On Saturday morning, we drove into DC from Maryland (more on that in next post) and went to the Army Ten Miler race expo which was held at the DC Armory. This was an excellent spot to hold this expo as there is a lot of parking and a metro stop, since it is located right next to RFK Stadium where the Washington Redskins play football.
We walked from the parking lot to the expo where there were mobs of people waiting to get in due to 100% security check. Unfortunately, it was raining but we had the foresight to bring umbrellas with us and while cool, it wasn't outright cold.
Once inside, I went straight to packet pickup to get my bib, and my t-shirt, which turned out to be a long-sleeved wicking shirt, that I will enjoy wearing this winter.
I'd forgotten how fun a big race expo can be and had also forgotten that lots of the vendors offer expo-only discounts. I was thrilled to find the type of Thorlo that I prefer, which have been in short supply for some reason - and they were buy 1-get 1 50% off. As I excitedly grabbed two pair, my sweet husband told me to get two more and consider them an early Christmas gift. Yay for nice new socks!
I also purchased a pair of Running Lites gloves. These are gloves that have a compartment to slip an LED light into to help light the way when running in the dark. As I've gotten older, I just don't see as well in the dark so I'm looking forward to trying them out.
We came upon the Honey Stinger booth, which was offering free samples. I have been wanting to taste their products and was happy to find they make an organic chew, so I bought a package of the grapefruit flavor to try. Hopefully if I am able to use them without stomach issues, I'll be able to find them around here.
Another great thing about the expo was that they had Army soldiers stationed throughout showcasing their fields of expertise. I talked for a while with a medic and got to see his supplies, etc. Mr. Helen was fascinated with the guns and grenades and so on.
Our favorite non-retail booth was the one with the Army Olympic athletes. I got to meet USA's 5000 meter silver medalist, Paul Chielmo - and I got a photo, plus he signed the back of my bib. As he won the 10-miler last year with a time of 48:19 (yep, ten miles in under an hour), I was hoping that signature would speed up my legs.
This was a good race and one I'd be willing to do again, hoping that I could be in a faster wave maybe.
I wore my Garmin and started it when I crossed the starting mats. When it reached 10 miles, I shut it off but was nowhere near the finish mat. To me, this showed how much jogging around walkers I had to do, as races are usually measured on tangents. In fact, my Garmin time showed 2:12:39 and my official time was 2:15:59. I sort of wish I'd left it on to see just how much further 'I' actually ran.
The wind gusts really wore me down, particularly towards the end of the race. I just wanted it to stop for a minute.
It's hard to race away from home as you're completely off your normal schedule of eating, drinking, and sleeping. I did fine with the eating, but felt dehydrated for most of this trip, even though I had taken a 24 pack of water bottles with us. Plus we spent almost all of Saturday in the pouring rain and I told Mr. Helen I was in a perfect storm to get sick since the immune system weakens during hard training. Not to mention my fall which I think shocked my body a bit. I was correct, as I've been nursing a very sore throat and what seems to be turning into a head cold since Tuesday.
Fall injuries: my ankle held up well but my shoulder started aching around mile 8. Since I was walking a lot to fix my foot, I tried to relax and whirl my arms around but it didn't help much. I'm probably going to need to give up and go to a PT to fix it.
I normally never wear a hat when running in these temps but I needed it at first because of the rain. I had left my wicking hat at home so this was an ordinary cap. It got really hot, but I had nowhere to put it and I didn't want to throw it away, so I sweated and suffered. Next race I will make sure to have both a throwaway shirt and a throwaway hat.
I found out I still get annoyed with everything once I'm hurting or tired. (Remember I did all my long runs alone.) Between miles 7-9, I actually let a group go past me because I couldn't stand the sound of the guy's voice who was giving history lessons about Washington DC to the people he was running with. I was also extremely annoyed with a guy who kept running backwards and making jokes with spectators. He was obviously a faster runner who was helping some people about my pace, but I truly wanted to strangle him. This was when I wished for headphones, which are banned on this course.
All in all, I'm really proud of myself for digging in and doing this. I may not be the runner I once was, but I'm still a runner who can do an organized race.