Sunday, October 24, 2010

Army Ten Miler

This weekend I did the Army Ten Miler in Washington D.C. This was the first year I did, and let me say I'm really glad I did. I was 1 of 30,000 runners that ran the race today, and many of them were service men and women, which was really inspiring to me. I almost got so caught up in the whole thing I was about to sign up for the Army at the Expo (That isn't really true I think my wife would of killed me if I signed up, but I really did give it some thought of why I didn't sign up in my younger years). The expo was great we really didn't have to wait in any lines since we had Bex (my daughter if anyone is wondering) and a stroller with us. We got to go in the military / handicap entrance, and we got right in. I picked up my packet and my friend's packet, Matt (or should I say Staff-Sergent Matt). Matt decided to come down the day of the race, leaving his home around 3:30 am. My wife, Bex, and I were with our friend Stacie, who has run this race many times before, after picking up our packets and T-Shirts we purchased some stuff at the expo, and we went back to our hotel.
Bex learning about Butterflies

For the rest of the day my wife, Bex, and I were hanging out with our friends John and Sam at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, we got to see the butterflies exhibit. The butterflies were alive so it wasn't a boring dead butterfly exhibit like I have seen before. You walked into this chamber type thing and the flew all around you it was pretty cool. One actually landed on Lisa and did not leave her shoulder for like 10-15 minutes it was so cool. After the museum we went to Chilli's for dinner, and then we said good night and I went back to the hotel room. I got all my stuff ready for the next day, my bib on the shirt the tag on the shoe, everything out and ready for the next day (just like to say in Runner's World).

I went to sleep around 11 or so watching something on the TV, I really don't remember. I was awoken by a text message from Matt saying "I'm leaving now" that was around 3:30 or so. I promptly replied back and said "Ok." I got up and got my shorts on, and then still discovered I was tried so crawled back to bed for about two more hours or so of sleep. My alarm went off at 5 and promptly, I hit the snooze button a few times, and then I was texted again by Matt telling me he was in Washington. I replied back and said I will be down in a few minutes so I got the rest of my stuff on, it only took a few seconds, and headed down. I met Matt on the Street and we needed to get Stacie before we headed to the start area. So we got Stacie and we were off to the start line. We chatted a bit about the race, well Matt and I asked Stacie a number of questions about the race since she has done this race before, and Matt and I were new to it. Stacie was also doing this event for a Charity called, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), this charity raises money to help families who lost a family member or members in the wars. She has done this for the past three years raising more than $500 each year for TAPS. She is also doing the Marines Corps Marathon for TAPS next week. So we had to find the TAPS tent, which we found out wasn't set up until about 7:00 am, and it was around 6:30 when we got to the start area. So after walking ten miles around the Pentagon, which was the starting line, we noticed them setting up the tent. After taking a some pictures of the the TAPS team, Matt and I headed to the start line, and Stacie stayed with the TAPS team since she started in the second wave.

Matt and I walked to the staring line stopping only for the national anthem, and me tying my shoes. We got into the start area, and I swear there was at least 20,000 people starting in the first wave. It took us about 5 or 7 minutes to get to the start line of the race. We were packed in there like sardines, the pack broke up a bit and I said good-bye to Matt and I was off. My time goal for this race was one hour and ten minutes (7:00) pace. The race was so packed it took forever to get my stride going, and would say around mile four or five I got my stride together. I ran on the grass the median of the road and everywhere I could to just stay at a steady pace. Mile 1 went by at around 7:11 (or that is what my watched said, it was a little behind the mile marker probably because I weaving in and out of everyone trying to get a head) We crossed the Arlington Memorial Bridge right after mile 1, then by the Kennedy Center, then the Lincoln Memorial, then the Washington Monument, then the Smithsonian Castle, then the Capital building, and then the Jefferson Memorial, and then finally we were on the George Mason Memorial Bridge and then you were at mile 9. We raced to the finish line and I finished, according to my watch a 1:09:36, I set a new PR for the ten miler. I walked to finish area got some water and met my loving wife and child at the finishing area, we walked backed to the TAPS tent were we said we would all meet up, Matt finished after me, and then Stacie finished.  We took some pictures and then headed back to the hotel.

Just one thing I noticed during this race, they had the wounded warrior category, these are service men and women that have been injured during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I saw many runners that were in wheel chairs some with prosthetic limbs. Even though I do watch the news reports about how many of our service men are coming home injured, it really never hit me like it did when I saw just a few of them today. This young men and women are going over to an unknown land to protect our freedom.  Just something I noticed and thought we should think about.

Army Ten Miler at Garmin Connect - Details