Whew! It’s been awhile since I put up a race recap, hasn’t it? I can’t even remember the last time. The past year or two, it’s been hard to run and train for races – I’m sure I make lots of excuses, but there it is. I don’t love being away from Nugget for long stretches, even now – I figure there’ll be plenty of time for half marathons (and maybe longer races?) when he’s older. And between job-hunting, planning a move, and then trying to get used to a new job (I’ve been at my current job for over a year, and I still feel like I’m learning the ropes) something had to give, and it’s been running. But I miss the feeling of accomplishment that I used to get from training for and running races, so I have very gradually been dipping my toes back into the local running scene. I’m not doing anything too crazy right now, which was why my “big” race of the year was a 10K – but what a 10K!
The day before the MCM10K, I drove over to National Harbor to pick up my packet. It was a total zoo, but somehow I made it in and out with my bib and mock-turtleneck (#RockTheMock). Loud singing along to The Book of Mormon soundtrack on the way there and back was a big help. Back at home, I laid out my “flat runner” – we’d gotten a heat advisory email from the race organizers, so I planned accordingly with a tank top that weighs less than a sheet of tissue paper.
Race morning dawned clear and sunny. It was actually a little bit brisk, and I was chilly as I waited at the start line, but I knew I’d be glad I had the lightweight tank on later (spoiler alert: I was). Eventually, the gun sounded and we were off! I got chills as I ran under the “Marine Corps Marathon” starting arch. Maybe someday I’ll run through this arch on my way to 26.2.
The full marathon course starts over by Iwo Jima, but the 10K starts on the National Mall – which is very nice, because the scenery begins immediately. We ran past a line of Smithsonian museums, and before long, I could see the Capitol over my left shoulder. (I hummed “dark as a tomb where it happens” as I ran past.)
Rounded the corner, and headed down past the Smithsonian Castle and toward the Washington Monument. I have really missed running local races around these streets. It’s SO nice to be home.
Hello, George! I put my camera away and before I knew it, we were crossing the bridge into Arlington. I didn’t get too excited at that point, because most of the 10K is run in Arlington. We still had a long way to go.
A good portion of the race (10K and I think marathon, too) is run on highways in full sun – hence the heat advisory and the warning to dress appropriately for the weather. I was glad that I made the apparel choices I had – I was always comfortable and didn’t really feel like I was baking in the sun (I did hear later that a few people were taken off the course in ambulances due to the heat, so it was no joke). There was also a fair amount of shade on the 10K course, which provided relief, and even when we were in full sun we could count on cool scenery – like the Pentagon.
I could tell we were getting close to the end when I ran through this row of American and Marine flags, and I started to get a little misty-eyed. I made sure to thank every Marine I saw on the course for their service – others were doing so, as well.
Soon we found ourselves running past the marathon starting corrals – all empty. It was surreal to see the corrals silent, with all the runners gone. Maybe someday I’ll be standing in one, ready to race the full.
And before I knew it – the end! The last little bit of the course was an evil, heinous – extremely steep – uphill, so no pictures from that part. I went through the finishers’ corrals, collected my medal, and found my cheering squad – Steve, the kids, and my mom. It was hot, exhausting, and completely exhilarating and inspiring.
Are you a runner? What’s your favorite race?