Case in point - a tough, hilly 13.1-mile jaunt, that had most of my muscles aching (at least from the waist-down). Not only did my body ache, but my mouth was dry. And I was mucho tired at the end.
And I'd do it all over again.
Saturday, April 20th, was the date. The location was the Drake University campus and vicinity (Des Moines, IA). The event was the 51st annual Drake Road Races, and I eagerly took to the streets (along with more than 4,000 others).
Affiliated with the Drake Relays (an Olympic-style event that attracts elites, collegiate stand-outs and high school hot shots), the Road Races offer a 5K, 10K or half marathon to those of us who aren't able to qualify for the other. I first ran the 10K (back in 2013), and returned for the half marathon in 2014,2015, 2017 and 2018.
|Sarah, myself, Barb|
Although there was ample time to do a substantial warm-up, I didn't (#mybad). I did a some static stretching (but not enough) and some dynamic "mini" drills (as we waited for the National Anthem), though.
|Drake's mascot is the bulldog...need I say more?|
Just after turning on Kingman Boulevard, we passed the 1-mile mark. Already, I was feeling thirsty. I'd thought of bringing my water bottle from the car, but had left it behind (#mybad, again), so I was thankful to spot the first water stand a short ways later. The stretch on Kingman is very long and very straight...it's not so bad for this portion of the route, but on the return to the finish line it's rather painful (hold that thought).
Eventually, we turn south on Polk Boulevard, and are rewarded with a nice downhill grade for awhile. There's another water stand (near the 3-mile mark) and the 10K route splits off a short ways later.
I'd had some oatmeal, and some water on the drive over. I wasn't feeling hungry, but I definitely was feeling dehydrated, already. Also, I noticed a weird feeling on the outside of my right knee...an area that had never bothered me before. I wasn't concerned about it, but it was hard to ignore. Onward!
The next few miles have several twists and turns, and numerous hills, through a beautiful historic neighborhood. There's a good hill approaching the 4-mile mark, but the others aren't too steep (though, rest assured, there's plenty of them). I had been hanging with the 2:00 pacer, and we'd been enjoying a lovely game of Leap Frog. After I paused at the 5-mile water stand, though, I never was able to catch back up to him.
I'd eaten a couple Honey Stinger chews around the 4-mile mark, and decided to eat a couple more (already) somewhere in the 6th mile. I couldn't tell if it was an energy drop, or fatigue from the early morning (or the hills), but it felt like something was off. And that outer region of my knee kept reminding me that I wasn't necessarily in charge. Although I felt like I was running pretty strong and steady, I was a little worried about that weird thing going on with my knee...so I gave up on trying to make my way back to the 2:00 pacer. I could see him, off in the distance, but didn't think it wise to catch him at that point.
More turns, more hills. Yadda yadda yadda.
The weather, though. Most everyone knows I love my warm weather, even on race day. The temps were in the upper-40's when we started (and gradually rose throughout the morning) and there was nothing but sunshine. There was a very faint breeze coming out of the east, but it was just enough to feel refreshing.
One of the hardest parts of this course is the hill in the 8th mile, and then another big hill a short while later, in the 9th mile. Ugh. I can't remember if it was in the 8th or 9th mile, but I white-flagged it and walked briefly. I didn't feel like quitting, but things were feeling more tough with each mile.
Making it past the 10-mile mark always feels like a small conquest, even with that l-o-n-g stretch waiting for me back on Kingman. I ate the last of my HS chews (yes, that's fueling THREE times in the span of 7ish miles....that's how much my energy was zapped) and soldiered on.
Passing the 12-mile mark, especially on this course, felt euphoric. A couple of blocks later, we turned north (back on 25th) and it didn't take long to get back to Forest. A quick right turn and we entered the final leg of our journey...on the famous track in Drake Stadium, known as the Blue Oval. There were plenty of people in the stands, and two of my cousins called my name as I rounded the final curve.
|Even though I could barely lift my feet, I was smiling!|
My splits reflect a bit of a roller coaster ride, courtesy of all the hills...
Mile 1 - 8:58 Mile 5 - 9:31 Mile 11 - 10:08
2 - 9:11 7 - 9:08 12 - 9:40
3 - 8:56 8 - 9:58 13 - 8:57
4 - 9:25 9 - 9:25 (.12 - 1:27)
5 - 9:27 10 - 10:25
A new feature for this year was free pics! Don't worry, I'm only sharing the two better ones of the bunch (LOL).
The swag was very sweet! The 1/4 zip jackets are flannel-lined, and the color is nice. It also has the date on it, so it's unique to this year.