Proving Des Moines is NOT boring

On Your Marks, Get Set…Register!

Well, it is clearly that time of year again.  Emails in my inbox and posts on my newsfeeds are all announcing registrations for various runs, races and rides in the year ahead.  Thankfully for most of these, the events are still months away, but dates are being decided and schedules are being made.  Even if the winds are approaching 50 MPH outside and wind chills are dropping temperatures below zero, we can still daydream of warmer days ahead.  My tip for staying warm this week: plan for warmer days and you will feel instantly warmer!

IMG_0114I participate in both running and bicycling events, but I only take running seriously.  I run in competitive races where my goal is to beat a previous time or rank in the top of my age group.  I also run in races where my goal is to get free beer at the end.  There are so many race/ride options available in Des Moines, today I am focus on the beer-related ones.  We can talk training programs another time!

Registration is open and has been for some time for the 37th annual BRR – Bike Ride to Rippey.  Now this is not a ride I have ever participated in, nor do I ever intend to.  Remember I hate cold and while there is a shot that February 1st will hit 50 degrees, it is not a good shot and not a shot I am willing to take!  But this iconic ride only continues to grow in popularity and from what I hear, leads up to a pretty impressive after party.  The day starts in downtown Perry with breakfast at the Hotel Pattee.  There is a Hot Chocolate Break available mid-ride as the bikers make their way to Rippey and then back to Perry.  And while not officially sanctioned by the ride, as I mentioned before, post-ride is a great party.  It sounds like a blast….just wish the BRR ride could be in June!

I have taken a chance on the weather, however, in March for the St. Paddy’s Day 5K Bar Run.  Remembering the blissfully mild March in 2012, my husband and I registered for the 2013 version.  With temps near 40 and light drizzle all day, we didn’t get exactly the weather we hoped for…but we also recognize it could have been way worse.  Details for the 2014 edition are currently scarce, but the date has been announced (March 8th). Last year we ran our way from bar to bar in downtown Des Moines dressed ridiculously in all shades of green.  My time (about 4 hours) wasn’t my best 5K time, but the time we had running from bar to bar and enjoying all the delicious beverages was definitely a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Fast forward to May, when the temperatures should finally be acceptable.  One of my favorite local breweries, Confluence Brewing Company, has announced their first annual Confluence Brewery Bike Tour on May 31st.  The ride starts between 7 and 9 am at Confluence.  Riders have the option of a 25 or a 50 mile route, either way returning to the brewery for the after party.  Registration does include a pint of Confluence beer at the end, so riders have something to look forward to.  My only concern is that this ride conflicts directly with my absolute favorite competitive run of the year (Dam to Dam) which also offers free beer at the end.  Decisions, decisions!

Finally, the second annual Run to Exile has announced June 14th as its date this year.  This race offers three lengths (half marathon, 10K and 5K), each leading runners to Exile Brewing Company where participants are treated to an after party with food from Des Moines restaurants and, of course, Exile’s fabulous beer.  Online registration will begin on February 1st, at which time you can start daydreaming of Des Moines in June!

So while the winds outside may still be howling, thoughts of warmth should begin to creep in as you envision yourself running, or riding, or frankly just post-race drinking at one of the many fabulous events coming in 2014.  Time to get out your calendars!