Wednesday, July 2, 2014

{Dam to Dam} -- a race recap | tips for the future

I ran my very first half marathon the end of May.  It was the 35th Dam to Dam.  For the non locals, we ran from the Saylorville Dam, following the Des Monies river, to the Center Street Dam in downtown Des Moines.  They changed it to a half marathon {from a 10k} this year.  

It was actually a little chilly at 4:45a!  I debated about wearing a sweatshirt at first, but the humidity was so high, I decided against it.  I'm glad I did, because this was the conditions come race time...

'72 degrees at the start of the Half-Marathon, 80 percent humidity made it one of the hardest weather running days in DAM history.'

I was so incredibly blessed to have a bunch of my family there to cheer me on!  Similar to delivering Jordyn, I thought I didn't want any family around, but like last time, I'm thrilled they didn't listen to me and came to cheer me on anyways!

These were taken as I ran in to kiss both of my babies.  I believe at the 6-7 mile mark.  This was the only time I stopped, although I didn't really 'stop'.  I can't find the words to describe how much I needed them there.  I'm so thankful my family took the time to come but also to follow me throughout the race.  I got all emotional seeing everyone, but they have no idea how much I needed them in those moments.  

The first 3 miles, I ran with a friend and her friend and it was just too fast for me.  I remember asking her what our pace was after the 3 mile mark and she said under 9:15.  At that point I told them to go on and I would see them at the end.  I had trained around 9 1/2 to 10 minute miles and knew if I kept up at that pace I probably wouldn't make it to the finish {at least without stopping}. 

Miles 6-8 were hilly, but not terrible.  Thankfully, there were LOTS of spectators in this area.  Lots of awesome signs to read, phenomenal families to cheer you on, and sweet people with buckets of ice and misting you with water.  

Miles 10-13 were just ugly.  We ran on a trail {80% humidity with no air movement, and being enclosed with tons of other runners on the trail wasn't fun!} after the trail, there were some hills.  After the trail, my mind started playing games on me because I could see the finish line, but I still had two miles left before the end.  There were many times I wanted to walk and I knew I was barely running, but I kept telling myself 'just keep going'.  I knew I would be devastated if I stopped or walked, so I kept jogging {so slowly!}

I watched so many people go down in the last mile.  It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch.  And I felt like such a terrible person for just running by {there were tons of people--more experienced people that me--helping them!}.  I'm so fortunate I didn't sick or injured like so many other runners.  I saw Adam about 200 yards from the end and I was found the energy to run like hell to the finish line {if only I had seen him at mile 11--haha!} :)  

My time isn't amazing, but I finished--uninjured.  And I'm very thankful for that.  For curious minds, I assumed I would finish by 2:30, my dream was to finish under 2:00.  Under 'ideal' circumstances, I think 2 hours in doable for me, but it just didn't happen on this day.  It was HUMID.  My 'Map My Run' App wasn't working.  I never really found a good pace that worked for me {too many people, no timing device, etc.}  My official time was 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 44 seconds.  My 5 mile time was 48:15 {9:63 split}, 10 mile time was 1:43:19 {10:32 split}, 13.1 mile time was 2:15:44 {10:34 split}.

1771 | 371 | W25 | Abby Hubbard, 27*, DSM, IA  | 48:15 | 1:43:19 | 2:17:44 | 10:30
My best friend, Jess, who I started the race with.
My precious babies!

Overall, I'm proud.  I finished.  In 1771th place {of 9000 runners}, but I finished.  The only record I broke was the one in my head.  The one that said I would never be able to accomplish something this challenging.  And it was physically challenging, but it was a lot more mentally challenging.  I'll be honest, before motherhood, I probably won't have been able to complete that race.  Motherhood has taught me that sometimes you need to dig really deep and find the strength you never imagined you had.  

Me with some of our friends | Jon, Jess, Me, Mark
Me with my absolutely crazy, adorable family

And last, but not least, me with my amazing, supportive husband.  I could never have run this without you babe.  You watched the kids during my long runs & you encouraged me every step of the way.  Thank you for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself.  I love you.

The {top 10} best parts
--all of the funny signs {'just think, you paid to do this' 'never trust a fart' etc.}
--the sweet old man spraying his water hose {on mist}
--the adorable little girl that sat in front of a huge bucket of ice for all of the runners
--running on the bridge over the highway {people honking}
--the guy and his daughter ringing cowbells, high-fiving the runners, and saying 'you're almost there!' at the start line! :)
--live music {over a dozen singers/bands} throughout the entire race
--experiencing everything {the runners, the race, the spectators}
--having family to cheer me on
--being able to start the race with friends
--finishing, and proving to myself that my body is capable of amazing things

What to remember next time {yes, there better be a next time!}
--put your hair up!  My MIL had to cut this hair tie out.  It was a crazy, ratted mess.
--don't take a cup {or 2!} of water at every station just because it's there.  I didn't train with any water and I'm almost certain that this was the single largest factor in my slower time.
--Get a GPS watch that is more reliable and will help keep your pace

I am blessed...
Thank you Mom & Dad for driving hours to come watch me and help me keep my mind off the race the night before.  Also, mom, for our 4a chat before Adam dropped me off for the race.  :)
Thank you Ashley & Myles for making the adorable sign for Jordyn to wear.  You have NO idea how much that meant to me.  And also, thank you for coming to my race, scoping out the perfect spot to watch me, and for the awesome parking spot so I didn't have to walk too far after the race.  And for picking up my race packet the night before when I thought the race was Sunday instead of Saturday! And for taking photos of me and helping me to capture all of the emotions on this day.  
Thank you Alicia & Brad for the pre-race survival kit {running socks, anti-chaffe products, power gummies, etc.}  And most importantly for the special note of encouragement and being my own running expert!  Knowing you believed in me pushed me to the finish line.
Thank you my mother in law, Joy, for waking up early to drive to Des Moines and watch me run.  You didn't have to do that.  It means so much to me that you take the time to do these things for me, just as you would your own daughters.  I'm so blessed to have you in my life.  And also thank you for cutting that hair tie out after the race! :)


  1. You rock! And that sign is soo cute.

  2. Proud of you abby! Maybe some year I can join you!!! :)

  3. You rock!! And look amazing. :)

  4. So I just left an entire comment and it disappeared so I might be posting twice. That is awesome!!! Great job! And running in humidity is killer. It sucks your pace way down! I'm signed up for a half in March but I've never run one before. As I was crossing the finish line at my 10K this past Friday, I was contemplating how in the world I'd more than double that to do the half! Oh my! CRAZY!


Thanks for taking the time to read some of our story & especially for commenting!

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