Race Recap: Drake Relays Hy-Vee Road Races Half Marathon


I ran my second half marathon! I still can’t believe I’m saying it. I haven’t even hit my official “running anniversary”, and I’ve got quite a few miles under my belt. This spring half had been on my calendar since about January.

The half was part of the Drake Relays Hy-Vee Road Races, and was on Sunday, April 28. The Drake Relays are a pretty big deal around here, and are several days of races (and partying for students, from what I understand). These are for-real races, though – you’ve got to be good to do them. But the road races, anyone can sign up for.

This was the first year it was sponsored by Hy-Vee. This was also my first year being involved. So, I’ve heard from a lot of people that things are different this year, but being as I’ve got nothing to compare it to, I’m going to judge it as such.

Packet pick up was on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning, pre-race. Pretty standard stuff. With registration, you got a gear bag, t-shirt, and socks. Pretty good deal, but the race was also $55 when I signed up, so I had hoped for some good swag.

The bag was great, but the shirt is HUGE. I got a small, and it’s pretty loose on me. Which is a bummer, because it’s a nice dri-tech shirt. The socks aren’t my style (I like no-show) but I’ll keep them around as they are Asic socks and are pretty nice, other than the cuff. Is that part of the sock called a cuff?

The race started at 8:00 a.m. Phyll dropped me off around 7:30 so I could walk to the start and get acclimated. Oh, and use the restroom. Tip: the stadium restrooms were open pre-race. No Porta-Potty for me!

The race start was pretty congested, but I think that was just due to it not being super wide. Most races are like that, so it didn’t bother me too much. There was a nice moment of silence for Boston, the anthem – and we were off!

The race started off downhill, which was bad for me – how can you not run faster when you’re going downhill? But I tried to hold back. Then, the hills started. Oye ve. (I don’t even know if that’s how you spell that…)

The hills on this raced were HARD. I mean, I knew there would be hills, but I was not prepared at all for just how much more extreme they were than the training I had been doing.

My first 10 or 11 miles were pretty good. Tough, but steady. The last few had the absolute worst hills, and I had to take a few walking breaks. This really frustrated me because one of my goals for the race was not to walk. But the combination of the tough course, and the heat, just took it out of me.

There was a water and Gatorade station at about every mile, with Gu, candy, and fruit at some of them. I did try the Gu – but barely. One taste and I was done. That stuff is so gross! The texture. I can’t even. Oh, and my friend Karla was at one of the water stations. So nice to see a friendly face!

Right before I got to the end, I found Phyll filming me :) I tried my best to give him a smile, even though I felt terrible. I was done!

The finish for the race was really awesome, going around the stadium track and through the finish. I felt like an Olympian! Well, kind of. The part of me which wasn’t ready to die at that point did.

I crossed the finish line to hearing my name – it was so nice having my parents there cheering me on! I got my medal, and headed outside.

I met with my parents and Phyll and drank some water.


Here we go again. My stomach started flipping and flopping. And I knew what that meant. I tried resting a bit, drinking water. But to no avail – I found a trash can, and lost my cookies. Or really, lost my water, as that’s all I threw up.

I was SO mad. If you guys remember my first half, I got sick then, too.

And here’s where I ask for your help. I ran with the same food in my stomach as I had on training runs a (KIND bar and my Energy Bits). I did drink more water, but it was much hotter than my typical runs. WHY am I getting sick post (long) races??

I’ve got two thoughts on it:

  1. Stopping/slowing down too quickly at the end of the race?
  2. Too much water?

I’m at a loss. More guess and check, I suppose.

Overall, I was happy with how the race went!


time: 2:31:30
pace: 11:34
5k: 29:40
10k: 1:03:21
15k: 1:40:21

My overall pace got pretty messed up by the walking, but I’m really happy with my 5k pace – only 40 seconds to trim off to make my 2013 goal of a 5k in 29 minutes! Granted, the 5k was basically downhill, but it does give me a lot of hope of catching that goal.

