Race Recap: IMT Des Moines Half Marathon

On Sunday, I ran the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon — the training plan that you’ve been following along here for the last 12 weeks. This was my 7th half marathon overall and my 2nd in Iowa, and Sunday was WILDLY different than my Dam to Dam race in June (although I’m sure the humidity was the same).


Ready for half marathon #7! Definitely don’t need the long-sleeve.

SPOILER ALERT (which you already know, if you follow me on Instagram) I PR’d this race so hard – taking another two minutes off of my time from two weeks ago at the Heartland Half. That’s a FIVE MINUTE decrease of my half marathon time in one training cycle. This excites me so much! And I’m totally amped up to make my eventual 2-hour half goal a reality. Though I had a few low moments in the race (side stitches, foot pain in my left arch, stupid hill), I was able to mentally able to push through the crap.

Registration and Cost: After taxes and fees (and, I think, a Capital Striders discount), I paid $64.14 — hilariously, I registered a couple weeks before actually moving to Iowa (late February).

Expo and Packet Pick-Up: The Expo at Hy-Vee Hall was held over two days, and I went late Saturday afternoon. Bib pick-up was the same table as grabbing my race shirt (THANK YOU), and there was a clear bag provided with some “extras” (hooray, for samples of those tiny packages of anti-chafe and muscle creams). There were definitely more vendors than my last few races — a couple that I intended to visit and actually missed! I spent a little bit of time shopping, picking up the usual free race swag, and chatting with a few shoe brands. I picked myself up a new branded race hat, too.

Bag Check and ETC: There was a bag check (I don’t typically use bag check and didn’t for this race either) and a TON of Kybos at the start. Well done, there, Race Director.

Weather: Woke up at 5:45 am to temps already at 60 degrees and 100% humidity. The fog was also so dense, we could barely see the on-ramp to the highway on the way to the race.


Start Line: Well… there were TWO start lines — all lit up in bright lights screaming START, with accompanying strips for chip timing. Runners approached the first, started our watches, rounded the corner… and then there was a HUGE stopped mob. And then another set of brightly-lit start line signs.

So I can’t even begin to express my WTF that was all about.

Course: This is another Des Moines race that recently changed course due to construction. I have no reference to previous maps, but this year’s was an out-and-back starting from Cowles Commons, which looped from downtown and repeated several stretches. The half split off from the full very early in the race and the volunteers were YELLING which direction to take. No signs. And yep, there were several runners (wearing headphones) realizing this as they were already on the wrong path and retreating back.

I love Gray’s Lake, and since the fog was still hanging around at this point of the race, this was probably my favorite part — it looked as if the boat docks and pedestrian bridge were floating in air. That said, I’ve skated around Gray’s Lake, and the trails are small. Putting all of the half marathons on those trails before the crowd thins out was annoying. And despite there being SEVERAL signs for walkers to stay right, that didn’t happen (does it ever?). That stretch felt really crowded and chaotic.

To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the course overall. And that Capitol Hill at Mile 11 (it’s a mile-long climb) can go straight to hell. There were Kybos throughout the course, since we repeated a lot of stretches, and aid stations about every two miles or so.


Elevation map for the half marathon. Woof, Mile 11.

The finish chute also didn’t feel wide enough to really sprint forward — and I was weaving through people, following close behind a guy ahead who was attempting the same thing.


Running it in!

Fans and Experience: Fans were found throughout the course, and at several corners were out aiding the runners with extra water, ice cubes, Halloween candy, signs… and banging pots & pans.


The experience was incredible — and not at all overwhelming like I find other crowded “city” races to be. The bulk of the crowds lined up around Court Ave (and the usual start/finish line areas), and I found the experience a pretty great representation of the awesomeness of the Des Moines community.

Finish Line: Dudes. DUDES. There was SO. MUCH. FOOD. at the finish line. (And, like, a dozen massage tables… but FOOD.) There was pizza in the finish line chute (couldn’t have that, obvs) and additional food vendors in the athletes-only area in Cowles Commons. AND there were snack boxes provided for each finisher.


