I wanted this post to be different than it’s going to, but as my dear virtual friend Tess says every run has a lesson to teach us and I learned/remembered quite a few from this 10 miler.

This race was a last minute addition to my fall calendar – after racing well under my 1:10 goal for a 10 miler I believed I was capable of a sub 1:05 10 miler – on the right course – on the right day. I felt that Army Ten Miler could be that course and I hoped that in my marathon taper my legs would be more rested to run a fast [remember this is relative to the individual] 10 miler.


Friday night I started to get VERY stressed. It took us over 2 hours to get into DC to pick up my packet and over an hour and a half home. We stayed at the expo for a total of 20 minutes and I can truly say the only bright side of that night was seeing a double rainbow while sitting in traffic.

This reminded me why I try to ask friends as much as possible to get my packet for me for big races. If I had all the free time in the world or didn’t have three little people that need my attention I MIGHT enjoy them more. At this point in my life free time with out my littles in tow is a precious commodity. I hate using up a sitter [favor from a family member] to spend the night in the car. Kuddos to my husband who despite me freaking out multiple times in the car still wanted to remain married to me post race.

Saturday I just had a bad feeling about the race and part of me wished I wasn’t running. I really thought through what my problem was and decided it was because I had put my goal of 1:05 out there and had talked about running the race. I know this may seem insane since I am a blogger and bloggers are notorious for over sharing – but putting my goals out there freaks me out. I keep A TON of my life private and am beginning to think that “secret” races and “secret” goals are the only thing that works for me. I know this because it was like this long before I ever started spilling my life on the Internet.

I had one of my fastest marathons to date 5 months after my 3rd baby and it happened to have been the 3rd marathon I had run in 5 weeks. I told no one, not even my best friends. I got slack and almost lost a friendship or two over it but I am realizing that it is just me and I’m okay with that. If I don’t want anyone to know what I am running I don’t have to tell them, even if they specifically ask. I run better when there isn’t any outside pressure – whether it’s real or imagined.

Now that I said that I can tell you that I have never NOT wanted to run a marathon more than I don’t want to run NYC Marathon. The only reason I am still running it is because I paid $250 and I want to go see my best friends from high school and college who live up there. I want to see their littles and spend time with them. SO I am running and as I told my wonderful coaching client Tess [different from the above mentioned Tess] every marathon finish whether slow or fast is something to be celebrated and enjoyed. I plan on enjoying it.

Back to Army Ten Miler…..

I’ve run the race a couple of times – it was Eric’s first 10 miler and first race we ran together – I ran it 3 months or so pregnant with Miles [baby #2] and I think this was my third time. I’m starting to loose track of how many races I’ve run. [I think this is a good problem to have]

The logistics on a big race stress me out and this race was no different.

On the way to the race I was *chirping* away – what my husband calls my endless chatter in my pre-race excitement….then suddenly I had nothing to say. I had a pit in my stomach and I wanted the race to be over.

Sitting at the start line in the dark with him I reasoned with myself that if today wasn’t my day – it was a GOOD day for a nice run in DC. I was also spending some quality time with him away from our littles and enjoying the moment. He tried to help get into my head and remind me that it was going to hurt to run fast but to just suck it up and deal with it. These are the defining moments in life of a runner. Do you quit when the going gets tough or do you run your body?

I started to feel good moments before entering the coral but was INSANELY thirsty. It was in that moment I knew it was down hill for me. I swear I do not understand why I can not stay hydrated. It’s maddening to me. Such a small detail and such a huge difference it can make.

Emily saw me walking in the crowd and came over to say hi! We had 10 minutes or so of chatting about race goals – upcoming races and just general fun BS. The gun went off…..I tried to go out slow but I felt good.

The new start took you along the finish of Marine Corps and I couldn’t help but feel giddy about feeling good on a stretch of road that is usually a suffer fest for me.


I had wanted that to be my goal pace for the whole race. When you start out at or faster than goal pace you are going to positive split a race. I got a terrible side cramp in mile 2 and wanted to walk off.

