An Ultra-Wonderful Racing Weekend! Part I – Dam to Dam 2012
My apologies for not having a post up yesterday…arriving home @ 10:30PM, after a long weekend of running and friends, doesn’t leave much time for blog posts! However, after running Dam to Dam on Saturday, and the Minneapolis Marathon on Sunday, not only was I quite pleased with my results, but with the whole weekend. We’ll start with Dam to Dam, and save the Minneapolis Marathon for part II.
The Dam to Dam 20K holds a special place in my running memory because it was the first distance race I ever ran, back in 2009. After joining Team 12.4 to train for the race, I had no idea that it would turn into a lifelong passion with amazing friends becoming the icing on the cake. As I think back to that first race, it has become quite clear to me that my running mindset has definitely evolved. Gone are the significance butterflies in my stomach, replaced by the sarcastic joy of complaining about a 3:45 alarm while simultaneously looking forward to sharing the experience with a great group of friends.
Although I don’t exactly remember the alarm going off @ 3:45, I still managed to wake up and get my butt to our rendezvous point for the car pool down to Des Moines. After barely making the shuttle bus out to Saylorville dam in previous years, we didn’t want to take any chances, and we ended up making it onto one of the first buses. Unfortunately, this meant we arrived at the start @ 5:30AM…and the race didn’t start until 7:00AM. Clearly the only reasonable thing to do was stand around complaining about the early time and critique peoples’ choices of apparel…always a fun way to pass the time 🙂
Ironically, by the time we made it through the port-a-potty lines, we barely made it to the starting line and ended up at the very back of the pack when the gun went off. Knowing that I was running a marathon the next day, I truly did go into this race planning to take it easy. However, with thoughts of my PR at the Drake Relays 1/2 Marathon fresh in my head, I really wanted to see what my legs could do this time.
The course is fairly flat, and because the first 7 miles or so are out on rural roads, there is a fairly sizable shoulder. This worked out great, as I ran most of the time on the gravel or grass, off of the road. I ended up treating it as a bit of a trail run, which means less wear and tear on my feet and legs. The added bonus to this was that I was one of the few who did run on the side of the road, so I was able to easily maneuver around everyone. As such, I was able to maintain a really strong pace, and I was feeling great after resting pretty responsibly the previous week.
I considered slowing up and taking it easy a few times, but the internal competition took over and was too much to overcome. I pushed on, and when I crossed the finish line, I was pleased and somewhat shocked by my time. I had finished in 1:46:46! This came out to an 8:35 pace, and was far faster than I even thought possible. My previous PR at Dam to Dam was 1:59, and although that was two years ago, this most recent time still brought a huge smile to my face. Along the way, I had PR’d for the 10K checkpoint, and would have no doubt PR’d for the half marathon if I had kept going.
Somehow, the water, Powerade, and beer tasted that much better (which was good, because the pulled pork sandwich didn’t interest me in the least…my only complaint about D2D is the lack of decent recovery food at the end). When I caught up with numerous friends, I was delighted to hear that several PR’s had been set that morning. The beautiful weather, relatively cool temperatures, and calm winds definitely benefited all of us!
Celebrating is always so much nicer when you can do it with friends, and we did just that…for approximately 10 minutes, after which point we headed home to load up the car and take off for Minneapolis….part II awaits!