Monday, June 18, 2012

Dam to Dam Race Report

Well this report is long overdue.  The race was over two weeks ago, but due to an extremely busy work week and then a nice relaxing vacation in Michigan I'm just now getting around to this.  Dam to Dam is a 20k race (12.4 miles) that starts at the Saylorville Dam and ends in downtown Des Moines.  I haven't been able to run this race since 2008, which was when I first started doing the running/triathlon, so I was pretty excited to run this.  Plus the 2 weeks leading up to the race the training had been going fairly well.  I felt due for a good race.

I was upp at 3:30 for this one. Ugh! I had to make the drive to Des Moines and the shuttles started taking people to the start at 5:00. I always like to give myself plenty of time. Probably more than necessary, but I've done races where I've had to scramble to get to the start on time and I really don't need that stress. So I kind of hung out and tried to time my last bathroom trip so I could get out of there and make my way to the start close to when the gun would go off. As I started wading through the sea of people in the corral, I realized that it was going to take far too long to get there so I hopped the railing fencing everyone in and jogged along the embankment up to the front of the line. I made it with a few minutes to spare so I chatted with a coworker of mine until the gun went off.

I went out fast. It's hard not to. My coworker said he wanted to hang with me for a while, but I didn't wait around for him to keep up. Such a nice guy I am. The legs felt good and the slight downhill sections in the first few miles were fun to cruise on down. I was running 6:40-6:45 pace for the most part and kind of in shock at how much easier this felt than the last half marathon I ran when I tried to hold the same pace. I was working hard, but not overly taxing the system. Maybe the training is starting to pay off?

There were plenty of spectators along the route to keep things interesting so the first half went by pretty quickly. There was a slight wind out of the south in our faces so I tried to tuck in behind a couple of people running about the same pace. I hit the 10k mark at 41:36 and was satisfied with the split, knowing that the second half would have a couple of climbs mixed in whereas the first half was mostly downhill or flat.

I took the first climb pretty well and the next couple miles still felt good. Around that point in time some guy caught up with me and said, "Let's go pick some people off." "Sounds like a plan," I replied. We did just that and ran hard together for at least a mile. Turns out he was friends with one of my old college roommates (who ran a blistering 1:20:26) and they both ran Boston in April. So we talked running and triathlon for a bit until he started to pull away. I tried my best to keep up, but my legs couldn't move any faster. I told him to go on ahead and I did my best to keep the pace as high as I could. There was only a couple of miles left and I gutted them out. When that finish line came into view I sprinted in as best as I could, happy to cross, and thrilled with the time. 

Time: 1:24:36
Pace 6:48 min/mile
Overall Place: 177/6895
Age Group Place: 36/589

Afterwards, I had a chocolate milk and beer (not together) and walked for awhile. Chatted a bit with the coworker I left at the start (he finished less than a minute behind me) and my late mile running buddy and my old roommate.  It ended up being a pretty darn good day for a race.  I can't believe it has has doubled in size since I last ran it four years ago. It's still well run and I liked the slight course change and the finish area is much better than before. First race this year where I've felt like things came together and I've been really pleased with the result. It was a 4.5 minute PR for me and nice to finally see some payoff with the high training volume. Now I just need to get to work the next 18 weeks so that pace feels easy in Chicago

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