Finish Line snacks! (I brought my own gluten-free doughnuts)

I grabbed a chocolate milk and one of those snack boxes — which, surprisingly, I could have almost everything in there: corn chips, cheese dip, dried cranberries, trail mix; the fruit leather is undetermined. I also purchased a coffee from the Caribou tent.

Something else I loved were the various signs around the finishers park for photo ops (and directions to the beer, if you needed them).


After Party: There was an additional festival-slash-beer garden over by the Royal Mile, where you could trade in your free drink ticket. Hooray, for hard cider AND wine spritzers options! They also have everyone beads with the race logo and race-branded beer koozies. The band Aftershocks was playing the main stage, and the MC for the event was an absolute HOOT. Very, very fun after party event, and I’m glad that I decided to stick around for a bit.


Can’t decide what to drink!

Best Sign: “You think running is hard, try waking up early to hang signs.” Legit, laughed so hard. Close second was the “Run like *picture of Trump* is trying to grab your *picture of a cat*”

Random Bullshit: Um, no water was ready at the first aid station on the course. Poor girl looked to be working alone, and it was just an impossible situation for her.

Awesomesauce: I finished just ahead of the 1st place marathoner, so I got to see him get draped in his flag. I’m always in complete awe of someone who can finish double the distance in the same time as what I can do a half. It’s just incredible.


Chocolate Milk!

The Great: Running by feel and getting a PR as result.
The Good: Despite not really enjoying the course, this is an excellent race event that I would definitely do again!
The Bad: WTF, two start lines?!
The Ugly: 100% humidity in October.

Splits: 10:16 (1) / 10:07 (2) / 10:01 (3) / 10:08 (4) / 9:50 (5) / 9:53 (6) / 9:58 (7) / 10:00 (8) / 10:05 (9) / 9:52 (10) / 10:44 (mile-long hill at mile 11, #WORST) / 9:39 (12) / 9:39 (13) [8:19 (.3)]

Despite getting a PR (again! — are you tired of me yet?!), my pacing strategy didn’t get executed exactly to plan. But I’m still incredibly proud of the race I ran for other reasons — like, for instance, running a PR in 100% humidity and not.stopping.running. when I got to the big hill on the course and running a pretty consistent pace throughout (and not following pacers). Per my Garmin, the race went a bit over, but that’s TWO half marathons with no 11+ minute splits — that’s HUGE.

A photo posted by Mel! (@melliesmel) on

2:12:16 — WOOOOO, a new PR by two minutes!
173 in 35-39 age group
1958 overall

They printed out our results! I never saw this before — what a cool thing!


Weekly Therapy: Embrace the Taper!

the week:
I’m finally Iowa official and got my new state driver’s license. I need it in this state to register to vote (we don’t have the 30-day deadline as I experienced in previous states, but we can vote early here), and frankly, seven months was long enough to procrastinate. It’s kinda sad to give up my last tie of being a Pennsylvania resident.

RACE WEEKEND!!!! I’ll try my best to relax for the next couple days, as I pull together all of my race day preparations, including getting downtown to enjoy a little bit of the Expo. We have another Iowa game tailgate Saturday morning, so trying to also do fun things to ward off any race day nervousness.

seven things, seven days:
1. I’m running another marathon in 2017! — and registration is now open for the Vermont City Marathon. Save $5 on registration with discount code BibRaveDsct17.
2. Meal Planning worked out REALLY WELL for me this week, and the jar salads that I made for lunch kept me full through the remainder of my work day. Definitely making this a weekly habit!
3. Have you heard of Book of the Month? I got my first book — this is my kind of monthly subscription! [referral link]
4. Container Store is opening in West Des Moines. SOON. (all the exclamation points!!!)
5. FedEx does its deliveries at 8am… And when it’s WINE, it’s both hilarious and WTF. He laughed and told me that my breakfast was ready.
6. I really like this running-focused article on sports psychology at work: Train your brain to run your best {via Runner’s World} Thanks, Coach!
7. Training (and staying strong) for a running SEASON. {via Runner’s World}

IMT Des Moines Half Marathon: Training Week #11

EEEEK! I’m less than a week away from the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon!

des moines marathon signs run blogger

The signs are up!

