Monday, October 22, 2018

IMT Des Moines Half Marathon 2018


Brrrrrr!

It was a cold morning in Iowa, but we had oodles of sunshine and a clear sky.

Sunday, October 21, 2018 was the day, and it was the 17th year of the IMT Des Moines Marathon. There were over 7800 participants (representing 48 states from the US) that took part in the various events over the weekend.

Myself, I'm no stranger to this grand weekend. I have been a part of it in various capacities in the past 10 years:
***I have run the Half Marathon in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016
***I ran the Full Marathon in 2014
***I ran the 5K in 2015 (as part of the 5K/13.1 Combo)
***I ran the Mercy Live Up Loop 5-mile in 2016 (as part of the 5 Mile/13.1 Combo) and also in 2017


A small twist to my training this year was the Cannonball Marathon happening eight days prior ((gulp)). I almost didn't register for the IMT DSM 13.1 because I didn't think I'd be recovered enough from the marathon. I actually registered for the Mercy Live Up 5-Miler (which was the day prior). About two weeks ago, I decided to just go for it and upgrade to the half marathon. Why not? If I can run 26.2 miles, surely I can do 13.1 miles...the key would be to take things really easy following the marathon so my body could recover enough to make it through the half marathon.

Anyways, race day arrived, bringing with it cold temps....31F at the start line. I have run in temps such as these (many times), but not yet this season. Unsure what would be too warm and what would not be enough, I decided to go with a little of both. Flannel-lined tights under the top layer of capris/socks, flanned-lined tech shirt under a 1/4 zip jacket, gloves and stocking hat.
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With an 8:00 start time for the half /full marathons (the 5K started at 8:30), we pulled out of town around 6:30, arriving in downtown Des Moines around 7:30. The hubby dropped us (my running buddy, Barb, and Jim, another local running guru) off, and we found the porta potties and huddled inside an indoor stairwell of a parking garage right near the start line.
with Barb and Jim...right before lining up
Although it felt cold, it didn't feel too bad in the midst of all the runners crowded together. With the marathon behind me, I didn't really have any specific goals for this half marathon. I'd had a pretty mild week of recovery (no major aches or pains, ZERO DOMS to deal with and hardly any running), so I was optimistic my legs would feel somewhat fresh. That said, taking on 13.1 miles was a pretty tall order....


Before the race, and lining up
So, the race began. The first couple miles had us winding through some of the downtown streets of the city before heading out on MLK Parkway, eventually splitting apart near the 2.5-mile mark. The full marathoners would continue west on MLK Parkway and the half marathoners' route turned south on  Fleur.

So far, so good. The hammies were feeling a bit stiff/strained, but not uncomfortable. My energy felt good, though, and the crowd of runners was starting to thin out slightly. The crowd support was almost continuous, since the start of the race (and throughout the morning). Amazingly, I wasn't feeling cold, but actually comfortable. Onward!

Just before the 4-mile mark, the route turned right, leading us into Water Works Park. I was ready for a couple of Honey Stinger chews, so the gloves came off (and stayed off). Although I've run this route many times, I always forget how long it takes to get into the actual park along the path. Just after the 5-mile mark, the route takes a right turn and loops around, coming back out just after the 7-mile mark. Once we finish the trek out of the rest of the park, back to Fleur, we're at the 9-mile mark. Somehow, every year, this 5-mile trek into (and out of) Water Works Park seems to take forever, but this year it didn't seem so bad.

After crossing Fleur, the route takes an approximate 2-mile lap around Grays Lake. I dug out an SiS gel and sipped it near the 10-mile mark. I could tell my pace was slowing down a bit, but I still was feeling pretty strong and my energy was on-point.

Coming out of Grays Lake Park, we have the only major hill of the course , starting near the 11-mile mark. It's not crazy steep, but does last for about half a mile. As we merge back out on MLK Parkway, the 12-mile mark is not too far off in the distance. There's a lengthy straightaway, with a left turn just before the 13-mile mark. A short climb, another left turn, and the finish line is just a short sprint from there.

Whew! All done!
jazz hands...I really need a new pose LOL
For the most part, I felt great the entire race. I could tell my pace was slowing in the final miles, but I never had that yearning for walk breaks (unlike many of my recent half marathons). My hamstrings and my hips (later in the race) were starting to feel fatigued, no doubt much of that was probably still a "recovery"' thing from the marathon a week prior. My goal was to run this race strong, but also by feel...I did glance at my watch at the mile marks, but I had no intention to maintain any specific pace (again, #stillrecovering).

