Sunday, October 9, 2011

Army Ten Miler Recap

10 Mile PR...58:5x something

~1 mile warmup
10 mile race in 58:33
Mile Splits: 551, 551, 551, 548, 554, 555, 553, 549, 553, 543
Half Splits:  29:18, 29:15
10k Split:  36:28
~3 mile cool down

I guess you could call this race a success, not just because of my PR, but because of the PRs that both Meagan and Boriana achieved, after an adventure that included plenty of time in the metro underground and little time warming up above ground.

The night before, Meagan and I had spent an ample amount of time strategizing over our meeting places and the best modes of transportation.  After consulting her friend Jilane, a three-year resident of DC and therefore an expert, we determined it was best to ride the Metro.  Further affirming our decision was the Army Ten Miler packet itself, which proclaimed confidently, "The recommended option for transportation is the metro.  Additional lines will be run to accommodate the racers."  Everything seemed like it would work out flawlessly: Boriana and I would meet at the Rosslyn Metro, go two stops away and get off in the Pentagon Station, where we would meet Meagan.   Little did we know that our plan would immediately be trampled by the crowd of people stuffed below ground in Northern Virginia.

So, what really happened?  Well, Garrett and I met Boriana at the metro at 630AM and when we reached the platform, it looked like this, but fill the empty spaces with more and more people until you can't see the concrete:

When a train finally arrived, we didn't make the cut to get onto the first train.  When the second train arrived, we all fit in and I checked my watch:  6:50AM.  We still had plenty of time to get to the Elite Tent in time for a full warmup.  Life was good, except for being packed in like sardines with several hundred other runners who were complete strangers to me.  I was relatively calm.  After 5 minutes, the train began to slow and I glanced through my neighbor's smelly armpit to look out the window, expecting to see the Pentagon platform.  Just darkness.  The operator came on and told us that the train ahead of us was experiencing technical difficulties.  Great.

After about 15 minutes, we finally were able to get off our train.  Turns out the "technical difficulties" for the train ahead weren't even "technical difficulties."  It was more an overcrowding difficulties thing.  Once we got off the train, we couldn't even leave the platform because the three thousand people ahead of us still had to put their metro pass through the gate exit.  While the three of us struggled to get up the escalator, I texted with Meagan to see how her metro experience was going.  She experienced her own adventure, which I'm sure she'll document on her blog soon.  In the meantime, eventually we finally made it back out to the real world...around 7:20AM.

Just when you thought we had solved all our problems, we hadn't.  Next we had to go through a bag check and then figure out how the heck to get to the Elite Tent.  I threw all my stuff into Garrett's arms and told him I'd see him after the race and sprinted off with Boriana and Meagan to find the North Parking Lot.  We ran lopsided through crowds of thousands of people, shoved innocent bystanders out of the way, and cut people in the bag check line to finally jump on the road to the tent.  We made it to the ten by 7:35AM and immediately jumped in the bathroom line.  We made it!

Immediately we all resolved that our quick jog to the Elite tent would have to qualify as our "warmup." I was pissed that I couldn't do my normal work out routine, but I rationalized that I didn't warmup for Twin Cities Marathon and was still able to run strong.  I would be fine.

Just when I thought things were beginning to be like normal race day, I couldn't find Meagan in the start line, which looked like this:
The Uber-Crowded Start
 She had scattered off to make a last minute bathroom stop at some random porta-john.  I looked around and then suddenly I heard my name.  Meagan somehow found me and squeezed her way through huge army dudes to stand next to me.  Then we waited for five minutes, packed in like sardines for the second time that day, in anticipation for the start cannon.

Now that I've already written way too much information about our initial adventure, the race just doesn't even seem that exciting in comparison.

Essentially, Meagan and I made the most of our last 2011 race together and ran together for as long as we could.  In the first mile, we let the lead pack of women sprint ahead of us.  We both figured they would fall back to us, but in the end, they didn't.

My breathing in the first mile was much heavier than normal, most likely due to the cold and congestion I had, and I was a little worried about my race.  I figured it would pass and decided instead to say good job to the wounded warriors were passing.  Running past a solder who has lost a leg in combat definitely put my own running into perspective.  I made a mental note to be grateful for every day that I have the opportunity to go outside and just run.

Meagan and I stuck together through 6 miles, even though Meagan fall off a little bit before the 5-mile mark, she caught back up and said "I'm back" with the energy of a little kid on Christmas.  I wanted to ask if we should hold hands through the finish line, but instead I decided to push the pace.

When we ran through the Mall, I was so grateful for all of the crowd support (including Brian, Jordan and Jilane) and especially for the slew of men that were around me that served as motivation to run faster.  It seemed like after each guy I passed, there was another one right ahead to keep my eyes on.  I realized around mile 7 how much I truly do thrive off of competition.  I also couldn't help but think about how much fun it was to pass all these people!

Around mile 8, the Grim Reaper stood holding a sign that read: "The End is Near."  I hated and loved this guy.

I finished with my fastest split of the day and with a total time of 58:33.  I was happy and tired.  I turned around to see where Meagan ended up and she was really close behind.  She came in 10th with a time of 58:55.  She had definitely surpassed her own expectations for her race, and we both helped the other to run smart and fast!
At the finish line
Garrett found us and showed us the way to the Elite tent before heading off to go get 30 free samples of Muscle Milk and Detour bars.  He was in heaven.

Boriana showed up a couple minutes later, with a new PR of 1:04:xx!   Before we all parted ways to cool down, we were able to capture a picture of the three CRC women who PR'd!  Shortly after this picture was taken, Boriana took off with Julie, Garrett ran off to get even more free stuff, and Meagan and I cooled down on the interstate back to Rosslyn.

We definitely made the most of our situation today and I am proud of us for remaining relatively calm while it seemed like everything was going completely wrong.  Now I feel like if something unexpected happens at the Olympic Trials, I will be prepared to handle it.  That's the spirit....

PS Many thanks to Boriana for being the best hostess ever to Garrett and I over the weekend!!

In the elite tent with Meagan & Boriana


Meenal said...

I just love your blog....and I miss you!!!

Post a Comment