Participating in yesterday’s Army Ten Miler completely refreshed my love for running and racing. Though it wasn’t a PR (just about a minute slower than the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler from earlier this year), it was an awesome race with perfect running weather and just reminded me why I participate in these things. The crowd support and inspiration from the other runners left me feeling energized, emotional, and humbled.
But, let’s rewind a bit, shall we?
This race didn’t start until 8am, which feels later than many races I’ve run, so my alarm didn’t go off until 6am. I actually had a really, really hard time waking up and considered not waking up for a little while, but since I paid for the race, I couldn’t justify skipping it and forced myself to get up! Luckily, I had laid my gear out the night before:
Running top, capris, Spibelt, visor, sneakers, socks, Garmin, bib, Vanilla Bean GU.
I prepped my standard pre-race breakfast:
Bagel thin toasted with sunflower butter and sprinkled with raisins. (Side note: I am totally obsessed with sunflower butter now. It only has 2 pts+/tablespoon <less than almond butter or peanut butter> and tastes SO good. It’s also got an awesome drippy-ish consistency so it spreads and drizzles REALLY easily!)
After drinking some water, I geared myself up and got ready to head out the door.
Taking pictures of yourself in a mirror is difficult, so that’s the best I could do.
I ended up biking down to the metro so I wouldn’t have to change lines, and then taking the metro to the site of the race. Because I took so long to get out of bed, I had no time to waste and headed to the starting line immediately. It was CROWDED!
30,000 runners for this one, which is probably the biggest race I’ve ever participated in. I was in the slowest corral (because I bought someone else’s bib), which was purple. It was crazy how far the purple corral was from the start line!
We didn’t get crossed over until 25 minutes after 8 because we had to walk so far from where we waited. While waiting, I saw three people wearing these shirts that I was obsessed with.
True that! (And don’t worry, I asked her if it was OK to take a picture of her shirt..)
Once we finally got to the start, we were off! The first mile was a little annoying because it was just SO crowded, and I wanted to go a lot faster than I was able to. When I heard my Garmin beep, I was shocked the mile was under 10 minutes – it felt like I was going so slow! But the first five miles went really smoothly and I was feeling strong the entire time.
Mile 1: 9:46
Mile 2: 9:01
Mile 3: 9:29
Mile 4: 8:49 (!!!)
Mile 5: 9:19
Once I hit the half way mark, I was still feeling pretty good but could tell I was running out of steam, so I ate a GU. The crowd support was great during the first half of the race and there were water stops at almost every mile! I stopped to talk through the water stop after Mile 3 and again after Mile 5. Then, it was onto the second half of the race!
I continued to feel really strong through mile 6 and 7, but then around mile 7.5 I started to struggle a bit. Miles 7.5 – 9.25 were along Interstate 395, so there were no water stops OR crowd support, when I needed it the most. I ended up taking another GU around mile 8, and it helped give me the little bit of a push that I needed. Once we got to Mile 9.25, the crowd support was amazing through the finish line.
Mile 6: 9:37
Mile 7: 9:25
Mile 8: 9:34
Mile 9: 9:50
Mile 10: 9:28
And then, I was done!!!
Official Time: 1 hour 35 minutes 29 seconds, or a 9:32 average pace!
Every time I run a race that is 10 miles or more, I am so overcome with emotion when I cross the finish line. Even typing about this now makes me on the verge of tearing up and I can’t even explain it. I think it has a lot to do with just being totally out of steam at the end and just having to dig deep to run, though it doesn’t happen for me during practice runs so I think it has more to do with the crowd and the energy around the race.
Once we crossed the finish line and made the very long trek to the finishers area, we were given gold finisher coins to commemorate our participation in the race. The front:
I’m not quite sure what to do with it (since I can’t hang it up like I do medals), but I love it none-the-less.
I ended up taking a shuttle back to the start line since I had checked my bag, and if you ever decide to run the Army Ten Miler, I highly highly recommend you NOT check a bag. It was annoying to have to go back and added so much unnecessary time to the end of the race when I just wanted to be on my way home!
Besides that small thing though, I loved the race and walked away feeling on top of the world.
And this is why I run.