My mile splits:
Mile 1 - 9:11             Mile 8 - 9:30
         2 - 9:16                     9 - 9:38
         3 - 9:09                    10 - 9:36
         4 - 10:09                  11 - 9:43
         5 - 9:20                    12 - 10:00
         6 - 9:26                    13 - 9:39
         7 - 9:29                    (.2) - .27  

My stats: 
My watch showed 13.28 miles for distance, which reflected a 9:32 pace and a 2:06:32 finish time.
My official time (for 13.1 miles), was 2:06:28 (9:40 pace due to shorter distance).
**23rd of 176 in my age group
**700 out of 2267 females
**1552 out of 3697 total finishers

Though it had warmed up during the race, it was still chilly when we finished.
Yes, #BRRRrrrrr
Overall, I am very happy with how the day played out. This is the fastest 13.1 finish time I've had in over a year, so it's a PR for Voldy (remember him?  The 6-inch scar on  my knee?). I'm still chasing that sub-2:00, but each race is getting me closer. Besides, there's no way I was gonna attempt PR'ing (sub-1:57) only eight days post-marathon. Duh (LOL).

It's not everyday that a race leaves one feeling so good at the finish line. I think my training for the marathon was a factor (because my recovery has been very mild). Also, the weather was optimal and the course (overall) was pretty flat. There was a lot of crowd support, too, and that always makes a long race more enjoyable.

The IMT Des Moines Marathon seriously knows how to put on a great event. As mentioned, this was the 17th year, and they have this down to a science. The course is well-supported with spectators. There are numerous water stands, all of which also have Gatorade available. There's plenty of music (most of which is live performers)  every few miles. There's also intermittent stands with orange slices, Gu gels, and first aid items. 

And the swag. In recent years, they have gone to 1/4-zip jackets (different colors depending on the specific distance event), but this year they pulled out all stops and had full-zip track jackets for the full/half marathoners (grey for the full, navy blue for the half). Nice!!
You can't see them in the pic, but there are pockets on the front!
The medals are pretty sweet as well. This year's has an iridescent finish, and is oh-so-pretty. 
The medals for each event are the same design, but feature the specific distance (to the left of the runner) and different colored ribbons

Another half marathon done!
I'm glad I took the gamble and upgraded my registration to the half marathon. Although the route has been modified a bit each year that I have run, it's still basically the same course. I plan to keep on running this half marathon for many years to come. Heck, maybe I'll even return to the full marathon again someday...that is where my PR was earned.

Do you have a favorite event that draws you back every year? What's the coldest race you have ever run?  Have you ever run a full marathon and attempted a half marathon a week later, or vice-versa?

**I'm linking up with Marcia and Patty and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.

**I'm also linking this with Debbie and Rachel and Marc and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner
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43 comments:

  1. Wow - brilliant race report and a strong lady. Now I want to do this one, it looks fab (but might be a little way to come). Love the medal and the jacket. Well done you!

    I've done the Birmingham half-marathon seven times and the full (on the same day, in a big mess with the half, let's not go there!) once so I suppose that's my most-run one. I want to go back and do Reykjavik Marathon again now I know more how to do a marathon, but that will be in 2020 at the earliest.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words ;-) This event is such a great thing...the entire weekend has something for everyone, a lot of people do the Saturday 5-miler AND the 5K or half or full on Sunday.

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  2. Congrats on a nice race! The swag and medal are really nice, too! Glad you felt good.

    I have many races I've run more than once, including the Chicago Marathon. Don't think that I'm not tempted to give it one more go...

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    1. When you find a great race that is so close, it's really hard to NOT go back

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  3. Congrats on the VPR! As I suspected your marathon-sized aerobic engine paid off for you. My half marathon PR was run 6 days post marathon so I may know something about that. Great swag!

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    1. Thanks, Marcia!!! I just had a gut feeling I'd be alright doing this right after the marathon, I'm glad all went well. "Marathon-sized aerobic engine"....LOVE that !!

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  4. A half marathon the week after a full? You rock! Sounds like you had a great race, and the swag is awesome. Love the jacket. I once ran a half the week after Boston. I came no where near to a PR, though! :)

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    1. HA ha...well, Boston...say no more ;-) I feel very lucky all went well, especially after the tough hills of that marathon.....

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  5. You had such consistent splits! Pretty amazing. Why is it always so hard to figure out what to wear in the transitional months?

    A jacket -- sweet! I love me some great swag, especially useful great swag!

    Great job Kim.

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    1. UGH, yes, it's tough to figure out the clothing with the erratic weather we've had! Thankfully, my layers were on-point for the morning, or that could have been very uncomfortable & stressful.

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  6. I already told you this but I'm amazed that you were able to run such a consistent half marathon just a week after your marathon!

    We had winter like weather this weekend too. Guess we're just skipping over Fall?

    That swag is amazing! I love when races offer something besides a short sleeve shirt.

