Army Ten Miler

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The 2012 Army Ten Miler was a much more satisfying experience than the previous year, due almost entirely to the fact that my calf muscle was not behaving as if it had been ripped from my fibula.  Regular readers will know that I recently suffered the same injury to the same calf and the possibility of a repeat of last year’s travails was looming large.  Lots of massages, ice, heat helped rehabilitate it to an acceptable level.  Icy-Hot bandages, compression sleeves, motrin, and new shoes helped prevent reinjury.

First, my apologies for a lack of photos.  It’s difficult to photograph a running race as a participant.  It means lugging a camera with you.

The day was sunny and cool, but not frigid, and we managed to stay warm enough while waiting in the Pentagon’s South Parking Lot for about an hour.  Runners face difficult wardrobe decisions that cyclists do not.  They are forced to wait in the cold for extended periods and quickly warm up once the event starts.  Stowing excess cold weather gear is not an option.  They have come up with two general solutions to this problem:

1.  Suffer in the cold and do just fine after the race starts.

2.  Bring some throw away clothes (or a plastic bag converted to a shirt) and stay warm before the race.  Discard when they are no longer necessary.

I largely fall into Category 1, but I did use some disposable gloves which I tossed to the side after crossing the Potomac (around Mile 2).  They are purpose-built for this very thing and I was glad to have them.

Pre-race events were filled with parachutists from the Army Parachute Team, the National Anthem, and mercifully no speeches from the dignitaries.  The starting gun sounded in the distance for the Wounded Warriors, who would start five minutes before the official race start.  Nice touch, I thought.  I would eventually catch up with these folks, and watching them overcome their disabilities is always inspirational for me.  Everyone was giving them great support and I was happy to do likewise as I passed each one.  I suspect there were several I never caught up with.  Simply remarkable.

Bolivar’s Statue

It’s also remarkable how much more enjoyable an event is when you are not wondering how you will finish the next 50 feet.  I noticed statues I had never seen before, such as the one of Simon Bolivar at Foggy Bottom.  I couldn’t imagine why that guy earned a coveted spot a few blocks from the White House (the answer – which I discovered after I got home – is that it was a gift from the Republic of Venezuela to the U.S. in 1958).  I was able to enjoy the sights of DC, something I never grow tired of despite having done several events there over the years.

I took it easy for the first five miles just to make sure everything was ok, going at about 90% effort.  After that, I pushed things a little more.  Thanks goes to Tootlepedal for his “negative split” strategy.  It worked quite well.  I finished with a time of 1:29:58, about 13 minutes faster than last year.  I was pleased to break (by two seconds) the 9:00/mile pace.  Out of over 21,000 finishers, my overall placing was 7,931 – up from 14,513 last year.  I managed to improve my place in the 45-49 Men’s Division to 832, up from 1,354 last year.  Plenty to build on for next year.

You may be curious about Diesel.  She smoked the course with a time of 1:25:44.  She improved her time by six minutes from last year and finished 102nd in her division of 1,017 women.  More impressively, she was not the least bit sore and reported this morning that she could run another ten miles today if she wanted to (something your humble scribe cannot say).  She won’t do that because she has her first marathon to run this Sunday.  It is worth repeating that for most of her adult life, Diesel focused on raising our kids and maintaining a household and she did no specific exercise of any kind.  It was only three years ago that she began walking and only 18 months ago when she ran her first race – a 5k.  I am in awe.  At the marathon, I’ll be leading her official cheering section.  Perhaps next year I will run with her.

Now, where’s my bike?

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10 thoughts on “Army Ten Miler

  1. Congrates on your successful completion of the Army 10 miler. I havent done any running for some years now but I have recently been inspired reading all these cycling blogs about running. I used to be able to do 8 minute miles, but I doubt I can get anywhere near that these days. My daughter and son in law are running the Princeton half marathon in a couple of weeks time. To warm up the competed in a 5k last week. My son in law who is not a runner finished third in under 20 minutes. I’m interested to see what sort of time he does for a half marathon now! I look forward to more cycle related posts and about how Diesel goes on in the marathon next week.

    • You may surprise yourself. I used to run a great deal in the Army, so my pace times improve much faster than fellows my age who are just getting into it. My body remembers how to do it, even if the engine isn’t quite as able. Good luck to you and your son!

  2. Congratulations on such an excellent upgrade. I am really glad the calf held up. I am very disappointed by the lack of photos. Surely you could find someone to run alongside you, snapping as you go.

    (Tedious teacher alert) If your calf is well this time next year and you can be bothered to do some serious interval training for a few weeks, you’ll be amazed how much faster you will go. The secret to running faster is to practise running faster not to practise running at the same speed but further.

    • Thanks, TP. I’ve used this technique in the past with positive results and have read it works equally well for cyclists, something I haven’t tried yet but will probably work on next Spring.

  3. Good job. I’m glad to hear the calf held up and you improved on last year. Agree that it is impossible to take photos while running. It is not just because of the technology limitation, but also the constantly bouncing up and down. I snapped about 5 from my last 5k. The only one that looked somewhat normal is from where I slowed to a near stop first.

  4. I’m glad to hear your calf muscle remained firmly in place and that the run was more enjoyable this time around. I can barely imagine 21000 runners. Until now I had never heard of disposable running clothes and although I can see their usefulness it somehow rubs me the wrong way. I guess I’m just old fashioned, dang it.

    Your wife’s rapid progress IS awesome. Very impressive.

    • You will be pleased to learn that all “gently used” clothing discarded by the runners along the course route was to be collected and donated to charity. Many runners discarded their sweatshirts/hats/gloves right in the starting coral when the gun went off, so it was a relatively simple matter to collect it all (do not equate “simple” with “easy”).

      And there were 21,000 FINISHERS. Over 31,000 registered and presumably most of them were present at the start. The Pentagon’s South Parking Lot has a gentle slope which allowed me to see the crowd assembled behind me. It was an impressive sight, like an entire stadium of people waiting to run after you. On long stretches of the road, you could see an unending stream of humanity in front and behind you. It definitely is a feeling you don’t get on even the largest bicycle rides. Perhaps RAGBRAI, but I haven’t had the opportunity to do that one.

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