Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Army 10-Miler race recap

Continuing from the Army 10-Miler expo, which was the most unique race expo I've ever attended.

In the past, I had heard a lot about the Army 10-Miler, but didn't envision myself running it. Then last spring, when visiting my friends Vanitha and Asheesh in DC, the race came up in discussion. Asheesh is in the army reserve, so this would be a very meaningful event for him. I jumped at the opportunity to run such a famed race with a good friend.
Adam's father and stepmother also live in the DC area. To further sweeten the deal, it turns out the race date coincided with my father-in-law's birthday. Therefore, a DC visit that weekend would be perfect timing for both a birthday celebration and the race.
Unfortunately, Asheesh has been battling injury over the last few months. In the end, he opted not to run. Obviously it was a very smart decision for him to play it safe, but I was bummed I wouldn't get to run with him.

On race morning, I arrived at the Pentagon to find it had been transformed into a race start village.
The Pentagon in the background, with rows and rows of portapotties in the foreground.
I saw plenty of runners dressed to honor our nation:
The temperatures were in the 50s, and some early morning rain had cleared out just in time for the race start. Unfortunately, the winds were very gusty. It was so windy that runners' discarded trash bag dresses were whipping around everywhere on the streets.

Some folks were less fazed by the conditions than others, of course.
I had been considering trying to make this a PR attempt. The weather, combined with the scenic DC course, made it an easy decision to just run for fun.

It was a long walk from the corrals to the start line. I ended up missing my starting corral since I was in line for the portapotties. I joined the next corral instead. While heading towards the starting line, I realized the magnitude of the 35,000 runners participating in the race. This event is enormous!

A helicopter was circling the skies during the entire race. Near the start line, I was happy to get this snapshot of the helicopter above the American flag.
The starting line:
I headed out at an easy pace and kept my eyes open for historic sights and monuments. The course was filled with them! Here are some highlights:
Arlington Cemetery
The Lincoln Memorial
The Washington Monument
The Jefferson Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background
The Potomac River
Unfortunately, my bladder was not cooperative throughout the length of the race. This was frustrating because I had gone twice before starting the race. Apparently even after all these years, my pre-race hydration strategy is still not perfect. There were aid stations every two miles with portapotties, but the lines were always very long. I didn't feel like waiting so I just kept on going. I also opted to skip taking any GUs, too. In retrospect, these weren't the best ideas, but it ended up being okay.

The mile markers each had a different soldier's creed on them. Talk about an incredible way to inspire the runners to keep going!
"I will never leave a fallen comrade."
Adam got this picture of me around Mile 6, which was on the National Mall near the Smithsonian Institution Building:
As you can see, the course was very crowded. It remained that way throughout nearly the entire race. Windy conditions aside, I definitely agree with those who advised this is not a race in which to attempt a PR.

One of the most touching elements of the race was that all of the aid stations were manned by army personnel. Sometimes the aid stations and rows of army soldiers stretched for several blocks. This picture so does not do it justice:
I can't even begin to describe to you how it felt to be running through the long stretches of army soldiers, all offering you water or Gatorade and cheering you on. What an honor. It brought tears to my eyes every time.

A lot of the army folks were having fun, too. I heard some of them shouting things like,

"FAT FREE WATER!!!"

"I HAVE THE BEST WATER IN TOWN!!!"

"COME AND GET YOUR DIET WATER!!!"

Hearing these made me smile.

I enjoyed the many bands on the course, all of which were playing patriotic songs:
There were some great spectators:



As you might expect, there were a lot of veterans running the race:


I heard other runners talking about walking up certain hills, et al. Much to my surprise, I didn't notice any inclines on the course. Imagine that, right?

This was a snapshot from around Mile 8, I think, shortly before we started hitting some enormous headwinds.
WOW - those winds were brutal, especially at that point in the course. I was really thankful this race was only a 10-miler as opposed to a half marathon or longer. More army personnel were stationed along various points to cheer us on.

