Army Ten Miler – Race Report

Did you briefly think I went and ran a race without telling you I was going to? If so, then I fooled you! Plus the race isn’t until tomorrow, so if you did think I ran a “secret” race today, I fooled you twice!

I thought I would borrow an idea from Deb’s blog and recap a previous time I have run this race on the weekend it’s being held. I think it’s such a neat idea she had to do that, and hopefully she doesn’t mind my borrowing! I don’t remember as many details from my races as she does, though. (Although the journey to the start line could be a race report on its own. Hang tough)

We are traveling back to October 2011, and my first race after a roughly one year hiatus from running. I don’t know why I took that year off. I graduated from college, started work 10 days later, got married a month later, and then was in training for 3 months for work (and was out of town every week). It’s no excuse, but running just kind of fell by the wayside. In March 2011 we traveled to Virginia Beach and I watched Barry run his first full marathon (Shamrock Marathon). Spectating that race and feeling that excitement was the final push I needed to get back into running.

Naturally I went home and started searching for races. I found the Richmond Half Marathon, which would take place in November. I signed up for the half, Barry signed up for his second full, and I sat down and devised a training plan that would begin at the end of June. A couple months later, I realized the Army Ten Miler lined up perfectly with my training plan, but it was sold out. Barry said he wasn’t interested in that race, so I stalked the transfer boards that ATM had set up for one race entry. It was intense and the demand was high!

Finally, I got a bib and I was in! My first race back was going to be the Army Ten Miler and I was thrilled. For me, the ATM was just one of those “bucket list” races I really wanted to do. It probably had to do with the fact that I grew up outside of DC so the thought of running a race through DC sounded like a lot of fun. I had no idea what I was in for.

Barry and I traveled up to my Dad’s house the Friday before the race. We went to the expo on Saturday, which was held at the DC Armory. It was very crowded at the expo, which would end up being the theme of the weekend.

Race morning arrived and we headed to the metro station to catch the train into DC. I was really worried about the metro trip in, because the metro stations do not have public restrooms. As our train arrived at the first stop, the restroom became the last thing on my mind. I could not believe the number of people getting on the train! It just increased from there, until it got to the point where the train would make a stop and no one could get off or on, because both the train and platforms were so crowded. My poor dad was also trying to navigate his bike through this mess. I think part of the problem was that there were a few trains shut down for maintenance, but it was out of control.

When we finally arrived at our stop, Barry and I were able to squeeze off of the train, but my dad was stuck with his bike and had to ride the train to the next stop. It was kind of scary getting out of the metro station. It was overcrowded and people were getting squished up against each other, because the escalators were still running but there was nowhere to go. As you exit the metro you have to swipe a card and wait for the barriers to open so you can walk through. This was causing a major bottleneck, and they later opened the gates to let people just get out.

As soon as we got out of the metro station, I located a porta potty. Then I kissed Barry goodbye as I headed for the security line to get into the runners staging area for the start. I made it through and had time for one more quick stop at the porta potties (which were numerous within the staging area) and then joined my corral and the throngs of runners.

I warned you that just getting to the start of this race deserved a recap of it’s own! The race started near the Pentagon and before I knew it we were off! Around mile two I saw my dad standing at the end of the Memorial Bridge. I hollered for him, but he missed me because it was so crowded!

I kept running and I know we ran past a lot of notable sites in DC, but I don’t know most of them well enough to tell you. We definitely ran past Watergate and along the river. I saw my dad again between miles 4 and 5 and this time we connected. Can you spot me in the below picture? Look right in the middle for the runner in green shorts and a white shirt, just above the spectator guy with the tan backpack.
Where’s Waldo??
 We ran around DC some more, and did an out and back on what I believe is called the National Mall where all of the Smithsonians are located. I felt strong up until mile 8, and then I was ready to be done. I missed the mile 9 marker (and was not running with a Garmin) and thought the race was never going to end, and then I finally saw the finish. We looped around and came down a hill and it was a straight shot to the finish line. I crossed and was immediately told to keep moving. We walked for close to a mile before even being handed a bottle of water, which was pretty crazy. Then I gave the ticket from my bib to a race volunteer who handed me my finisher’s coin. Army Ten Miler does finisher’s coins instead of finisher’s medals.  

