Thursday, September 25, 2014

Capital Pursuit 10 Miles in the Capital City

This past weekend (September 21) I ran the Capital Pursuit, 10 miles through the streets of Des Moines. I have run 10 miles numerous times, but never with start and finish lines. Eager to test out my new shoes (Saucony Triumph 11's) on a race course, and oh-so-thankful to not need to run super long, this race fit perfectly into my training schedule.

Ready to rock 10 miles through Des Moines with Kristin and Barb
Des Moines, the capital city of Iowa, is about an hour from my doorstep. We (myself and runner friend, Barb) left town just before 6:00AM. Race time wasn't until 8:00, but with intermittent construction (not known to us out-of-towners) and possible road closures (due to the race), I wanted to arrive with ample time to find parking, get our packets and warm-up.

Yes!  There's Kim!

Although it was a beautiful fall morning, the weather was tricky.  It was comfortably warm in the sunshine, but very cold and windy in the shade.  I had a long-sleeved shirt on stand-by, but decided to just go with my short-sleeved shirt.  I knew I'd be fine after the first mile.

Lining up in the shadows of the skyline

I recently had my gait analyzed at a running store, and learned I should be running in neutral shoes (and not the stability shoes I'd been using for the past six years).  I've been wearing these new shoes for almost every run (short, long, speed work) in an attempt to get used them.  I've had a great deal of discomfort in my glutes and hip flexors, and have been hoping the new shoes would make all these aches and pains magically dissipate...but not much has changed.  Granted, it's only been two weeks, and I've been demanding a lot from these new shoes. Thankfully, none of the aches and pains have gotten worse.

The Capital Pursuit was promoted as being "flat and fast."  I had no grandiose hopes of winning (or even placing in my age group), but I was hoping for a decent finish time.  My goal was to finish in 1:30, which would be a 9-minute pace.  I can run a 10K slightly under a 9-minute pace, so it would be a great achievement to run an additional four miles at that pace as well.

 My watch is a very basic "stop watch" of sorts.  It doesn't give mile splits or pacing stats.  I simple go "old school" and check the elapsed time at each of the mile markers and that gives me a gauge as to what my pace is.  (Seriously, I am that much of a math geek....if I had access to all the minute-by-minute stats or mile-by-mile splits, I'd lose a lot of what I love about running and it would turn into a science experiment). Ignorance is bliss (at least it is for me).  So, that presented a problem for me.  The mile marks were actually painted on the road, but I didn't notice them until mile six.  I knew there were going to be water stations at (approximately) miles 2,4,6 and 8, but I was kind of on my own guesstimating where the mile marks were in between the water stations.

Case in point, I made it through the first water station (mile 2), still feeling kind of stiff but keeping a steady 9-minute pace, according to the 18-ish minutes (on the watch) that had passed since the gun.  My watch said 26:XX when the course turned to go north...straight into the wind and on an upward incline. By this time, I was no longer cold, but it had been several months since I'd been faced with a strong head wind, and a cold wind at that.  I was careful to keep my head down for fear of losing my visor in the wind.

Finally, the course turned and went west for awhile.  Shortly after the turn, I spotted the 4-mile water station.  This part of the course was in a residential area, so we had some shelter from the wind.  Oh, did the sun feel great! Although my glutes were not feeling great (yet), I could tell they were starting to loosen up.  (Ugh. In four weeks, I'll be hoping to make it 26.2 miles...what if this stiffness is present on marathon day?)

The route continued west for a couple miles, I think it was just after we turned to head south that the 6-mile water stop was stationed.  I gulped down a gel and grabbed a water, and continued.  The seventh mile had some very welcome (and well-earned) downhills!  I should add, the hills were not a big deal and they were not especially challenging, but they were constant ....on a course that was supposed to be flat.  I don't mind hills (in fact, I train on them consistently), but they were a bit of a surprise.

By the time I passed the 8-mile mark, I was finally feeling loose and free.  It's a great feeling when your body releases all the stiffness and your legs can just take over and go. I certainly was not in a full-out sprint, but I knew I was clipping along pretty fast (for me).  I made it to the 9-mile mark and my watch said 1:22:XX.....well (reality check!), the 1:30 finish time was not going to happen. I was moving along pretty fast, but I would need a 7:30-pace for the final mile to make my goal, and I'm simply not that fast.

I crossed the finish line with an official time of 1:31:17 (though my watch said 1:31).  I am satisfied.  I know it's a definite 10-mile PR, so what's not great about that?  Considering there were a few hills and some major wind to battle, my finish time is more than's a victory.

The swag was stylish, depicting the skyline of Iowa's capital city

How was the Capital Pursuit?  Overall, I thought it was a great event.  In addition to the 10-mile race, there also was a 5K and a kids race.  The registration fee was minimal ($35), and the long-sleeved tech shirt is nice. The finisher medal is pretty sweet as well (with a replication of the Des Moines skyline) and I scored a pair of arm warmers at the post race party.  I would have liked the mile markers to have been more prominent, though.  As mentioned, the course was hilly. Although the hills were pretty mild, there were many of would have been nice to have been fore-warned. There were numerous police officers and volunteers monitoring the traffic control, but it would have been nice to have seen a little more crowd support along the course. All in all, though, I thought it was very well-organized, and the 10-mile Pursuit is a fun and not-too-common distance to run.

So, my 26.2 race day, the IMT Des Moines Marathon,  is less than four weeks away.  I have a 20-miler on the agenda this coming weekend.....and I'm debating on the shoe issue.  I like the new shoes, but the transition to the neutral fit is still in process.  My body is so used to the stability fit, and I'm thinking that may be my best option for the go with what I know, and then take my time transitioning to the neutral shoes AFTER the marathon.  I'll have to wait and see what happens on the 20-miler...and then, wait and see how my body feels after the 20-miler before I finalize my race day shoes. Decisions...decisions...


  1. i ran a 10 mile event earlier this year, the Austin 10/20 (10 miles, 20 bands) and loved it. 10 miles is a good distance but, like you said, not a common distance for a race. glad you had such a great time!

    1. Thanks Sara! I'm in Iowa so it's slim pickins' when it comes to "uncommon" distances LOL I love my 13,1's, but sometimes it's fun to run a little bit shorter distance and attempt to run it (somewhat) know, just to see what my body can do ;-)

  2. I love the 10 mile distance! I had a PR at my 10 miler in April, the CARA Lakefront 10. It's just a great race, a runners' race! Great job on yours!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Wendy (sorry...misspelled your name in the first reply)
      This 10-miler was great! I found another 10-mile race in November I'm contemplating ;-) We'll see how the 26.2 race (and recovery) goes first LOL

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