Week #11 of training was part of my “taper time.” And because the Taper Crazies get you when the mileage is down, there is a LOT of time for reflection (and apparently, meal planning, as I’ve been pinning and prepping up a storm for the week). To be honest, after I finished the Heartland Half Marathon, I felt like all the stress of running a PR race for Des Moines lift. Then I realized this week THAT I NOW HAVE TO BEAT THAT TIME. I know it still won’t be a 2-hour half, and my work is not done yet, but I am positively EXCITED to put all the good things that I’ve learned this training cycle to WORK. And it will be work.

Is this also where I tell you that I’ve signed up for another half marathon in November? In addition to the trail half that I’m doing in December? Because yay, RUNNING SEASON IS HERE!

Had a wonderful 60-minute sports massage — they had this amazing upgrade that included an IcyHot rub-down and hot towels wrapped around my legs. OMG, it felt so nice. And I made sure that I was on the schedule for October 17, too. :)

Otherwise, for the day after a half marathon, I was a little stiff in the morning (after sitting for a few hours), but it passed by the end of the day.

Rest Day – and Drake & Future concert at night (keeping me up until after 1 am 😩)

Having 4 hours of sleep the previous night and somehow surviving my workday, I swapped my tempo run to Thursday and completed my easy run Wednesday night.

Easy run: 2.66 miles in 30 min
Splits: 11:11 / 11:16 / 11:20

Tempo run — in between an easy one mile warm-up and cool-down — and these speedy miles were fun. My last speed workout of this training cycle, and I was really pumped.

Splits: 11:42 / 9:25 / 8:54 / 8:12 / 11:41

Rest (forgot to foam roll, whomp)

Woof, dead tired legs for my Saturday afternoon run — an easy 3 miles, ending with some Strides. The immediate post-run recovery felt really hard, and I was really out of breath for a while.

Splits: 10:51 / 11:11 / 11:18

Strides (20 sec sprint x 20 sec recovery)
8:03 / 9:36
7:51 / 9:30
7:42 / 8:58
8:05 / 8:12

My plan called for 6 miles at an increasing pace after 3 miles. I started later than I intended, and I got through 5.13 miles before I ran out of time before our morning plans. It was another rough start on the legs, but by the end I kept wanting to sprint. Man, I feel SO READY for this race!

Splits: 10:24 / 10:45 / 10:39 / 10:09 / 9:10
Total time: 52:06


Wow, the realization that I’ll have over 200 miles in this training cycle just blows my mind. And I got the laundry to prove it!

des moines marathon training run blogger laundryday

So. Much. Laundry.

Weekly Therapy: Set Your Intention and Purpose — with everything you do.

the week:
Something WAY important that I skipped in last week’s post — my annual skin cancer screening. I got two more biopsies of moles that have changed. One, a super black flat mark on my abdomen that has some irregular edges; the other, one of the god-awful ugly large brown moles that developed over the last couple years and now has a new dark ridge through it. The latter mole, mostly cosmetic, but everything they take off gets biopsied because of my history.

This is your reminder, 30-somethings (and other-somethings, if you’re here — hi!!!): Schedule your annual skin check!

Well, I’m planning on getting my car washed and detailed (finally… only two road trips later) and want to finish the book I’m currently reading. I would also like to find some of my Halloween decorations to put out — because despite the weather being 75, it’s OCTOBER PEOPLE.

I’m also going to attempt some Meal Planning, thanks to some encouragement from Nymph in the Woods.

seven things, seven days:
1. I FINALLY got a massage this week, for the first time this training cycle. I upgraded for the “athlete” package — which included being rubbed down with IcyHot and my legs being draped in hot towels and OMG this might have been the best sports massage ever.
2. The Drake concert in Des Moines was INCREDIBLE. Great show, and I LOVED Future’s set, too.
3. I SWEAR that I woke up to an earthquake on Tuesday (unconfirmed, based on all my internet searching). That said, here’s some interesting science behind why the Midwest has earthquakes. {via Science Mag}
4. I added 4 more races to my fall calendar (sorry, boyfriend! haha)
5. Hillary for President. ✊
6. WINDIANS! #rallytogether
7. What separates Champions apart from “Almost Champions” {via Science of Us}

IMT Des Moines Half Marathon: Training Week #10

Little late getting this week’s post out — especially as I was out WAY past my bedtime on Tuesday and still feeling like I’m catching up from traveling over the weekend. YAWN. Thankful for a recovery week!