I repeated over and over *I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me*

It would help for a little but then the pain took control of my mind.

I was mad and I hate running mad. Mad that my body was not doing what my mind wanted to do.

I asked myself if I was a quitter – I said no.

I asked myself if I would have been OVER the moon over a sub 1:10 finish if I hadn’t had just run a 1:06 weeks early – I said yes.

Despite the pain in my side that did not go away till the bitter end – I pushed on.

It wasn’t the best race of my life. It wasn’t what I wanted to do.

BUT on the bright side better to get the not-so-great races out of the way so I can rock a marathon in the near future.

I have cellulite on my thighs – ALL real women do 😉 But these legs can run and that’s what matters.

The finish line was different than I had run in past years – though I missed the previous downhill finish – it did make for a beautiful picture and a nice way to start the morning.

I won’t let this shatter my marathon confidence and if I say this enough or read it enough then maybe I’ll actually believe I am CONFIDENT. Things ALWAYS turn out as they were supposed to be……

Oh and THIS was cool – really really cool. YES I am a BIG RUNNING GEEK and I love it.

  • Finish Time: 1:07:49
  • 10K Split: 41:37
  • 81st overall Female
  • 859 out of 21,912 runners

This won’t be the last you will be hearing of Army Ten Miler this week. Consider this fair warning as I work through some of the things I learned and other things I was reminded of! DO you have any last minute marathon questions?

Did you race this weekend? How did you do?!


Mile Posts Blog is on:


  1. I know what you mean about sharing your time goal… and I think people over ask what your plan is. Sometimes it is best to keep it to yourself. Leading up to NYC I actually didn’t have a time goal set and I noticed how many people have asked me. TONS! It’s been beneficial to say the truth, which was “I don’t know yet actually, but I need to figure that out!” and then I would laugh.

    I have been running what I call “pressure free” all summer/training cycle bc when I put too much pressure on myself with specific time goals, I don’t enjoy myself as much. I’ve actually been running faster and have some PR’s this summer with this mentality…

    NYC is going to be awesome… and you’re going to kill it!

  2. Good job getting through it:) I can totally relate to not putting your goals out there, or even races for that matter. I am the same way. I just race better when I don’t blast my goals all over the place, when I just keep it to myself. Or better yet, when I don’t have specific goals and I just race to race and run by best. Those are ALWAYS my best races. My best half marathon and full marathon were ones where I had NO time goal whatsoever. Those numbers floating around in my head drive me nuts! Stay strong…new York might surprise you:)

  3. I ran the Army Ten miler as well. This was my third year running it and my best year yet. I’m not a fan of the newer finishing area. I liked how coming off the ramp and it was a quick 100 yard dash to the finish, not another 1/2 mile. It also seemed much more crowded the ending miles. I was hoping to gain some speed during those last three miles, but it didn’t happen. Too many walkers getting in the way. 1:07 is a heck of a finish in my book. With the crowd, it’s easy to loose a lot of time just getting stuck behind slower runners.

  4. Congrats James! I agree that it seemed MORE crowded in past years. In the first mile I had to weave past a women who was already walking….I’m fine with walkers and think they deserve to be in the race too but I think it’s wrong when they put themselves in the 5:00 min coral [I was not in that coral but back in the planned 6:xx one]. I loved the coming off ramp finish as well but it did seem less crowded in the finishing chute than in past years? It was a heck of a walk back to my car as well..but I guess that’s what happens at big races! What’s next for you?

  5. *more crowded than in past years :)

  6. I’m running my first ultramarathon this weekend, teh Halloweeny 50K. It’s a low-key race and I’m actually using it as a long training run for my second ultramarathon, the Stone Mill 50 Miler. Lots over the next 6 months, then I’ll be taking a well deserved break. How about you?

  7. I love when you offer questions to your readers!! I’m running my very 1st marathon in Dec. and so of course I have a lot of anxiety. I’m getting up early on my long training runs and eating something, drinking my coffee. I just drink throughout the run – I guess just whenever. I’m trying different chews – some I like, some I don’t. I’ve read on the packages of the chews to fuel every hour into the run. Should it be sooner? How early before the race should I be eating breakfast? Do you eat something small right before the start too? Is drinking water here and there enough throughout the race?

