Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Never Say Never: Army 10-miler Race Report
I ran this race two years ago, with very little training, in freakishly hot and humid weather (same day as the infamous Chicago marathon that got cancelled mid-way through due to heat), and they ran out of water at mile 6. It was an absolutely miserable experience, and I am pretty sure that I said at the time that I would never do it again.
But peer-pressure is an apparently unstoppable force. And so, another girls' weekend was planned, and another Army 10-miler was registered for.
No great scenery pics from the race this year -- unlike two years ago when there were dozens (hey, I knew I'd be walking so I figured I'd make the most of my time out there). This year I decided I had better actually run. I had actually trained, after all. And apparently that training thing works -- doesn't work miracles -- but it works. I managed to knock 30 minutes off my time. Yes, you read that right -- THIRTY MINUTES. Though I think that speaks to how horribly undertrained I was and how miserable the conditions were two years ago more than it reflects any sort of actual increase of speed. Because sitting around at brunch after the race listening to my friends recap races with time averages that started with sevens and eights was a humbling reminder of my genetic aversion to speed, seeing how my average still started with a double digit, even after a 30 minute overall time improvement.
But, I have to remember that the only person you really need to compare yourself to is YOU. Everyone is ultimately running their own race. And I had a great race, by my standards. I felt great the entire race, even though I was completely under-fueled thanks to forgetting to pack Gu. The miles flew by thanks to the scenery, the amazing weather, and the anticipation of seeing my cheer squad out on the course. And I now know that I can maintain what is my conservative marathon goal pace for at least 10-miles. I'm even hopeful that with a few more long runs (20 miler comin' up on Thursday!) and a nice taper I can bump that pace up by 20-30 seconds per mile and be right where I want to be.
So even though I still ran what some would consider to be a painfully slow 10-mile race, I am considering it a success. When your sister sees you at mile 7.5 and tells you after the race "you looked great....definitely not like you'd already run 7 miles," you must have had a good race.
And speaking of my awesome sherpa/fans.....my sister and her husband got a little warm-up for spectating the marathon. It was a good first effort, but wasn't without a few hiccups.
We plotted out a spectating plan for them the night before....one that even included a Starbucks stop (how cushy is that?!). They figured they'd skip watching the start, which is hard to see anyway because of the set up, and Metro to the Smithsonian stop, where they'd get to see me twice (miles 5ish and 7ish), then Metro back to the Pentagon to catch the finish.
Well, even the best laid plans......needless to say they only saw me once on the course, even with me texting my progress to them and then actually calling them from the course (yes, I was that girl....running down the road, talking on the phone).
The first miss was due to a number of factors, 1) thinking my outfit was more pink than black, when it was in fact much more black than pink, 2) standing next to "bad spectator dude" who was way out in the road watching for his runner and blocking their view of me and my view of them. Both easy-to-make rookie spectating mistakes. But to me, it didn't matter so much that I saw them, the idea that they were out there really helped keep me going and gave me a welcome distraction out on the course.
They were able to see me at mile 7.5, but then didn't quite have enough time to Metro back and make it to the finish before I got there. No doubt, because I was so speedy in those last few miles! ;) Actually, I felt pretty great at the end. People around me were starting to fade, and I was enjoying picking the weak ones out of the herd and passing them.
All in all, I think my sherpa/fans got an appreciation for the challenges of spectating and will be well-prepared for their marathon spectating in a month.
The Rest of the Weekend
I enjoyed the entire weekend in DC. My only complaint was that it was too short.
Friday started with sushi at Murasaki. Fabulous. But sushi with the sis and her hubby is always fabulous. Then we were joined by another friend for some wine and catching up, then the friend and I went to meet up with her hubby and friends for more drinks and an impromptu dance party....good times all around. Perhaps too good, as Saturday morning had a bit of a rough start.
Saturday ramped up to be another fabulous day though with lunch at Lia's, a little shopping, a trip to the bookstore, and the most fantastic homemade dinner ever (including fresh, made-from-scratch tortillas!).
And Sunday started with a great race, a yummy brunch at Liberty Tavern with all my favorite speedster friends, and then concluded with dinner at Haandi (my DC fave!). Really, does it get much better? Good running, great food, excellent company, and a chance to catch up with friends.....thanks for a perfect weekend DC!