In keeping with tradition, the ol’ race report arrives a week late! Well, more of a brisk walk, but I really do hope this whole walking-my-race-instead-of-running-it will be coming to an end. I want to run, dangit! I want to feel tired, out of breath, I want to pass people, I want to chase those who pass me, I want to feel the victory of crossing the finish line!
One day, I shall return to that. This was not that day.
Let’s start with the Army Ten-Miler (ATM) race expo. Like all race expos, it was all about BUY, BUY, BUY! So much “essential” stuff for enthusiastic runners to buy, all sorts of cutesy, ultra-feminine things (barf) geared towards women. Gag me with a spoon. I went only to get my race packet, which went pretty smoothly, except for one thing: the shirt.
When I got to the t-shirt table, some woman explained that they were out of Women’s X-Small (I didn’t even know that was an option!), Small, and Medium, but that they had a Men’s Small. She looked at me inquiringly, as if she’d given me some kind of option. “Umm, ok, since the alternative is no shirt,” I said. It would have helped (no, actually, it wouldn’t have) if she really had asked a question. Then the stupid look on her face might have made sense. I was really annoyed, because I’d paid a lot of money for this race, as had a lot of other people, several months in advance, and now pretty much all the Women’s t-shirts are gone??!? Unacceptable. I took my ugly, ill-fitting Men’s shirt and pouted my way through the rest of the expo.
And now, race day. This was the first race in several months where it was outright COLD in the morning. I think back to the VA Beach half marathon and how it was so comfortably warm in the morning, only to become steamy through the race.
I don’t know why, but I always feel so sleepy when I wake up on race morning, even though I would definitely be up at that time on a weekday. So my brilliant idea was that, to really wake myself up, and avoid the crush of already-smelly people (yes, runners stink before a race) on the Metro, I would bike to the Pentagon. It was chilly, yes, but the ride itself was nice and easy, since it was all flat or downhill. And that early in the morning, it was really peaceful, just me and the streetlights, and a couple cars here and there. Can’t say I saw anyone else be savvy and bike to the race site.
Once I was there, then I saw the throngs of people, both standing around and spilling out of the Metro (oh I’m so glad I did not ride it). Once I’d given away my bag in Gear Check, I could not wait for the ATM to begin, because I just wanted to start moving! Now, this is a race with thousands, no, tens of thousands of people, so meticulous planning is required to make sure the race, especially the start, does not turn into a nightmare. I would say that the ATM staff did a pretty good job. It helped a lot that I started in my original wave, Wave 4, though I was fully aware of being THAT annoying slow person whom everybody passes. But hey, I didn’t want a completely-bruised ego.
I was carrying a water bottle with me, so I didn’t need to slow down (haha) at any of the aid stations, other than to dodge other races and the multitude of cups on the road. When you’re going to have 26,000 people coming through each aid station, it can be hard to keep it stocked in a timely manner, but I think the volunteers all did a good job.
I like that when I was around Mile 8, going over the bridge from DC back into VA, one guy said to me, “You’re not even sweating!” To which I responded, “This is EEEASY!” Even though I was just walking, I wasn’t going to waddle along like it was a walk in the part, Oh no. I still intended to get some exercise out of it.
When I finally finished, in over two hours (hangs head), my Garmin had recorded me as having traversed 10.11 miles, to give me a pace of 13:27/mile. Wowee, I didn’t know I could walk that fast! That’s even faster than my pace for the Philadelphia half marathon. Well, I don’t plan on becoming a professional racewalker. Just so we’re all clear, I’d rather be running.
I did happen to run into a couple friends at the end, which was nice. As we headed back towards Gear Check/Metro, we saw humongous piles of clothing. These were the jackets, long-sleeved tees, etc. discarded by runners, which are normally rounded up and donated to charity. But I guess the ATM wanted the racers to have first dibs, so it was funny to see people wading through piles of other people’s clothing, looking for a steal. I jokingly said that I was looking for a Women’s Small lululemon jacket. Surprise, I didn’t find one! I did let myself get talked into a large cycling jacket, which I’ve washed and is now sitting in my dryer. But I’ve had second thoughts and I don’t actually want to wear it, so I’ll re-donate it!
Anyways, it was time to go home. One benefit to walking was that my legs still had plenty of energy to pedal my bike, uphill, back home. It was nice to have a race so close by, only a five-mile ride. And then I relaxed for the rest of the day, but it was still only day 3 of my four-day weekend, yay!