    You are an amazing runner and I’m sure an even more amazing person. You have a lot of people looking up to you and that can be a lot of pressure on you I’m sure. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You will always be an excellent runner – no matter what you race, or when, or how fast.

  8. Totally agree about putting your time goals out there. One of my favorite races last year was one I didn’t tell anyone about (except my husband) – I just got to let go and enjoy the race.

    Question: I’m running my first marathon this weekend – MCM – and wondered if you have any last-minute advice for this week & leading up to the race. We’re flying in from Austin and would love any input you have on DC, nutrition prep, weather prep, etc.

  9. I ran the Columbus Marathon yesterday as a training run for an upcoming 50 miler. After a summer/fall of pretty major illness that sidelined any “good” training I could have done, and little marathon specific training at all, I went into the race with no expectations. Sure, I didn’t PR, but running with out a Garmin and for fun was freeing. I had what a thought was a LONG-shot goal for the race, <4:00, and ended up running a 3:50 which included a couple minutes to stop and talk to a patient champion at mile 18! I realized that I will be that fast (for me) marathon runner again, once that is where I put my focus.

    I think we forget sometimes that even the "bad" races and "bad" runs are just as important as the "good" ones. You ARE fit. I am fit. Sometimes, we just have off days…it just stinks when those are days we pay to run :) As runners, we get so caught up in PR's that we forget why we run. Because we love it–plain and simple. Sounds like yesterday was a day for many of us to be reminded of that! Congrats on your race! I know you will ROCK NYC and enjoy each and every step.

  10. Congrats on sticking with it and running a strong mental race (not to mention a great time!) despite those voices of doubt before the race started. I have a hard time with races that just feel “off” from the start. And it usually doesn’t end well. Sounds like you will have a great time at NYC if you are going to just see friends and enjoy yourself…and you may even be surprised with the result!

    Also, I love your pic on Women’s Runner cover!! So amazing and I’m so happy for you!

  11. I’m amazed how mentqally strong you are! You never give up, even though you might think you did. You are human and that’s what I like about reading your blog!!

  12. I had a horribly mental run yesterday. It wasn’t my worst time ever, but if felt like it and really shook me with my next half less than 3 weeks away. I’m still trying to deal with it, but like you said, every race is a learning experience and I learned a ton on this one. I wrote about it here: http://www.livelaughrunbreathe.com/2012/10/grand-rapids-marathon-relay-race-report.html

  13. Great report! I think you did amazing! BE proud of yourself for pushing through…and crushing what most could do.

    Oh and your legs look great! Your beautiful inside and out.

    p.s. most bloggers keep TONS to themselves. Otherwise NO ONE would want to read who posts. But I honestly think more honesty would help others who think they are the only ones or that they don’t have anyone who understands 😉

  14. Thanks for sharing your feelings about NYC! I am running it too and hope it is worth the months of training I have put into it. :-) I am seeing my sister there so I know it will be worth it no matter how it turns out!

    I did race this weekend too- a 5K. Starting to like that distance again. I have another this weekend. I tend to race a lot during marathon training. :-)

    Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on this 10 miler. Sometimes the best races for us are the ones we learn the most from. I ran one HM last fall that was honestly AWFUL- went horribly wrong from mile 5 on but I learned SO MUCH from that experience and it has helped me in so many races since that time.

  15. I know what you mean about public goals…I just ran a half-marathon and it was the first time I’d a) had a blog and b) had a time goal and c) told the world about it. I was so worried about looking foolish, it made me feel more nervous and vulnerable. But I know that everyone I told, face to face or on the blog, wanted me to do well and would only sympathise if I missed it and that reassured me. And in the end, I beat my goal by 5 minutes! But yes, blogging makes us publicly vulnerable!!!

    And your legs look great.

  16. I love your blog!!! So many of my thoughts of myself are shared by you and it’s SO heartening to know its normal! You’re such a “real” person Dorothy!!! Love the cellulite comment too:) You are always your own worst critic!! Don’t sell yourself short you are unbelievably amazing!!!!! So inspiring!!

