Tuesday, October 20, 2015

IMT Des Moines (half) Marathon weekend : Part 1 - the 5K

Let's start at the beginning...

This past weekend was the IMT Des Moines Marathon. 

I have participated in this great event five times, running the half marathon in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013, and, last year (2014), I ran the full marathon.  

The expo is always a huge endeavor with lots of  excitement and plenty of vendors. A neat feature this year was the appearance of Kathrine Switzer. Most of us know who she is.....the first woman to wear a bib at the Boston Marathon (in 1967). She was bullied on the course, and one of the race directors tried to pull off her bib and force her out of the race. She persevered, stayed the course (so to speak) and finished the race that day...and in doing so paved the way for women to not only be runners, but racers as well.

It was an honor meeting Kathrine Switzer

Saturday morning arrived with cold temps! Yes, this is Iowa, and we do not have tropical temps, especially this time of year. But, Holy Yikes! A little bit of a transition would be appreciated, Momma N! It was in the mid-30's as we climbed into the car and headed towards Iowa's capital city.

This year, my friend, Barb, and myself were participants in the inaugural Half Marathon/5K Combo (there also was a Combo for the full marathoners, and for relay team runners as well). In previous years, the Principal Financial Group Road Race 5K had always been held on the same day (Sunday) as the half and full marathons. Moving the 5K to Saturday allowed for a much less-crowded start line, and opened the opportunity for two days of racing.

Ready to line up with my sis, Lisa, and my favorite running buddy, Barb

After much persuasion, my sister Lisa agreed to register for the 5K, and joined myself and Barb (my usual race day companion). Lisa has done some running, but this would be her first time pinning on a race bib.

Desperate times call for desperate measures...running tights!

Due to the chilly temps, it was time for pulling on the running tights, wearing gloves, and donning a fleece headband. Actually, this kind of weather makes for a perfect race (after the first 10 minutes or so). The course was flat, we had no wind and plenty of sunshine...so the race day conditions were perfect.

ready to roll...

We heard a beautiful saxophone rendition of the National Anthem, the gun went off, and we were moving! I had mixed feelings on how to run this race. Given the flat course, this would be a great opportunity to try for a PR. Though the temptation was overwhelming, I knew it would not be wise to push myself too much with a half marathon on tap in the next 24 hours (and THAT was the race where I was really hoping to chase a PR).

I made it to the 1-mile mark, and my watch showed I was just under an 8:30 pace. The course was an out-and-back, and by the time I hit the turn-around I was feeling warm. As I approached the 2-mile mark, my watch showed I was just over 15 minutes of running....which would have meant I ran that second mile around an 8-minute pace. Although it was one of those mornings when the run felt effortless, I really didn't think I was going that fast. I made it to the finish line and felt great.

The race went well and I was happy to have none of my usual first mile aches or pains. I was really excited with my finish time of 24:33...but I suspected the course was not quite a full 3.1 miles (we later learned due to a mis-communicaton with course set-up, it was actually 2.8 miles). That would have been a major PR for me, but I know I'm not THAT fast. I ran it well, but I definitely was not "sprinting."

Barb had finished ahead of me, and I found her immediately. She agreed that the course seemed a little short as well. It wasn't long, and we saw Lisa coming through the finish chute. I had asked if she wanted us to run with her and she told us to do our own thing. She wanted to focus on running and wouldn't be "talking" to either of us anyways. OK then.

She said she felt winded (it was 35-degrees, after all), but was able to run the entire race! (spoiler alert--on the way home, she admitted that she wanted to do another race!)

Despite the issue with the course length, this event was well organized and very well attended. There was a total of 1080 participants (640 females, 440 males). My stats were decent - 8th out of 61 in my age division, 76th among the 640 women, and 211th overall.  I'll take it!

All participants received a nice finisher medal, and check out the cute hat! I have done similar events where there are multiple races, and it's a nice change to get a hat instead of a second shirt (really, how many shirts does a racer need?).
I'm totally in love with the hat!!

As mentioned, there was a discrepancy with the course length. To show what a top-notch event this is, we received a follow-up email, apologizing (again) for the problem, and all 5K participants were given a discount code to use on any of the races at the 2016 venue. As if I needed an additional incentive to return!

Have you ever participated in a mulit-day racing event? Did you "race" all of the events, or try to save yourself for one of them?


  1. Congrats on that great finish! What a shame that the course was measured short. This wasn't the first year for the 5k, was it? You'd think they'd use the same course as before. I ran a 10k once in Madison that ended up being over 7 miles long! That was crazy.

    1. I think they had a slightly different course this year since it was on a different day (I've never done the 5K, so I don't know for sure). It turns out the turn-around barricade got put in the wrong place by accident, and wasn't discovered until it was too late. I'm totally fine with everything...I wasn't trying to race it anyways, so I was pleasantly surprised (briefly LOL) when I saw my official finish time ;-)

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  3. Replies
    1. Isn't it adorable? I kinda wish more races came with hats instead of shirts ;-)

  4. The hat is really cute! I've never done multi day races before, but now that you mention it.... hmmmmm. :) Great race!!!

    1. Well....maybe you need to venture out my way next October? ;-)

  5. The hat is really cute! I've never done multi day races before, but now that you mention it.... hmmmmm. :) Great race!!!

  6. Congrats! Love the medal and hat! I ran a 5K followed by a half in one weekend last yera in Philly. I raced the half, tried to take it easy on the 5K but I do think it's really tough to "slow down" on an 5K.

    1. I agree, the 5K's are kind of hard to run "slow." I'm used to running much longer distances, so 3.1 miles are over and done pretty quickly. I haven't done very many back-to-back races,but I do like the challenge of running/racing/finishing them!

  7. Yea! Congrats!! I've run a few races that were short too. I'm not sure how that happens, but I think it happens more often than not! I like that they gave a hat and not a shirt too!!

    1. The "short" races do give us a nice little ego-boost (even if our pace is actually the same as if the distance would have been correct LOL). ANd I am loving my hat! I wore it to the high school football the evening after I got back from the expo (is it taboo to wear the event hat like it is for the event shirt? I don't care!!)