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Army Ten-Miler race report October 22, 2013

Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
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“Way back when,” when a colleague told me he couldn’t use his Army Ten-Miler bib, I bought it from him (gotta love races that allow folks to legally transfer numbers).  And “way back when,” I said that I was going to actually train for the race.  Well, “way back when” turned into “the race is this weekend,” and you can probably guess that training fell by the wayside, in favor of work and life and all of the usual excuses.

All of that said, I was still really excited about the Army Ten-Miler.  You see, I wasn’t a runner (or an athlete of any kind) when I lived in DC back in 2005-2008.  I was more of what you might call a drinker and a smoker (but not a midnight toker).  So, I have only recenly started seeing the District through a runner’s eyes, and I love what I see.  I couldn’t wait to run my first race in my new home, even if it was at a slow pace.

I went to the Expo on Saturday morning, and I zipped right through.  It was a large Expo, but it was still very well organized and easy to navigate.  Once I had my bib and shirt, I headed back home to relax and stay off my feet (by watching college football all day).  I made sure I had proper nutrition and hydration, and I went to bed early.  Since I didn’t have lofty expectations for myself, I wasn’t nervous at all and got a great night of sleep.

On race morning, I got up and geared up.  Even though it was pretty chilly, I opted for shorts and a tank, along with compression socks and arm warmers (which ended up being a great decision, since the sun warmed things up nicely).  After a quick bite to eat and a 5-Hour Energy, I jumped on Metro and made it to the start area really quickly.  I even had time for one more potty break before trying to find my orange corral.

The start area was kind of a CF.  There was “extra security,” which amounted to people being herded into one HUGE line, and then having to walk in front of law enforcement with arms up.  No scans, no wands, just hands up and a quick once-over.  There were colored balloon arches to tell you where to go for each wave, but there was no information and there were no signs indicating how to get there (and there were barricades everywhere, with no real sense of purpose or pattern).  Finally, though, the crowds parted enough that I could move toward where I was supposed to be.  I’m not sure what time we got started, but it was certainly after the planned 8:20 AM start for my wave.

In any case, we were off!  I tried to stay nice and steady in the first mile or so, since I have a tendency to let the adrenaline get the best of me and start off too fast.  The view over the Memorial Bridge was amazing, and running up Virginia Avenue was just enough of an incline to give me some good stretching.  We ran by the Potomac River for a while, and then we wound our way past a bunch of the monuments/memorials and through the Smithsonian area.  The last couple of miles, where we were on the 14th Street Bridge and the highway, were less scenic and not so interesting.  But the finisher’s chute at the Pentagon was definitely a welcome sight!  Overall, I really enjoyed the course.

Early in the going, I decided to do intervals (run 8 minutes/walk 2 minutes), which ended up being a great choice – I had almost NO PAIN for the entire ten miles.  I was able to finish strong and meet my goal of finishing in under two hours (official time was 1:58:14)!  The best part was that I still had a little bit in the tank, so if the race were a half marathon, I still could have completed it.  Win!

I didn’t stick around for the post-race festivities, opting instead to head home and eat all the food.  Bottom line, I would definitely do the Army Ten-Miler again.  I am really excited that it renewed my love of running – for reasons I’ll get into in a future post, I’m going to be running a lot more in the coming months!

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