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Dam to Dam

If you live in Central Iowa you are familiar with the ‘Iowa Distance Classic’ Dam to Dam 20K road race. If you’re not from around here – let’s just say it’s a big race with somewhat of a cult following here in the Des Moines metro. The race starts up on the Saylorville dam and makes its way through the IA countryside, eventually winding up downtown Des Moines.
In my early years of learning to run, I had grand ideas of someday running it. In 2010 I ran the 5K and hoped that the next year I’d be back to run the full 20K. For one reason or another each year I found myself unable to train for or run the big race…until 2014. Coincidentally, this year was the first time in the race’s 35 year history that it was expanded to be a full half marathon…I saw it as a sign – this would finally be my year.
It had been a few years since my last half marathon and I was excited to start training for another long distance run. However training in late winter/early spring was MUCH different than training throughout the summer months. I found myself on the dreaded basement treadmill for more miles than I had hoped. I also found myself struggling to get in all the short runs I would normally commit to when training for a long distance run. I ran a couple 10K races during the training which went well, and overall I figured I’d get it done one way or another.
And so, last Saturday I found myself riding on a school bus, in the darkness of 5:00 AM, next to my friend Blake. As we made our way up to the dam, I felt excited, and yet calm. I knew I could do it and I wasn’t so concerned with a personal best. It was HUMID and warm and I could tell it would be a tough race.


We stood on the dam, thousands of runners deep. I looked around me at the variety of the shapes and sizes in my running pace and I felt…at home. I looked at 801 Grand, the tall building I work in every day, barely visible in the haze and pondered the length my little feet were about to take me.  13.1 miles. Making my way through the course, I saw smiling faces and cheers from strangers and friends alike. Waiting for me at the end – my loving husband and family. I was slower than I had hoped to be…but somewhere along the race one of the ladies running near me yelled to her running mates ‘we are strong women!’  I smiled thinking…I may just be one myself. So, I completed my third half marathon, despite all that I’ve been through, physically and emotionally, since my last one. It wasn’t easy – it wasn’t fast – but I did it!


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