Monday, June 3, 2013

A Dam Fun Race

Saturday marked the completion of my second annual Dam to Dam race.  Thankfully, unlike last year, this race did not culminate with me dry heaving down the chute.

I was certainly not out to win this race (duh) or even PR; instead, I was just hoping to finish this race, as I had pretty much not trained at all.

When I say that I had not trained at all, I am not exaggerating.  The most miles I have run since the marathon in October was a whopping 4.8, and I ran that on Memorial Day.  Prior to that "long" run, I had run 4.6 miles during the Market to Market Relay.  And, aside from a few weekday runs with See-Us Run Des Moines (no longer than three miles each), that is all the training I did for my 20K.

Yes, I ran nearly a half marathon (12.4 miles) without any significant training.

And boy, am I paying for it.  While my legs are feeling a-okay, my hip flexors are screaming at me like you wouldn't believe.  I swear that I am walking like a 90-year-old woman.

But let's talk about the actual race, shall we?

After school on Friday I headed downtown to Vet's Auditorium for packet pick-up.  It was a huge event and run incredibly smoothly.

First, I picked up my bib with timing chip attached (they were arranged by the thousand, which made pick-up super fast).

I then headed down the long corridor to grab my t-shirt, which was a hot-pink women's fit that actually fits my boobs.  First time for everything!

Just outside of the hall where I grabbed my bib and shirt, they had a lot of fun: huge buffets of food as well as a happy hour with a live band on a patio overlooking downtown.  Because I still had errands to run, I didn't stay for the food or drinks, but it looked like a great time.

As I was leaving packet pick-up and walking the looooooong distance back to my car, a fellow runner approached me and started chatting.  Turns out that he was running his twelfth Dam to Dam and that he had, in fact, won the race in 2003 and placed in or near the top ten every year since.

I was a little starstruck, I'm not going to lie.

(When I told my good friend Rowsers about this encounter, the first thing he said was, "Did you touch his calf?  Because I totally would've."  I did not, in fact, touch his calf, but I was pretty darn thrilled to talk to the guy.)

After running to Scheel's for some GU and matching headbands for my girlfriends, I stopped by Fazoli's for my favorite pre-race meal: spaghetti marinara with a couple spoonfuls of fettucini alfredo.

I know what you're thinking:

When my race buddies invited me over for dinner to carb-load with them, I declined, as I have found that the best pre-race meal for me is Fazoli's.  They all scoffed and said that was disgusting and that they would have the bubble guts, but I swear that it does me wonders.  I love it.

As soon as I got home, I prepped for the morning before chowing down my carbs (heaven in my mouth) and crashing on the couch at 7 p.m.

When The Boy got home from work, we hung out for about an hour together, and then I politely excused myself to pass out in the bedroom, as I knew the morning was going to come a lot sooner than I'd like.

Because we had to be downtown to catch the bus at 5 a.m., Rowsers and AM picked me up at 4:50, which meant I got up at 4:10.  I got dressed and then ate my favorite breakfast, Dessert Oats:

Not the most photogenic meal, but it is sooooo darn good.
Rowsers and AM arrived promptly at ten 'til five, and we picked up BFF before heading downtown.  Let me tell you about all of the buses that were waiting for us: they circled a city block.  It was nuts.  Dam to Dam sure is efficient at ensuring everyone arrived to Saylorville prior to the 7 a.m. start time.

The 20-minute bus ride took us from downtown Des Moines all the way north to the Saylorville Dam.

Me and BFF, ready to run (kind of)
All three of us used the porta potties and downed some last-minute carbs (bananas, a peanut butter sandwich, or PowerBar energy-blast gels) prior to heading to the starting line:

And we arrived just in time to see the sun rise over the lake.  It was beautiful.

We then stared off in the distance to see our destination (really, really far away): downtown Des Moines.

Seriously: how far away does that look?!  We ran that!
As the sun continued rising, the views got prettier and prettier:

The spillway that was quite forceful with all of the flooding we've been having.

The three girls are ready and raring to go!

AM, BFF, and me
And so is Rowsers:

Pretty sure he was mimicking me.  Butt.
After one more trip back up to the porta potties (where we saw a girl throw open an unlocked potty only to find a dude pooping -- hilarious!), we were really ready to go:

(And wishing we had brought sunglasses.)
Check out the starting line: all 8,000 runners.

Right as we crossed the start line (approximately seven minutes after the gun went off), we ran into the Roosevelt band.  It was really cool and invigorating seeing my students -- and hearing their rendition of Bad Romance as I started my 12.4-mile journey.

The first few miles flew by.  Even without training, we stuck to a fairly steady pace of 11-minutes and were feeling good.  We walked through the water stops and took a quick walk break around 3.7 miles, but other than that, we were rockin' and rollin'.

Around mile five, BFF had to make a pit-stop, and the line was so long that AM and I got in a nice seven-minute stretch break.

We quickly picked up the pace, though, and continued doing well until we hit the hill from hell on mile seven:

While the hill itself was atrocious, it was really cool and inspirational seeing all of the flags lining the road.  It was hard not to tear up a little.  Good thing I was sweating a lot.  :)

We continued toward downtown and, as soon as we hit the north side and Birdland Marina, we saw some crazy flooding:
Yep, that's a bike trail.

Good for triathlon training, maybe?
And around mile ten, I pretty much hit the wall.  My legs did not want to move anymore.  My upper back was killing me like crazy.  The blister on my left heel was two seconds from popping open.  My body did not want to move another step.

But, as I have said before, the miles weren't going to go away.  We had to finish the race.

The last mile was pretty awesome: it had music serenading us for that last leg of our journey, culminating in the Isiserettes at the finish line.

(Maybe it wasn't quite like at Obama's inauguration, but it was pretty darn cool seeing some of my kiddos performing, motivating us to finish strong.)

Holding hands, my besties and I crossed the finish line.  I love my girls.

According to my watch, we finished in 2:37 (last year I finished in 2:27).  However, my watch stops when I stop, so it did not take into account the time we lost at the porta potty.  I believe our final finish time was 2:45.

Like I said, this was after zero training, so we were pretty proud of ourselves -- and told each other that next year we'd train for real and run together again.

Happy, accomplished girls.
It was a great, great day.  We had the most beautiful weather, we had an incredibly scenic route, and I had by far the best company of anyone on the course.

I'm so proud.

See you again in 2014, you Dam race!

1 comment:

  1. You did so awesome!! This is definitely my favorite race now, and I cannot wait to run it again in 2014!