Army 10 Miler (ATM)

Race 4 of 4, in 4 weekends

Every year since I have lived in the DC area, my mom has come up from Florida for a Girl’s/Army 10 Miler weekend. My favorite part about the weekend (besides running 10 miles) is that I get my mom all to myself! When I go home to Florida, I have to share her with my dad and sisters – Army 10 Miler weekend, it’s 100% uninterrupted Mom/MP time – and I love it! Since my mom is the reason that I am a runner, it seems fitting that our girl’s weekend would include a 10 mile run. No shopping sprees or mani/pedi’s for us – we are all about the Army 10 Miler!

Expo: One statement – I love Expo’s! I love getting 20% off running shorts. I love discounted running shoes. I love One More Mile slogans, like “One Bad Mother Runner” and “Toenails are for Sissies”. I love to people watch.

And this year, I love TRX. Since the website says it better than me, TRX Suspension Training gives athletes, military personnel and fitness pros a complete total-body training tool and the cutting-edge training programs they need to take their performance to the next level (yes, I will) . The main reason I love TRX: I won one – for free – by winning the “low row” contest. My new friend Shawn (see picture below), told me that he would give me one, on the spot, if I could do 30. I made it to 24 and had to call it quits. However, 24 placed me #1 for most female rows. So, I still won (awesome, right?!)! I seriously think that TRX will take my workout routine to a whole new level – and I can not wait to start using it! (Thanks Shawn!)
After we left the expo, with new shorts, a pair of running shoes and 3 running tops, we headed to my favorite pre-race restaurant – Faccia Luna – and ordered a delicious pizza. Since high school, I have eaten pizza before every road race – it’s the one routine superstition that I can not give up. Delish dinner with mom and BJ, wine, dessert – and off to bed. I needed as much “dreaming-of-a-PR” sleep as possible.

Race Day: We woke up to awesome weather – it was a little chilly but I knew it would warm up, so I wasn’t concerned. The forecast: 72 and partly sunny. I love awesome running weather! Mom, BJ and I got to the race about 1 hour before the 8am start. We got to see the beautiful sunrise, the Golden Knight parachute team and cheer on the Military Veterans and amputees who started at 7:45am. 8am race start – I was ready to rock the ATM!

Since the 2009 Army 10 Miler marked the 25th Anniversary of racing, they opened the race to 30,000 runners! Since there were 30,000 runners, they had specific waves for specific race numbers (all color coordinated by having same-color race numbers and balloon arches indicating the wave). Since I was bib number 2245, I was in the wave (#2) behind the elite runners. However, like any big race, with 30,000 runners, 96 year old, Grandma Betty, with bib number 29,987, thought she could start in wave #2, too. Sorry, grandma – you can’t! My biggest frustration (besides not enough water) is runners who think that they can start whenever they want. There are wave starts, bib numbers and timing chips FOR A REASON! If you’re not in my wave, don’t start running with me!

Miles 1 – 1.5: I spent the entire first mile (and next half mile) running in and out of people that started in the wrong wave. I had to slow down, break my pace and actually walk around people. I had to yell: “on your right”, “or your left” and “in the middle” too many times to remember. Seriously, people, you think that’s acceptable?! Now, please don’t get my wrong, I am not an elite athlete nor do I think that I am “so awesome” that I’m not human, but I just don’t understand why people start in the wrong wave. It is clearly marked, there are a million color-coordinated balloons to help you, should you get confused, AND, for the love of God, you know you are not running that fast!

Surprisingly, I crossed Mile 1 in 7 minutes (it should have been faster but honestly, I’m surprised it was that fast).

By mile 4 I realized that I was consistently running 7 minute miles and wondered if I could keep that pace for 6 more miles. I felt really strong – plus, my mom gave me some awesome advice the night before. Awesome mom advice: it doesn’t hurt any more to run a 7 minute/mile than it does to run a 7:15/mile or a 7:36/mile (my pace from last year). What the hell – I’ll keep running a 7 minute mile – and I’ll be done sooner! I love mom advice, especially because moms are generally right.

