There is no doubt that Drake Relays is one of the best weeks of the year here on campus. As the festivities persist this year everyone has their own favorite aspect. Mine is a lesser-known activity, the Drake Road Races. The Drake Road Races kick off the week by administering three different races on Sunday and a race on Wednesday. The community and Drake students can sign up to run a mile, 5k (3 miles), 10k (6 miles) or a half marathon (13.1 miles). After running cross country in high school and joining the Drake Running Club, I decided to sign up for the half marathon my first year.
The Bell Center partnered with Running Club in the Spring Semester to train for the race. The 12-week training program included long runs around Des Moines and the occasional post run pancake. I loved training with this group and was trained and ready for the race. The day of the race was crazy. I walked out of my dorm to the start line and had a great first four miles. Then another runner fell right in front of me. Not expecting this, I was working to get my phone out of my pocket to dial 911 and find a race aid. Once the situation was cared for, I just kept running. This messed me up, I was no longer in the running mindset and had a rough nine more miles. Though, I persisted back to the blue oval and finished the race. The other people in the training group were cheering me on as I passed the finish line.
Last year, well, to say the least, the word persist is definitely the right word. We started our training group again and enjoyed our long runs but after our eight mile training run we were sent home and I had to adjust to training back home in Duluth, Minnesota. Thankfully, my mom was also training for the race, so we continued training together. Though, Duluth is much colder than Des Moines. When we went to run on the Sunday morning when the race was supposed to be, it was a solid 42 degrees, overcast, and windy in Duluth while it was 60 and partly sunny in Des Moines. If you are a runner or walker, you know the struggle.
This year was still different! I have been doing the training on my own this year and had friends come join me on my longer runs. To get through the two hour runs I have buffed up my running playlist and think about all the food I get to eat as I persist through the miles. As I write this, the race is five days away which means I am almost to that finish line! Having persisted through three years of very different Drake Road Races, I cannot wait to see what next year has to bring!