TEN WEEKS went by so quickly. I’m two weeks away from my goal race, and prepared by… running another half marathon. Yep, I had a 14-miler on my schedule for the week, so I took a little road trip to run the Heartland Half Marathon in Omaha, Nebraska. I’ll admit, I had a lot of confusion up-front as to WHY have a 14-mile training run when you’re only running 13.1 — my half training in the past maxed out at 10 miles — but I trusted the plan and my coach and her reasons for making my life miserable. I also listened to my coach when she told me to take it easy on myself if I felt like the cumulative fatigue got to be too much (spoiler alert: it has).

On the schedule:

  • Two easy runs
  • One speed workout — Pick-ups!
  • A half marathon…
  • Err, I mean, a 14-mile long run
  • Strength + Core workouts

Rest Day and foam rolling!

It’s still crazy to me that my mid-week easy runs are 50-minutes long. I mean, I’m crazy impressed with myself that I’m following through on what I used to consider an extraneous workout.

My easy run was followed up by a core workout: 4.3 miles at 11:12 average pace

Pick-Ups! These are still one of my favorite speed workouts to do. Wednesday’s challenge was 2 minutes of speed, followed by 2 minutes of recovery jog (x6). On my pick-up days, I also do a 10-minute warm-up and cool down.

Total workout was about 4.3 miles. My fastest 2 minutes (the last sprint) was at an 8:42 pace.

Supposed to do my strength workout tonight, but felt like I needed the day off (my coach said I could!) 😉

Rest day – and packing for my run-cation.

Easy 30-minute shakeout run in the morning — I woke up SO EARLY and didn’t have to — and totally didn’t feel like unpacking my Garmin from my suitcase, so I let the treadmill record my workout. Got in 2.55 miles at a 11:46 average pace (woooooooo, that felt slow).

Ran the Heartland Half Marathon, since I was scheduled to aforementioned 14 miles (my +1 actually ended up being around .7) — read race recap! I had a really GREAT experience in Omaha, and I had a great race!

And now… it’s TAPER TIME!


Race Recap: Heartland Half Marathon

So, I ran a half marathon to train for my half marathon, and to do that, I drove to Omaha for a little running adventure. The closest long-distance race to me was in Nebraska for my 14-miler, and it seems like every runner that I know in Iowa is already tapering (*gulp*). The Heartland Marathon series, presented by the Omaha Running Club, has a full marathon, half marathon, a 10K and marathon relay. And YAY, I get to cross state #5 off my map!

Registering for this race the week before, I was a little nervous in how I would do all of this on my own — this was MAJORLY out of my comfort zone. I also freaked out a little about not having limited details on the website (including not having confirmation of the course for the full, which can sometimes mean cancellation of the whole event) and not a lot of information about water stops, etc. on the course. For a race from the local running club, you’d think they understand what things runners are looking for when it comes to race day, but maybe we’re all just a little too close to things.


Registration and Cost: Oh, boy, this was an expensive race for me (when considering hotel, travel and late registration) — I tried recouping some cost by bringing a BUNCH of food with me. That said, cost of the race after fees was $102.13 (I think it was $95 before fees). OUCH.

Expo and Packet Pick-Up: Your typical small race expo that was at the OTHER convention center in Omaha at the Ramada (south side-ish of downtown). There was no race day packet pick-up. Very cool that Olympic runner Frank Shorter was a guest speaker at the Expo!

Free Swag: Another long-sleeve tech tee to add to my collection — and a beer koozie with the race logo o it (the joke was that you carry it on the course, and that was how they knew to give you beer instead of water LOL).


