Race Report – Army Ten Miler

The Army Ten Miler is one of my favorite races.  I realized this weekend that I have lived in the DC area just over 5 years and have run this race 5 times.  It wasn’t my first distance race in the area (that honor goes to the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler), but it’s definitely my favorite.

This race is very military themed.  Not only is it run by the Army, but there are so many military members and military family members running.  People run in honor of friends and family serving overseas and thousands of people run in memory of fallen soldiers.  The charity groups are mainly military related (Team RWB and Fisher House to name two).  There are even teams of foreign military members who run.  It’s an amazing sight.  In some parts of the country, this would be extremely frowned upon, but here in DC, it’s something we are very proud of.  There are even satellite runs overseas at various military bases and it’s not uncommon to see spouses running wearing shirts indicating that they are running “with” their spouse who is running overseas.

Last Friday, I hit up the expo.  Talk about well organized.  It gets crowded, and there is security since the expo is held in the Armory, but things moved smoothly.  There are a lot of military-related booths there, but there are also the typical race expo booths.  I didn’t buy anything, but did sign up for another race (RNR USA) while I was there.

Race morning, Jen met me at my house.  Yes, that’s right, for once, I didn’t have to drive to Annapolis for a race!  We decided to go early so as to not have to deal with crazy Metro crowds.  We drove to my office in downtown DC and then made the short Metro trip to the race, where we sat and waited to meet up with our friends.

ATM meters people through the security checkpoints at the race so that everyone isn’t mobbing in at once.  The first corrals can go through the earliest and so on.  The downside to that is that the portapotties are inside the corrals, and the lines this year were LONG.  But there were a lot of them, so I’m not sure how that could be improved.  I guess it’s just a given with 30,000 runners.  The corrals were setup in various areas in the parking lot and then moved to the start area.  This was a bit confusing, but it was an improvement over last year, I think.

Our goal for this race was to make the cutoff at the five mile mark and then see how things went.  The cutoff shouldn’t have been a problem, but last year, I got caught up in crowds and just barely made it through that point.  This year, I was in an earlier corral, so I thought I would be fine, but I was nervous.

Jen, David and I got started and were running pretty solid 1:1s.  I don’t know about them, but I was just enjoying the crowd.  And we saw something that trumps the Joggler.  We saw a FIFER!  That’s right.  There was a guy running, wearing a tri corner hat, and playing the fife!  It takes an insane amount of air to play a fife.  I don’t know how he was running and playing.  And he was good too.  Incredible.

We lost David a few miles into the race.  He’s running MCM next weekend and Jen and I are being lazy slackers next weekend, so we’re glad he decided to back off and run an easy race.  We really wanted to push and see what we could do.

This race has a great course through Washington, DC.  It’s beautiful, though it does involve the bridge that everyone hates from MCM.  At least it’s during the last miles of the race.  As seems to be typical for military races, the finish is on an uphill, but hey, we’re strong, we can do it, right?

My finish time was 2:11:26. A little over that sub-13 goal that I thought I could hit, but we got stuck at a few water stops.  I’m not disappointed in the time though.  It was an amazing race, a beautiful day, and I can’t wait to run again next year.

(Yeah, not the greatest pic.  We’re not allowed to bring cameras to the race, though lots do.  I’m such a rule follower.)