Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Army 10 Miler plan...and an amazing surprise

Well, that Army 10 Miler is tomorrow and I've been going over and over it in my head to try to figure out what's the "plan of attack" and what I can actually expect.

I've been dealing with this hip issue, which I have to admit has been feeling a ton better but I also haven't been pushing a race pace on my runs lately. I've focused more on body position and foot placement more than mileage. I actually haven't done anything longer than an 8 mile run (3 weeks ago that lead into my rehab running cycle I've been on) so I don't really know what to expect form a 10 miler under race conditions.

I've been thinking that the best thing to do is take the race in chunks to start by breaking it down into 3 5ks. The first 3 miles should be "body check" to see how the hip feels and to make sure my body position in on track. Since my runs lately have been that, I should be okay. The only "hill" in that 5k will be running up the off ramp of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. The next 4 miles will be relatively flat where keeping a good pace should be easy. The 10k mark should be where I will get the low down on how I feel. If I'm hurting those next 3 miles are gonna suck but if I feel good I should be able to run negatives out to mile 9 and then its a dash to the finish (or if in pain, gallop of the dead) that last mile. So...plan in hand it was time to head to the expo.

While out a ways from the race and in an armory, the expo is decent sized to get your number and pick up some deals on whatever you might need last minute. Walking around the expo I ran into a guy I hadn't seen since we served together in the Rangers 13 years ago! The "whiz" was this unbelievable runner who was known for staying out for longer training runs after normal organized physical training or would leave work and go home for a 10+ miler or more run. The guy was a running demon and in '97 came in 99th overall at the heralded Boston Marathon. While the guys we served with didn't realized that a big deal that was, I was a marathoner and knew that was some rarefied air. He has always been the person I've thought of when upping my mileage and marathon training. Imagine my surprise when we walked by each other a the expo and he recognized me. Imagine my even greater surprise at his saying that I looked 100 times better and more fit than I ever did in the Army and if maybe he could retire from the Army he could train more and look like me! Me? Really? This guy has been my running hero, still looks like a long distance runner and wants to look like me? I was speechless. We spent the next 20 minutes catching up, talking about training and our expectations of the race, exchanged contact info and went about our way. And by that I mean we ran into each other like 4 more times. Here I haven't seen this guy in 13 years and then kept bumping into him. Crazy!

I know I'm hard on myself. I know I say I don't look the way I want or have the times I should have...but it really meant a lot to have a guy I haven't seen in over a decade, who I consider a "real" runner not only tell me I look better than I did but compliment me on my training and racing. Maybe I am doing something right...

Well, time to settle down and get ready for tomorrow's race.

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