Army Ten Miler (Race Recap)

If you want honesty…

The truth is I totally forgot how much I love this race. 

Because I normally run the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM,) and it falls two week after the Army Ten Miler (ATM,) I usually skip the ATM. I skip it because it is taper time during my marathon training, and there is no point to race a 10 miler, when I should be running at my marathon pace. Different race distances are run at different paces.

THE COURSE

However, the running community definitely sets up the ATM with the idea that many marathon runners will run it in prep for MCM, and many marathoner do run it for that reason. The course is very similar to MCM, both start at the pentagon, and both include, the street along the waterfront under the memorial bridge, the national mall, and the 14th street bridge.

2014-course-map-FINAL

The Washington, DC area has tons of race, however after, 7 years of running races in the area, they all kind of feel familiar. This can be to my advantage because I know the roads I am running on, however it can also get boring.¬†I love MCM’s race course, because it feels different from all the rest. But, ATM’s race course is a little bit similar to MCM, so it is no shocker that I love ATM too.

THE EXPO

The Expo is two days long. You can either pick your bib up on Friday or on Saturday. I normally go on Friday – it is best to get there early so you have more option on merchandise. This is a big big race, close to 30,000 people, so stuff and sizes go quick. Unfortunately, this time I got there late on Saturday, and a lot of stuff was already cleared out.

One of my favorite vendors is ONE MORE MILE. They are known for their funny quotes. I followed my tradition and got a comfy long sleeve running T- shirt from them. This time I got the one that said, WTF on the front, Where’s the Finish on the back. ¬†It fits my personality perfectly, because you can find me saying that out loud during the last mile of almost every race I run.

I don’t get why anyone would skip the expo or rush through it. The expo gives you the opportunity to find some great running gear at a discounted price. It also gives you the opportunity to learn about new products or new races and running organizations. It also is you last chance to get anything you may need on race day, including gu, sports beans, socks, etc.

So my advice, never skip out. Go to the expo, and take your time shopping around.

THE NIGHT BEFORE ATM

I didn’t eat a pasta dinner like most runners do before a race. It was only a ten miler, so I wasn’t too concerned about carb loading. Instead, I made Indian. I have been making Indian recipes in my slow cooker. I’m pretty obsessed so I will be sharing recipes in future posts.

Before bed I set up my race outfit. I am not a morning person, so this has become my night before race ritual. I get everything ready, so I can easily make it through the dark early morning hours. I got a new outfit from lululemon.10481988_10102054543061286_547142070513935778_n This is normally a big no no. Every runner knows never to wear anything on race day that you haven’t run in before. But again it was only a 10 miler so I wasn’t too concerned, plus I have the shorts and tank top already in other colors, so technically I have run in them before.

RACE MORNING

I woke up at 5:30 am right before my alarm went off. I was ready to get up early and hit the pavement. L came to pick me up right at 6:15- she is never late. We parked at pentagon city and walked over to the start.

At the pentagon, we stripped down, checked our bags, and headed to our corral. L and I were in different corrals, but I stayed back with her, so we could start together. Raiza hung with us too.

1554459_10102055070229836_5761266037558468694_nLina and I at the start.

10660378_10102055076671926_72648916256479177_n

Wounded Warriors sky diving to the start.  The sun was rising and it was breath taking.

10696160_10102057136359296_2831030764303604559_n

Shoes are very important to a runner. Lina, Raiza, and I, we run in Newtons. I’m wearing the orange Gravity. Lina is wearing the purple Motion. Raiza is wearing the yellow Distance.

GAME PLAN

Before my wedding, I was working out like a crazy person. After, I was mentally and physically drained. I was burned out from being so competitive with myself. So I needed to relax this summer.¬†¬†I didn’t have a running watch most of the summer, because my garmin forerunner 50 died. So all summer¬†I was running whenever I felt like it, for fun.¬†¬†So for this race, I didn’t have a game plan, honestly, I had no clue how I was going to do.

HOW I DID

Whenever I run a 10 miler I always try to get under 1:30. The weather was perfect, and I was feeling good. I decided to just run whatever I felt. Turns out the first half I was running around an 8:30 min/mile, not a bad pace at all. The last half I wasn’t as consistent. I looked down at my watch and it ranged between 8:30 and 9 min/mile. I was still feeling pretty good though. By the time I saw the finish line, I sprinted as fast as I could. I made it with official time 1:29:24. It’s not a PR for me, but I kept it under 1:30. Once I was finished, I thought to myself I could keep going. I love that feeling. I am definitely a distance runner.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED

Before my wedding I was working out like a crazy lady. I was lifting and running 5 days a week. This summer I got really busy with life, something had to give. I have to remind myself that although running is a passion of mine, I have other passions too. Plus running is not a job – It doesn’t pay my bills. Sometimes I need to focus on other things. So this summer, I did focus on other things. I ran casually to have fun and stay in shape. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do during this race. I didn’t really train, I just ran shorter runs a couple times a week – WITH OUT A WATCH. Turns out I felt amazing during this race! There wasn’t one time during the race where I felt pain or wanted to stop. I just kept running and it felt good. I am really happy with my time, even though it wasn’t a PR. This race, definitely lit a fire in my heart, I think I got my running Mojo back! ¬†It was also great to run with my running buddies Lina and Raiza.

What fall races have you run? Have you ever trained with out a watch?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Army Ten Miler aka ATM

On Sunday, October 21st, 2012, I ran the Army Ten Miler. ¬†With almost 22,000 runners crossing the finish line, this is the largest ten mile race I have ever run. I was really excited to run this race because as popular as it is, I had never run it before. Normally, I am running the Marine Corps Marathon, which always falls on the weekend after the Army Ten Miler, so I don’t really see a point of running a 10 mile race the week before my marathon when I am already passed that point in my training.