Bag Check and Transportation: There was a bag check at the start line, but I didn’t know about it until I was at the start line. I walked from my hotel, and the weather was OK enough not to have to bring any additional layers. The website mentioned having shuttles to the start line from the host hotel… but not if they were taking runners back (a big reason why I decided to stay downtown).

Start Line: As I mentioned, the host hotel was quite a drive from the start line of the race. I had a mild freakout when the email arrived for race day info that included a different start line location than what was on the website (it wasn’t different, but I just read it different). It ended up just being a non-helpful location of a FORMER store (hashtag, places that are not there anymore).

I was super impressed by the start line — it was like a mini festival before the race, with a few vendor booths, a line of port-o-potties, the chocolate milk guy (!!!) and some hot coffee (AWESOME). The race started at 7:00 am, which is really dark at this time of year, but they had a bunch of lights. I was more nervous about walking in the dark by myself to the start line, which ended up being OK.

Weather: I wasn’t too happy to see 90% humidity on my weather app the morning of the race. But good news was that the rain moved out of the area, so I didn’t have to worry about forgetting to bring my rain jacket. Small wins. It wasn’t super sunny until the last couple miles of the race, and the cloud coverage kept it the weather pretty comfortable.

Course: Out and back course, navigating two states! Not quite the experience of crossing the national border like in the Niagara International Marathon, but still a very cool race highlight! The front three miles of the course had a few unexpected hills, which are always fun for me. After you cross into Iowa, there is a lot of time spent on the trails, but it was flat and tolerable. To be honest, I found running around the cornfields more peaceful this time around than I did during the gnarly heat of Dam to Dam.

Fans: What I loved most about the “fans” part of the experience were the volunteers. I LOVED being able to hear them shout “Gatorade first; water last” before you approached the aid stations. THIS IS SO HELPFUL!!! And once you got to the stations, everyone was super supportive, cheering you on to continue. There were chalk drawings on the sidewalks near where the relay exchanges were, too. Man, this Midwest Nice is LEGIT.


Dark Start and Finish Line Showcase of the Race — the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge!

Experience: The coolest experience of the race was running over the cable-stayed Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge — a 3,000-foot footbridge across the Missouri River, where you cross the border from Iowa back to Nebraska — and, perfectly, the “beginning of the end” approach to the finish line. It was lit up in the darkness at the start and a really neat element of the race experience.

Finish Line: Did I mention chocolate milk? 😉

There was also a TON of food available at the finish line — bananas, orange wedges, snack bars, cookies, pastries, chips, coffee. It was impressive! I didn’t stick around too long, as I had another mile to do. I did a portion of it (.7 miles), and then realized how tired my body was. So, I jogged back to the finish line party to hear the overall winners for the half, grabbed a cup of coffee, and then walked back to my hotel — on the way back, naturally, meeting someone who relocated to Omaha from Pennsylvania (Harrisburg). It was cool to do that East Coast vs Midwest exchange for a few minutes with someone who gets it.

After Party: Party of one for this lady (read: shower and a sandwich back at the hotel), and then I had a two-hour drive back home.

Bonus: After the race (the same day!), I received an email of my individual results. The race’s results page included a LOT of info via Online Race Results. And I really like that the race provided a participant summary:
Number of finishers: 253
Number of females: 153
Number of males: 100
Average time: 2:12:25

Notable 30-somethings: Shout out to Ann Hubl (age 37) taking Overall Female at 1:35:43 — WHAT AN AMAZING TIME!

Random Bullshit: My hotel key didn’t work when I got back to my room. GAH, SO ANNOYING!

The Great: If you already follow me on Instagram, I ran another PR race!
The Good: Despite my initial thought of this race missing some helpful info, I thought it was incredibly well organized, and I really enjoyed my experience.
The Bad: Anxiety before the race was kind of dumb.
The Ugly: The start time at 7:00 was SO DARK.

