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.

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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.

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

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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

Summer Running… Why I may defer my MCM bib.

I can’t believe how fast this summer has been flying by. Honestly, it has been really busy and I can’t believe this summer girl is saying this… But I am ready for summer to end. Normally, I love summer, but because my wedding was at the end of June, my first month of summer was consumed completely with planning our big day. I definitely had a love/hate relationship with the planning process.

I loved everything about my wedding, but because of my wedding, I took off 9 days of work, which has made it swamped for me once I got back. So I am ready for things to slow down, and for the crisp air to make an appearance.

I know I haven’t blogged much this summer. And most of my blog posts have been about my wedding. It has seemed like I have been pretty obsessed. But, in all honesty, I have been. Every bride-to-be or newly wed is… It only happens once so might as well be.

Anyway, I haven’t had much free time this summer. In the small amount of free time I have been squeezing in runs, cooking up a storm, knitting, reading, and trying to do some design changes to my home.

This summer has not been too hot. In fact, I’m considering this summer straight up cold. Being from the DC area, I am use to sweltering record breaking, code red days. But this summer has actually been perfect running weather. Most runners have been in heaven. That is why it disappoints me that I have no desire what so ever to run far. Instead, I have been enjoying faster shorter runs. Unfortunately, I also have been having some minor health issues, that I have seen the doctor about. Because of this, I may defer my bib for MCM until next year. I have until August 31st to decide.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. A couple years ago, when training for the ¬†Chicago Marathon I had some digestive track issues which left me unable to fuel my body for long runs. When it comes to running and training, I do it to be healthy and have fun, not to injure myself. Plus, I have run MCM 3 times before, I have already proved to myself that I can finish the 26.2 distance. With that being said, if I can’t train to PR, and my training isn’t at the intensity level I want it to be at, then it is best to defer until next year when I can really train at the best of my ability. In other words, I don’t half ass my training, and I definitely do not run a race I don’t train for. The training is part of racing, and it is one of my favorite parts.

So the year before last I felt the same thing about long runs. I was tired of running slow and far. So I decided to switch it up and sign up for half marathons and 10 milers. I switched to a natural barefoot running shoe, (out of being bored) and focused on running form. I worked on speed, cadence, and started lifting weights. I became a faster, stronger runner. This change made me happy. And being able to change… is also the reason I love running. If you are bored switch up your shoe. If you are tired of running slow and far, start running shorter and faster. If you are tired of city running, hit the trails. This sport has something for any runner’s mood, for whichever type of runner you choose to be. And it is perfectly okay to be a marathon runner one year and a half marathon runner, or ultra marathoner the next year. Switch it up, keep things exciting.

If any of you have been reading my blog over the years, you would know last year, was quite the opposite. I was pretty excited, and ready to really consume myself with marathon training. I looked forward to longer runs, and higher mileage weeks. I was sooo obsessed about my marathon training that I annoyed a few people with my daily  facebook and instagram running posts.

Anyway, one thing I want to make clear, is that I love MCM. This race is my absolute favorite! And I’ll be involved in it in some way, whether that means running it or showing love and support.

A lot of people are running now. My coworker just started training for her first half marathon (Go Katie). My other coworker is running as well. ¬†My running buddy is doing her first full marathon (MCM.) Seems like everyone is running and racing. And although, training for a race and then racing it, is my favorite thing to do, I don’t feel the need to run every race in the area.

Racing all the time can be fun, but it also is expensive and time consuming. Trust me I know, last April I ran two 10 milers and 1 half marathon. It was fun, but it was expensive. But, once April had ended I was happy to sleep in. I will admit I definitely got tired of waking up early and trying to get to a race, then rushing into work right after.

This fall I only signed up for MCM. When I train for a marathon, I am very disciplined. I run long runs when I am scheduled to, I taper when I am scheduled to.¬†Because of this, when¬†I run MCM, I don’t normally sign up for any other races, unless it lines up with my training plan.¬†

I’ve come to the conclusion that signing up for a race and running it, doesn’t make you any more of a runner than someone who is still running daily to stay in shape and have fun.

And at the end of the day, even elite runners and professional athletes sometimes need to pull out of a race…¬†

So with that being said, I’ll keep you updated on what I decide about MCM.

If I decide NOT to run MCM….

there is always next year!¬†There are always other marathons to run… Trust me I have plans… Plus, I have some other fun exciting things I will be doing to get my running fix…

But in the mean time enjoy some of these summer running photos below…

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That’s it for now… Hope you are enjoying your summer.

Do you have a race this fall? Who is training for a marathon?

© 2014 sweatdaily