I also knocked 8 minutes and 30 seconds off my last half-marathon time, which is great. I really really really wish I had a Garmin so I had more detail. MapMyRun didn’t record the splits :(.

Now accepting donations….

I’m excited by the progress, and can’t wait until my fall half-marathon. How much more time can I knock off? Can I run the ENTIRE time?


Two questions today:

Tell me about your best race improvement – how did it feel?

Anybody have this same stomach issue? Help!


Oh, and did I mention I’ve got a relay tomorrow? Market to Market – here I come!


  1. YAY! Congrats! Sebastian inherited my shirt cause it is too big to even sleep in. Do you think your stomach might just be coming down from the adrenal high?
    Jacki recently rocked the world with…Dear BodyMy Profile

  2. Drake Relays is definitely for the partying! I didn’t go to Drake but did go to AIB (in Des Moines too) and we looooovved Drake Relays weekend! Many years of drunk memories! lol I also met by boyfriend on Drake relays weekend! After college and moving from local college bars and frat partites we moved to other clubs and bars around the city. Fun memories!
    Mollie @Sprinkles of Life recently rocked the world with…Weekly Catch-upMy Profile

  3. It was so great to see your smiling face out their rockin’ the half, Alex–your PR=amazing! And you captured some great photos throughout the day. Congrats or an awesome race!

    I’m excited to take on the next race with you tomorrow. :)
    Karla recently rocked the world with…2013 Summer Race PlaylistMy Profile

  4. Congrats on the race!! That is some killer progress!!!

    I never liked Gu either, but the Cliff version is pretty good.
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently rocked the world with…Strange But Good: Chocolate Avocado CookiesMy Profile

    • Thanks! You mean the blocks? I can deal with those. The Gu is just so … gummy. Or gluey. Or something … ick.

  5. Hey Alex! I nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award, stop by my page ( http://www.hippieveganchick.com) for more details! Congrats!

  6. Congrats on finishing your 2nd half!! That is a great accomplishment! I wish I had an answer to you getting sick after you finish. I have never had the problem. Maybe too much water, running on an empty stomach…..just throwing out ideas. My best improvement would had to have been this last half I ran on sunday, it was my 6th one and I beat my PR. I set a new PR at 2:09:06, over 5 mins faster than my prior PR and 10 mins faster than my last half I ran in Feb. I am now starting to train for my very first Full. Good luck on your many more races you will be training for!!
    Lindsey @ OneMotherofaDay recently rocked the world with…Farm Fresh To You: All Veggie Box 5/9/13My Profile

    • Thanks! Those are my top two thoughts, too. I think on my next long race I’m going to pull back on water and hope that helps – I’ve got a 20k coming up in June.

      Wow! That’s so great, congrats!!

  7. The heat can really mess with you – I often get sick doing marathons when it’s hot. For me it can help to take Immodium before a race, but that may be because I get GI issues more than nausea? I find that it’s usually just the first few hot runs of the season, and once you’re used to the heat, it gets better.

    Congrats on the finish though and shaving so much time off your last one!
    Laura recently rocked the world with…Race Report: Puerto Rico MarathonMy Profile

    • Hmm, that’s good to hear from an experienced runner. I mean, not that you’ve gotten sick, but I feel like such an amateur when I do :(.

      I know that my last half wasn’t “hot”, but I’m wondering if it’s my body heat/overdressing for races. Thanks for the tip!


  8. Whohooo!! Congrats on your second half-marathon!!!
    Carrie @ Season It Already! recently rocked the world with…Happy Mother’s Day!My Profile

  9. Awesome job Alex!! And sounds like celebrate that a small is too big? 😉

    I have zero advice about getting sick.. that is such a bummer!! :(
    jennifer recently rocked the world with…The Ups and Downs of a PRMy Profile

  10. Add the Hillbilly Hike Half Marathon & 10k to your 2017 list of races. It is on Saturday, November 4, 2017.
    Its a fast and easy one since its a point to point race that is all down-hill from Indianola to Carlisle IA.
    Use “ibilly” to receive $5 off registration.

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