I had a wonderful time this weekend at the Army Ten-Miler. This annual event brings runners from all across the Army to Washington, DC for a ten mile race. I understand that the race sold out in 19 hours after over 30,000 runners signed up—so, if you are interested in running next year, make sure you watch the website for the day that the sign-up is open.
I ran this year for a bigger reason—to raise awareness of Compassion International and their work with children in poverty. I was excited to wear their jersey to show my support and it added a reminder throughout the race that how blessed I am to be able to do the things I do and buy the things I can buy. I invite you to look at compassion.com to learn how you can support children in poverty as well.
I started in the “Red” group—the second wave. The Army Ten-Miler staff did a great job of controlling the groups and, as we started together, I was able to stay in a larger group for most of the race. I was in the right group so the pace around me remained challenging and encouraging.
After starting out, I ran up the on-ramp to the Arlington Memorial Bridge(1). At the top of the on-ramp the course got congested as people were beginning to stretch out and lengthen their strides. I remember thinking at the first mile marker; “I’ve got ten more of these to do?” The first part of the bridge is laid with brick, so I had to watch my step closely, but after the circle, I was able to fully start getting into sync.
At the 2 and a half mark, I enjoyed the motivation from an NCO with a bull-horn encouraging the runners. This was the most organized water-point I’ve ever seen. For what ever reason, the Soldiers giving out water (with latex gloves, which I found funny—only the Army would do this) were lined up on both sides of the table and this cleared the madness out.
My favorite part of the run was running down Rock Creek Parkway(4), behind the Kennedy Center. The light was hitting the river in such as way that was so magnificent that I began to forget about the race and just enjoy running.
After a short uphill climb to the 4 and a half mile water point, I was starting to get tired, when I heard the “Army Strong” theme song. I began to get motivated—which was suddenly destroyed by the malfunctioning water-point there—right before turning on Ohio Street. I think that its being on a turn caused this water point to be a mess. It caught me, and probably, everyone, by surprise and people just kind of ran into each other to get a drink.
I got myself reoriented while passing the Lincoln Memorial (5) and had a good stretch of running down Independence Avenue. I enjoyed seeing the families and spectators along mile 6 and 7—with one lady yelling; “Go Team Compassion!” This was a nice reminder about what I was running for before I hit the “longest mile of the race”.
From mile 7 to mile 9, is a painful memory. This stretch of road makes this race challenging. There is some up hill and there is a long stretch of road with nobody cheering—except for some motivation from the crowd of runners trying to encourage each other across. Other than that—pure agony.
At mile nine (9), I ran down the off-ramp, there were families lining the streets adding to the enjoyment of knowing it was almost over. I began to feel like I could start to let myself go a little.
Then, I came around a corner to see a bridge that I would have to cross over—the hill looked enormous at that point, but I got over it and began to run faster to the finish line.
As I crossed, my unofficial time was:
Net Time 1:24:46
10K Split 0:51:33
I noticed at the first mile that my Nike+ was .07 miles over for each mile so my Nike+ Sport Band read 10.6 miles at the end.
Over all, it was a great day! The weather was wonderful and the course was challenging. I recommend this race to anyone!