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.
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?