So, my ninth Army Ten Miler is in the books! Since I had so many worries before this race, I will make this recap a story of happy endings.
My Packet Pick-Up Happy Ending
My GPS led me astray–and right past the Nationals Stadium an hour before the first playoff series game–but once I was headed in the right direction, traffic, parking, and packet pick-up were a breeze. I roamed the expo for a bit, but didn’t find anything cool that I didn’t already have.
Representing the CUCB Ten Mile Run at the ATM!
My Weather Happy Ending
When my alarm went off at 5:00 am, it was raining. I checked the weather channel app an it showed rain through 7:00 am, which I had not planned for. I did some last minute rummaging for my rain jacket (just in case it didn’t stop raining) and cut a neck hole in a trash bag (to keep me dry until the start). It was still raining when I left the house, but had stopped by the time I headed over to the staging area.
I sat in my car for a few minutes to wait out the rain
My Race Logistics Happy Ending
I had planned to take an alternate route to avoid the inevitable back-ups on the highway, but luckily I tried it out on Saturday because it wouldn’t have worked! On Sunday I left the house at 6:20, and took an earlier exit to approach Pentagon City from a different direction. There was a huge back-up getting into the Pentagon City Mall parking garage, but luckily I knew the Pentagon City Row parking garage was just around the corner, and it had plenty of parking. After a long walk to the staging area, a short line at the port-a-pottys, and another long walk, I was at the starting line by about 7:20.
Soliders making sure Wave 1 stays behind the Wounded Warriors.
I’ve never been so close to the start before, and it was nice to be able to hear the invocation prayer, almost see the Color Guard, and be right there when the Wounded Warriors took off.
As we were waiting to start, it was hard not to feel unworthy to be there. I felt unworthy as a runner, as the (mostly) men around me planned their 6-minute/mile runs, and I felt unworthy as an American, being surrounded by so many who give so much more for our country. But the emcee gave a shout out to all of us running the race, and I was grateful to be participating.
The wind wasn’t nearly as bad as it was at the 2016 CUCB ,
but it was fierce during the final stretch.
My Race Goal Happy Ending
I thought my calf had recovered from the Reston 10 Miler, but even before I got out bed it let me know it was cranky. I didn’t know what to do about it, so I slathered on Biofreeze under my compression socks, and spent a few minutes rolling it on a lacrosse ball while I drank my coffee. I was afraid of aggravating it more, but hoped I could release it just enough to make it through the race. I had a vision of having to drive myself home after a DNF, but quickly pushed that out of my mind.
My calf felt a bit heavy/tight as I started running, but didn’t threaten to seize up. The first three miles went really quickly: 8:10, 8:00, 8:06. Miles 4 and 5 felt slow, but that just proves that I do not have a good sense of my pacing: 8:03, 7:56. During miles 6 and 7, I tried to pull back in preparation for the 14th Street Bridge. 8:20, 8:19. As I ran across the bridge, I told myself that I was not going to fall apart on the bridge but instead I would RUN STRONG! And I did: 8:16.
After the bridge, there was crowd support again in Crystal City, but I think the rain kept a lot of people away. It was pretty empty around mile 9 (8:12) and sparser than usual along the final approach (8:33). The last 1/2 mile was tough because (a) it seemed to take forever, and (b) there was a wicked headwind . As I approached the finish line I could see the clock ticking towards 1:24, and mustered enough energy to finish in 1:23:xx.
Yes, I did run strong! Not a PR, but better than my 8:20 goal.
Official Chip Time = 1:22:35
As soon as I finished, I knew my calves were shot, but I kept walking to get my medal and post-race food, and get on the shuttle bus back to the main parking lot. By then it was sunny, windy and COLD, and I had nothing but Starbucks on my mind. 🙂
My Recovery Happy Ending
Once I got home, I enjoyed a warm Epsom salt bath in our whirlpool tub (which only gets used on race day), and then booked a 75 minute sports massage for tomorrow. Thank goodness I took the day off!
I really do think ice baths make my legs feel fresher,
but I also think a warm Epsom salt bath would be better for my calf.
I refueled with one of my favorite post-race lunches–Wonton Soup from Trader Joe’s. It’s easy on my stomach, and I figure the salty broth will help rebalance my electrolytes after all the sweating I did.
Look for it in the frozen food section.
If you ran this weekend (the Army Ten Miler or any other race–Brooklyn? Chicago? Steamtown?) I’d love for you to link up your recap. I’ll keep the link up all month.