Friday, October 21, 2011

DesMoines 1/2 Marathon Race Recap

I finished my second half marathon on Sunday, October 16, 2011.  DesMoines put on a wonderful race and I hope to run it again.

Alot has happened since I've last updated my blog.  I do plan on sharing the details of getting to DesMoines, but for now I just want to focus on this race.

The family and I drove to DesMoines on Saturday afternoon.  We checked into the hotel and promptly walked about a mile to the expo/packet pickup.  Easy peasy.  I already knew my bib number.  Walked right up (no lines!), grabbed my packet (chip and bib), was instructed to go scan my chip to activate and lastly was told where to grab my race shirt.  We strolled the expo for a bit.  I was slightly tempted to buy another souvenir race shirt and a sprint handheld water bottle, but I passed on both.  I did return with a pair of awesome running socks.  And both of my girls are now sporting new BondiBands.  At this point, it was getting late.  I needed to eat!  Pasta dinner smelled AMAZING, but I had not purchased tickets.  We ended up back at the hotel restaurant to carb load on their pasta buffet.  I was very underwhelmed with my meal, but it would have to work.

After dinner, we took the kids down to the pool...because I felt like we HAD to.  The (indoor) pool was far too cool for my liking and I was ready to go within 15 minutes.  We managed to stay about 40 minutes or so, leaving at about 8:15.

Back in the room, I started getting ready for my big day.  I laid out my clothes, socks, shoes, breakfast, fuel for the race and of course BodyGlide.  I pinned my bib to my shirt (after wrinkling it up real good)..."hmm, I should probably try this on".  I pinned it right under the "RUN" in my shirt.  "UH, I need to reposition this."  I had a safety pin protruding from each breast, not the best look.  Repositioned it..."Much better!"  Was ready to crawl into bed, when I dumped out my packet.  DUH!  I probably want to put the timing chip on my shoe too.  I always like to keep my chip as a souvenir.  Good thing my hubby decided to read the packet.  Volunteers cut off your chip at the finish.  If not returned within 3 weeks, there is a $30 charge...yikes!  Okay, I won't be keeping this one.

Getting to sleep wasn't the easiest.  I was tired, but between the hubby trying to catch up on college football on the television to later the four year old wandering the room, I had a hard time falling asleep. Not to mention that fact that my stomach was having a heck of a time digesting my pasta dinner!  Finally fell asleep after 11 knowing that my alarms would be going off at 6 AM.  I woke up once about 1 AM, but other than that slept pretty well.  I awoke on my own at 5:50.

Upon waking, I had some water and started my breakfast of a Nature Valley roasted almond granola bar with some Justin's maple almond butter.  I could hear the wind howling outside and thought, "Ugh, cold and windy!" (I knew it would be low 50's).   I decided that I had enough time and that I would really enjoy a hot shower (and it would help with controlling my crazy hair if I put it up while wet).  After my shower, I got dressed, did my hair, and yes, even put on a little makeup.

Just before 7:00 I was confident that I had everything I would need for the day.  I headed out the door of the hotel room, leaving my sweet family to their sweet dreams.  Just as the door shut behind me, I thought "maybe I should grab my jacket.  Oh, wait, it's in the van.  Oh, I can grab it on the way out.  No you don't have a key on you.  It's right in the room...get it!  Nah, I'll be okay."  I did manage to throw some throw away gloves in my race bag though...score!

Hopped into the elevator with a nice young man from Milwaukee named John (running his 7th state, early on in his 50 marathons in 50 states journey!).  John and I walked out of the hotel together.  The hotel would be running shuttle buses down to the start area, but John and I decided that a nice little walk to the start would be okay.  We chatted the whole way there.  Once we arrived I just tried to relax.  It was nice having John there to chat to and keep my mind off of things.  We saw Daniel from the Biggest Loser.  Daniel was doing the 1/2 as well!  As 8AM approached, I turned on my Garmin, giving it plenty of time to locate a satellite.  It seemed to take forever, once asking me if I was inside.  Finally, it seemed to have located a satellite.  I decided it was time to take my place behind the 9:30 pace signs (but in front of the 2:10 pacer).  While hanging out there, freezing myself crazy, I spotted Barefoot Angie.  I told her I read her blog and asked if I could snap a pic.  We chatted a bit.  Learned that she would be volunteering at the finish line and her hubby would be running the 1/2.

Angie snapped this pic of me before the start:

Just as I thought there was no way I could spend another minute out in this cold morning, it was time to get moving.  It took us a few minutes to cross the start mat.  As I crossed, I hit start on my Garmin.  At a slow jog from the congestion, I looked down at my Garmin.  It read, "0 ft".  What???  Keep jogging a little ways.  Look down again.  "0 ft"  I did this about 5 times, before deciding, "It's fine Lisa.  Run!  Run YOUR race.  You are able to keep track of your overall time.  So what!... you don't know your distance or your overall average pace...just run your little heart out!"  And that my friends, is exactly what I did.  I ran on feel for the first time ever in a race...something I rarely do on training runs even.

