutes to cross the start line. Half a mile in, I was drenched in sweat and thinking, “This isn't going to be fun.” There was a pretty strong downhill for the second half of the first mile, which was really nice. But I knew there was a hill about halfway through, plus several other small hills throughout the course, so I wasn't sure how I would do.

I tried to keep up a pretty steady effort level, and I think my paces generally reflected that. Pretty much every mile was a struggle, though, especially in the second half of the race. It drizzled a bit for the first few miles and then stopped, but the humidity was intense.

By the last third of the race, my lower body was starting to hurt. Not injury-hurt, but when-can-I-stop hurt. Several times I was tempted to stop and stretch for a minute, reasoning that it would help me run faster for the rest of the race, but it was really just an excuse to stop, so I resisted.

I wasn't listening to music, but I really enjoyed when we passed a band. My favorites were the bagpipes at the top of the hill (the one big-ish hill) and the school marching band in the last mile. The scenery was very pretty: Farmland in the beginning, then on a trail by the river (which was cool), and then downtown Des Moines.

Running past the bands helped me speed up a bit, but it was all I could do to pick up the pace when I saw the finish line. The last mile felt like the longest mile fo my life, like I would never get to the end. I was asymptotically approaching the finish line. When I finally crossed, I was so, so happy to stop running. I wandered around the finish area, a little wobbly, my legs/hips/back burning. I drank some water, had a single-serve thing of ice cream (possibly my favorite thing after a race), and had a couple of small things, like a cookie. No bagels, sadly. They had pulled pork sandwiches and nachos, but I didn't feel like having something heavy.

I couldn't see my official chip time until later in the day, but I figured my Garmin would be pretty accurate (and it was): I missed my super-reach goal of 2:30 by a little over 3 minutes. Part of me was a little disappointed, but hey: It was still a 15 minute PR, and now I have a very attainable goal for October's race!

So, I didn't eat at all during the race (or before), and I drank about 80% of my water bottle. It probably wasn't enough, though I don't usually drink a whole lot when I run. I probably should have eaten a little bit before the race and made sure to eat during. It might have helped with the second half.

Things That Worked Against Me:

* I was heavier than I was for my last HM. (I probably weighed about 182 today.)

* I didn't train as consistently as I should have. I missed a fair few training runs, and my longest run was only 11 miles.

* The Des Moines HM course was flat, while this course had some hills.

* Heat and humidity, oh my goodness. It was 72 degrees with 80% humidity and no breeze. It was one of the most difficult days, weather-wise, in the race's history!

* I didn't eat anything before or during the race. I usually run on an empty stomach, but this was not ideal.

For my first HM, I was really proud of the training I had put in, and the race was a reward. Today, I was really proud of the race itself and the amount of effort I put into it. It was physically and mentally challenging, and I'm proud that I didn't slack off.