Splits (per my Garmin):
10:29 (1) / 10:47 (2) / 10:18 (3) / 10:18 (4) / 10:12 (5) / 10:33 (6) / 10:25 (7) / 10:19 (8) / 10:03 (9) / 9:53 (10) / 10:10 (11) / 9:43 (12) / 9:15 (13) / [8:32]

This is my first half with no splits in the 11-minute range. This race was some WORK for sure. It felt hard, and I kept pushing when my mental game was starting to fail me. And when I had that moment of “I can beat a 2:15,” I pushed even harder to get it. That last mile felt like the LONGEST length to the finish line of any race that I’ve ever done — and I was kicking it in at a VERY low 8-minute pace to end (I definitely thought I was going to throw up lol).


2:14:23 — almost a 3-minute PR!
(My 10k split was 1:04:58)
13th in 35-39 age group
156th overall

Weekly Therapy: Pumpkin all the things!

the week:
Well, there went September. BYE!

pumpkin spice everything fall october

I’m so excited that Fall weather has arrived, and I spent my week mapping out what races I wanted to do over the next couple months (including staying up late again last night to register for one that frequently sells out). I also spent a considerable amount of time pinning pumpkin recipes. I’m pretty excited about my schedule — varied distances, trail races, another half marathon, AND a fun “adventure” run.

If you missed my news on twitter, I committed to running the Vermont City Marathon in 2017! Online registration opens up on rOctober 10 — save $5 with discount code BibRaveDsct17.

I’m off on a little adventure to Omaha. BYE!

seven things, seven days:
1. Kinda bummed out about the membership fee increase for LifeTime (unsure if it’s a global pricing change). I’m reconsidering the ROI — particularly because I utilize the facility for a lot of special events, which cost me even MORE on top of my monthly charge. Ehhhhh, I hate making these kind of decisions.
2. Small win this week: I wore my hair down for an ENTIRE day of work!
3. Now that I’m officially on the payroll, adjusting to not getting paid every week is HARD.
4. 3 Reasons to own your career in 2017 — love this article, particularly the section on “martyrdom” {via INC}
5. The death of the phone call. Also BYE. {via Slate}
6. I had no idea that The Secret of NIMH was based on a real-life research project — how did I spend the bulk of my childhood and adult life not realizing that the NIMH of the movie was the acronym for National Institute of Mental Health?! {via Atlas Obscura}
7. Practice matters… but it doesn’t make perfect. {via New Yorker}

IMT Des Moines Half Marathon: Training Week #9

I can’t believe that I’m 3 weeks away from race day of the Des Moines Half Marathon. I still have one (really long) long run before it’s Taper Time. Now is a great time to reflect on what has been going really, REALLY right this training (consistency, for starters) and really, REALLY wrong (ugh, the weather). I had a great conversation tonight with my coach, and I definitely feel stronger as a runner. I also love the accountability and growth that a partnership with a coach has brought me.

One area that I haven’t quite figured out this training cycle is my nutrition — I am literally all over the place in terms of eating habits and what fuels me on runs; some days things seem to click, and other days I feel like complete crap. I ran my 10-mile race on my usual breakfast and felt amazing — but that definitely was not my same experience doing my 12-miler run this week (though, I did run later in the afternoon). It’s all part of the practice, though (not perfect, but better).

My workouts got flipped around a little bit this week, since I needed to take my rest day on Thursday — date night! — my runs felt really good midweek, but I was TIRED for my strength workout by Friday, pumped up again by Saturday morning (I was up SUPER early) and then all motivation was lost again by Sunday.


  • 2 easy runs
  • 1 long run
  • 1 tempo run
  • 1 (marathon) yoga session
  • 1 strength workout + 1 core workout

Rest Day and a good amount of foam rolling before bed.

5 miles at an easy pace + core workout

54:47, 10:57 average pace

Tempo run — 1 mile at slower-than-easy pace, then 3 miles at a 10k pace, followed by 1 mile at my easy pace. For my training this cycle, I’m learning all about finding my different effort levels — rather than running solely on pace. And this run was a lesson in finding some of those different gears. It was interesting to see how much effort I had left while I was running those 3 middle miles. I know that effort won’t always feel the same from day-to-day, but it aids in boosting my confidence when I get caught up in breathing heavy and sweating and feeling like I can’t maintain a pace… or feel like I’m doing to die.