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    1. These jackets are NICE! I've never gotten anything so nice from a race before. I agree...I'm done with short sleeve shirts; I seldom wear them (even the R'n'R ones).

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  7. Wow! You crushed that half!! That's such a great time for being 8 days off a hilly and tough marathon! You are absolutely my hero!

    And that swag!!! <3 I love it when races go above and beyond with the swag. I mean, we pay enough for the race so it just seems like the right way to treat us runners!

    Coldest race I ever ran? Probably my first marathon in Philly the weekend before Thanksgiving 2008. Pretty sure it was in the low 20s at the start and didn't get much warmer as the day went on. BRRR!!!

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    1. Ouch...a marathon in the low 20's????? That would be tough. I felt comfortable the entire time I was running, but as soon as I stopped, I was freezing! I didn't realize I could sweat that much when it was so cold.

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  8. Congratulations on your post surgery PR and running such a solid race! Love the jacket!��

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  9. Lots of running, and I'm glad your legs held up. It is difficult to figure out what to wear in the cold temps when they haven't been around yet. I really wondered what I needed to wear for my race after running in summer temps most of the training cycle.

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    1. I really had to do some thinking on my clothing for this race...I have run in these temps many times before, but not for 13 miles and not this soon in the season.

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  10. Great job! I'm really impressed, a week after a tough marathon! The swag and medal are awesome. If I still lived in Iowa, I'd have to do that race!
    A half I ran in feb '17 was quite cold, high 20's at the start I think. I was freezing waiting for the start, but once it did, I was fine, I love cold weather running! When I lived in NY I did the SuperBowl 5k several times, that had some freezing cold years!

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    1. This race is really a top-notch event. I did the full in 2014, and that was a blast, too. I think this may have been the coldest it's ever been for the race, though...ha! A stocking hat and I was comfortable LOL

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  11. This event sort of sounds like the Baltimore Running Festival ( which I would like to run again sometime)!

    I've done the Goofy Challenge, (half marathon on Saturday and Full marathon on Sunday), does that count? -M

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    1. This event has something for everyone, at every level of distance. I was tempted to do both the 5-mile and the 13.1 this year...but that would have been pretty crazy with the marathon just a week prior LOL

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  12. Nice job! That's a great race especially considering a (not so good) marathon just a week before.

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    1. Thanks ;-) I was really surprised how "easy" the half marathon felt...but anything would feel easy after that crazy marathon LOL

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  13. Great job! That's very impressive that you were able to do a half marathon a week after a full. I ran a 10k about a week after a marathon and that was pretty tough. Glad you had such a good experience!

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    1. Well, I do not consider myself a racer...so I ran this strong, but not with any intentions of pushing the pace (as if LOL) ;-)

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  14. Congrats on a great race! I LOVE the jacket! Back in the good ole days, Bill and I ran three marathons in four weeks and a couple of those years we raced all three marathons (and a couple of years we picked one to race and ran the others for fun). :-)

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    1. I can see how one could do multiple marathons like that...after all, your body is primed and ready, right?

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  15. Great recap! Your training was so solid this season and it really paid off. Congrats

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    1. Thanks, Deborah. I'm grateful for this racing/training season and all that happened ;-)

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  16. I cannot imagine running a full yet alone running a full then a half. You are BadA$$.

    Love that jacket. That alone would be the reason to run it.

    Congrats!

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    1. Ha ha... five years ago, I never would have imagined myself doing this either

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  17. I am in awe of anyone who runs that far and in the cold? Kudos good work!

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    1. The cold only felt cold right before the start, and then immediately after LOL

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  18. Congrats on finishing a half marathon AFTER a marathon!! We runners do some crazy things, right? :-) I think that is a pretty cool medal. I did this race a few years ago and actually enjoyed it. I remember being around mile 12 (??) and the marathoners were behind me. I also remember that there was so much post race food. I had never seen so much food after a race.

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    1. My goal is to always finish before the first marathoner LOL...mission accomplished ;-)

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  19. Nice swag!!! the race I ran this weekend had a thin white hoodie shirt, most likely to win a wet shirt contest than a race swag.

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    1. ha! Sometimes the swag makes us shake our heads, right?

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  20. Great job! I love that jacket and medal :)

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  21. You are a rock star running such a strong half so soon after your full! And, great swag!

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  22. Great job on finishing and I'm glad you left feeling good! :] That's awesome that they got full-zip jackets this year--they look so spiffy! <3

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  23. I usually don't run the same race twice, but I love the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half which I have done 3 times and plan to do again next year.
    My coldest race was Zion Half, it was 31 at the start and didn't warm up much by the finish.

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  24. Love the medals - and what's the backdrop in the first pic? Love the bright colors

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