The IMT Des Moines Marathon races just do not disappoint. From the perfect weather to the nice course to the great post-race party, this year was no different. Here are a few of my favorite moments in reverse order, finish to the start:
Photo credit: Ken Sherman
Well, I won. That ranks fairly high on the fun scale. Winning races is not something that happens often. There is always great local and regional competition at these races. I’m always pleased with a podium finish. That was what I was hoping for, top three, but winning was good clean fun.
Photo credit: Ken Sherman
The last 5K. I ran most of the race with a fellow Runablaze Iowa teammate. She ran super gritty, and I’m proud of her. A favorite moment of grit for me was the last 5k when, although my legs hurt and felt lifeless, I needed to keep pushing and did. At that point, I could feel us slowing. The latter miles did end up being slower, but they were not a total bomb. I finished in about the time I was shooting for. After not tapering—I ran 60 miles in the week leading up to this and a 20-mile run just eight days prior—my finish was a confidence booster for my upcoming marathon in a couple of weeks. I did have to give myself quite the pep talk, including some choice words, to keep me picking up my feet during the final 5k. I’m pleased with my effort to get through that rough patch and finish strong.
The lollipop. The part of the race, hands down, where I felt the most energy was what I call the lollipop—the out and back to Waterworks Park. Am I the only one who calls it this? On the way out, you pass plenty of cheerful spectators holding funny signs wearing bodysuits. You pass that radio station and can tell that none of them combined has ever run 13 miles in their entire life. They yell the funniest things. Then you hit halfway mark as you round the loop, which is energizing in and of itself to know you’re halfway done. On the way back, the stick of the lollipop turns into this tunnel of noise from both spectators and fellow runners. If that was you cheering, sincerest thank you!
The start. Functionally, I found the start much nicer now with more roads and bridges open but personally, I’m pleased with how I started. I didn’t go too hard, but I also didn’t lollygag. Within a few seconds after the start, I was behind a woman whom I didn’t recognize in a cutsie Oiselle kit. Before the start, I had noticed that her bib number had her seeded with a slower time than mine. Still, she got right out there and as I ran behind and then beside her, I thought well, maybe today will be her day. We ran side by side with all of the full marathon women right behind us in a pack. At the first mile marker, everyone, as if we’d synchronized it, looked down at our watches. I could almost hear this Oiselle runner’s thoughts Whoops, too fast. And she just disappeared. She dropped back and that was the last I saw of her. I hope she had a great run and kudos to her to know that she was out of range. When I looked at my watch, however, I knew I was right on target.
Overall, it was just a great day and lots of fun. Beyond these favorite moments, it was exciting to check in with some of the runners that I had been able to give a free entry to as a race advocate. I gave away five entries on Instagram. The sixth, which was mine, I was also able to give away because I’d earned an elite entry. I gave my entry to my dad. He was one of the fewer than 25 males in one of the 70+ age groups. He finished fourth in his age group on not a lot of training. It was well worth having my lips turn blue waiting to cheer him to his finish.
I hope you had a great race and that you, like me, walked away with a full heart and many favorite moments.
Catch up with me @susiedukeruns