What a wonderful day for a race! It started cold, but hovered in the 50 degree range for most of the race. Cheryl met her goal of beating 1:40 half marathon….by scoring a 1:38:50 for 13.1 miles! She scored 5th over all for her age group. ( Sorry Charlie, No age trophy this time…..) So lets begin with the events as they unfold…
We arrived early so we could secure a close ( and free!) parking spot. We checked out of the hotel, figuring that we would not have enough time to come back and shower before check out time. Besides, we only live 2.5 hours away form Des Moines…..Locality has it’s advantages…
We scoped out the area…simple enough to navigate a city like this. Much easier than Twin Cities…let me tell you! The start AND finish both were located on the bridge crossing the Des Moines river. Picturesque; for those of us who wanted to capture the autumn color along the water. being just under 40 degrees at the beginning, we decided to hang out in the car where it was warm until about a half hour before the race was supposed to kick off.
With everything ready, Cheryl removed her outer warm up gear and gave them to me. I walked a few hundred yards from the start and waited for the gun…It was pretty routine by now. For this reason, I think I like the half Marathon far better in logistical challenges. Namely, even I can handle the 13.1 run easier than the 26.2. As Cheryl passed by, I ran to the one mile mark and readied to catch her at a second location. It was my only other chance, besides at the finish…
As the Elites ran by, Cheryl was close on their heals. I guess there were not as many “serious” runners at this marathon/half marathon. The majority of them ran the half and many of them ran that at an 8 minute per mile pace. ( not bad…but not “serious”) Cheryl, on the other hand, Wanted to be “serious” on this…possibly the last competitive race this year. Sure, there will be a Turkey Trot later, but how serious can you be about a 5K?
I waited on the bridge just before the Finish. I was able to see the first male and female finisher….and capture a couple of other cool things…Like a guy Juggling. Who juggles while running a half marathon? AND comes in under 1:20?!?!? Talk about focus!
So Cheryl came in and I knew she had the time she was looking for. She said it was possibly one of the best races yet. The colors were out and the temperature ended up being perfect for runners. I took her picture before she scurried off to gather more fruits and treats. ( Ah, the advantage of being one of the runners…)
She suggested that we stick around for a bit while the elites for the Full Marathon finished. It is a rare thing…even for me…to see the top elites finish a race. Usually they are finished by the time I get in position to see Cheryl cross the line. With runners from the half marathon still on the course, the Police escort had to beep people over so the top marathoner could have a clear way to the finish. These guys from Kenya and Ethiopia make it look so effortless….but as I look over the pictures, the look like they are flying!
Cheryl came in at 1:38:50…. She was the 5th female in her age group, besting 344 others in that category. 290 over all place out of 4718 total participants. ( finishers) Not too bad. Her overall pace was 7:33 minute miles. Her best mile ( a new record) was 7:06! She now terrifies me, knowing that she could easily outrun me ( perhaps even in my prime Army years!) in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse. I may have to get in better shape if I don’t want to become Zombie food.
So, after cheering on the elites, we jumped in the car and came home in record time. It was over so quickly, I’m still having a difficult time trying to remember everything that happened. But I’m happy to be back home….I never sleep very well at a hotel. I’m hoping for a lazy day tomorrow as we recover from the event and sew up three stockings we sold over the weekend. Routines can be boring, but after a break in the norm, they can be nice to get back into .
So, Hopefully everyone else has been having a wonderful day today. I’m surprised there was no frost on the car this morning, but there was yesterday. Falll has officially arrived here in Wellman. I’m sure we will have to bundle up for future runs as the temps continue to drop. But now that the competitive Marathon Season is at a close, And with the Boston Qual time secured, Cheryl can now run her next races for fun and enjoyment instead of new best times. But that probably won’t stop her from trying to light up the track anyway. We shall see.