Run to Exile Recap

Run To Exile – Race Recap

Hey-yo! My second in person race in over a year. Sure, I might still get groceries online and keep my distance, but I am not sure if I can do another virtual race. Don’t get me wrong some events wouldn’t have survived if there were not a virtual option. I am just not motivated to participate since I run everyday anyway. I even found myself just donating money to the causes or signing up to support the events and not racing that distance. Virtual challenges are a bit different, but nothing replaces race day. I am happy that races are popping back up, and I support what each event is allowed to do given the local CDC guidelines.

I had an open Saturday and after a quick online search for events, I stumbled upon the Run to Exile in Des Moines. Sure it was a few days out from the event and the price was the most expensive ($50,) but hey a small road trip and Josh was on board, so why not? (Another rare side effect of the pandemic, not registering until the last minute as to avoid cancellation.)

Saturday, June 12. Sunny, summer temps.

6:00 AM on the road to Des Moines. It’s a place that is too close, yet too far. For this race we work up early and drove in on race day. I had my usual black coffee and a blueberry toaster waffle.

We set the GPS for the parking ramp that was suggested on the race website. We arrived before 8 AM and discovered the ramp offered FREE event parking. It was a short walk to the race start. Besides the Farmers’ Market, I feel that the downtown area is not very busy on the weekends. There were on street metered spots available as well.

We made it to Exile Brewing, the race host to get our packets. Included in a clear gear bag was a short sleeve technical shirt, a pint glass and a colorful bib with timing chip. Packet pickup was also offered Thursday and Friday before the race, but we had plenty of time before the 8:45 AM start to grab ours.

After utilizing a port-o-potty, we walked back to the truck and got all the things necessary to run the race. Basically we just put our shirts and pint glasses back in the truck, applied sunscreen and walked back to wait for the race to start.

Now back at the starting area, we listened to the race day announcements. They were going with a rolling, staggered start. This is new to me, but I was here for it as a race corral is the most crowded space on race day. I will note between the two races offered, the 10k and 5k, there were not that many people. There was even an announcement that the 10k start shouldn’t take too long, so 5kers be ready!

Just before 8:45 AM an instrumental version of the National Anthem was played, then it was go time. The speedier 10k runners were encouraged to be in front and to form groups of 10 people. When that first group of 10 got to the top of the little hill, the next speedier group went, and then soo on from there. The announcer was talking people through the process, but people were also doing this on their own. Once all 10k runners had rolled through, the 5k runners toed the line in the same fashion. I really think this worked well to keep people spaced in the starting corrals. However, it doesn’t matter the distance or global pandemic, walkers for shorter distances always start before they should.

I did the best I could to seed myself for the 10k. I didn’t have huge expectations, I was just ready to enjoy in person events again. I also have Grandma’s marathon a week away, so I worked on staying my own pace.

The course was on the downtown streets of Des Moines. There were some out an back sections, but for the most part each course was a loop. The 10k did loop around Grays Lake.

I am very familiar with this area as we ran in the same areas as the Des Moines Marathon. The course was relatively flat and there was plenty of space to spread out and not run close to others.

Within the first mile, there was a short out and back and I was able to say hi to Josh. I was feeling the sunny temperatures, but I had also been training in them. I just kept moving forward. By the halfway point I was wishing I would have carried my hydration pack. Near mile 4 there was the water stop I needed. It was also cups of water. (The pandemic, has changed the way aid stations are done for some races.)

I didn’t have any issues or problems during the race. I did catch myself analyzing people’s gaits as they ran. Working in a running specialty store has changed me forever. Just because a shoe has some fancy, race day carbon plate, it may not be the best fit for you. Who am I?

It was time to loop the lake and get to the finish. I was doing the thing where I was trying to pick people off to get there too. I remember chasing someone in a Gaviota (Hoka shoe) and passing them. Then one of my favorite songs came on my playlist and I was pushing it to the finish.

I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:01:08, which is a 9:49 pace. If you follow me, you know I enjoy my 11-12 minute pace. I was proud of my time. It put me at 3rd in my AG. (Finisher times were displayed on a screen in the timing trailer.)I also felt really good, and well anymore that is what I hope for. I like the competition of race day, and winning anything is a bonus, but it’s not why I sign up for races.

I proceeded to grab a bottle of water from a tub of ice and a banana. There were also Nature Valley granola bars, and not sure about anyone else, I have to be in the right mood to eat one of those. I ate my banana as I waited in the quickly moving beer line. A volunteer marked my bib with a marker and I decided on a “Lemon Trail” as my post race brew. (There were three choices.)

I met up with Josh and we found a morsel of shade and sat in it and took it all in. The awarded the top 3 male and female in each race. Then it was time for the shenanigans of the stein holding contest.

In the women’s contest it was someone’s birthday, when she was eliminated she was talked into dumping her beer on her head…. yuck. Then in the men’s contest the announcer felt a little more relaxed with the commentary. In the end a guy who has won the contest a couple times before, was once again crowned the winner. He took had beer dumped on him. The winners were give gift cards and heavyweight style wrestling belts.

We ended up also purchasing a raspberry sour and a breakfast burrito from the brewery.

The morning of running events had come to an end. However, we didn’t leave Des Moines without a stop to Lua Brewing and Smokey Row.

Overall: I liked this event. There was a laid back feeling as races are just starting to return. It wasn’t crowded and there wasn’t any pressure or rush to enjoy the race. I have raced another event by the same organizer and I do prefer this one. I should have registered earlier to save some cash and I would have liked another hydration stop, but post pandemic times, I will roll with the punches.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.