What a weekend! First off, I want to thank Chris Burch and the thousands of volunteers and staff that make the IMT Des Moines Marathon weekend what it is. The past couple of years it has been a great honor to be a part of this event and I can’t begin to thank everyone enough for how special it is.
For me, the weekend started off with being one of the guest speakers on a panel with Susie Duke and Jordan Trannell. I felt like such a fool up there because these are two incredibly talented and inspiring ladies to be sitting next to. After we spoke it was on to work at the Fitness Sports booth where I got to meet so many great athletes, many of whom were new to Iowa and/or their chosen distance. So cool!
I knew this weekend would be tough coming off of a pretty taxing (mentally and physically) event at the Hallucination 100 mile just 6 weeks prior to the marathon. My body has been acting super weird since, I haven’t been able to get much training done, and I just didn’t know where my fitness would be at this point in the year. I, unfortunately, I didn’t train for this even the way I would have like simply because my focus was on the 100 miles. Yes, I run marathons during training runs, but those tend to be at a much slower pace and I can do them when I feel “right”.
I’ll skip all of the boring stuff about my race prep…because let’s be honest nobody really cares about that, they just want to hear how the excrement hit the rotary oscillator (think slang terms and you’ll understand 😊 ).
The first 17 miles were flawless. If a marathon was 17 miles, I would have had the most perfect race of my life. My pacing was great. I was taking in nutrition well. I was hydrating awesomely…is that even a word? The weather was gorgeous. My Taylor Swift playlist was on point….I mean…Slipknot playlist…Everything was clicking along perfectly, but then my hip flexor (which I’ve had problems with in the past) started acting up. Then my hamstring really started to ache (which I’d been dealing with for the past couple of weeks). Before I realized it I found myself basically hurling my right side of my body to thrust my leg forward…and that’s never a good thing. In my ultra brain, I started doing the math that we were in the single digits and I could take my time and just soak in the experience…and that’s what I did.
The beautiful thing about the last 10 miles of a marathon is that you get to experience people digging REALLY deep to finish. You see raw human emotion. I was in a really good mental and emotional state so luckily I can remember vividly watching as I passed people or they passed me. The grimacing, the labored breathing, the grunts, the crying. All of this to accomplish something that fewer than 1% of the US population will do. Pushing the limits of what they thought was possible just to prove to themselves that it is possible.
All in all, I finished. It was about 2 minutes slower than my PR, but I am really OK with it. I was so happy to take part in one of the best-organized races in Iowa. The course is amazing. The support is incredible and the people continue to make me want to come back year after year.