I hadn't run this race since 2006. The reason was I had a very bad experience back in 2006 after a experiencing a modified course and lack of training. I had pretty much blown off ever running this race again until a friend asked me to to join his charity running team. Team Red Shamrock was running the event to raise to raise money for post cancer care. So Team Red Shamrock showed up to run the race with bright eyes and bushy tails as my daughter would say.
Myself and Ross took the 100 mile ride from CR to the race where we met Team Red Shamrock founder John. John had our race packets and also gave me a kickass Red Shamrock stocking hat. We then headed to the starting line which was a few blocks away. It was a bit chilly and per usual I had to hit the Porto John prior to race start. This put me behind the power curve and I ended up getting stuck in the back of the almost 10,000 runners at the event. I could see my hoped for pace group, the 3:45 group way up in front of me.
When the gun went off it took me almost 3 minutes to cross the actually starting line. I started off with what I thought would be a steady pace. I had this half ass thought in the back of my head that I might be able to PR the marathon distance at this race. I was coming off a big 17 plus minute PR at a 50K I ran the previous weekend so I wasn't sure if it was possible. So anyway I kept it steady as I weaved my way through the usual crowd and congestion that starts at the beginning of a race. Eventually the half marathon runners split off and us marathoners headed up a long hill that was the beginning of 5 miles of rolling hills. I continued to pass runners and kept my pace steady even up the hills. The miles kept ticking away and before I knew it I was at mile 11 or 12 and the course had flattened out considerably. About that point we ran into and through the Drake University stadium. I tried to catch a picture of myself on the jumbotron but I wasn't able to frame it correctly.
After the stadium I kinda fell into drone mode. We hit a small paved trail section through a park and it was in this section that I finally caught the 3:45 pace group at about mile 17. It had taken me that long to catch them and when I did I was only able to hang with them for a few miles before I started feeling fatigued and slowing down. At least I felt like I was slowing down. The course ran through and circumnavigated a large park and also Greys lake. It was running around Grey's lake in 2006 where the wheels came off. In 2013 however I was feeling relatively fine and just anticipating the finish line. I looked at my watch with 4 miles to go and realized I could practically walk it in and still set a new personal marathon record.
As I rounded the corner for the last 500 meters I turned it on and was able to cross the line in 3:45:46 which was a new PR. Was a good day and my Des Moines demons are now slain.