Des Moines Marathon 3:23:27

My fastest marathon before yesterday’s was 3:40, which means I can note this one as a PR.  I really didn’t have a time expectation going into the race but was hoping for around 3:30.  So finishing ahead of that leaves me excited for Memphis.

I went out fast for the first two miles, each around a 7:15 pace.  Michelle and I started in the back of the pack which made it difficult to weave in and out of the slower runners ahead of us.  Runners I don’t mind weaving around, but dodging walkers up in the front gets to me.  I cursed a couple under my breath, which might have added to my motivation for the day.

The next 8 miles went very smooth and flew by.  The Des Moines Marathon is kind of a hilly route in the beginning and I was glad to know that beforehand.  It’s tempting to charge up some of those early hills, but this year my older, wiser body held me back and reaffirmed that it would be a bad decision.  I had a nice chat with another runner right after the half marathoners split off the course and we joked how there was no going back now.  He was using the infamous ‘Jeff Galloway’ run/ walk method.  I too have tried this method and would recommend it to all newbies.  Bart Yasso’s  Book, “My life on the run” is the only reason I went away from it.  He basically suggested walking was for wimps.  I don’t necessary agree, but he did sign the book for me and it sounds tougher.

Running around the Drake track is awesome.  It is probably the best reason to run the Des Moines Marathon.  There is something very uplifting about circling the blue track once with fans cheering you on in the stands.  The only downside is you are only halfway done at that point!

Around mile 15, I was getting kind of bored.  I had already listened to “Family Affair” by Mary J and “In your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel both of which I was highly anticipating.  At that point a lady holding a sign caught my eye.  It was simple one with black writing on white paper.  The kind of sign you would see on ESPN classic, during an old super bowl game.  It said, “Just Keep Running”.  I thought to myself, that’s perfect.  I’m going to use that as my mantra for the remainder of the race.  By that time, the lady obvious saw me staring at her sign for the last 10 seconds and yelled “good job” or something like that.  I gave her a smile as a kind of thank you.  I believe she knew the sign helped me, based on the smile I received back.

The marathon route can be tough around miles 17 through 22 due to the nature setting and lack of fan support.  I personally like this section as it is all mental to keep going.  In years prior, this was the make or break portion.  This year was different in the respect that I never ‘hit the wall’ or felt a large let down of energy.  Not sure if it was the chicken strips the night before or just being better prepared this year.  Whatever it was, I loved the feeling.  By Gray’s Lake, or mile 23 I was cruising.  I even had enough energy to pick up the pace back to 7:30 min/ miles.  The last mile went fast and also took forever at the same time.  My legs were very sore at the end and I almost fell over putting my warm up pants back on, which could have been very funny to someone watching me.  Michelle had a great day running and finished well under 4:00.  We both have a goal of traveling to Boston someday and I believe we’ll get there via Austin on 2-14-10.

My splits:
First Half – 1:42:00
Second Half -1:41:27
Total – 3:23:27
Pace – 7:46 min/ mile