Dam to Dam Race Report

Race Day. Started early. Like 5:30 to 6:00 early. I wasn’t sure what the parking situation would be like at Iowa’s Largest Race – so I made sure the family was out the door in plenty of time to spare.

We parked within single engine plane distance of the start/finish line for the out and back 5K. The 5K is the smaller of the two races held during Dam to the Dam. The 20K is the more popular race and starts North of Des Moines at Saylorville Dam (hence Dam to Dam).

We hung out at the finish line as the first elite 20K runners trickled in around the 1 hour mark (officially 1:00:56). Insane. The weather was pretty much perfect as we gathered at the starting line for the 5K. It would be my first official race barring a DNF or surprise arrest warrant as we ran by Des Moines Police Department.

I did a brief warmup and took a spot between the 10 and 9 minute corrals. Wearing my newly purchased Garmin Forerunner 610 – I tinkered with buttons to get the metrics I thought would be good. While I knew heart rate monitoring and pace monitoring isn’t a big deal in a race of this size – I wanted to play with my new toy.

The gun was off and we shuffled toward the starting line. Net time of right around a minute to the big chip crossing the starting line. From where it was a slightly controlled chaos. Through my early foray into running, I repeatedly read how important it was to “run your race” and not let the excitement of the small races cause you to barrel out only to struggle to the finish mats.

It seemingly was lost on me as I weaved in and out of runners – at one point using the sidewalk due to congestion. My Running List music hit some odd selections that didn’t work come race time. Like the classical styling of William Walton. That’s my bad. There was a little too much fumbling with my headphones as I forwarded through tracks.

But it was a good run as I kept up my desired pace of sub 10:00 min miles. We eventually made our way to the hairpin turnaround which features Iowa’s hill. We have more than one, but this one happens to be on the race course. During race prep I took some time to run it so knew it was coming. Despite running a race pace I hadn’t been accustomed to, I managed to easily maneuver up the hill and make the turn down back to the finish line.

It was passing mile 2 that my pace began to catch up to me and I found myself near the max heart rate area. My breathing wasn’t clean and I was using the water stations when I probably didn’t need to in a 5K. The distance from the 400 meter line to the finish line probably needed to be measured again because it sure felt much longer. But I crossed the line still maintaining a pace I hadn’t carried through “training”.

My first sub-goal in a sheet full of running goals was now complete. Officially race a 5k.

I grabbed a Poweraid – unsuccessfully tried to grab a 20K finisher medal and then met up with the family at our rallying point.

We ended up walking to another area in Downtown Des Moines for the Farmers Market. There was a good deal of walking. My feet hurt. But I was proud of my accomplishments and excited to see my Official Time. Damtodam.com posted the results later that Saturday night, 30:23. I wanted to be right around the 30 minute mark but was pretty happy with the results. Middle of the pack! 553 out of 2700 racers in the 5K!

DamtoDamPaceTakeaways: Focus on steadier pace. The weaving in and out of people only adds distance you need to run. Have fun and not worry so much about time and pain.


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