EXPO

The Expo was held at DC Armory. Because it is a military event, security was tight. Everyones’ ids were checked and in order to enter you had to go through a medal detector. The long lines went by quickly and we were able to get our bibs and t shirts.

Me and my Bib. Bib # 9525

L with her bib number, and running in memory of her hubby who died fighting in Iraq.

Me with my t shirt!

What can I say… one of my favorite things to do is shop for new running stuff… So I love huge Expo’s with tons of vendors. One of my favorite vendors is One More Mile. One More Mile is a company know for the most hilarious phrases written on their t shirts. The shirts are not the best quality but they are fun and very comfortable to wear post race.

One More Mile

L found one for me that said, “Does this shirt make my butt look fast.” And I found one for her that said…

One Bad Mother Runner…

The Expo was also very well organized and although I didn’t buy anything from them, I spotted two of my other favorite vendors, Garmin and Newton.

NIGHT BEFORE RACE DAY

So the night before my race, I prepare everything. I get my my race outfit ready. I pack my baggage claim bag. Then I take a picture of everything and upload it to Facebook. All of my runner friends get it, and all of my non running friends think I’m weird. But that is what I do and L started to do the same thing. I guess you could call this a ritual, because I do it, the night before every race. This helps me at 5:30 in the morning, when it is too dark to see. I don’t need to see because everything is organized.

My race outfit!

If you are interested to know what makes up my race outfit please click here. I review each product in detail.

RACE MORNING

On the morning of the race, I received a “wake up” text from L at 5:30 am. Because I had prepared my race outfit and baggage claim bag the night before it didn’t take me long to get ready. The only thing I couldn’t find in the dark that morning was a hair tie which is ironic because I am a hairstylist. I normally have a pixie haircut and never needed to worry about my hair.

Anyway, L picked me up and we drove five minutes to Pentagon City where we parked and met up with friends. The start of the race was at the Pentagon, and although the Pentagon is walking distance from Pentagon City we decided to hop on the metro.

One of my favorite things about race morning is riding a metro train packed with runners. The energy that fills the train is intense, exciting, and positive. It really gets me pumped up.

30,000 runners at the Pentagon Metro stop.

THE START

Although, it was a little bit cold, L and I stripped down at the start and checked our bags.

L and I at the start of the ATM 

We got one last group shot and then headed to our corrals.

The whole gang at the start!

I love military races because they always have the most organized races and the most entertaining start lines. At the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon, all of the runners huddled together on 110 while they flew Military Jets over our heads. At this race, military men/women entered the race by sky diving to the start line.

the sky raining people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE RACE

Then the gun went off and the race began. Honestly, the start was a slow one for me. Once I started running, I began to feel really crowded and couldn’t run at the pace I had planned.

We ran down 110 to Arlington Cemetery. I love running on highways that I normally drive on. As I ran down 110 I began to remember the last time I ran down that highway, in Marine Corps Marathon.   We ran up to Arlington Cemetery and then over the Memorial Bridge. This part of the race was also very familiar because it is a part of one of my regular training routes. Then we ran around the Watergate Hotel, the Kennedy Center, the National Mall, then over the 14th Street Bridge.

The 14th Street Bridge is cool place to run over because it brings you from DC to Virginia. However, it is also an annoying place to run because whether you are running a 26.2 or a 10 miler it is a place that is hard for spectators to get to, and a place you really need support, being a spot towards the end of the race.

The 14th street bridge also brought back memories from when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. This was around mile 20 in the marathon and mile 8 in this 10 miler. So far, besides a slow start from crowding, I was feeling pretty amazing. I was running with natural form, landing on my forefoot. Legs felt strong. Breathing was good. My form was perfect, staying balanced and focussed.

landing lightly on my forefoot!

A tad bit of an over stride. The photos never lie.

running

However, it was on the 14th Street Bridge in this race that I started to feel a weird burning blistering sensation on the bottom of my feet. I continued running, and even sprinted to the finish line. After the race I checked the bottom of my feet and only had one small blister, and it wasn’t even a blood blister, so I guess it was just from friction feeling the ground. So although, I felt pretty amazing through most of the race, it is times like these (when I feel an unusual discomfort) that I begin to question how far I truly can run in the Newton shoes.

Finish line

Once over the bridge, the race route took us down to Pentagon City and finished where we started, at the Pentagon. Because L and I parked at Pentagon City, we decided that once we go our bags from baggage claim we would just walk over to the car. So thats what we did, which was shockingly quick and easy.

Overall, I though this race was pretty well organized, but not as organized as the Marine Corps Marathon. I though the route was pretty amazing and in the end I recommend this race to anyone and everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on the Newton Shoes

When I first started using the Newton shoes they felt extremely fast and light. I love that weightless feeling, however I have yet to PR in them. Since April I have run four 10 mile races two of them in my traditional running shoes, and two of them in my Newton shoes.

Cherry Blossom 10 miler -April 1st, 2012 –1:29:26 (traditional running ¬†shoe)

Parkway Classic 10 miler РApril 22nd, 2012 Р1:28:05 (traditional running shoe)

Annapolis 10 miler – August 26th, 2012 –¬†1:33:23¬†(Newton shoes)

Army 10 miler- October 21st, 2012 –¬†1:30:16¬†(Newton shoes)

These may sound like excuses but, the Annapolis 10 miler was run in a hurricane, and the Army 10 miler was crowded at the start. But overall, I feel pretty consistent when it comes to my times.

December 1st I will be running the Annapolis Half Marathon, in my Newton shoes. If I get 1:59:00, it will be a PR for me. So I am hoping for that.

Questions for You

  1. What is your favorite vendor at the running Expos?
  2. What is you race night ritual?

© 2012