IMT DES MOINES MARATHON – 2018 RECAP
“Disclaimer: I received entry into the IMT Des Moines Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!”
Spoiler Alert – It was a long time coming, but I set a new PR in the marathon distance at the IMT Des Moines Marathon….so I will tell you how I got there. (In 1.6 billion words)
For my to the point review – check out bibrave.com
Josh and I arrived to Des Moines just around 6 PM on Saturday evening. We were not able to attend the expo as the hours didn’t work into our schedule. Josh had to work at the Iowa football game, and I had to be a fan. My sister’s schedule happened to work in our favor, she was able to grab our stuff for us and enjoy the expo, grabbing all the swag. *The expo was a 2 day event, closing at 6pm on Saturday evening.
We had reservations at a restaurant for 7:30 PM as we weren’t sure when we would be able to get to town. We promptly cancelled those and decided to try the Olive Garden closer to our hotel. MISTAKE! I think everyone was there, and their grandma. Lucky for us we had drove by a place called “The Tavern.” The words pizza and pasta were lit up on the building, so we walked in and were immediately seated. We were fed and out the door at 7:31 PM.
I enjoy not being rushed, and the night before a marathon it’s most important. We were able to get back to the hotel and get all our things ready and try for a decent night’s sleep. However, it was game 7 of the NLCS and Purdue was giving it to Ohio State.
Gear: Rabbit BR Tank, Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Brooks Ghost 10, Bibboards, Zensah bra, Zensah socks, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Gatorade Endurance chews, Hawkeye Hat, XX2i sunglasses, Garmin Forerunner 935, BUFF(R). Not pictured Nike Element pullover.
Sunday, October 21
The alarm went off at 5 am, race morning is quite a process. It usually involves all the coffee and some sort of bread with peanut butter. However, things weren’t going so well as our toilet was clogged. (Seriously, we had toiled issues when we went to Toronto.)
We made the best of our amenities, and made use of the hotel lobby bathroom. Before long we were checked out and on our way to find a parking spot. We needed a place close to the start, and close to the meeting spot of a group photo. We pulled right up to the meeting spot to find a free parking space. So we relaxed in the warm car. (The feels like temperature was 25 degrees.)
Near 7 AM, we left the car to meet the Corridor Running and No Regrets group inside a hotel. People gathered and chatted about their race day expectations. It was also nice to use the bathroom.
photo cred: James G
The race started at 8 AM, so we made our way to the start line around 7:30 AM. My Grandma’s Marathon heat sheet never felt soooo warm.
Josh and I departed ways, he went into the corral and I was planning on meeting up with fellow BibRave Pro Jeremy, but his phone died. So I made my way into the back of the corrals. There were pace signs up along the side and pacer signs, but I was beyond that. I was also so far back I didn’t hear any announcements or if there was a National Anthem.
When it was time to move forward, I did. I ditched my heat sheet and stuck it into the side rail. The sun was shining on us as we crossed the start line.
Ahhhh, going into this race I had no expectations. I had put in the training, but I never followed a plan, and I did no speed work. What I did do, was run all my long runs in the heat and humidity. Heck, it’s my 29th marathon, I knew I would finish.
I didn’t start my music at first, there were spectators and the runners were crowded in the first mile. The race started with the half marathon and marathon relay. I met up with the 5:25 pace group and stuck with them until about the 2nd mile when I spotted friend, Ara.
I caught up with Ara and chatted with him for another mile or so and eventually pulled away. The race course by now had wound it’s way through some of downtown and near the sculpture garden.
I just kept moving forward. I ditched my gloves and shoved them in the pockets in the waistband of my pants. At mile 6 I decided to use the bathroom, it would be the only time I would look at my watch during the race.
When I left the port-o-potty I could see a pace sign up ahead. I thought the 5:25 pace group had passed me. Then I did what all runners do, think. Could I catch back up with them? Did they pass me when I was in the bathroom?
I kept at it, and since I didn’t bring my hydration pack, I stopped for water or for Gatorade Endurance when I thought I needed it. Which, was tricky as each water stop was a little different. Water in Gatorade cups and such. I also ate my Gatorade Endurance chews as fuel, 2 at a time.
My favorite part of the course was the bike support crew. They roamed the course with baskets full of all the extra things you might need: Twizzlers, gummy bears, tissues. They also provided encouragement when you needed it.
Around mile 9 or 10, I was on the boulevard where you run out and back to the Drake University Campus. I was able to say hi to Josh and friend, Jennifer. Then I saw my friend, Melinda at the Capital Striders aid station. Then I caught up with the pace group, it was the 5:10 pace group!
I just kept moving! I made the corner and saw more familiar faces, including BibRave Pro Jeremy. We gave each other a high five!
One of the last minute surprises of this route was the loop around the Blue Oval. This is where the Drake Relays are held, it was a nice little touch. Guess I should have looked at the course a little more closely, but maybe not – I liked the surprise.
I just kept moving and was on my way back along the blvd. I said hi to Mel again, and then passed the half way point. This is when marathons get hard for me, between miles 13-20. However, for this race… I didn’t have that struggle.
