It’s official – my fourth Marine Corps 10k is in the books!
The other three times I ran it were with Matt (recaps -> 2014, 2018, and 2019!), but this year I ran it with a couple friends. He was not super sad to miss out, to be honest. 😉 Matt has always preferred playing soccer to regular running, anyway!
I was really excited to get back out and do a race for the first time in 3 years (whoa – the last race I did was the 2019 Marine Corps 10k!). I was supposed to run the DC Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in March 2020, but we all know how that turned out…
Anyway! I had forgotten just how exciting it is to be at the start of a race. The energy was amazing! The gorgeous sunrise helped, too:
So cool to be down on the National Mall when the sun is rising.
We had the perfect morning for a race – it was quite cold at the start, but crisp and clear and warmed up a bit as we went. It never got too hot.
I arrived at the race start area about 30 minutes before the start of the race, which was cutting it a little close (my Lyft driver got a little lost), but thankfully I was able to find my friends, check my bag (with my coat and such for post-race), and hit the porta potty!
I was running with my friends Kathleen and Sokphal – always nice to have buddies for a race! Kathleen lives here so we trained together some, and Sokphal was in town visiting and it was so good to see her again. I really miss our weekly sunrise run dates!
None of us were trying to race the 10k or set any new records, so we agreed to stick together, chat away, and keep the pace casual. Sounded good to me!
Here we all are in the corral at the start. I was rocking one of those space blanket thingies to keep me warm before we took off!
I was impressed Kathleen ran with a Halloween headband on! Festive. 🙂
They didn’t have pace areas unfortunately at the starting line (often races will have a “line up here if your expected pace/finish time is X”), so everyone just kind of jumped in where they were, which ended up being annoying as we started wayyyy farther back than we should have. Oh well!
We only had about 5 or so minutes in the corral before the gun went off and it was time to go! Which ended up being anti-climatic, as since we were quite far back we just kind of stood there for awhile, and then eventually started very slowly walking forward towards the start line.
And we’re off!
As you can see in the pictures, it was quite crowded at the start, which is fine if you’re all going around the same pace, but since we started too far back we ended up doing quite a lot of weaving around people for the first mile or so.
Not a huge deal since we weren’t trying to set a new PR, but a little frustrating as we tried to settle in and cruise!
After weaving a lot in mile 1 and getting stuck behind people some, we settled in around mile 2 and got into what felt like a good pace for all of us.
- Mile 1 pace: 10:59
- Mile 2 pace: 9:38
I was feeling super excited to be out there and also thrilled to find it was a day where my legs felt good. You know how some days running just feels easier than others? Well, this was one of those easier days, which was excellent timing for the race!
I was especially happy as I ran 4 miles last weekend by myself and felt like garbage and ended up walking most of it. So, this was much better than the previous weekend. 🙂
I’m sure all the adrenaline and excitement were a big part of that – as was having friends to chat with! Here’s a mid-run action shot where it weirdly looks like we were just standing there for the picture but I promise we were all running!
Before we knew it, we were heading on to the 14th street bridge towards Virginia and saying farewell to DC!
We spotted a 20 mile marker for the full marathon, and boyyyyy was I glad I was not at mile 20 and was instead at mile 2. This bridge is really tough – it’s a long hill and goes on forever, about 2 miles, and since you’re on a bridge, there are no spectators to give you a boost.
When I ran the full Marine Corps Marathon back in 2016, the wheels really came off for me on that bridge, so it’s always nice to run over it in the 10k and not be in pain. 😉
- Mile 3 pace: 9:38
- Mile 4 pace: 9:54
I got hot on the bridge since the sun was fully out so I took off my half zip and tied it around my waist (in the front, so my bib still showed). Felt good to get my arms some air – I always tend towards being overheated vs. cold when running. I didn’t see many other people out in tank tops but it felt great to me!
Once we made it over the bridge and into Virginia, I was amazed at how quickly the race was flying by!
After we passed 4 miles, I told the girls that I was officially running farther than I had in over 2 years (since summer 2020, before getting pregnant with Wes). That was a good feeling!
I started losing steam a little bit around mile 5 but for the most part still felt pretty good. Chatting with the girls helped keep my mind off my legs (and my right knee) starting to feel it a bit.
Having done this race so many times (and the full marathon, which has the same finish), I knew what to expect at the very end, which was helpful, as this race ends on a steep uphill! Rude, right?
I was really motivated to keep up with the girls and finish together, though, so I charged up it as best as I could, and then we all really picked it up the last little 0.1 mile which was flat!
It’s always such an awesome adrenaline rush running through the finish line of a race. Hello, runner’s high! That feeling will never get old.
(And getting our medals from a handsome Marine also was not terrible.)
Final mile splits:
- Mile 5 pace: 9:43
- Mile 6 pace: 9:43
- 0.33 (according to my watch, it always says we go a little long) nubbin pace (includes that steep hill!): 9:31
Hooray! We did it.
I’m always impressed with the organization of this race.
They handed out bags for us to put our water and snacks in, had lots of compost bins as well as trash cans, and, of course, they always have post-race watermelon. The best!
We stopped by the booth to say hello to my Watermelon Board friends, Stephanie and Summer (I have worked with them through the blog for many, many years!), and also to thank them for the bibs!
We didn’t do an official partnership around the race like we have in previous years, but they had some extra 10k bibs due to being race sponsors and emailed me and asked if me and any friends wanted them, and yes, yes we did!
Sokphal headed back to the course area to cheer on some friends doing the full, and Kathleen and I headed on in search of food. We walked for quite awhile before finding somewhere with availability – apparently we should have made a reservation!
Le Pain Quotidien in Clarendon saved the day. We got two egg dishes and split them in half to share – a cheddar and roasted cauliflower frittata, and a mushroom quiche (by far my fave).
Plus some lattes which were much needed!
It was a great way to end a really fun morning.
This already has me wanting to find another race to do… any recommendations for 10ks in the area in the next few months? I don’t think I have anything farther than a 10k in me until spring (maybe a 10 miler then?), but we’ll see!
I would really love to do the DC Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon (which is in March) again someday as well, since I didn’t get to do it in March 2020 and it’s one of my absolute favorite races/courses, but I have to decide if I feel like I can logistically and physically handle training for a half marathon in the new year. TBD!