Bob Hope and Bing Crosby never did one of their "Road to..." movies about Des Moines, but perhaps they should have. As I learned last year (and would realize again this year) it is really a fun place!
Saturday morning I was off on the road to Des Moines to run in the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon. It was a beautiful, albeit windy, day to travel. A couple of brief notes about the drive down:
-I had a great breakfast in downtown Faribault at Bernie’s Grill. It was a cute little cafe in the old part of the city, where they still park diagonally on the streets. It was a like a trip back in time.
-I stopped in Clear Lake, IA, to see the Surf Ballroom. I have been through this town on numerous occasions, so I thought it was time. Astute music historians will know that the Surf Ballroom was host to the last concerts of Richie Valens, the Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly, a tragic event in 1959 that became known as ”the day the music died.”
Arriving in Des Moines, I went immediately to the packet pickup area. This was at a huge sports expo with athletic vendors, speakers, and displays. I went through the line and got my number, timing chip, and the coolest shirt I have ever received at a race. They gave everyone long sleeved, microfiber running shirts. This is great! Something I can actually use for running, as opposed to the normal cotton blend shirts you get at most races.
Having some time to kill before checking in to my hotel, I wandered into the “East Village” of Des Moines where Wells Fargo was hosting a World Food Festival. This was intended to showcase some of the diverse offerings in Des Moines, and they had all kinds of Indian, Asian, and Latin American cuisines to offer. I did not partake, since I would be eating dinner in a few hours. That, and I because most of these foods are, shall we say, aggressively seasoned, I wanted to be careful because I was running tomorrow. When it comes to racing, bland is better! :) But it all smelled so good that it was hard to pass up.
The World Food Festival in the shadows of the Iowa State Capital
I finally checked in to the Renaissance Savery Hotel. This is easily one of the nicest hotels I have stayed at. I was on the 9th floor and had a view overlooking the State Capital building. The room even had two bathrooms and featured such exotic toiletries as mint-thyme shampoo and lemongrass scented soap (it is not everyday that shower soap makes you hungry for Thai curry...hey, perhaps I should have eaten something at the World Food Festival!). Anyhow, it was a beautiful room and a quiet hotel, which was nice. The start and finish of tomorrow's race was just outside the door, too.
Dinner this evening would be at the Raccoon River Brewing Company. A little carbo loading with some lobster mafaldine, and I would retire to my room to watch a little NASCAR night racing and some rest. Tomorrow would be a busy day.
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