And then I proceeded to wander aimlessly through the finisher’s area trying to find my dad and Barry. We hadn’t set up a spot to meet and it was so crowded. I finally asked a stranger to use his phone and got a hold of my dad, and was able to meet up with him. Then I used his phone to touch base with Barry, who was still at finish line. It was chaotic and not what I needed after running 10 miles.

Touching base with Barry. I’m pretty sure this is what I looked like
to the nice stranger who let me use his phone to call my dad.
Once we all met up, I finally celebrated having run ten miles, my first race in nearly two years. This race was crowded from the time I got on the metro to the time I was handed my finisher’s coin, approximately one mile after crossing the finish line. I’m glad I got to experience this race, but I doubt I’ll run it again. It’s definitely neat to run through DC, though.

We are professionals when it comes to smiling for pictures. I finished in 1:42:16 and wrote the following in my running log: “Had a pretty good race- ran the entire way w/ a pretty even pace; very crowded getting there and on the race course; 10:13 pace.” That about sums it up. Maybe I just should have used that as my race report??

Have you ever run the Army Ten Miler? How about any other races in DC?
Do you set up meeting points with family/friends at the finish line of races?
What’s the most crowded race you’ve ever run?

13 thoughts on “Army Ten Miler – Race Report”

  1. I think it would be so cool to run a race in D.C. w/ all of the landmarks (even though I wouldn’t know them all either LOL). I did find you in the “Waldo” pic! Glad you finally met up w/ your Dad and Barry. It can be so stressful when you can’t find your people. This was a fun way to do a race report!

    1. It was really neat! It was a fun report to write- not as daunting as regular “real-time” race reports for some reason. All the credit to Deb for the idea!

  2. Haha I totally thought you ran it but didn’t tell us! Come run a DC race again – I’ll do it with you!! On my 10 miles this morning I did that pace too!

  3. Wow! That sounds very hectic. I’d need a nap after that experience even if I hadn’t run in the race!Glenn and I ran in the Ladies’ Speed Stick Half Marathon in Scottsdale and there were a lot of runners. It never felt crowded, though.

    1. Hectic is the perfect way to describe the entire day. I’m so glad I had my dad and Barry with me (once I finally located them at the finish!). I like when a race is crowded enough that you never end up running alone, but not when it’s so crowded you feel like a sardine.

  4. Holy cow…I think I would have freaked out long before I made it to the starting line!!!I think the most crowded race I have ever done was my first half-marathon in Singapore (2XU Half…I have a race review up somewhere, but it’s not very nice). The course was not a good one for the size of the field…too many narrow bridges, narrow walkways, and altogether insufficient space (and water, but hey, DETAILS) for the number of runners. And, we ended up starting pretty far back, meaning LOTS of bobbing, ducking, weaving, etc…

    1. It was quite stressful just getting to the start! Yikes that 2XU Half sounds really crowded. It’s hard to enjoy a race when you’re constantly stressed and frustrated with the crowds!

  5. I know the experience of that race has caused us to do a better job analyzing the route and arranging rendezvous points.LUD.

  6. I love that you did a throw-back race recap! And of course I don’t mind that you borrowed the idea. I think I told you that I’ve never run an Army Ten-Miler. I’m not sure why we didn’t sign up for it at least once… I almost fell down those steps once (in your Where’s Waldo picture). I stepped on the top step when they were wet with dew and my feet went flying out from under me, and down I went!

    1. Thanks for the idea! I may borrow it again for the Richmond Half 🙂 It was neat to run through DC, but like I said it’s definitely not a race I’d do again (never say never, though, I guess). But it is one to experience.Yikes! I would have definitely slipped on them if I had walked on them when they were wet with dew. I used to slip on the steps outside of many of the buildings at Tech. Especially coming out of Owen’s!Glad I fooled you 🙂

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