I saw BJ around Mile 7 (for me – and Mile 5.5 for him). We always get excited to see each other and I love when he tells me that I look strong, or yells: “Go Melly go!” Since he knew that I was a faster runner than him, even before we started dating, he is the most supportive and awesome boyfriend on race days!

Approaching Mile 8, I still felt really strong, continued to pass people and knew I only had 2 miles left. A little blister started to form (I really need some blister advice – how do I make them stop??) – but with 2 miles left, I knew that I could run through the annoyance and deal with it later. Still on a 7-ish pace, I tried to pick up the pace, even if just a little tiny bit. I hit Mile 9, only 4 laps around a track left, and started to pass runners one by one. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but as a former 400m runner, I still feel really strong at the end – and am usually able to find a little extra kick somewhere deep down!

With (probably) half a mile left, I looked down at my watch and realized that if I kept running hard (and fast), I would:
A) Shatter my time from last year (2008: 1:16:01)
B) Run under 1:10:00 – which means my pace would less than 7 minute/mile.

I sprinted to the finish line – and crossed in 1:09:58!! Even, if just barely, that’s a sub 7 minute/mile pace – and 6 minutes and 2 seconds faster than last year!! (YAY!!)

Overall Time: 1:09:58 (6:59 pace)!!!!
Overall: 1,016/21,289
Sex: 95/9566
Age Group: 32/1966

I am so thankful for:
A) Awesome weather!!!
B) My best ATM ever (this was my 3rd year running) – I ran 10 miles at a 6:59 pace!
C) My mom being able to run the whole race – and not stop (It’s a LONG story but my mom had a terrible horse accident less than one month before the race and she wasn’t even sure she would be able to run)!!!
D) A PR for BJ, too!

Awesome things about this race:
1) Location – close to home, the race starts and finishes at the Pentagon
2) Supporting our Troops! I’m an Army Brat, so I have a special place in my heart for the men and women that serve our country! I clapped and thanked every amputee I saw on the run (and after) – they deserve it.
3) Washington D.C. – shit happens here. It’s cool to run 10 miles in and around our Nation’s Capitol!
4) Hundreds of AWESOME volunteers – some civilians, some Military personnel.
5) The ATM is beyond organized – probably one of the best organized races in the U.S.
6) Awesome expo – see 3rd paragraph, above.
7) The after party is so much fun! There are tents everywhere, good food and everyone is having a good time.

Not so awesome things about this race:
1) Very, very crowded. Because this race is so well organized, 30,000 runners just barely works – however, I am NOT happy about the “laissez faire-ness” of the bib numbers and wave starts. There are HUNDREDS of [handsome] military guys working this race – you need to enforce it, fellas.
2) 30,000 runners – YOU ALWAYS NEED MORE PORT-A-JOHNS. Yes, trust me, you do! (I almost missed the start of the race but thankfully a very kind man (who was obeying his later wave start/time) allowed me to cut in front of him – I just barely made it in time.)

Verdict: I love this race for a number of reasons, including my mother/daughter weekend, great weather and another reason to support our troops! I’m 3 years strong – and I hope I can run this for (at least) another 25 years. We will be there in 2010 for round #4!

Overall Score: 9

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  1. That is so awesome, congratulations! I wish I was a runner. A lot of the blogs I read are about running/races and it's really starting to make me think..

  2. So AWESOME! What a great race, finish and time spent with mom! Congrats girl! What a killer PR!!!!

  3. Love TRX!!!

    Congrats to you! Love your story…and it's so great that you and your mom have running in common!

  4. nice job, you're speedy! Yours is the second blog today where I read your pre-race dinner is pizza! I'll have to try that, as I could eat it every day!

  5. What a neat tradtion for you and your mom! Great job on the race too!

  6. wow, girl. 10 miles is a long time to hold that pace! well done. and I'm glad you had the time with your mom.

  7. way to go and what a fun thing to do with your mom!

  8. I think you're crazy fast AND have a lot of endurance.

    @Erin–all you have to do to be a runner is decide to be one and get moving, even if you run 10 seconds and walk 50 seconds at a time.
    I love that the latest issue of Runner's World highlights a Biggest Loser who says she thinks 11-minute miles are fast. Me too!!

  9. Great job girl! Way to shatter your old time and get a new PR! So neat that you get to share your love of running with your mom!

