This was by far the most neglected training cycle I have gone through, and it showed! I put in 204 miles in training since Chicago Ragnar in June (18 weeks), a paltry 11 miles a week. Sixteen percent of those miles can be accounted for in two runs - a half marathon and a 20 miler. Compare that to the same time frame in 2013 when I put in 459 miles. I developed a horrible habit of pushing off my night run to the next morning, then after waking up too late to run in the morning, I'd tell myself I would certainly run that evening. Wash, rinse, repeat.
|View from the Hampton.|
|Dessert at the Spaghetti Works|
|Waiting for the start|
Back at the hotel, Mae was pretty anxious about her 5k and she was doing exercises to relieve her shin splints. We talked about how maybe once the kids are out of the house and we become empty nesters then maybe Mae will train for a marathon.
This may have been the best sleep I've ever had the night before 26.2, since I knew I wasn't ready for the race I had no expectations other than to finish. The forecast was a high of 82°F and I was worried I would take longer than 6 hours, finishing after our late checkout time of 2pm. I told Mae to just check out of the hotel when she was done with her race.
|Hilly first half|
|Doing a lap at Drake Stadium|
We spent a few miles running through a nice hilly neighborhood as part of a 5 mile long out and back. So at mile 5 the elites began to pass us on the other side of the street where they were cruising past mile 10. I'm always awed at how much ground they cover with each stride with their 6 minute miles. The analytical chemist in me likes to compare marathons to a type of separation method, almost like a backwards size-exclusion chromatography where the course is the column and the runners are the molecules. The elution order is determined by the fitness of the molecule, where they come out of the column first, followed by average sized molecules and the largest and slowest molecules like me kind of linger around and take forever to finish.
Mile 8 brought us to the football stadium at Drake University, where we were treated to a lap around their track that encircled the field. There was a live video feed that broadcasted us running on their video board.
|Jeff Galloway (green shirt) on the course|
The support presence is absolutely great in this race. There was always staff biking the course in view, and they all had candy/first aid and I gobbled up every opportunity to get red vines, gummy bears and sour patch kids. I only ended up having half a pack of Clif Bloks the whole time. I made a point to thank all the officers that were controlling the traffic, and the water stations all had the right mix of gatorade every time. I also ate more oranges than I ever did on course, and I had flashbacks of having oranges while doing the walkathons, a fundraiser at St. Richard while in grade school.
|Bridge over Grays Lake|
|Fiddler on the trail.|
|Climb to the Capitol|
At the home stretch where I could see the finish line this crazy guy came up to me and started yelling at me to finish trying to get me to run faster. I didn't want a repeat of Arkansas so I trotted, but he wasn't satisfied with my speed. It was so awkward because I was wearing earbuds and couldn't hear what he was saying at me. He was like a some deranged hype man. I know he was trying to help and I'm sure enjoyed the attention of getting the crowd riled up but I was like whatever.
|Iowa National Guard Water Station|
I was feeling pretty sick as we hit up the closest Arby's, and as I sat there in the passenger seat in the parking lot hunched over my Arby's Max sandwich, I declared the end of this post race tradition. I'm going to need to get my protein to aid in muscle recovery another way moving forward.