Splits: 11:24 / 10:25 / 9:06 / 8:35 / 11:26

Rest day

Strength day – definitely felt weird to do strength on a Friday night, but I didn’t have any plans after work, so I just jumped right into it when I got home. I added jump rope as a warm-up to my regular strength workout a couple weeks ago to work on some flexibility, stability, and single-leg strength and balance. And I felt TIRED before the workout even started. It felt like I was doing the movements for the first time in weeks. This 30-something was in bed by 9pm ON A FRIDAY. #nowine


Something other than a treadmill pic. 😆

Woke up super early, so I could participate in the Namasday celebration at LifeTime in Des Moines: 108 sun salutations at sunrise, poolside, and in celebration of the fall equinox. It was a beautiful morning — they even had a ukulele player! — and the practice really helped me focus and find balance in a hectic week. For the first time ever, I found yoga to be meditative, and I did majority of the sets with my eyes closed.

Coming down from that peacefulness, I did my 30-minute easy run on the treadmill at LifeTime, ending with a few sets of strides. It was difficult to do my strides at the gym, as it was slow to increase speed; my treadmill at home is a lot more responsive.

32:40, 11:07 average pace

The 12-mile run that I did NOT want to do. I woke up at 7am with a splitting headache (which is still lingering today), and a run just wasn’t how I wanted to start my day. So I pushed it to do later, after I felt like I finished laundry and some housekeeping. I battled myself at every mile — trying to talk myself out of doing the entire run. But I did the entire run. I feel tired and sore – I guess exactly how I should feel having run a 25-mile week! (I don’t often feel sore, so I’m chalking this one up to doing yoga on Saturday).

Splits: 11:36 (1) / 11:38 (2) / 11:27 (3) / 11:19 (4) / 11:19 (5) / 11:27 (6) / 11:30 (7) / 11:43 (8) / 11:16 (9) / 11:34 (10) / 10:59 (11) / 9:39 (12)

There might be an epsom salt bath in my future. Like, now.

WEEKLY MILES: 25 miles (!!!)

Race Recap: Capital Pursuit 10-Mile

The second of my back-to-back 10-mile weekends of this training plan included the Capital Pursuit race. This race is held annually, and is the right distance and timing leading up to the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon. No ifs, ands, buts about it: This race felt AWESOME for me. Though it also made the reality of a 2-hour time for this upcoming half seem pretty unrealistic (but so in reach!!!). I won’t focus my thoughts there quite yet.


Race day prep!

Registration and Cost: The Capital Pursuit was super inexpensive for a 10-mile race, AND I saved $5 being a Capital Striders member — $40 in advance, $45 day of race. I registered online through GetMeRegistered.com for a total $38.69 charge (which obviously included some fees). There was also a 5K run as part of the Pursuit.

Expo and Packet Pick-Up: No expo, but packet pick-up was the day before at Fitness Sports in the Swanson Depot in Clive, or you could pick up your bib on race day. Note: No bag check or transportation at this race.

Free Swag: A nice blue long-sleeve tech shirt with the Capital Pursuit logo.


Charity: A portion of the race proceeds assist Iowa Kidstrong, Inc. — promoting healthy, active lifestyles among children. There were about 40 See Us Run students and their running mentors racing the 10-Miler.

Start Line: Plenty of Kybos (that’s Iowan for port-o-potty) and a DJ to entertain the runners at the start. We lined up at the Locust & 15th Street intersection at Western Gateway Park, heading straight into the city.

Weather: Well… it was sunny and mid-50s when I woke up. But 90% humidity. So while it didn’t feel oppressively hot, I was sweating profusely throughout the race (in a tank and shorts in 50 degrees, wtf Iowa). I’m glad that I opted not to wear a hat, to be honest. Official race weather states: 60s and partly cloudy. -_-

Course: I guess the course changed this year (I have no reference, but a couple people said this to me), supposedly skipping one of the hills going towards the capital building. But this year’s route was a nice out-and-back, running into the city, then out into the neighborhoods near Drake University where it was so peaceful. I was impressed by the elevation changes running back into town on Ingersoll — though the skinny lane with regular traffic outside our set of orange cones made me nervous at times.. And then there was that nice “sweet spot” of a downhill at the end of the race. A few weird turns near the end of the course, but I enjoyed sprinting in on that straight-away down Locust towards the finish line.

