Tuesday, October 30, 2012

MCM 10k Recap!

First race--check! It was a great experience. Starting on race day AM--

My mom and I rode the metro in from Virginia. It actually wasn't as bad as I expected it to be, crowds-wise--I think the marathon people all got there earlier. We got off at the Smithsonian metro stop and followed the crowds to the mall. There I made a beeline for the portapotties, but sill was greeted with huge lines. My mom guessed around 750 people, and I think that sounds right. Not enough of them!

I was still in line when the official start happened but close to the front, so I decided to stick it out. Others started to abandon, but I knew I would be in a later corral anyway so I wasn't concerned. I finally got in there and came out to them shouting over the megaphones "one minute until we take away the timing mats!" I shoved my stuff into my mom's arms and started sprinting toward the start. And I made it! [Sidenote--this was only at 8:15 AM and the race started at 7:55. I really didn't think it would close down that fast, especially since they could see how long the portapotty lines were!]

And then I started running. One unexpected perk of literally sprinting to make the cutoff was that it was initially pretty uncrowded. Not too much weaving to be able to pass people. I came around the mall after the first half mile and saw my mom! After that she hopped on the metro to meet me at the end, so I was happy that she was able to see me run at least a little bit, even toward the beginning.

After the mall, the rest of the course was a lot of this:
So much highway
Never having done a road race before, I'm not sure if this was typical? They did break it up with groups of marines along the course! They were very friendly and eager to give high fives. But there weren't a ton of spectators beyond that--some groups of cow people (not sure what their cause was, but they all had cowbells) and occasionally a few others. I had been dreading the turning/weaving in Crystal City (I tend to prefer to run straight) but that ended up being my favorite part of the course because there were spectators and music! Shout out to Lululemon for having a great crowd.

I might be selling the course short--I honestly don't remember a ton of it beyond the highway ramps and bridges, but the map shows me there might be more I'm forgetting. I was focused on running and weaving. After the first 1.5 miles I started to catch up to the bigger group of people and had to do a bit more weaving than I had expected (seeing as I am slow and usually the one being passed, not doing the passing. I ended up with an extra .14 mile, according to my watch). I was really surprised how many walkers there were at the race. Lots of people walking in honor of someone, etc. Definitely a meaningful race for a lot of people.

I wish I could give a mile by mile play by play, but it honestly all kind of blends together a few days out. With about 1.5 mile remaining, I realized that beating 1:10 (my A+ goal!) was feasible and got my head in the game. I wouldn't let it feel easy--that was when I really started to feel like I was participating in a race, not just a regular long run. It was exciting!

And finally, I came to Rosslyn. All of my "on the course" proofed photos look like this:
where I'm slightly looking up. I'm nearly positive that is because they were all taken right at the end (notice the crowds in the background) before the massive hill that leads up to the monument. I'm just so clearly thinking "you have got to be fucking kidding me" in all of them. But I did it! And I finished.

I honestly thought I would cry when it was over, but I held it together. (I'll do a second post on my takeaways/thoughts on doing my first race). The closest I came was when I got teary as the marine placed the medal around my neck and told me congratulations.

[Side note: people that know me in real life know that I'm not much of a military worshipper. Don't get me wrong, I'm immensely grateful for what they do and how they serve our country, but I sometimes think that the constant adulation they receive is a little much, especially when compared to others (e.g. paramedics, doctors, firefighters) that also save lives. That being said, I was truly touched by the significance of this race for many people--so many people running in memory of someone. There was a moment at the beginning of the race when we were all waiting for the portapotties and the race was starting. It was loud and jovial and then the Marines starting singing the National Anthem. A hush fell over the crowd, and I had this moment of...ohh, I get it. Awe and gratitude and a sense of being part of something.]

I want to buy this photo if they can remove crazy pink lady.
Bam. I did it.
Chip time
Coming in to the race, I knew it was only my first, so I didn't really need to set any goals. Finishing and not getting picked up by the course-clearing truck would be an accomplishment. But a little part of me knew I had a bit more in me than that. So I told my mom on the metro ride there: "I'll be happy if I finish in under 1:20, but I think I might be able to go for under 1:10." To which she just told me to have fun and finish. But I beat my goal! I'm so happy with that time. 11:09 average pace (although 10:55 when you account for my phone's distance measurement of 6.34 miles, not 6.2). Here are my splits:
miPace (min/mi)Elevation (ft)

I feel like I ran a solid race--relatively even splits! So proud to wear that medal:

Lots more to come on my thoughts on finishing my first race, whether I've got the "racing bug", and what my new running plan is. But for now I'm enjoying thinking of myself as a 10k finisher!

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