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?

#MCM2013: Training Week 3

[AKA: The Week I finished traveling cross country and moved into a new apartment and failed at running]

Lessons I learned this week:

(1) Do not underestimate the effect driving cross country will have on your body.  O.M.G. it destroyed my legs, body, everything.  I was tired and my muscles were tight everywhere.
(2) Do not underestimate the effect moving into a new apartment will have on your body.  O.M.G. it destroyed my legs, body, everything.  I was tired and my muscles were tight everywhere.
(3) Do not underestimate the effect moving to a city where you walk everywhere will have on your body.  O.M.G. it destroyed my legs, body, everything.  I was tired and my muscles were tight everywhere.

[Sensing a trend yet?!]

Basically Week #3 [and spoiler alert for next week: so is Week #4] is the week of adapting due to the stresses introduced on my body.  It was hard for me to adapt, but I did the best I could given the circumstances, you know driving cross country, moving into an apartment, and having to attend law school orientation, and learn a new city.

Week #3

The Plan:

Monday: 4 easy
Tuesday:
Active Rest! (My day in Chicago with friends)
Wednesday: 5-6 easy
Thursday:
6 Track + arms/abs + 1200m swim
Friday:
60 spin + 60 aquajog
Saturday:
7 easy
Sunday: 12 LSD + arms/abs — making up for the missed LSD and readjusting my schedule

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

Monday: 6.5 Run (47:20)
I broke up my longest leg of my road trip (1050 miles which took me 18+ hours to cover) by running every few miles.  I did speedy miles (all under 8 min pace), and ran 4 times throughout the day.  Woke me up and kept me going for sure.

Tuesday: Active Rest
I spent the day in Chicago with my girlfriend, and we did active rest day by walking around and shopping ($10 shoe find!!!) and enjoying one of my favorite cities in the world.

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Fun day in Chicago!

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My amazing $10 [leather!] shoes!

Wednesday: 4 Run (4.21 in 31:29)After sitting in a car and driving from Chicago to Virginia for twelve hours, and after moving in all the boxes in my car, I needed to run.  It was hot, humid and speedy run.  I had frustration and energy to burn.  Not on schedule, but needed to happen.

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Move + run aftermath

Thursday: [Failed] Track with DC Luna Chix (6.15 in 48:21)
I headed to the track after just a few hours of sleep to meet up with the DC Luna Chix team for their am track workout.  My plan was 4-5×800 at 3:10-3:15 pace with 400 recovery.  I did 3, and after the the 3rd 800 was a 3:36, I knew my body was too tired, overworked, overstressed, etc from the moving, run, transition cross country that I just slowed down and took it easy with a couple ladies for a few more laps.

Friday: Active Rest!  (moving day)
Needed this day after Thursday.

Saturday: Active Rest!  (moving day)
My body was still hurting from the move and drive, so I took an extra day of rest — there was also a full day of orientation today to overwhelm me.

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New apartment!!

Sunday: 11.84 miles (1:41:03) (+ 10+ miles of walking + 25 cycle)Actually did a timed run, that ended up being about 12 miles.  (50ish minutes out and 50ish minutes back.)  Felt pretty good and had steady pacing (8:14-8:47), with the higher values coming with the ridiculous hills in Arlington.  Seriously, ridiculous.  And then, then the mishap happened where I was stuck 4 miles from home and the metro was delayed for more than an hour going to my place and I was supposed to pick up my mother from the airport.  Fast forward to the end of the day, and this happened…

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Holy walking.

Yeah…I accidentally covered another 10ish miles and rode a heavy bike share bike (and carried up to an overpass) for 25 minutes.

Running Total: ~28.5 run + a million miles walked in the city
Workout Time Total:
~3:50 (run only)

This week for me was hard (as you can tell by the really late posting) as the moving and starting of law school orientation really messed with my body.  I had to adjust a lot, and had zero cross training, which I (and my body) have been missing dearly. Regardless, here is the plan for Week #4 (note…some of this has already been changed/botched, but nonetheless, this was the plan).

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

How do you deal with messed up weeks in training and getting back on track?  How do you alter training plans to adjust for the unplanned (or not thought about) millions of extra miles walked due to a new commute on foot?