The finishing chute was lined with American flags and spectators. Again, the photo doesn't do the scene justice.
What an exhilarating finish! All runners received a beautiful finisher's coin. Normally I am very partial to medals, but I love the coin:
Side 1
Side 2
It was such an honor and a privilege to run this race in our nation's capital with the support of so many of our armed forces. I feel truly blessed to have had this experience. In my opinion, this race is a must-do for all DC-area runners and/or anyone with a military affiliation.

I only wish that I could have run with Asheesh. I can't even imagine how meaningful the festivities would have been for him. It would have been awesome to share the experience. Asheesh - I wish you the speediest of recoveries, and let's put this race back on the list for another year!

To all the brave men and women serving our country, I salute you!!!

--
Linking up with MarciaPatti, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.

30 comments:

  1. Congrats Emily! This race sounds SO reminiscent of the Marine Corps Marathon, its uncanny. I even had the winds of Hurricane Sandy (and the post-race evacuation) to enjoy in the year I ran. Ha! Could not agree with you more that the sights and military personnel on the course are beyond inspiring. Love the coin!

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    1. Thank you, Marcia!!! I can imagine the Army 10 would have a lot of the same type of atmosphere as the Marine Corps Marathon! It is so incredible and moving to have such strong support from the armed forces. It really is symbolic of what they do for all of us on a daily basis, yes? Now I'm more excited about trying to run all of the other military branches' races sometime in the future, too!

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  2. Congratulations on the 10 Miler!! This looks like an amazing Race, I'm putting this on the list of races to do !

    Fat Free water!! Ja ja ja !! That is hilarious!!

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    1. Thank you, Ana! Please do put the Army 10 on your list, I thought the experience was absolutely incredible. It was a true privilege to run it. Be sure to mark your calendars for when registration opens because it sells out very quickly!!!

      I am all about fat free water, too. =D =D =D Something to remember, for sure!!!

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  3. How about gluten free water? I think a friend of mine saw water with that label once. Good grief! I'm glad you had fun this race. I think my family did too, but I've only heard about how sore some were yesterday.

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    1. LOL - you are absolutely right! Water is fat free, carb-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, you could go on and on. Thank you, Lesley! I am feeling pretty sore, too - so doing lots of yoga to try to recover.

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  4. Congratulations! I loved your recap. I may need to keep this race on my radar, it looks so inspiring and it's always fun running through DC!

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    1. Thank you, Janelle! Please do keep this race on your radar screen. I thought the experience was absolutely incredible. It was a true privilege to run it. Be sure to mark your calendars for when registration opens because it sells out very quickly!!!

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  5. Great recap! I've always wanted to do MCM and this race sounds similar without being as awful as a whole marathon. It sounds very meaningful and so neat to run past all the national monuments. Bummer about the wind though - Running into the wind is one of my least favorite things ever. It's been a while since I've done such a crowded race. Definitely better not to attempt a PR!

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! I've heard great things about MCM, too. I definitely agree that the Army 10 would be a great way to get the experience of a military-themed race without all the brutal training and time commitment. The 10-miler is my favorite race distance. =) Yes, the wind was really brutal - but at least it wasn't raining! I went through a stretch last year where it seemed like every single race I ran came with downpours - and I'll take wind over downpours. In this instance, the crowded race actually added a lot to the festivity, in my opinion. But yes, best to just run this one for fun!

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  6. I love the detail you gave in your recap! Sounds like weather was nice for racing if it wouldn't have been for that stupid wind! I also like finisher medals instead of other trinkets but that coin is cool. Do they always give out a coin instead of a medal?

    Sorry your friend could not join you.

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    1. Thank you so much! Yes, the weather would have been perfect had it not been so crazy windy. Thank goodness that fall running weather is finally here, yes? From what I hear, the Army 10 always gives out a coin instead of a medal. I'm inquiring with some friends with army affiliations to find out what the background is on that - but I do love the coin! I hope Asheesh recovers soon, too, for a future running of this race together!

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  7. This was a great recap. You make me want to run this, even with the headwinds! I ran the first Fort2Base on 9/11--seeing all the soldiers on the course gave me goosebumps.

    Congrats!

