Archive for June, 2014





Dam X 2!

Last Saturday I was in Des Moines to run in the Dam To Dam Half Marathon.

It is a race that begins at 7:00 AM atop a dam on Saylorville Lake north of Des Moines and ends 2 miles after crossing another dam in downtown Des Moines.

This was the 35th edition of the Dam To Dam, the seventh time that I have ran it.

However…there was one slight change this year…

Dam To Dam 2014 was now a HALF Marathon (13.1 miles)!

Traditionally, it has been a 20K (12.6 miles), but due to some circumstances with the city and the growth of the race itself, the finish area was moved to the other side of downtown and the route changed to a half marathon. This was done to help with traffic congestion associated with the race as well as a heavily attended (& very cool) Farmer’s Market.

So it’s a half marathon now…my second half in three weeks (Fargo Half Marathon)…I felt good heading into the race.

Some of the highlights & lowlights…

With a 7:00 start, I was was up at 4:00 AM, grabbed a quick bite to eat and left my sister’s house and headed to the one of the shuttle bus pick-up spots at a nearby shopping mall.

A race volunteer misdirected arriving runners to the wrong area of the parking lot to catch the shuttle. (In his defense, it was 5:00 AM, dark and probably his first time working at that location. It did make for a slight pre-dawn traffic jam in a mall parking lot, as well as some confused looks by late arriving runners who were at the normal pick-up spot and saw full buses zipping past them and having no clue as to why!)

We made the 10 mile trip to the dam. It’s always fun meeting other runners and hear their stories, plus it helps to get the adrenaline flowing! (At the packet pick-up the night before I had the pleasure of meeting the record holder in the Dam To Dam, Phil Coppess. He ran the 1985 20K version of the race in a record time of 59:23:00. He is also the record holder of the Twin Cities Marathon in a time of 2:10, so it was fun to meet him and get his autograph on a race poster.)

Okay, back to the highlights…

It wasn’t raining and it was warm, which made the wait for the start of the race nice.

It was cloudy… with little shade of the first part of the course, this was a good thing!

The field was capped at record 9,000 runners this year…lots & lots of runners!

There were four people running who had ran every single Dam To Dam, the oldest was 74!

There was a breakfast burrito waiting for me at the previously mentioned farmer’s market…I just had to get to it!

At 7:00 AM sharp…

We’re off!

The first mile was downhill!

Okay…as promised…

A few lowlights…

It was warm…DAM warm (sorry)!

A race record start temp of 72 degrees and a dew point of 80…it was muggy!! Not good for someone who had been training in the frozen tundra of Minnesota and not yet used to the heat and humidity!

I ran the first 3 miles in slightly under 24 minutes and developed soreness in my right achilles tendon. With all of the running injuries I have had, this was not one of them! I briefly stopped and stretched and continued on, but it was sore the entire way.

It began to rain at mile 5. It actually felt good…but I knew once it stopped that it would just raise the humidity level. Also, my feet were now wet. (My goal was to finish before the sun broke through the clouds.)

There was an awfully big hill just past mile 6! Did it get bigger from previous years??? (It is also referred to as “Memorial Hill”…a cool tribute to all who have served & serves our country!)

Past the hill and into some neighborhoods that support race like no others!

To whoever was passing put the ice at mile 9…THANK YOU!!!

Mile 11…just crossed the second dam…where was the traditional finish line? Oh yeah…the other side of downtown! (Loved running down the new riverwalk…but I was running out of gas!)

Mile 12…all that was left was another DAM hill! (The traditional drum line playing about 600 meters from the finish is always a burst of energy for me!)

I made it up the hill and finished in a time of 1:57:31…good for 1,596th place out of 7,359 finishers.

I met up with my sister and brother-in-law and we headed for that much anticipated breakfast burrito!

Which was now, ONLY a 15 minute walk away!

Burrito & Medal...DAM good!

Here is a cool video of the race…courtesy of David Mable…