I still can’t believe I did this! The training for this race was better than for my first 10K for some reason. I really put my all into it, ran even if I didn’t feel like it and kept up with my training as best I could. The days I couldn’t run, I biked. On most of my off days I either did yoga or a small strength routine. Definitely put a priority on resting on Sundays. Even when my runs weren’t the best during the last week, I felt ready for the challenge come race day.
Was I a nervous wreck before? Yes, especially on Friday before getting to Des Moines. But I just kept telling myself: do what you can, have fun, don’t pay attention to the time, just keep swimming, trust your training.
Saturday morning I was shaking like a leaf, which made it a challenge to brush my teeth, but I was super excited at the same time. On the way there, I ate a toast with almond butter, couldn’t stomach a second one. Once Ryan dropped me off, I had about an hour to start so I drank some water, walked around and stopped at the restrooms before heading to the corrals and lined up at the 11 minute pace to make sure I didn’t start super fast. Definitely was feeling overwhelmed with emotions and just kept picturing the finish line.
And off we go! The first few miles were kinda tough. My legs took their time to adjust and I was running a route I wasn’t familiar with, just kinda going with the pack. I knew Ryan would be around mile 4, so I kept on trucking.
Once we got to WaterWorks park, I started to ease into my pace. I was a little more familiar with the area because it’s where we got some of our wedding pictures taken. A little after mile 4 I saw Ryan and Mike, my father-in-law, cheering me on. By this time the sun had come up completely and it felt pretty good, plus being able to see them was awesome!
I was enjoying the entertainment they had, walking through the water stations, reading the signs, smiling at the cameras, high fiving waiting spectators, just taking it all in.
Some of my favorite signs:
- Run now, poop later. Never trust a fart.
- My arm hurts (as the lady was holding the sign up)
- Run like someone just called you a jogger
- What did the fox say? Run Run run run run
- You’re my hero
- Go ninja go
- Run like you’re in a buffalo stampede being chased by a pack of hyenas
A little after halfway, I did make a bathroom pit stop, there’s a ton of water stations. I actually ended up skipping a couple at the end. For fuel during the race I ate three Clif Shot Bloks, which I had tried during my long runs during training and loved.
Then, I was set to do a negative split. I picked up my racing, but not a whole lot because I wanted to leave energy for the push at the end. Saw Ryan and Mike once more at around mile 8 before heading to Gray’s Lake. Here, around mile 9 or 10, the would be marathon winners passed by in a full sprint. Seriously?!?! This guys are amazing!
Around mile 11, my left knee started bothering enough to make me think about taking a quick walking break. But I fought it off for two reasons. One, I just decided to take the walks during the water stations and two I just wanted to finish. Thank goodness my phone was listening to my thoughts because my favorite songs to run to came on my playlist for the last couple of miles.
Once the mile marker for 12 came along I sped up considerably. I ran all the way to the finish line. Since I did a negative split, Ryan and Mike caught me just in time on my last stretch. Crossed the finish line smiling. I felt a super calm sense of accomplishment. It wasn’t like a surge of emotion like I thought it would be, it was more of a quiet pat in the back to yourself.
Got my medal, posed for some pics, hugged Ryan and Mike, scarfed a couple of sandwiches and drank some water. Needless to say, I was a hurting unit afterwards. My muscles didn’t really feel sore until Monday, but my left knee, right hip and right foot would have preferred to not have any weight on them for a week.
My chip time for the first half was 1:15:07 (11:33 pace) and finished in 2:20:25 (10:43 pace total, 9:53 pace for the second half). It was a great experience and I would probably do it again. Already thinking about next year…
What would I do different?
- Keep a running journal to track miles, pace, how I felt, what I ate (not for calories, but for how it affects my energy and stomach), time of the month, other activities that would affect my energy, time of day, etc
- Do an actual rehearsal of waking up, waiting, drive time, etc before race day. I kinda did this, but not quite.
- Get fitted for shoes. If I’m staying serious about this, I need to get properly fitted and get the right foot for me.
So what’s next? During winter I plan on emphasizing strength training doing a couple of strength days and a couple of run days during the week with a long run day on the weekends. I hope to keep my long runs at around 6 miles (4, 5 and 6 in rotating weeks). During the weekday runs, I want to do some more speed work to slash my time a little. Not going for any world records here.