I had been waiting for this day for a long time. I ran this race last year and it had become one of my favorites. After missing all of my spring races due to a stress fracture, I was nervous and excited to run a big race again. I followed Dr.’s orders and slowly upped my mileage over the past 8 months. Despite a couple of routine aches and pains, I was ready to go. I had decided that I really wasn’t going to set a time goal for this race and that all I wanted was to be able to run 10 miles again without stopping.
I spent Friday working at the expo on behalf on Rock n Roll marathon. (more on that soon). For the most part it’s a fun, yet tiring, experience. It great to run into friends and also fellow blogger friends who I rarely see in person.
I had a little fun on the way in with some of the Army activities.
You know what they say about a man in uniform? Well it’s true-these guys were not hard to look at. When one of them challenged me to do drop and give him 10, I happily obliged.
I was so nervous for this race. I have done so many 10 milers and half races the past few years but this was different. This was my first post injury 10 miler. This was my comeback 10 miler. What if I couldn’t do it? What if I hurt my shin again? I had these and a couple hundred other worries. I set out my “flat Mama” and made race day plans with my MRTT mamas. I honestly could not have made it through the day without these ladies and their support. My co-Chapter Leader, Alexandra, actually planned her long run that day to end up at the finish line to cheer me on. Love them!
Standing in the Pentagon waiting for the race to start with 35k of my fellow runners, it’s hard not to feel patriotic. We were surrounded by hundreds of Army personnel doing what they do best: protecting and serving. Hearing the National Anthem while standing amongst military personnel and wounded warriors really puts things into perspective. Living in the DC area, it’s easy to become jaded and take for granted all of the iconic symbols we see everyday. There is something very American about running down “Independence Avenue”. This race, always reminds me of all that we have to be thankful for.
And we were off and running! I planned to stay with my friend, Holly, as we are usually the same pace. I could tell after the first mile that I just wouldn’t be able to keep up with her today. Some days you have it and some days you don’t. I kept reminding myself that my goal was to finish without walking and my time didn’t matter. Easier said than done. This was the first time that I ran for so long without music and without talking to a friend. I forgot how long ten miles is.
It took me 2 or 3 miles to feel warmed up and I felt ok until about mile 8 where I just felt tired and my hip started to hurt. It was one of those races where you start asking yourself what you are doing here. I tried to absorb some of the great energy from the crowd. Looking around I saw military personnel running in full boots and gear, soldiers running with huge American flags and wounded warriors walking the course. Inspiring indeed.
A very cool fly over with parachuters
I finally found myself in the home stretch and was so relieved to see that finish line. This was a tough one for me. I am so glad to be running long distance races again pain free and I know I will eventually get back to where I was. Mentally, I needed to do this to prove to myself that I could. I would do it again next year in a heartbeat but right now I’ve got a date with my foam roller.
Ever have a race that you had to get through mentally to prove to yourself that you could?