Army Ten-Miler 2012 Recap!

Yesterday, I finished the Army Ten-Miler for the third time. (2009 sort-of recap; why the race is important to me)


*A note on my shirt: it’s the same shirt I wore in 2009, so I wore it for good luck. It says Blanchfield…on the back, because as a total rookie three years ago, I thought names on race shirts meant last names on the back like a jersey. Apparently this is not the case.*

After the wedding fun on Saturday night, I was in bed before midnight so I could get up for the race. I went to the afterparty with the group and had a raging inner debate with myself about if I should have another beer or not, and finally decided to go for it, since I wasn’t planning on racing. Or winning.

I set my alarm for 5:20 and got ready for the race in the dark of the hotel room while my friends slept, and I slipped out wearing my race outfit…and a leather jacket, because I didn’t want to carry it. I took a cab to Anne’s, and we had a quick bite and left for the race together.

We took the metro to the Pentagon and met up with Tina. Anne had talked to a guy at the expo who said that we weren’t allowed to have cameras or phones on us during the race. I never take my phone out during the race, but I do like to have it immediately before and after. (#bloggerproblems) I told Anne that they hadn’t checked three years ago when I did it, and she said the expo dude said there would be security checks. I was still dubious that they’d check 23,000 people but we all decided not to take our chances and checked our phones with bags. I wasn’t about to mess with some Army guys.

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We decided to at least start together and that if Anne was trying for a PR, she might go ahead.


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Oh hey, just some dudes in parachutes in the sky.

A trip to the port-a-potty got us lining up for the start a bit late, and we never saw the corrals and just jumped into a large line of people. The cannon exploded (obviously?) and we were off. The first mile was just as congested as I remembered the first time, and as we ran up one hill, we were nearly walking, it was so packed with people.

I missed the first mile marker, and the second mile marker snuck up on me quickly. Only 8 miles to go? Obviously my perspective had changed a bit since the last time I ran this race.

We ran back into D.C. and around the Foggy Bottom area, and I passed familiar spots, like the CVS I used to stop at when I visited my friend Sara at GW. I’d loosely planned on running marathon goal pace (9:09), but as we started off at a 9:15ish pace, I decided to just run with what felt comfortable. If I ever felt like I was pushing the pace, I was going to drop behind the other girls and do my own thing. I tried not to look at my watch much, but the few times I did, I saw that we were around an 8:50 pace. It didn’t feel hard, so I stuck with it.

When we discussed the race later, I was convinced a middle part of the race had changed, because I definitely didn’t remember running past the Kennedy Center, since we were so chatty, but apparently we did.

As we got closer to mile 6, I told the girls how that was where I’d fallen apart the first time. I’d been doing some walk/running, and running more than walking, but at mile 6, I stopped to use my inhaler and had a really hard time running again, and I ended up walking more of those last 4 miles than running.

We ran past the monuments, and the Mall was on our left. I couldn’t get out of my head how much I’d struggled in this patch the first time, and how great I felt this time.We turned on 7th Street SW and turned back onto Independence to head back towards Virginia.

We hit the last water stop just before 8 miles, and it was here that I knew I could probably reach my secret goal of 1:30. The last time I ran this, a guy I knew ran the race in 1:20something, and I thought that sounded SO FAST. One day, I told myself, maybe I’d be able to run under a 9-minute mile for 10 miles. At the time, I thought the odds of doing so were pretty similar to winning the lottery. But when I looked at my watch and saw that I was under 1:10 at 7.73 miles, I knew it was possible. Still, I didn’t say anything to the girls, for fear of jinxing myself.

We ran the Memorial Bridge, and I remembered how it beat me up the first time, and how it beat up my friend Jen the second time. I was fading a bit at this point, but still felt strong overall. We were still chatting, but I was doing a little victory dance inside.

The mile 9 marker seemed to come up much earlier than I’d remembered it from last time. Anne said something about turning it up for the last mile, and I politely ignored her. This was not my race, and I was not going to turn things up. Until I got sucked up in the excitement with them…and turned things up a bit. Somewhere around 9.5, they decided to really turn things up, and I swallowed my ego and let them go, reminding myself, “Save yourself for next week–this is not your race.”

I remebered the end of the race as being nearly immediately after the Pentagon exit from 395, but the course ending definitely changed. We ran for quite some time on a highway (110?), and passed a marina before FINALLY reaching the end.

I guess I’m going to start playing the lottery, because I crossed that finish line in 1:29:44.

I’m really really happy with that time, but now I’m dying to find another ten-miler that I can race to see what I have in me.

What’s your favorite distance?

13 comments on “Army Ten-Miler 2012 Recap!

  1. Dori

    Congrats!!! I never ran a 10 mile race before but I would love to. This sounds like so much fun and it’s always amazing seeing how much you’ve improved.

  2. alison

    Congrats on a great race and beating your secret goal! You’re right, the course has changed. Last year the finish line got totally backed up because of it, but this year it seemed to be pretty smooth. I didn’t run this year, but I handed out water to the runners at the finish line. It was a beautiful day for a race!

  3. molly @ heart, sole & cereal

    awesome recap and an AWESOME race! i love the idea of being able to compare how you did at the race just a few years ago and how different it is for you now. amazing how running can be such a different sport depending on where you are with training. sounds like you’re pretty ready for the marathon!

    i think my favorite distance is half marathons, but i haven’t run enough 10ks and i’ve never done a 10 miler so it’s hard to choose. i like pretty much any race but for very different reasons.

  4. Rachel C.

    Congrats! You should check out the Philly Broad Street 10. It’s in May and the course is flat, downhill & fast! I’ve done it twice and my 10 mile PR is on that course – it’s probably my favorite race ever

  5. Juliette @ Finish Your Broccoli

    Congrats! Agree with Rachel C. above–I did the Broad Street Run this year for the first time. It’s a flat, fast course and the energy is great. It’s a big race–I think 40,000 runners. But SO many positive vibes. I think 10 miles is the perfect distance. It’s a challenge but not one that requires as big of a training commitment as a marathon, yet you feel incredibly accomplished after finishing.

  6. Ashley

    Congrats!! I love 10 mile races! It is the perfect distance to push yourself without a burnout. This race sounds like so much fun! Congrats again and I loved reading about your improvement, it is very inspirational!

  7. Jess

    y’know? after reading this post (where you KILLED IT I might add), I’m now sitting here thinking a 10 miler sounds like an AWESOME race distance!! Note to self: find one to run around here. And soon. 😉

    1. Theodora

      @Jess: If this killing, then I want to SLAUGHTER other races 🙂

      Tina is trying to talk me into the Black Cat 10-Miler in your neck of the woods…will let you know if that becomes a reality!


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