Dam to Dam 2015

DT and I headed south last weekend to run Des Moines’ big Dam to Dam half marathon.

I was extremely slow on the uptake with photos over the¬†weekend….I just didn’t have the ol’ shutterbug in me. I’m a little bummed that I missed some good shots, but I’ll also get this post out quicker without much to edit. ūüôā See? Trade-offs, I guess.

While I’m missing the visual flair, I still wanted to write about the weekend because we found some new little treasures (and revisited some old favorites) in Des Moines and I didn’t want to forget them. AND I wanted you to know about them too.

First – big, fun news. Hellraising Hot Sauce has officially entered the Des Moines market! Through family/friend connections, DT and I met Rory at AllSpice Culinarium in the East Village neighborhood. We dropped off an order of sauce on our way into town and got to see his fantastic shop.

Hellraising Hot Sauce at Allspice 1

Hellraising Hot Sauce at Allspice 2

We ate our ritual,¬†pre-race meal at Tavern Pizza Friday night. Nightcaps at Charlie’s Filling Station (their specialty – Screwdrivers with fresh-squeezed OJ) before a quick, restless night of sleep.

Saturday/race day was much cooler and wet than we expected. It wasn’t pouring ran, thankfully, but misting enough to be annoying and downright cold as we waited at the starting line.

I borrowed/stole this selfie from my brother-in-law Tom.

Dam to Dam 2015

Up front L-R: friend Pat, brother-in-law Tom. Behind L-R: DT’s sister Jill, DT, me.

DT and I crossed the finish line together and it felt so good to be DONE. High five!

We headed to Exile Brewing for celebratory post-race beers at 9:30 am. They were delightful.

DT, me post-race

DT and I ate lunch at Court Avenue Brewing Company. We nearly fell asleep at the table once we had food in our bellies. Sooooo….nap time!

Later, we met up with Jill, Tom, and a group of friends for drinks at MALO. It was packed! Next stop for drinks was Royal Mile.

We’d heard so much about Fong’s Pizza, we had to check it out. The rumblings were true –¬†Fong’s makes delicious pizza.¬†Super thin and chewy crust, zippy sauce, and a bunch of topping options.

It was a whirlwind of a weekend! I always feel like our time in DSM goes by way too fast. We’re already plotting a return summer visit so we can get another Iowa fix. ūüėČ


Dam to Dam 2014

DT and I decided to try a little something new with our run this year. ¬†The past couple of years we’ve done the Minneapolis Marathon/Half, which was suitable for the most part. ¬†The full marathon we did three years ago was pretty much a nightmare (the 26.2 miles turned out to be the easy part, if you can imagine¬†– it was the enormous amount of rubbish along the way that completely broke our spirits). ¬†Anyway – it was nice to do a race here in the Cities, sleep in our own bed the night before/after, come home and recover, and not have any travel. ¬†But it just felt like it was time for a change.

So, we signed up for the¬†Dam to Dam¬†half marathon in Des Moines, DT’s beloved hometown.

Welcome runners

We rolled into town Friday afternoon and picked up our race stuff at the convention center.

Veterans Auditorium

DT and me, packet pickup

Free food and beer to fuel up for the run!

Coors - packet pickup

park - packet pickup

Downtown DSM

After the serious business, we met up with a couple of DT’s DSM friends at Confluence Brewing Company.

Confluence Brewing Co

brewing tanks

brewing tanks 2

Confluence’s¬†taproom was very lively with the Friday-after-work-it’s-the-weekend crowd.

Confluence tap room

Their Des Moines IPA was tasty.

Confluence menu

Confluence bar

Next up came our pre-race dinner ritual: ¬†PIZZA. ¬†When in DSM, there is no other option than Tavern, DT’s most favorite pizza on the entire planet.

Tavern outside

Tavern bar

Tavern menu

Here is our steamy, ooey-gooey pepper cheese pie from heaven:

Tavern pepper cheese pizza

We devoured it.

As much as we wanted to flit¬†about¬†and party late into the night, we had to behave ourselves. ¬†Behaving is so hard sometimes, especially in such a fun town! ¬†We capped our evening at Charlie’s Filling Station with their famous freshly-squeezed OJ Screwdrivers. ¬†Ahhh! ¬†Like health in a glass (Wellll….kind of! ¬†Healthy with vodka? ¬†Okay sure).

Goooooooooooood MORNING, sunshines!

race morning

Gah!  This was taken at 4:30 am Рso very early!  Big morning ahead.

I wish I would have had my camera to take photos of the starting line at the Saylorville Dam.  It was a really beautiful spot, and the before-dawn calm was incredible.

The race started at 7:00 am with 9,000 registered runners.  The route took us from the first dam, through the rural outskirts of Des Moines, into residential neighborhoods, along the Des Moines River, and we landed downtown to finish.  DT and I loved the change of scenery!

We crossed the finish line, gulped down some Powerade, and [very stiffly and slowly] made our way toward Court Avenue where the farmer’s market was in full swing. ¬†Can I just tell you AGAIN how much I LOVE the Des Moines Farmer’s Market??

DSM farmer's market 1

It was absolutely, positively the BEST energy we could have found after our 13.1-mile trek.

DSM farmer's market 2

Run done, man!

DT and me, post-race

We grew roots at Mickey’s – more Screwdrivers tasted pretty darn good. ¬†And, it was an amazing morning to be out on a patio (thankfully the sun didn’t come out during the run or we would have been on fire – it was already 70 degrees at the start, eep! ¬†We had a little drizzly rain along the way which actually felt quite nice).

A few other friends of DT’s popped in to say hello and visit.


After our refreshments and lunch, we checked into our Saturday night hotel, The Savery.  We stayed here a few years ago and were glad to be back Рgreat accommodations and a prime location downtown.

Savery outside

Savery lobby 1

Savery lobby 2

Savery room 1

Savery room 2

Savery room 3

Savery view 1

Savery view 2

Then we napped. ¬†Ohhh, I love naps! ¬†By the time we fell asleep around 3:00 we’d already been awake over 11 hours and had run a half marathon. ¬†Whew! ¬†The R&R felt amazing.

We met up with still more friends of DT’s (he’s quite popular, isn’t he?) at Court Avenue Brewing Company. ¬†Then on to El Bait Shop.

El Bait Shop outside

El Bait Shop patio

120 beers on tap, yowza!

El Bait Shop taps

DT and me, El Bait Shop patio

Downtown DSM 2

El Bait Shop inside

Such a fun place!

DT and me, El Bait Shop

Our final stop of the night was over to Raccoon River Brewing Company for their delectable vanilla cream ale.

Raccoon River Brewing

This here is like a pint of crack, it’s so so good.

Vanilla cream ale

Stick a fork in me, I’m DONE!

What an awesomely wonderful, albeit long, day. ¬†DT and I had a blast, that’s all there is to it.

Before leaving town Sunday, we made a trip to Hy-Vee (where shopping for groceries is simply a delight) and visited DT’s¬†Grandma Mo. ¬†Then the long ride home.

We’re already making plans for next year’s Dam to Dam, but it’s going to be tough to top our inaugural run!