MCM 10K [Review & Recap]

Its no secret that this past weekend I participated in the Marine Corps Marathon 10k (I was supposed to run the marathon, but…I covered that here).

I wasn’t necessarily set to break world records (let’s be honest, I never will be), but I was ready to chase down my PR — and get under 45:00.  That was the baseline goal, the one that was definitely achievable but that apparently wasn’t in the cards on October 27, 2013 — but it wasn’t because of what I did, that’s for sure.  So, where do you start when reviewing and recapping?  Well, first I want to say that the MCM10k, was overall, a fantastic race and I am definitely considering signing up for it again next year.  The course and support were great and straightforward, and I really enjoyed the run.

And now onto the recap: let’s start with the Saturday night pre-race fuel.

Saturday Night.

I met Brennan and Megan at Fireworks for some pre-race carbo-loading since Brennan was running the full marathon, Megan was working an aid station all freaking day (props girl!) and I was pretending I needed to eat the world for the 10k.  As such, enter 3 girls, 3 pizzas, and it was all but gone at the end of the night.

Megan, Brennan and I each with our respective pizzas.

Sunday Morning.

6:00am wakeup — eat breakfast (banana + almond butter), drink water, bathroom business, get dressed (in far too many layers to race) and get out the door by 6:30 to take the metro to the 10k start near the Smithsonian (about a 20 minute metro ride).

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Brrrrrrr.

[All is still going well.]

7:00am Arrive at the Smithsonian Metro stop and exit the metro and get ready to go drop my bag check (I was cheering marathoners after and knew I would need a ton of clothes) and then see the lines for the porta potties, realize that I need to get in line now to ensure I could use it before the race.

7:30am Still in line for the porta potty.  Have barely moved in half an hour.

7:40am parachuters with American flags drop from the sky and they sing the national anthem.

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Parachuters in the sunrise with American flag.

7:45am Get anxious and beg the people behind me to save my spot while I drop my bag at bag drop because I now desperately need to use the bathroom.

7:50am Back in line, they call people over the startline to start the race in 5 minutes. [still in porta potty line but half the people leave to head over to the start line -- thank goodness!]

7:55am They announce a 5 minute delay [still in porta potty line].

8:00am The race actually starts and some 7300 people start the race [still in porta potty line].

8:12am Finally get to go go to the bathroom [Yes, 12 minutes after the race started.]

8:14am Start the race 14+ minutes after the race officially started, behind some 7500 people and realize there is no way I can get a PR with all the weaving and pace changing I’m going to have to do and resign myself to the fact that I will just run a strong race

–But before we go on, let me just let you know how bad the situation really was, so you get an idea of what I went through race morning.

(1) 50 porta potties for 7500+ runners = porta potty fail.
(2) I showed up 55 minutes before the official start of the race and didn’t use the bathroom until 17 minutes AFTER it was supposed to start — that means I was in line for 72 minutes — more than 1 1/2 times longer than it takes me to run a 10k (so it wasn’t like I was showing up 20 minutes before and had a problem)

And this is what it looked like in front of all of the porta-potties.

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Yes, those are the porta-poties, very small and very far away…and I am in a “line” [This was at 7:25am], 25 minutes after standing in line…

It’s really my only complaint about MCM 10k.  This was not okay.  It would have been one thing if I had shown up 10 minutes before the race started and started late, but I was there with plenty of time.  Runners use bathrooms far more frequently than the average person — especially before a race or run.  And this is MCM’s 38th year, they should know this.  Just sayin’.  So one last call out to MCM10k:

Add more porta-potties next year and you won’t have this problem. 

Moving on…

So the rest of the race went as follows: run fast and weave in and out and then suddenly have to slow down to weave around people who decide to walk at the moment I try to weave around them.  Repeat for the rest of race.  Or, in other words, you end up with paces that look like this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 1.33.57 PMThere is basically no consistency and I was constantly pulling up and surging and it ended up destroying my legs by the time I got to the final .2 hill, but that’s okay.

9:01 cross the finishline an hour and 1 minutes-ish after the race started with a time of 47:45 (after running 6.3-6.4 with all the weaving).  Nothing to call home and complain about, but definitely not the race I had planned.

