Another 10 mile run is in the books!
After years of being encouraged to sign up for the Army 10-miler, I finally took the plunge and registered. Unfortunately, in early October, I was sick for about two weeks, and I couldn’t complete some of the longer runs that I had planned. Despite the little set back, I decided to tackle the course.
5am came earlier than usual, and I met up with some friends before the race. You know what is chaotic? 30,000 people waiting to use porta-potties. I am pretty sure we waited about 35 minutes before getting to one, but let’s be honest, the bathroom line is always worth the wait in the end.
My run was slow goings right off the bat. I was hoping for an 11 or 12 minute mile pace, but my legs seemed to think a 13 minute mile were much more appealing. So, 13 minute miles it was.
One thing was apparent – I missed listening to music. There was a ban on headphones on this course, so I was stuck with only the thoughts in my head and songs in my heart. (BORING!) The lack of music really left me wanting…so I did what any other person would do…I tried eavesdropping on runners who were racing together. Let’s just say that my social experiment didn’t pan out, so mental note making filled my time.
Then around mile three, I heard a piccolo player. I thought it was cool that he was out there supporting us…and then he ran right past me. Yes, that is right, a guy running the race passed me while playing John Phillip Sousa. I had to clap – now that is some impressive breath control.
At mile 4, I learned that drinking a big bottle of water before the race was not wise, and I had to stop and use the restrooms. Usually these stops are for two minutes, maybe less. With 30K peeps on the road and pit stops supposedly every 2 miles, Yup, I waited 10 minutes. I am proud to say that I kept it classy and didn’t go off and pee on one of our national park trees like some ladies I saw! My pit stop gave me enough time to update my facebook status, respond to some emails, and and to study the course map. After my “active rest” stop, I was back in business and I felt great running to the 10K point.
I passed a few wounded warriors who were walking the 10 miles on prothetics. I wish I could describe how inspirational it was to see these men and women out there, but words are failing me. I congratulated each wounded warrior I saw and encouraged them to keep up the pace!
Then, came what I considered the highlight of the race. Race traffic was headed both ways on Independence, and I was able to slap hands with other runners for about a mile. For me, this is a huge motivator. I was still running with some reserves in the tank, but we had just passed the 10K point, and other runners were getting tired and walking. When people who stopped to walk see a hand extended, they start running again to give the hand a high five. I know I have been that walker in the past who needed a simple high five to get me running again. It felt really good for me to be the runner encouraging the people after me to start running again! I felt awesome at the final water stop, and even better when one of the soldiers told me I had only 2 more miles to the finish line. I kicked it up, and I tackled the 14th Street Bridge thinking I how I was going to own those two miles…
…and then I saw the 8 mile marker. I realized I misheard the soldier, and running being a very mental sport, my heart sank. That solo piccolo song in my heart faded off…and I slowed to walk/jog a spell. BUT but as soon as I saw mile marker 9, I was back in business on the hunt for a strong finish. And strong finish I did! I cruised through the finish line, and I bet with another GU in my system, I could have continued on another 3.1 miles for a half.
My final race time, with potty stop, was 2:13:47. Not my fastest, but not my slowest either. When I finished, I took comfort in recalling one of the signs I saw on the race course, “You are running faster than Metro,” because I knew my 13 minute mile pace was indeed faster than Metro.