This year was my seventh time running the Army Ten Miler, and the 30th anniversary of the race. Since I started the day without much of a plan and ended up with an unexpected PR, I will remember this Army Ten Miler recap as Lucky Number Seven.
This year also was the 30th year for the GW Parkway Classic—
I guess 1985 was a good year for running!
With all my recent racing, I’ve got my pre-race preparations down to a simple routine. I fix homemade spaghetti and turkey meatballs for dinner.
I lay out my gear, and leave myself a list for the morning:
Gatorade, Garmin, earbuds, phone.
I relax with a beer, check out other race preparation posts on Facebook, set my alarm, and go to bed early.
The Army Ten Miler has wave starts, but I wanted to make sure I was lined up for the National Anthem at 7:40 and the Wounded Warrior start at 7:50, so we planned to leave the house at 6:45. I decided I would skip my pre-race shower, so I set my alarm for 5:30.
When we got to the Pentagon, I took a moment to enjoy this gorgeous sky.
I took it as a sign that this was going to be a great race!
I spent a few minutes trying to find people, but gave up when I realized that my wave started earlier than I thought, and that I needed to use the porta pottys. I was walking to my corral when they started the National Anthem, and was pleased to see everyone stop and listen. At the Arm Ten Miler, people take these ceremonies seriously.
I was touched by the convocation, especially when the chaplain reminded us to notice the graves of the fallen that we would pass as we looped through Arlington National Cemetery, and all of the monuments and memorials we would see along the rest of the route. Nothing was more moving than seeing the Wounded Warriors on the course.
I don’t usually take pictures during a race, but I wanted to remember and honor this soldier and be grateful for the sacrifices that so many have made so that I can enjoy the freedom of waking up on a beautiful Sunday morning to run a race through our nation’s capital.
This being the Army, everything was right on time, and my wave started at 8:16. I had no specific goals for this race, but was hoping to be faster than I was at the Reston Perfect 10, when it was warmer and hillier. I might have had an 8:25 pace at the back of my mind, but I really wasn’t focused on my pace. I was enjoying the day and just tried to keep a hard but sustainable pace.
I was happy with my first split time, and surprised at the sub-8:00 splits for the next two miles. I don’t think I saw that fourth split time, but I remember trying to pace myself better (and save something for the bridge) for the next few miles. I felt really strong for the first section of the bridge (mile 7-8), but had to work to sustain my pace for the last, sunny, section. I definitely was getting tired by mile 9, but I knew I had more to give for the last mile, so once I passed the 9th mile marker I tried to pick up my pace again. I was huffing and puffing as I reached the Pentagon parking lot–and thrilled when I realized that I was not going to have to go up one last overpass to reach the finish line!
When I saw the time on my Garmin, I thought it might be close to a PR for this race, but I had to pull up my Race Recap page to make sure. 🙂
I collected my medal, picked up a banana and some snacks from the post-race offerings, and made my way to the shuttle bus back to the other end of the Pentagon parking lot, where my husband was waiting. (He rode his bike to cheer me on along the course, and headed back to the Pentagon after seeing me at mile 9.) I was deciding whether I would take an ice bath when my calf cramped up as I got on the bus, so we stopped at Starbucks and got ice on the way home.
Now I’m ready for my next race — the .US National 12K on my birthday in November!
Is there an event you do year after year?
Do you have any races left on your 2014 calendar?