I am a little bitter about the porta-potty situation (if you couldn’t tell) in large part because this was the first race in a long time where I didn’t have stomach issues on the course, and believe I could’ve done much better in terms of time if I hadn’t started behind the entire field.  That being said, the rest of the race was great.  The crowd support was awesome, the marines on the course were fantastic, the aid stations were well manned and well executed even for the 10k, and the finishline area was great (albeit a little long to get out of) full of lots of tents, food options, marines saluting you when they gave you your medal, and so on.  Great overall execution of the race with the exception of the 10k bathroom issue.

But, regardless, I’m keeping a positive attitude, and know that there’s another 10k I’m signed up for next weekend, Run for the Parks 10k, and I’m looking to that as my redemption race — should be a much smaller field, and am hoping we don’t have the same crappy issues.

After the 10k, I went out and cheered on marathoners and new friends and had a great time, before retiring back home to reenter the only world I currently know — that of law school.

Have you ever had a race with a porta-potty issue?  How did you deal with it and/or rectify the need to go to bathroom situation?  I honestly wanted to go to the bathroom in the wilderness and would’ve if the situation allowed for, however we were on the Mall, there was no wilderness, the closest open Starbucks was 1+ miles away, and frankly I needed toilet paper.

I heard there were people peeing against the monuments, and while I understand that people needed to go to the bathroom, it saddens me that that is what it came too — and couldn’t people have at least found a bush instead of a monument?  I’m hoping that next year MCM10k learns from this year and fixes the situation.

#MCM2013: Training Week 4

I can’t believe I’m 4 weeks into training!  The first three weeks definitely had its ups and downs, with coming back from Peru, packing up and moving cross country and starting law school.  Check out the recaps of Week #1, #2, and #3 if you missed them!’

This past week, #4, was very much like week #3.  There was a lot of stress with starting law school, getting settled and figuring things out in a new city.  But, by the end of the week, I have to say, things started looking up.  Here’s a recap of my last week of training.

Week #4

The Plan:

Monday: Active Rest (Spin, Aquajog, Swim)
Tuesday:
Tempo Run (6)
Wednesday: 5-6 easy + Aquajog
Thursday: 6 Track + 1200m swim
Friday:
60 spin + 60 aquajog + arms/abs
Saturday:
1 w/u, 7 MGP
Sunday: 14 LSD

What Happened: (In pink is what was planned that actually happened)

Monday: Active Rest (moving)
Although today was supposed to include some active rest, I just let it consist of moving furniture from Ikea, shopping, walking a ridiculous amount and called it a day.  It was exhausting for sure (we spent 2 hours in Ikea alone…)

Tuesday: 4.11 easy (34:12)
Today was suppose to be a tempo, but I was tired from all the moving insanity.   I opted to just get in some miles and push at a hard pace during the flat parts of the middle two miles (7:20-7:30 pace) and let myself just feel like I had a ‘hard’ effort on the hills.  Not what it called for, but some decent miles nonetheless.

My mother and I also hit up Old Town Alexandria and got in quite a bit of walking, so I got a little extra exercise outside my run.

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Lunch spot in Old Town Alexandria!

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Mom and me on the Potomac!

Wednesday: Elliptical and arms/abs
Did 2 miles on the elliptical and then some arms and abs.  It was my birthday, so I wanted to get a little activity in, but not too much.  Then my mom and I hit up the Pentagon for a tour!

Thursday: Track! (6.09 in 51:50)
Hit the track bright and early again with the DC Luna Chix.  1 1/2 w/u, 4×100 strides w/ 100 recovery.  Then my workout was 8×400 w/ 200 recovery.  Goal was 1:30 or just below.  Was on point for the first 5, and then once again the stress of moving/starting to live in a new place/walking far much more than I’m used to took a toll.  Still they weren’t too far off (1:35, 1:35, 1:32).  I’ll take it.

Oh, and then law school started.

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The joys of lawschool…

Friday: Active Rest (40 Spin) and 5 min on the rock climbing wall!
Did a 40 minute spin while reading some for law school.  2 birds, 1 stone.  Not quite what was on schedule, but hey – Active Rest!  And I tried out the rock climbing wall in my gym.

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Continuous rock climbing wall!

Saturday: 7 MGP (1 w/u, 6 MGP)
Was supposed to be 7 MGP, but let’s be honest.  This week has been about adjusting and figuring out what my body can handle given the past few weeks, so I was happy with 6.  All my MGP miles were within range, with the exception of mile 3 and mile 6, but they weren’t too far off and had some hills/instances of me getting lost…  Still getting to know the trails and city.

