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Des Moines Marathon - RunMarathon

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Des Moines, Iowa
United States
50F / 10C
Total Time = 3h 42m 9s
Overall Rank = 276/1353
Age Group = M25-29
Age Group Rank = 43/114
Pre-race routine:

I woke up a little later than planned (I set the time on my alarm clock but forgot to turn it on). I was waking up about every half hour since 3 am anyway so it wasn't a big deal. Had a headache which I cured with an ibuprofen. Could that one beer I had with dinner last night possibly be responsible?? I wouldn't think so. Anyway I ate a banana for breakfast and grabbed a Clif bar for the road. Made it to Des Moines in plenty of time. Took the time to stretch and hit the restroom.
Event warmup:

Just did a couple of light 10-15 second jogs to get the blood flowing in the legs but that was it. The starting line was packed full of people. They started the half and the full at the same time so there were about 5000 runners waiting for the gun. Lined up in between the 3:30 and the 3:40 pace groups, chatted with a couple of other newbies and before I knew it the gun had sounded.
  • 3h 42m 9s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 29s  min/mile

Ooh boy my first mary! No time to be nervous, we're running now. Did the jog-shuffle, stop several times as the crowds inched their way to the starting line. Only took a few minutes for things to clear which was surprising. Most people must have lined up according to their pace times pretty accurately. Spent the first mile running toward the capitol building which was neat. Then we got turned around and headed through downtown until about the 3 mile mark when us marathoners had to say goodbye to our half-marathoning buddies as they split off toward the south. We'd be seeing them again though.

The next part of the course wound through some hilly neighborhoods. I checked out the elevation before the race and it seemed pretty flat but these were good tightly packed hills. I kept passing a group of three girls running together on the downhills only to have them pass me on the uphills. After about the 5th or 6th time this happened I told them to quit making me look like a chump on the hills which got a round of laughter. Eventually they left me in the dust for good around mile 15. I had a lot of fun early on hamming it up with other runners and high-fiving spectators along the way. I knew I'd be suffering later so why not enjoy it now?

The legs felt surprisingly good though and I was holding a pace slightly faster than I should have. Hit the halfway mark right at 1:45. If I could somehow keep that up I'd be darn close to a 3:30. Yeah right, keep telling yourself that, Neal. At mile 16 I realized just how sore the bottom's of my feet were getting. Time to pop the meds. Tylenol is my friend :)

After that I tried my best to keep the pace but could tell I was slipping. Allowed myself 30 seconds of walking at select aid stations to down my gel and water. Usually I'd come out of that break feeling a little rejuvenated. I was also glad I wore my fuel belt. The aid stations were about 2 miles apart and I was able to sip on that in between and sometimes pass the aid stations all together.

Mile 17 took us into waterworks park. There was a huge L-shaped bend in which you could see the runners way up ahead. How tempting was that to go off road and cut that short. Would anyone have noticed? I was a good little boy and followed the trail though. Soon enough we hit mile 18 and I was into no-man's land. Now every step I took was extending on the longest run of my life. I really didn't know what to expect. Could I make it another 8 miles??

We met back up with our half-marathon friends and the trails got way more congested. Most of the halfers left on the course were walkers and many of them walked side by side which made things a mess, the aid stations especially. I kept plowing ahead though, one foot ahead of the other. My pace slowed further and walking at aid stations lasted a little longer.

Soon we made it to grey's lake for a fun 2 mile loop. I was so envious of those people coming out of the loop since they were 2 miles closer to finishing than me. I came out the loop feeling sorry for those going in, those 2 miles drained even more out of me.

Ok legs, we have 2 more miles to go. Work with me here! I checked my watch and after some quick math figured a sub 3:40 was possible. No sooner did I think that the lady running with the 3:40 pace sign passed me. Uh-oh, playing catch up! She faded into the distance as my tired legs worked their best. I felt like I was working really hard but there was just no juice.

The race opened up onto Martin Luther King Parkway which I thought was really cool. Its a really wide road that they had completely shut down. After the tight confines of the park the runners had a chance to spread out. Man, that was a long stretch, about a mile. One final turn and I could see the finish line. I did my best imitation of a sprint for the last few hundred yards and crossed that finish line with a smile.
What would you do differently?:

Work on pacing. Know what pacing I can put up over that distance and try to hit it. Lack of training left the pacing up in the air.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked alot. Drank water and had a banana. Downed 2 bottles of chocolate milk. OMG! That tasted like the nectar of the gods at that point :)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Train more consistently. I had a foot injury that kept me off my feet for awhile. Got in one long run of 18 miles and ran very little in the 5 weeks leading up to the event.

Event comments:

Great race! They had something like 1200 volunteers and pulled off a great one. I will definitely consider doing it again in the future. Perhaps to get my 3:30........

Last updated: 2008-09-02 12:00 AM
03:42:09 | 26.2 miles | 08m 29s  min/mile
Age Group: 43/114
Overall: 277/1353
Performance: Average
Garmin had the course longer (26.53mi) 1 - 7:58, 2 - 8:02, 3 - 7:43, 4 - 8:13, 5 - 7:48, 6 - 7:53, 7 - 8:01, 8 - 8:17, 9 - 7:45, 10 - 7:46, 11 - 7:56, 12 - 7:56, 13 - 7:46, 14 - 8:01, 15 8:22, 16 - 8:02, 17 - 7:57, 18 - 8:07, 19 - 8:50, 20 - 8:58, 21 - 8:35, 22 - 9:07, 23 - 9:23, 24 - 9:08, 25 - 10:38, 26 - 9:25, .53 - 4:52 (9:05)
Course: Through Downtown the first few miles, then we hit some nice, but hilly neighborhoods. The coursed got flat for awhile, another loop through some residential neighborhoods. Then north and we did a lap around drake's track and headed back south. Ran trails through waterworks park and around grey's lake and eventually finished up downtown.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2008-10-20 5:57 PM

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Ames, IA
Subject: Des Moines Marathon

2008-10-21 7:49 AM
in reply to: #1755206

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Extreme Veteran
"the wave", iowa
Subject: RE: Des Moines Marathon

congrats on your first mary!

 don't those loops suck?  they just tease you with the other runners finishing it up, and then they do it to you again at the water works park!

 smokin' fast time on that course!  enjoy the rest!

2008-10-30 3:44 PM
in reply to: #1755206

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Alturas, California
Subject: RE: Des Moines Marathon
Ohmygosh! 3:42 on your first ever full mary way to go! You put up some serious times for your first year of training. I have my first mary in January and well lets put it this way, it won't be any 3:42.... Anyway we will talk in Nov challenge 8).
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