Sunday, June 1, 2008

Dam to Dam 20K & Impressions of IA

This weekend I spent my time in Iowa. It was my first ever trip to our neighbor to the south and I spent it in Des Moines. There were two main reasons to go there:

  1. to visit a friend and

  2. run the Dam to Dam 20K.

Both got accomplished and I had a blast in the process. In general, Iowa is pretty flat and lame. At least along I-35. What makes the drive entertaining is all the windmills along the way. There's tons of them. They're huge and everywhere. It's fun to imagine how far away they really are and then try imaging yourself running to one of them. Climbing one would be a hoot too.

The drive is also really cool when you get to Des Moines. I don't care what people say. Des Moines (especially downtown Des Moines and West Des Moines) is a beautiful city. They have plenty of great places to dine, a network of bike and running paths through and around the city, and also have an Apple Store so I can technically live there if I have to move. And all things considered, it's a fun little drive to and from there. Now if we could only figure out how to get the cost of gas to come down I'd be set.

I got there Friday morning and met up with my awesome friend Jeni. She let me stay at her place which saved me a TON of coin. Thank you Jeni!!! Plus, she showed me around, got me scheduled with a massage therapist after the run, and entertained my uncontrollable urge for ice cream. She was a true sport and a major reason the weekend was so much fun.

On to the 20K. We started at the Saylorville Dam. It's a gorgeous dam with an amazing man made lake on one side and on the other side is an amazing view of the lake and downtown Des Moines on the horizon.

It's really a breathtaking sight.

We run a very scenic and mostly flat course along the river to downtown Des Moines. It was my first warm run of the season and it definitely put me to the test to see if I could handle the heat.

It turns out I did because I finished in the top 9% of the 20K finishers with an average of 7:35/mile. Not a bad little trot. As of this writing I don't have the course map ready to upload because my Forerunner 305 is acting like a spoiled child and won't work with Motionbased right now. I'll try it tomorrow but you can check out the course on the official site.

The race went very well until near mile 10. We were running in a tree shaded part of the course along the river and one poor fellow (who was ahead of me so he was really moving for most of it) was completely disoriented. He was wobbling back and forth and barely able to walk forward. He actually fell into my arms and I caught him and helped him back up. Not sure what was going on. Maybe heat stroke. Who knows. But an EMT was about 100 meters ahead so I ran ahead and told them about this guy so they could go back and help him out.

One other thing that was unfortunate happened on that same stretch of trail. But this was actually pretty funny. A guy tripped himself (normally not a laughing matter) but instead of falling down he did a slight flip in the air, landed in the shrubbery on the river side of the trail, and rolled down a bit until he gently got stopped by a tree. He hopped right back up and kept going. When I caught up to him I asked if he was alright and he said he was fine and kept right no running. It would have been sort of sad but since he was fine I couldn't help but laugh out loud after I had passed him. You had to be there but it look so orchestrated it's tough to believe it was a complete accident.

Other than that, I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. Great fun, great food, great weather, great friends. What more could a guy ask for? Check out the pics from the weekend here.

Next up for Iowa: The Des Moines Marathon.

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