Fans and Experience: A few fans along the course (though not many), and water/Gatorade stations with volunteers at about every 2 miles. I made a new running friend, naturally, and we ran together and chatted for nearly the entirety of the race — even getting him to sprint with me to the finish.


The boyfriend caught this great movement shot of me sprinting into the finish line — look at them legs!

Finish Line: I love, love, LOVE when the runners’ names are announced at the finish line. And we got medals! There was also a tent set up with a BUNCH of post-race snacks — the usual bananas, but an additional spread of bagels and orange slices and more.

After Party: There was an after party with, supposedly, a bunch of food and free drinks for participants at Exile Brewing… but it didn’t start until 10:30am. I walked down to the brewery and realized this when NOBODY was there. Kind of dumb, considering the start time of the race and anticipated finish times. Eh, great idea in theory, but I didn’t feel like waiting around another half hour.

Bonus: Chocolate milk at the finish line, YAY!

Random Bullshit: A TRAIN. Yep, a set of train tracks runs through downtown Des Moines and right on schedule during the first couple miles of the race. I heard its horn, and saw the light creeping around the corner — and I booked it over that set of tracks. I didn’t look back to see if anyone got caught up, but MAN… that’s not something you plan for AT ALL for race day.

The Great: Can’t beat a PR race! That’s two PR races in one month for me!!!
The Good: Putting a plan in place and getting in a GOOD training practice for race day.
The Bad: A MOVING TRAIN, YOU GUYS! Not ugly for me, but… holy crap.
The Ugly: (Men-folk, look away your sensitive eyes on this one) My freaking period started the night before the race (3 days early). It looks like I’ll be on my cycle for the half now, too, and that is NEVER fun to practice. >:-(


Chocolate Milk!

Splits: 9:19 — WHOOOPS, started a bit too fast here! Blame it on the train 😉 (1) / 10:07 (2) / 10:35 (3) / 10:55 (4) / 10:50 (5) / 10:48 (6) / 10:45 (7) / 10:24 (8) / 9:45 (9) / 9:21 (10) — Check out the second half of that race! 💯

1:43:16 (no chip time)
#279 overall
45th in my age group

Weekly Therapy: Be YOU tiful

the week:
This week went by WAY too quickly and my nerves kind of got the better of me. I had many intentions that fell flat to feeling overwhelmed, and I’ll be using my evening to reset (and using some overtime to catch up with work tomorrow). We’re back up into the 80s again for temperatures (alongside its best friend 90% Humidity), so looks like summer is sticking around to make the rest of my long runs sticky and miserable.

Summer: please see the door, I would like to wear my scarves and coats and boots, kthxbai. And I’m kind of tired of the treadmill.

I’m doing 108 sun salutations at LifeTime tomorrow morning, followed by my second short run of the week, working some overtime, and then resting for a LONG, LONELY 12-miler on Sunday.

Among all THAT, I’ll be watching MOAR ROLLER DERBY — Team United from Des Moines is playing in this weekend’s WFTDA playoff tournament in Madison.

seven things, seven days:
1. We checked out Luminarium Arboria this week in downtown Des Moines…
2. And then had dinner at the ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE restaurant: Magnolia Wine Kitchen. The food was excellent, too, with many gluten-free options!
3. What it feels like to be the last generation to remember life before the Internet. Oh, I remember!
4. How do you feel about getting older? Ehhhhh, not so good. {via Pacific Standard}
5. Why people quit their Fitbits — interestingly, no responses mentioned about the equipment constantly breaking requiring three separate replacements. But then again, nobody asked me.
6. I KNEW IT — The 5-second rule debunked (spoiler alert: don’t eat it!) {via NYT}
7. You take the good, you take the bad… And here’s why you ABSOLUTELY must do things you’re really bad at. {via INC}