On Sunday, Matt and I ran the Marine Corps 10k together! It was the first race that either of us have done since the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in April 2017 when I was secretly 8 weeks pregnant, and was the farthest I’ve run since last spring as well – a new postpartum distance record!
It has been hard for me to get back into running postpartum. When I first attempted a short jog around the block at a couple months postpartum, I had pain in my C section incision area, so I decided to hold off on the running for a few more months. Plus, I just didn’t have the energy to run! More low key fitness like yoga and walking just felt better. It wasn’t until earlier this summer at about 7 months postpartum that I started feeling physically ready to run slightly longer distances again, although I stuck to just one short run most weeks because it was so hot out. Now that I’m 11 months postpartum AND the weather is finally cool, running feels a lot better. I still don’t have any desire to train seriously in terms of distance or speed, but getting out there for casual run dates with friends and running with Matt and Riese (I def ask him to push the stroller… that ish is so hard) makes me happy, and I was excited to run 6.2 miles again this past weekend for the first time in over a year and a half.
We lucked out with fabulous running weather for MCM race day this year. I’m sure those of you running the full marathon were pumped – the past few years it has been really hot on race day, but this year we got temps in the low 50s which was perfect. Mostly cloudy skies, too, so we weren’t being blasted by the sun.
I almost wore a long sleeved shirt but decided last minute to go with short sleeves and was really glad I did because I would definitely have been hot. The Brooks Array Short Sleeve is a new fave of mine – love the peekaboo back for air flow and the looser fit – and I’ve been running in the Brooks Ravenna 9s lately and loving them as well. (Those are affiliate links, and thank you to Brooks for gifting me both items as part of my ongoing ambassadorship with them!)
It was such a treat to get to run this race with Matt – thank you to my mom for coming over super early to babysit Riese while we ran, and to our friends at The Watermelon Board for gifting us bibs for the race! After my mom arrived, Matt and I hopped in a Lyft down to the starting area for the 10k, which is near the Washington Monument in DC (the marathon starts in Arlington, but the marathon and 10k both finish in the same place). We made it down with plenty of time to get situated and into our corrals.
We lined up in the 50-59 minute corral since we expected to be doing about 9:30 minute miles. I wanted to finish the race feeling good and figured that would be about the pace that I could maintain for 6.2 miles without crashing and burning. 🙂 I remember when we did the MCM 10k back in 2014 that they used to have a little “MCM 10k” banner hanging below the regular Marine Corps Marathon starting and finishing arch to acknowledge the separate race – bummer that wasn’t on there this year! Weird to be starting under a Marathon arch when we weren’t doing the marathon… the finish line was the same way! Hopefully they will bring back the 10k sign for next year.
And we’re off! It’s nice that the 10k starts downtown so you get some nice views of the monuments and National Mall before heading over the bridge to Virginia.
The first mile was suuuuper crowded so Matt and I did some dodging and weaving so we could break out of the crowds a bit and have space to settle into a comfortable pace. I told him he was welcome to ditch me to run faster, but he said he was happy to keep pace casual and stick with me. Fun to run the race together! 🙂
I didn’t look at my watch much (I actually forgot to start it until about a minute into the race – whoops) and just went by feel instead, trying not to not start out too fast from the excitement, especially once we broke out of the huge crowds.
- Mile 1: 9:44
- Mile 2: 9:06
We started onto the bridge to Virginia at the full marathon mile marker 20 – oof – which I think was around mile 2 for us 10k-ers! I remember this bridge being where my hamstring blew up when I ran the full marathon in 2016… nice to be back but without the whole hamstring situation (and, you know, having only run a couple miles vs. 20 by this point).
The sun was starting to come out a bit at this point but it stayed mostly cloudy, which was good news since I didn’t have a hat or sunglasses! We had some nice views of the water with the sun breaking through which was a good distraction because this bridge is sooooo long and a bit of a hill!
Action shot c/o Matt. 🙂
By the time we finally left the bridge and headed towards Crystal City we were at mile 4! There was just one water/Gatorade stop for the 10k, and it was around this point, so we grabbed a little of both as we ran by.
- Mile 3: 9:26
- Mile 4: 9:40
Sidenote – really impressed by anyone who can run holding a flag. There were a lot of people out running with “in memory of” signs on their back as well as with flags. <3
By this point I was starting to get a little tired and my right knee and ankle were bothering me a little, but I generally still felt pretty good. It was fun when we approached mile 5 and saw the starting area for the full marathon. There was also some loud music at this point which helped raise my spirits!
I remember this view – going under the bridge means you are getting close!
The closer we got to the finish, the more spectators there were! Thank you to those who were already out cheering even though the marathoners wouldn’t be through for quite awhile longer. We appreciated you so much!
Once we saw the mile 6 sign, we started picking up the pace to finish on a high note. I run this route a lot with my friend Sokphal, as you guys know, so I know the final steep hill up to the finish area at Iwo Jimo very well. I was ready for it, and Matt and I did our best to sprint up it and to the finish line!
- Mile 5: 9:06
- Mile 6: 9:18
- 0.2 nubbin pace: 8:59
Hooray – we did it!
Our official finish time was 59:30 (well, 59:32 for Matt – apparently I beat him by 2 seconds even though we crossed holding hands), for an average pace of 9:35. I was right with my timing prediction! I was proud to have run the race the whole way through, and to have been smart about not overdoing it on pace earlier on so I didn’t feel the need to walk.
Pretty medals – proud to have earned this!
When I ran the full marathon in 2016, I was so exhausted, hot, and banged up by the time I finished that I didn’t even manage to get a celebratory photo with Iwo Jima! Matt and I made sure to head over there for a picture this time.
After our picture and grabbing some water, Matt and I headed to The Watermelon Board booth to celebrate with them, and to thank them again for gifting us bibs for this race as part of our ongoing partnership! Post-run watermelon = the best.
I loved their watermelon jack o lanterns too. 🙂
What a fun morning! A 10k felt like the perfect first race back – long enough that it was a challenge, but not so long that I had to dedicate a ton of time to training. Juuuuust right. I’m excited to hopefully do some more races in the coming months, and to continue to get out there and enjoy this great fall running weather while it lasts! We’ll be sticking around the area for Thanksgiving this year, and Matt, my brother, his fiance, and I are already planning on doing our favorite local turkey trot, the Del Ray 5 Miler. I’m excited to toe the starting line of a race again in just a few weeks!
I hope those of you who ran MCM – the full or the 10k – this past weekend had a great race! Tell me how it went – or what other races you have coming up this fall/winter!