Race Recap: Army Ten Miler

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:

The back:

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.

43 Comments on Race Recap: Army Ten Miler

  1. Gwen
    October 10, 2011 at 8:39 am (9 years ago)

    GREAT race girl! So glad you shouted to me! You looked great! My cousin and friend joked that it was actually a half with all of the extra walking to the start and back to the metro after the finish! xoox

    • Beth
      October 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm (9 years ago)

      SERIOUSLY! It was suuuuuuuuch a long distance both before and after the race. I heard a few years ago they didn’t even hand water bottles out after the finish line, but this year they did at least!

  2. Lauren
    October 10, 2011 at 9:06 am (9 years ago)

    Congrats girl!! What a beautiful day for a run and you did awesome!

  3. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    October 10, 2011 at 9:13 am (9 years ago)

    Great job Beth!!!

    And I totally know what you mean about getting emotional at the end and almost crying. There have been plenty of times when I start crying during a long (8+ miles) run.

  4. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    October 10, 2011 at 9:42 am (9 years ago)

    The one plus about races that are later in the fall vs races in the middle of summer? Later start times… lol

  5. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning
    October 10, 2011 at 10:21 am (9 years ago)

    I love the last part. “And this is why I run.”
    You really can’t describe that feeling of accomplishment- there’s just nothing like being with a group of other runners all with the same goal to cross that finish line…
    Congrats on a great race! 🙂

  6. Jennifer
    October 10, 2011 at 11:02 am (9 years ago)

    Congrats on a great race!!

  7. Jenny
    October 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm (9 years ago)

    Congrats on a great race! I’m definitely doing this one next year!

  8. Jen@foodfamilyfitness
    October 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm (9 years ago)

    Great job!!! Thanks for the tip on Sunflower Butter, 5P+ for my regular nut butters is killing me!

    • Beth
      October 10, 2011 at 4:18 pm (9 years ago)

      I know. Nutbutters are SO high pts+ but they are so delicious!

  9. Heather
    October 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm (9 years ago)

    Congrats on the race!

  10. Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
    October 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm (9 years ago)

    That is a HUGE race! 30,000! Yikes.

    I love your positive attitude about the race and I feel you on the experience being humbling and empowering all in one. You have me all excited for my 15K this weekend! 🙂 Congrats on your race!!!!

    • Beth
      October 10, 2011 at 4:13 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks Tina! You know, I’ve never run a 15k before but there’s one on December 3rd called the Hot Chocolate 15k that I’m highly considering signing up for. I can’t wait to hear how yours goes!

    • Beth
      October 10, 2011 at 2:36 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks Erika! It’s one of those workout tops from Target that’s really loose around the midsection. It has a built in bra that is supportive enough on it’s own, so I actually went yesterday to get two more because I loved it so much!!

  11. Christie
    October 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm (9 years ago)

    Great job!! I’m a new follower and found you through shape.com. Congrats on your race. I’m looking forward to following your blog and your story.

    • Beth
      October 10, 2011 at 4:11 pm (9 years ago)

      Hi Christie – So glad you found me! And thanks for the congratulations – it means a lot!

  12. Jodi
    October 10, 2011 at 3:53 pm (9 years ago)

    Congrats on the race Beth. I love the medal you got. My husband was in the Army and it looks like the challenge coins he received. We have them framed with pieces from his uniform. Hooah!

    • Beth
      October 10, 2011 at 4:11 pm (9 years ago)

      That’s actually an awesome idea! I have a bunch of race bibs and medals and have been thinking about doing a framed piece to hang up with all those things. Thank you!!

  13. Maren
    October 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm (9 years ago)

    And congratulations on what seems to be a great race!
    Can I just tell you that I’ve just started on my weight loss journey, and that I am stoked to have found this blog! I need every bit of inspiration I can get, and you offer bucket loads! Thank you 🙂

    All the best,
    Maren in Norway

  14. Sarah
    October 10, 2011 at 5:25 pm (9 years ago)


  15. cristina
    October 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm (9 years ago)

    Yayyy! Congratulations on the finish and the amazing time!!! this was actually the first race I ever did. Your post made me remember what a fun time it was. I have my little charm thing from it, in a little chest that i keep on my nightstand with the currency from other countries. It’s something that I don’t look at everyday, but whenever i go fishing for foreign currency before a trip, i am reminded of that rainy morning in October when I completed my first race.

  16. Chetney
    October 10, 2011 at 10:26 pm (9 years ago)

    YAY BETH! You are amazing, for real! Maybe you can put something on the top of the medallion, and put a ribbon through it and make it a medal! That’s if you hang all your other ones up! What running shoes are you wearing, would you recommend them?

  17. Nick
    October 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm (9 years ago)

    I came across this post while looking into the Army 10-Miler and I was a bit shocked. You need to take in more calories. Your pre-race breakfast was a mere snack, not a meal and certainly not enough food before a race. At no point on a 10 mile run should you need to take in a gel, never mind two of them. I understand you are all about weight loss but starving yourself is not the way. Food is fuel, not the enemy. If you’re questioning my knowledge on this matter I can give you my name and you can google it.