Around mile 16 we entered a paved trail system, it was a nice change of scenery. In fact, this race could give the Twin Cities Marathon a run for their money on the “most beautiful urban marathon.”
I briefly thought, where is the 5 hour pace group? Then one of my favorite running songs came on and it bolted me through to mile 17, and then I was at mile 18….I just kept moving.
We were now on some loop around water, there was a bacon stop on the back side. Of course I grabbed some bacon!! They even had a sound system and they were cheering everyone on. Also at this point it seemed like there was hydration every mile or half mile, so many aid stations!
Then came mile 20. There was a clock set up here, it read 3:41 or something close. At first I was confused, is this time correct? WAIT- I could set a PR!!! I hadn’t looked at my watch since mile 6 and a PR never crossed my mind, I wasn’t trying for one, I wasn’t racing this. Then I thought, where is the 5 hour pace group?
I was going to go for it. I had 6 miles to go. My PR was 4:55, and with the time I actually crossed the starting mat, I had enough time to get there, but could I get there?
The sun was starting to warm things up, but the wind was also picking up. I just thought, make it to mile 21, and I did. Then I was thinking, I had one more treat with me, a cherry Jolly Rancher. I would eat that at mile 22, to encourage me to get to the next mile. However, we had just entered Grays Lake with the wind at our face.
I made it to mile 22 and was like, if I can make it to mile 23, I would eat that Jolly Rancher and I would have the wind behind me and I would take off my pullover. (Runners think about weird things.)
I then got to mile 23, time to take action – Jolly Rancher time, and time to get down to the tank top! Only 3 more miles to go!!! I knew the end of Grays Lake was mile 24, I could get there.
I made it to mile 24, only 2 miles left, just keep moving. Then there was a small incline. This course really wasn’t bad with elevation. There were some hills in the beginning, but it would be what I would call a fair course. However, that incline just after 24, I found myself walking. The first time the entire race… yep I was successfully running through aid stations. The walking felt weird on my legs though, so when I got to the top, I was back to running.
I was excited to see another aid station, my weird leg feeling had settled in my left calf, and I needed some Gatorade!!
Then I passed the mile 25 flag. I still wasn’t going to look at my watch. I just kept moving. I knew I was getting closer as I could hear noises.
I was at the last corner before the home stretch and members of the running group were standing there cheering me on. I made sure to go slap some high fives.
Then I turned the corner…..
I could see the clock, it had a 4, then another 4 after it… I was going to PR the marathon… I was a little emotional, which made it really hard to breathe. I crossed the finish line when the clock read 4:48….That was a PR!!! I pushed stop on my Garmin, 4:43!!!! HELLLO PR BABY!!! I DID IT!!!!
I walked to eventually find a finisher’s medal where the volunteer first shook my hand, then hung the medal around my neck. I then found a bottle of water on a table alongside cups of Gatorade Endurance.
I was soooo excited and I couldn’t find anyone I knew. SO I did the next best thing, I took a picture and posted it to Instagram stories.
What the heck just happened? My old marathon PR is from Grandma’s Marathon 2015 with at time of 4:52, but it doesn’t count because that is my Garmin time and not my official results. I paused my watch for a bathroom stop. My actual PR is from the 2016 Louisiana Marathon with a time of 4:55:02. So I blew it out the water, without trying.
photo from the race app
I called Josh, he was tracking me on the app. Oh – there was a really awesome app with live tracking and all the features. Josh had went to take a shower when he was done running. Usually my times would have allowed enough time, but not today. He was on his way back to the finish area, and he was starving as when he finished he wasn’t directed to the food.
While I waited for Josh, I found Jeremy. He had run a great race too, while it wasn’t a PR for him, he enjoyed the day. We all three then walked through the food area. It was hidden at the very end of the finish chute. Josh had just wondered through the beer area, which was the first cutout of the finish chute, it was also the place with the race results.
As far as the post race food, there was more bottled water, chocolate milk, Gatorade in cups, oranges, bananas, sugar cookies, chips and queso, yogurt, ice cream, pretzels and pulled pork sandwiches. It was nice there was someone watching to make sure non runners did not have access to the food.
In the food area we also met up with more local club runners, so we all chatted some more before making our way to the post race beer. They had the Sam Adams 26.2 on tap.
Also in this area was the PR Bell, so I made sure to ring it loud and proud. I had never done that before. I also made sure to get my official race results 4:43:22. My shiny new PR!
We hung out a little more, but the day was getting away from us. so we said our goodbyes and departed ways. The walk to the car seemed to take forever.
We stopped for McDonald’s on the way home, because nothing ever sounds good when I am done running long distances except salty fast food fries. We were back home before it was dark.
Overall: This is a great race. I can’t believe it took me 29 marathons to cross the finish line. It really showcases the city of Des Moines, it competitively priced and it has the things a runners needs to have a successful race. I think one of the only things I would like changed is a later expo time on Saturday.
If you also ran the race, don’t forget to claim your results on Athlinks.com.