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One of the new trails I run on!

Sunday: 14 LSD!
Had 14 on the schedule, and 14 I did!  Got to do the first 10 with a good friend, and then did the last 4 solo.  It was raining, but it was cool and felt good (a rarity, apparently, in DC this time of year on the cool part).  The first 10 were at 8:30 average, and the last 4 were hard for me (8:54 average) as I went home and changed before heading back out.  But sometimes nice and slow is the way to go.

Although this week had its ups and downs, it was definitely nice to finish out strong with a good track, MGP run and LSD.  Here’s to things turning up!

Running Total: ~31 run + 2 elliptical +40 spin
Workout Time Total:
~5:25

Week #5

The Plan:

Monday: Active Rest (Spin, Aquajog)
Tuesday:
Tempo Run (6)
Wednesday: 5-6 easy
Thursday: Track
Friday:
Rest/Active Rest
Saturday:
8 easy
Sunday: 1:30 LSD

Here’s to having settled in and getting back on track this week!!

Anyone else training for a race?  If so what one/when is it?

SJ Giant Race

Last week, after some convincing by my good friend Leslie, Meg, Hillary and I found ourselves signed up for the SJ Giant Race on Saturday, June 1.  Yes, my first race in over two months (the last one was when I PRed at the 5k before giving in to my injury.)  With all of two days to mentally and physically prepare myself, my goal was to run hard, to see where my fitness was at.

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Race morning came and we met at 6am, and headed over the hill to San Jose.  We arrived and parked with only about 25 minutes to spare, and by the time we hit the bathroom, Leslie and I only had about 5 minutes to warmup for our 5k before we had to make our way to the front of the pack.  Hillary and Meg were running the five mile race as a progression run, so I did not get to run with them.

I started off really strong in the race.

Mile 1: 6:40

I felt good, and heading into the second mile I was still running strong.  But then, then it hit me.  The stomach of death.  And I started feeling crappy, and slowing down.

Mile 2: 7:01

By the time I was running the third mile, my body was dragging, my stomach was winning, and then we hit some grassy portions and cobblestones that made me watch my step as I was running.

Mile 3: 7:24

Then I saw the mile 3 sign and I started picking up pace — just .1 to go!  Oh wait, it was really like .2 to go.  Though I did love how we finished by running into the outfield of the SJ Giants stadium.

Time: 21:30

Hillary, Meg, Me, Leslie post-race

Hillary, Meg, Me, Leslie post-race

Though it wasn’t my best race, it was a fun one for sure.  I loved spending the morning at a race with my favorite SFM ambassador Meg, and two of my favorite SCE ladies, Hillary and Leslie (who won the 5k with a time of 19:40!!).  And officially meeting another fabulous Santa Cruz runner, Trinity, who took second in the 5k!

Meg, Leslie, Trinity, Me, Hillary post-race

Meg, Leslie, Trinity, Me, Hillary post-race

Once the results were posted, I was surprised to find out that my 21:30 got me 5th woman OA and 1st in my AG!  Nice surprise for a not-feeling-so-well race.  Yay!

Fellow SFM Ambassador Meg & I post-race

Fellow SFM Ambassador Meg & I post-race

I don’t want to downplay this, I know that I have become much faster and a better runner over the past year. I mean a year ago I was excited to run a 22:50 5k.  And now a 21:30 is ‘not-so-good’ race.  I know that I have come a long way, and am so proud and happy of my accomplishments.  But, I’m working hard for — and am really trying — to become stronger and faster.  I’m not disappointed in my performance, I’d just like to (for once) not have a stomach problems and perform to the best of my ability.  One thing is for certain: I need to figure out what the heck is up with my stomach these days.  I even took 2 immodium at 5:30am, and the only thing that did was make me constipated for the next two days.  TMI, you’re welcome.

What’s up next?  The Fabulous 5k at the SF Marathon on June 16, 2013.  And then, I’m headed south to Peru for a month, where I’m trying to find a road race, but will otherwise be focused on crosstraining sightseeing and getting in short runs when I can.

Will you be there SFM weekend?  If so, come look for me and all the other ambassadors at the Expo Friday & Saturday — and on the course, race day!