Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

Army Ten Miler - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Monday, October 21, 2013
Yesterday was the Army Ten Miler (ATM). I spent the mid to later part of the summer training for it and carried that over into my half marathon training. I consider it a major milestone race for me, as a beginning runner. That's right...I'm a newbie in this. I only started last December. I'll spare you that story until a later post though. 

Typically, I have a method to my pre-race madness. I have my pre-race meal, attire, gear bag, etc all ready and waiting days before the race. Not this time though and that was a mistake. I hear runners say, "If it works - don't change it." They are right. Not having my usual meal the night before, having to drop everything to go get coffee, and then return home to wash socks threw me off the entire night and into the next day. Lesson learned and not to be repeated.

Anyway, on to the race...

So the ATM hosts 35,000 runners each year.  That is just the runners.  Add to that their families and friends that come out to support them and you are probably talking about 45,000 or more people. 

It goes without saying that a race that commands an attendance that large has some epic port-a-potty lines; long winding ones containing wiggling writhing people with crossed legs and crossed eyes - some muttering prayers under their breath. Go figure! A lot of them, myslef included, got up really early, downed a couple cups of coffee, drove 45 minutes, and then sat on the metro for an hour. I'd be more concerned about people that didn't have to go. 

Beyond the bathroom lines are the corrals; color coded according to pace and the odds that I will actually make it to the balloon arch that signifies my particular corral are slim and none. Like a tightly packed heard of cattle we shuffle along inching closer and closer to the start. Excuse me, pardon me, sorry...ouch...oh I'm sorry...shuffle shuffle...WAIT? Was that the starting gun? Shuffle shuffle shuffle shuffle shuffle excuse me shuffle shuffle ....oh I see the timing pad....shuffle shuffle shuffle - timing pad - RUN! 

Less than a half of a mile into the run I realize why I saw little to no men in the line at the bathrooms. They had waited and now they were peppered across the hill of the median that lines the course, watering the foliage - for lack of a better phrase.  This went on for about a quarter of a mile and then it was business as usual.  

Mile one down - Sweet - Mile two - awesome - Water stop - yay! Mile three - wooohooo! - Mile oh crap my iPod just died - Mile what mile marker was that? Mile where are my chomps- damn dropped one - mile oh my God shoot me...Mile seven - what? I thought I would be at eight by now!! - Mile wow my foot hurts - Mile I just want to walk- Mile suck it up buttercup that soldier lost a foot so you could be here whining to yourself about yours. (I'm a strong believer that the powers that be - whether you call it God, the Divine, the Universe, Spirt - will blatantly give you a message by way of a proverbial slap upside your head when you need one. )

At last...I see the finish line!  

By far my favorite part of a race is the adrenaline rush I get close to the finish - that "dig deep" moment. My finish was far from spectacular, kind of like a drooling basset hound chasing a ball, but I finished and that is what I set out to do. I will probably do it again next year just to try for a PR. 

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