The first few miles were crowded and often felt too slow for me.  At mile 2 the 2:10 pacer passed me.  I thought, "oh, no way!"  I passed him right away, and never saw him again!  At about mile 3, I believe, we split from the full marathoners.  At about 35 minutes in (just before 3.5 miles??), I had a Chocolate#9.  I had planned on taking it at 4.5 miles, but I was pretty sure a water stop would be coming up at mile 4.  I wanted to make sure that if I needed water to wash it down, I would be able to do so at the water station since I didn't carry my own water this day.  I had Gatorade (for calories) at every aid station except the ones after I had a Chocolate#9.  

Some where between mile 5 and 6, another lady runner pulled along side of me.  We didn't speak at all, but our breathing was completely in sync...well, alternating.  I would let out my long, deep, exhale and as I would take my shorter inhale, she would let out her sharp, short exhale.  We did this for a few minutes.  It was driving me NUTS!  So, I had to ditch her...see ya!  I don't understand how her breaths were so short.

The spectators were amazing...upbeat and plentiful!  So much more so than when I ran Omaha last year.  There were bands and DJs all over the course.  I hardly ever run with music...and never during a race.  To have music on the course was great!  It was just after hearing the beginning of "Black Velvet" that I saw Daniel from Biggest Loser on the out and back portion of the course.  And right after that I saw a woman walking a half marathon in high heels!  Oh, dear!  I've seen it all...maybe?   It's okay, they were both 3-4 miles behind me!

Feeling strong somewhere in the second half.

It wasn't until the last half of the race that I stopped getting caught up behind slower lines of people...and it shows in my times.  I had my last Chocolate#9 before mile 8, I think???  I kept an eye on my time at each mile marker.  Doing the math on the fly isn't my strongest, but it seemed to me that I was keeping it well below 10 minute miles.

(Hello Quad!)

Miles 9 and 10 got spiritual.  We had found out earlier in the week that a friend of a friend (that we hang out with and also consider a friend) has liver cancer.  A forty something year old man with a wife and a teenage son, I couldn't help but reflect on the pain that his wife and son must be going thru right now.  I sent prayers up for their family.

Smiling because I loved that they painted the trail there for a photo op.

Sometime around mile 10 I noticed a young man in a 2011 Omaha Marathon shirt pulled over to the side stretching.  I let out a, "C'mon Omaha!" and kept running.  Shortly after my left calf started to tighten...on the verge of cramping.  I thought about stopping to stretch.  Shook it off, "no, just run".  Shortly after "Omaha" caught up to me.  "How are you?" I asked.  He nodded.  "Better?" I asked.  "Better!", he replied.  We chatted a few more words on the shortest out and back I've ever seen. And just like that "Omaha" left me in the dust!  Way to go Omaha!

The last couple of miles was a bunch of me telling myself, "PUSH!"  The end seemed to take forever.  I wasn't hurting, but I was paranoid about that tight calf seizing up.  Even though, I don't think I slowed down at all.  Finally one last turn, and I saw the Finish line...WAY down the road.  Keep pushing.  Still not slowing down.  I finished strong!  I spotted my family right away.  My husband snapped this picture of me:

I grabbed my medal.  A volunteer cut my timing chip off.  Chatted a few words with the family.  Started to walk away to grab some post race grub and BAM...oh, yeah, that IT band HURTS.  Boy, am I glad that I didn't stop to stretch!  I would have hobbled the last mile or two.  I hobbled over to grab some water, chocolate milk and a cupcake.

Met up with my family again.  Stretched out my calves, as that helps relieve pressure off of my IT band.  I also popped a few Tylenol right then and there (glad I brought those with me!)  We then walked back to the hotel...I stretched a couple more times during the mile walk, as well as implemented the high step walk I didn't have to limp!

My 6.5 mile split ended up being 1:05:43 (10:07 pace), with a 158th division place.

My overall finish time was 2:08:24 (9:49 pace), with a 156th division place (out of 409).

This 1/2 marathon set a new personal best for me, beating last year's Omaha time by 44:36!  And to think a month ago all my long runs were run at a 10:30 pace!  (Don't worry.  I'll elaborate in a later post on my IT band injuries and my work with a physical therapist to make my comeback.)


  1. love it, lisa!!! You really did well! :)

  2. GREAT RACE, SPEEDY!!! You look amazing. I love your matching skirt, bib, and medal ribbon.

    I would love to know what cause that woman in the heels was supporting (or what point she was making).