Thursday, September 6, 2012

Seawall to Seawall (Iowa) Race Recap


State # 32, Iowa. 
Official time 1:54:05 my first time in 1:50s since March :(
Division Place:  6/10
Gender Place: 11/69

Iowa is one of those states that I was less than thrilled to visit, so I managed to somehow convince Kim to spend her labor day weekend with me doing a double half mary weekend in Iowa and another equally exciting state, Nebraska!

Since there wasn't  a lot to do in Clear Lake, we got our kicks at the World Market in  Des Moines before making our 2 hour BORING drive up to Clear Lake... have you seen anything so glorious?!?!

The Before:
Best Western was the host hotel and it just so happened to be within a 5 minute drive to the start line. There was no address for where the start line was, just that it was 'at the seawall'. We decided to scope out the area Friday night to see where we needed to go, however were disappointed that we still couldn't find the elusive 'sea wall'. Naturally Kim and I were suspecting something quite obvious, and it was only on race morning that we found out the below structure was considered the "sea wall" - crazy Iowans don't know the difference between a barrier and a wall. 

If you're looking for entertainment on a Friday night in Clear Lake- apparently you have to go to the football game because downtown, is not the place to be

Otherwise you could just rent one of the village bicycles and take that for a spin.... thats how I like to spend my nights, cruising around town

After our tour we grabbed some dinner at the Bennigans attached to our hotel and attempted to call it a night. We ended up chatting till just shy of midnight about relationship history(s) as well as Kim educating me on some information that I can let her share with you since both my parents read my blog ;) 

Race day:

As said earlier, we didn't realize that small retaining wall was infact the sea wall, so we had to ask a guy walking his dog if he knew where the race start is--- gee, how could we miss it?

Once we established where the start was, I realized I left my newly purchased knee brace at the hotel, so we had time to drive back to get it and still take some photos before race start

we had to make sure to get a pic with the seawall.

*as a side note- we were supposed to be "matchy matchy" with purple skirts, but I'd like to take a moment to recognize that Kim forgot hers. Despite my many travels, one would think I'm an expert when it comes to packing. Quite the opposite is true and I ALWAYS forget something. Although Kim not bringing her skirt meant we couldn't match, I was thrilled that it wasn't me this time, end side note*

After a prayer from a local pastor (a sign you know its a small race) the air horn blew and we were off. Due to continued knee pain, the fact that this was race 1 of a double header weekend, AND that my marathon weekend was in 2 weeks, I knew I wanted to take it easy. The problem with taking it easy is I didn't realize how fast Iowans are and I clocked my first mile at 7:36- surely I knew I'd pay for it. 

I made it to a whopping 1.8 miles before I fell apart. My right knee started throbbing, my left arch was bothering me, and the heat was causing me to sweat more than normal, BURNING my eyes- at this point I knew any goal I had of placing in this race was a fat chance. 

The first few miles were through some neighborhoods, and then we were graced with the lovely sights of cornfields and creepy windmills... as an added bonus, NO SHADE. 

Due to heat, they made sure there were water stops at every mile, which I happily stopped at and took a breather, stretched, wiped the sweat off my face etc. 

The combination of knee pain + sweat burning my eyes made them water thus I felt like I was crying for a few miles- thank goodness for waterproof mascara :)  I kept trying to wipe my eyes on my shirt, but it wasn't enough and I had to keep lifting it up every min or two. 

Finally at mile 5 I did the absolute unthinkable, something I have NEVER done during a race, let alone during daylight (except in highschool)- I took my shirt off and ran the rest of the race in my sports bra. I know you're probably thinking "so what?" but for me my stomach is the one part of my body that I'm super self conscious about (after I got over my membership card to the IBTC), so the last thing I want is to be worrying if my stomach is jiggling while I'm running.  

Let me tell you.... it was FAN FREAKING TASTIC! Right away I cooled off and it was nice to just be able to carry my shirt and wipe the sweat away as it came--- it did nothing for the knee pain though. 

Right when I got to mile 6 is when I lost the mental battle- I wasn't even half way done and I was wondering if I could finish the race. I made my mind up there that the marathon was out of the equation if I was this miserable when it would be less than 1/4 of an actual distance. As soon as I made the decision I  ripped off my knee brace since it obviously wasn't helping, then facebooked the marathon was a no go--- it's not official till its facebook official right? I knew by putting it out there, I couldn't retract my decision and too often I'm stubborn enough and forgot about the pain once its over and I couldn't put my body through that. 

Next few miles sucked and then somewhere around mile 9 my gu kicked in. It just so happens my power song came on which gave me the mental push I needed to pick back up the pace and push through the pain a bit. Once I got a good rhythm going, the knee pain was manageable and I started passing people that has all passed me during my many, many, many walk break b/n miles 5-8.

It's weird because as the miles ticked by, the knee pain subsided a little bit, but the pain in my left arch was increasingly getting sharper- such an uncomfortable feeling, almost like a bruised arch? Looking back I'm not sure if the knee pain was less or if it was just there was a new pain to focus on. 

The last few miles were run alongside the lake vs. cornfields, so that made it more tolerable. It's been awhile since I've done this, but that last mile + .18 was pure guts as I had ZERO left to give and my pain threshold was wearing thin.

I crossed the line and started to limp toward where everyone was congregating in hopes to find some ice. One of the volunteers had to chase me down to give me my medal. Turns out, NO ICE on premises, ugh. I grabbed a banana and peach and made my way toward the car to take off my shoes, ifitness belt, and grab some sun glasses.

Literally the second I took off my shoes I developed HUGE charlie horses in both of my feet, what is going on? I managed to stretch a little, cheer Kim on, and carefully walk barefoot over to meet her at the finish area, no way was I putting shoes back on feet.

I was happy the race was over and more so that I was able to rally and actually finish stronger than I thought I could. The big question lingering was how in the world was I going to do this tomorrow on a hillier course with hotter temps?!?!

Mile 1 7:36
Mile 2 8:02
Mile 3 8:08
Mile 4 8:23
Mile 5 9:01
Mile 6 9:34
Mile 7 10:06
Mile 8 9:16
Mile 9 8:07
Mile 10 8:58
Mile 11 8:43
Mile 12 8:23
Mile 13 8:22
        .18 7:31

State #32, Iowa, done. Next up, #33- Nebraska. I thought Iowa was boring, Nebraska has it beat!


  1. I love that you did a shirt rip off during the race. My stomach hasn't seen the sun for about 15 years, but the other day, it was soooo hot that I considered revealing it to the world. I'm starting to get swayed by the idea. Soooo freakin hot. Great job on a strong finish. It's hard to jump over a hurdle like that in a race, but you totally did. Excellent!

  2. Way to go!!! You were up against so much and you still rocked it!!! I love your rousing description of Iowa...sounds exactly like I would imagine it!!!

  3. Sounds like a fun event...despite no ice on site, that is a bummer!

  4. Awesome job in the heat while in pain! And finally, someone else who thinks those big windmills are creepy.

  5. I sure wish i could have a hurt knee, along with an aching arch and still rip off a 1:54. Nice Job Lil Sister

  6. Seriously? You run a 1:54 in pain and with burning eyes? You continue to amaze :)

    Sorry about the no marathon thing.

  7. What is said in the hotel room in Iowa stays in the hotel room in Iowa. I didn't realize they chased you to give you your medal too. For two people that like medals, we both almost walked away without them. Oh, and you're fast, even injured. Nice abs.

  8. you still did really, really well for being injured!! i had to think a minute about IBTC and then realized what you meant. LOL.