  10. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who gets ticked off at people starting in faster waves. I once got stuck behind a guy dressed like Indiana Jones and dragging a giant boulder behind him. Even when there aren't designated waves, people should be reasonable enough to realize if they are going to walk the race, they shouldn't be toeing the line.

    Have you ever tried body glide or vaseline on your feet? I do that before ever run, and although it doesn't totally eliminate blisters, I never get ones that are so painful that they interrupt my run anymore.

  11. This sounds like an incredible race. I can't imagine 30000 runners in such a short distance. The congestion at the start would probably drive me crazy. Like you, I can't STAND people starting too close to the front. Why do you want to be constantly passed and trampled?!

    But enough about that… CONGRATS ON A HUUUUGE PR! 1:09?! Dude, that is amazing!!! You rock! 'Grats to Mom too and YAY for Mom/daughter weekends.

  12. Seriously you have been kicking butt this year! You mom is adorable and you guys really could be sisters.

    Congrats to you both and thanks for the well wishes on my trip!

  13. What an awesome post. Your so speedy! I do pizza pre-race adn pre-long run too. Religiously. Way to dig deep at the end. That's major!

    p.s Your mom looks like your freakin sister! Congrats to her and BJ on the race too! Good times.

  14. GREAT GREAT race!! It is so fun that your Mom runs with you. GOSH I would love love to get sub 7's for my 5K pace… EEEK for 10. You are one speedy chick. But the competition, wowzers…a bunch of GI Jane types huh??

  15. Great job. Fun to randomly come across another DC blogger.

    * New follower

  16. Oh my gosh. You are SO fast! Congratulations! I totally agree with you on the wave starts. We always have them for NYRR races now, and it's really annoying when the walkers go up front and you have to swerve by out of the gate. I'm so happy they're doing the race, but everyone should start with the right pace group. But seriously, it must not have really made a difference for you, cause you rocked it!

  17. Hmmm, what's your first name? If you don't mind my asking. I actually left the WDCAC group. 5 of 8 Board members did last month and we've started a new group, the NCAC (Nation's Capital Alumnae Chapter). If you ever want to come out to something, let me know!

  18. Don't you just love mother/daughter time? My mom doesn't run with me but we are expert shoppers together:)

    I've never run in a race that big!! Crazy!! I think it would be so much fun to run in DC! I get annoyed in our small races when walkers get in the front of the line and think it's funny… they don't realize that it's just dangerous because the rest of us have to run around them…and don't get me started on the people with strollers! I prefer the races that don't allow them.

    Your time is SICK!!! I need to channel your energy for next week when I run a 10k:)

  19. You are flipping amazing! that is a killer time and i'm so proud of you! GREAT job!!! 🙂

    Blisters? Well.. where are you getting them? And do you do the heel lock tie method? Shoot me an email and i'll explain it to you if you don't!


  20. Great blog Loyd and thanks for all the great Mom kudos! Awesome daughter and awesome good times equals another terrific ATM. To Mel, B and Mom – cheers! Beachrunner5

  21. Awesome job!! You are so fast!! I love reading your race reports!


  22. Sounds like you ended on a great race! I hope I get to run with my kids some day.

  23. That is so great!!! Congrats on the pace!!

  24. Wow! Congrats! It sounds like you had an awesome race and even better that you go t to share your weekend with your mom! Fun!

    I love TRX. They have it at my gym- they have a ton in the workout rooms, so you can either take a class or do it on your own when the room is empty. They also have one out on the lifting floor, which is great! Love it! It is incredible how tough it can be. How will you rig it at your house?

  25. That is soooo wonderful your mom got you in to running and you can still enjoy it together. I have tried to work on my parents but to no avail…and I get it running just isn't for everyone. You two look so much alike1

  26. Hey girl, awesome race! I'm thinking about maybe running it in the future, esp. with all those military guys 🙂
    To answer your question, I'm a Delta Gamma. I've heard of KD, but we don't have it at JMU. Where did you go?

  27. WOW! I am so impressed. No wonder I don't see you at family dinners anymore; you are always training!!
    Love you:) Your VA mom (who definitely does not run)

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