  17. Wow, Dorothy–those numbers are amazing! I know they weren’t what you hoped for, but my jaw dropped. (You never cease to amaze me, though.) After your InstaG pictures, I was curious and anxious for your recap. I’m like you…the older I get, the more private I am. Extra pressure can be so killer–we put so much on ourselves anyway. I am excited for your “What I Learned” posts. Keep being true to yourself, lady–it’s what we all love about you.

  18. Great recap! I swear I can’t get enough of them today! I hear you on the leg thing–We may have it; but our legs still do amazing things for us and ROCK! 😀

    I was in DC running The Color Run this weekend!

  19. I swear when I read your post, that it is me talking to myself. I so have a hard time putting things out there. My fear is that people will judge me, if I dont do what I put out there or they will use it against me later. For instance I can run a marathon and not get nervous, but if I run a 5k in my home town,my nerves are all over the place. I feel like all the people I know except more than what I am capable of giving them. Dorothy you did great. Dont let any one take that from you. We just need to learn to celebrate wether it be big or small. .

  20. I ran the ATM this weekend too and thought it was insanely crowded. My husband and I were just using it as a training run for our upcoming half and wanted to soak of the experience since we traveled in for the race and he’s Army. We had to bob and weave the entire way which was tough. Also was not a fan of the finish.

    You did awesome and even thought it wasn’t the race you were hoping for it’s another run under your belt. Plus the bad races make you cherish those good ones that much more!

  21. Thanks for writing about your racing experiences and asking about ours! I ran a local 5K this weekend and am currently 30 weeks pregnant. I signed up for it earlier in my pregnancy not quite knowing what running at 30 weeks would be like. It was a beautiful fall day and I finished “faster” than I was expecting to, even though I was taking it easy. My family got to run it with me, which was the best gift I could have asked for.

  22. Sorry we didn’t get to see each other! Having run the ATM in ’06 and ’09, I also didn’t like the new finish–AT ALL! When we came off the ramp, I thought we were almost there…and then we just kept going.

  23. You pushed through the pain and THAT is what matters in the end. Your mind outran your body and that in itself is an accomplishment that makes for strong marathons (of course you already know that! 😉 )

  24. No race this weekend, but one coming up in a couple weeks. I’m trying not to think about it because I have so many high hopes for it. Does that make any sense?

  25. No race for me this weekend, but I’m loving all the Army 10 Miler recaps. And I agree– when I start running mad, it is so difficult to overcome! It’s like the pain combines with the anger and suffocates my brain :) Nice work on powering through that!

  26. It sounds like you psyched yourself out a lot before the race and the pressure (real or imagined) was really getting to you. That can totally mess with your head on race day, and I think that’s what happened here. Definitely not a lack of training or being in shape. In terms of putting goals out there, I have an idea for you. Actually two. The first is– why not have your goals be more within your control? Focused on what you know you will be able to do. Some examples would be start slow, finish fast. Stay focused on form. Don’t look at the Garmin. Push hard during the last mile. Those are the types of goals that are really within your control. There are a lot of factors that determine a race time, and some of them are not within your control. That way, you can tell the world which races you are running, but also tell them where your focus is. On the above things, or maybe something else. Second idea. If you want to put a time goal out there, you could give a range. Like: “I’m aiming for 1:04-1:10”. In your mind, you can be a bit more specific, but putting range out there could relive some of this pressure you feel from the outside world. Anyway, I’m glad to hear that you learned from this and I look forward to reading other blogs about it!

  27. I love how you can be so honest about your inner monologue – it’s really brave and inspiring! And I for one will be on the lookout for you in NY! Our apartment is right next to the final 200m stretch in central park – I will be cheering!

  28. You are so funny with your cellulite comment 😉 I recently posted a photo of my ‘real woman’ 50-year old, had 4 babies, wrinkly belly. REAL people are not perfect :) You ran a good 10 there…nothing to skulk about over :)

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