    • Beth
      October 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm (9 years ago)

      Hi Nick! Thanks for your feedback. The pre-race “meal” was about 350 calories (~100 for the bagel thin, ~200 for the nut butter, ~50 for the raisins). In no way do I recommend nor encourage starving yourself! My main motivation in eating what you classify as a snack pre-race is because I don’t like to wake up early enough to eat a full meal and give it enough time to digest. I was at a Healthy Living Summit last year and saw a presentation given by two nutritionists on fueling for fitness, and was told that your body stores enough glycogen for 60-75 minutes of activity, so you should plan to fuel during a run if you are going to be running more time than that. Because I am a little on the slow side, it took me 95 minutes to run the race. Normally I would only take 1 gel during a run (around mile 5.5 or 55 minutes for me), but I just was listening to my body and needed the pick me up at that point in a race.

      I would be glad to get your input on recommended pre-race meals and your input on fueling during a race. Also, you are more than welcome to do a guest post on this topic because I’m sure my readers would appreciate the insight!

      Let me know,

      • Theresa @ActiveEggplant
        October 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm (9 years ago)

        I think race nutrition is SUCH an individual matter. I can eat a small breakfast – similar to what you ate – before I head out for a run (otherwise I get an upset stomach) and I am guilty of taking in fuel during runs that are LESS than 10 miles. (6 miles is my limit – anything more than that and I need a gel to finish strong.) Does that mean I’m doing something wrong? No – it just means I’m fueling my body in a way that works for me.

        I think it’s dangerous for someone to make a blanket statement about whether what you ate before the race is adequate and whether or not you really “needed” the gels. You know your body, you know now you trained, you know what works for you food & fuel-wise.

        • leahk
          October 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm (9 years ago)

          As an MPH I’m not sure how someone can tell you you aren’t eating enough calories and then telling you you shouldn’t need to take GU during a race. That makes no sense at all… 550 calories in for a 1,000 burned… I think that’s a great balance if it works for you! I am only able to handle juice before I run, and then I also took 2 GUs (1 pre race/1 during). Fueling is very personal and you aren’t starving yourself to run! Congrats on the great race!!

  18. Jury
    October 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm (9 years ago)

    Congrats, awesome job!!!

  19. Rebecca Scritchfield, RD
    October 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm (9 years ago)

    Hey Beth, you know what you tolerate on your training and races. I don’t think Nick can really give you advice on your blog without knowing you and what feels good. There are ideal targets and “whatever works for the athlete”. You may have not needed any gels if you were well trained or maybe they give you a psychological “boost” and most likely it was like having 3 fueling options. pre-race and gels during. You know you can always ask me if you want tips for ideal race nutrition.


  20. Mindy
    October 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm (9 years ago)

    Congrats! I am running my very first half marathon this Sunday in Hershey PA. The longest race I have ever run prior to this was a 5 miler and I came in LAST. I was so embarrassed I ended up having a panic attack and they called an ambulance. I have had finish line phobia since! But it doesn’t stop me from trying. I’ve run a handful of 5K’s since then. In June we started training for the Half Marathon! I run about a 12 minute pace… 2 weeks agomy running buddy and I ran a practice 13.1 and finished with an average 12:50 pace. I was told in July 2009 that I’d Never run again due to my weight, my bad knees and stenosis of my spine. Just tell me what I can’t do and that’s what I do… August 1st 2009 I joined WW and I lost 90 pounds since then and in the last 17 weeks of training I have run over 295 miles to prep for this race. I may be slow but I will always be faster than those who don’t try!

    • Beth
      October 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm (9 years ago)

      Yay Mindy!!!!!!!! You will ROCK that half marathon. Who cares how fast you go? You’re doing it! Congratulations on all your success with WW. It really is a wonderful program, isn’t it?! I leave for leader training one week from tomorrow, and i’m so excited!

  21. Lydia (@InhabitBeauty)
    October 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm (9 years ago)

    I’m amazed that the race had so many participants – more than my entire town!

    Very cool medal and an awesome race recap. So glad you had a positive experience.

  22. Liz
    October 13, 2011 at 2:41 pm (9 years ago)

    Congrats Beth! That race looks crazy crowded, but I hope to do it one day.
    p.s. you look great!
    p.p.s. I can’t eat a lot before races and I think your pre-race fuel is fine.

  23. Allison
    October 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm (9 years ago)

    Aww man! For once the medal has a really cool back and this is the year I missed it. (Had a wedding to go to.)

    Awesome time though! I’m with the slowpokes finishing in about 2 hours. 🙂

  24. tim
    October 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm (8 years ago)

    Hi Beth,
    Thanks for your recap of last year’s Army Ten Miler. I am running this year’s race and have a Quick question for ya, were you able to carry your cellphone or camera with you to take these photos? Or did you have to give it to someone ???

    • Beth
      October 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm (8 years ago)

      Hi Tim! I know a lot of races say no headphones/no phones, but I always carry it with me (even if it technically against the rules). Don’t tell them I told you it was OK, but there are so many runners there’s no way anyone would notice!

      • tim
        October 23, 2012 at 11:57 am (8 years ago)

        Beth, thanks so much for the response! THE ATM was wonderful, and yes the cell phone was NO problem at all.
        Take care!


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