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    1. Thank you, Wendy!!! YES - I strongly recommend this race, it was an incredibly humbling and moving event. OMG - I can only imagine what it must have felt like to run F2B on 9/11. I get chills just thinking about it. So much respect to our armed forces!!! Thanks again!

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  8. Such a great recap. Even though I was there, reading about it again brought tears to my eyes. That's why this race is so fantastic! Thanks for linking up your recap!

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    1. Thank you, Coco! I loved reading your recap, as well! This race really is an absolutely incredible experience. Thank you for hosting the link-up and I'm excited to read others' recaps, too!

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  9. It looks like a huge race - so many people! And so fun to run in DC past all those monuments and historic locations. I'm pretty jealous!

    10 miles is a great distance - more than just 10k but not quite a half. The more I think about it, the more I want to run this race!

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    1. DO IT, AMY!!! I think you would absolutely love this race!!! With Stephen being in the army, this race would be incredibly meaningful for you. The 10-mile distance is my favorite, too! Be sure to mark your calendar when they announce registration next year, because it sells out very quickly!!!

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  10. This looks like such a cool experience! I'm glad you ran for fun and could take so many pictures to share :) I ran up and down the National Mall when I was in DC a couple summers ago (SO HOT OMG), but didn't get to explore much more of the city. You can really cover a lot in 10 miles!

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    1. Thanks Anne! Running along the National Mall is one of the coolest running experiences in the U.S., in my opinion. You can just feel the stately atmosphere and the power in the air, yes? Too bad it was so hot when you were there but now you have an excuse to go back and see it again soon! Yes, 10 miles offers potential for a TON of sightseeing!

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  11. Congrats on the race! I really like the coin. What inspiration along the course! You can see the sacrifice that is made to serve our country.
    The wind was whipping hard down by house (a few hours away) so I can feel the gusts as I was reading this.
    It stinks you had bladder issues, I have had that problem a few times myself. I can not over hydrate or have caffeine unless I have it a few hours before the race. It is an uncomfy feeling.
    They really put many wonderful markers on the course, that is awesome.

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    1. Thank you, Karen!!! This was one of the most inspiring races I've ever run. Between the national monuments and the enormous army soldier presence, it was like nothing else I'd ever experienced in my running shoes. OMG - I hope the gusts you were feeling were nothing like what we experienced on race day! Yes, having an exuberant bladder is the worst feeling when you are running, yes? It's weird how the body can be so consistent for years and years, but then things are different some random race day, haha! In retrospect, I wish I had taken pictures of every single mile marker!

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  12. Wow! What a race. I had never even heard of it until you started talking about it, but clearly it's a major event! It sounds so inspirational and the scenery! Oh my gosh! Running past all of those monuments must have been such a cool experience.

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    1. Thanks Bethany! I read a lot of DC-based running blogs where I've seen this race discussed - and the reviews are all really consistent! Someone said you can earn a special medal for completing a series of military-themed races. How cool would that be? I'd love to run the others now to relive the same type of experience!

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  13. Nice work! Sounds like a great race and like you got to run past a lot of cool sights! Pretty cool that the aid stations were ran by army personnel and super cool that they had creeds on all the mile marker signs!

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    1. Thank you, Kayla!!! The Army 10 was a really special experience. I had no understanding of how it would feel to receive so much support from all the army soldiers on the course. It's very emblematic of what our troops do for us every day, yes?

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  14. That's some stunning 'Murika gear ... and hamburgers and hotdogs?! What a country!

    I can only imagine the water stops. They sound amazing. I think I need me some of that diet water! :-)

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    1. Ahhhh, I can imagine what kind of amazing costume you'd pull together if you ran this race, too! Did you run a race once dressed as the Statue of Liberty, or am I imagining that?

      I think we all could use a lot of that diet water. =)

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  15. Great job on your run! Sounds like a great race to do! Love the pics! DC is such a great place to run! Love the spectators in costume! :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Sharon! Likewise - congratulations on your triumphant finish at the Chicago Marathon. You rocked it out big-time!!! Loved all the pictures of you and your sister!

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