Irish Spring 10K
March 26, 2011
Quantico Marine Corps Base
Well, that's over. It wasn't as bad as I had expected, but it wasn't great, either. But, I finished, chip time of 1:18:34. Placed 667 out of 714. I know I could've done better (aka, less walking...) but for the amount I trained (or didn't train...) I can't complain too much.
I chose to not run with my cell, aka GPS. Really wish I had, but oh well. I think I dressed a bit warm for the day, but at the time, I was freezing - it warmed up a decent amount during the run, so I guess that couldn't be helped. And it wasn't like I sweated buckets or anything - just had to pop my hat off a few times when the wind wasn't blowing.
The race started out ok - a big group of people running around a track. Hill #1 was getting out of the stadium. Lots of people were half-heartedly complaining that the first hill shouldn't be so early, and I agree. I ran a decent pace for the first mile, mostly because there was a wall of people in front of me preventing me from running off too quickly. I took my first walk break then, with a nice young lady who had a stitch. We chatted for a bit, and then jogged up Hill #2, a bridge, right after the first mile marker. One of those nasty bridges that if you go off too fast with your car, you're going airborne. Nice. She gave up about half way up and walked some more - I think the stitch was still bothering her - and I kept going. She passed me later on and looked like she finished strong.
From mile marker 1 to mile marker 2, we ran through the Air Station, which was awesome. It was right on the water, so there was a bit more breeze, but there were big helicopters taking off, and one big jet that took off and scared everyone. It was a nice diversion. HIll #3 came just before the water station, a long slow hill that wound through what looked like dorms. I ran and walked as needed. My legs hurt for a while, especially my right outer shin, but it was more of a burning than a hurt. I'm not real sure when it went away, but somewhere around mile marker 4 or so I realized it wasn't hurting anymore. Interesting change... About mile 2.5 was the first water station...a welcome sight, but I inhaled a bit of water and coughed some, which bothered me for awhile.
Mile 3 to mile 4 was flat, and boring, going through part of the base that looked like housing or offices... not much to look at. Right around mile 4 was a Pipe and Drum Corps, playing 'O Danny Boy'. They were great. As this was near the stadium, there was some bystanders along the road, cheering everyone on. This helped some.
Just after mile 4 was the second water station... I made sure to drink slowly, and tried to not take as big of drinks. It worked. And then began the death march... hill #4. It lasted from the water station to just before mile marker 5 - a long, slow uphill, through the woods (no wind...) with nothing to act as a distraction. The road was divided in two with cones - we ran up, did a u-turn, and ran down. So the entire run up, there's runners coming back down. I have to say, the most demoralizing sight is watching an eleven year old go sprinting down the hill while I am laboring to walk up it... definitely not a great motivator. But I made it to the top, did the u-turn and was able to coast most of the way back down the hill. Passing mile marker 5 was probably the biggest motivation - one mile left!
As we came back down the hill, you start to hear the noise from the stadium. The road wraps around the stadium bowl, and we would get occasional glimpses into it. The entire time, we could hear the music playing and the announcers calling out the names and times as people passed the finish line.
Rounding the corner to head down into the stadium, the Pipe and Drum Corps had moved so they were right there, and were playing another Irish tune. Running out onto the track was an odd feeling - all of the racers who had finished, and lots of spectators, were lining the track, cheering people on. We ran straight down the long end of the track, then circled around to the finish line - backwards from most track directions. This was weird, too, because I didn't get a good sight of the finish line until I was about fifty feet away from it. But I saw the clock there, and knew that I had met my goal of an hour and twenty minutes. I ran through the finish with a smile on my face - I'm pretty sure I was too tired to raise my arms in the air. I collected my coin (not a finishers medal, but a challenge coin...) and wandered over to the refreshments table.
After passing through the finishers tent, I mad sure to walk around for a bit, then stretched out some to make sure I didn't cramp up, Then I got my "door prize" - a sunglasses holder - and got in line for a massage. It was cool to talk to some of the other finishers, to feel part of the group, although it was a bit anti-climatic for me, not having anyone there cheering me on. After my massage, I made my way back to my car alone... most of the stadium had cleared out, the Marines were taking down the tents, and it felt as if I had missed the party or something.
It was a long two hour drive home, with lots of different thought processes going on. Happy I finished. Upset I hadn't trained better. Disappointed that I had to walk as much as I did. Content that I actually accomplished my goal, but discontent knowing I could have beaten it by a lot more if I had trained better.
I am still not sure I consider myself a runner, since I am pretty sure I did more walking than running. And now that I am home, my calf muscles are sore, my knees are stiff, and even though six miles is a lot for some, in runner's circles, it's really not that long of a distance, so I don't quite feel like I have much to brag about. We'll see how things progress in the future though...
But all in all, I finished, I met my goal of 1:20, and I didn't die... so 'SUCCESS' !!!