Archive for April, 2009

MCM Run 2 Register 10K

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Looking at my running career prior to March 28th I completed 48 races.  48?!?  I can hardly believe it myself.  Of those 48 not a single one of them was a 10K.  10K actually is not a very popular race distance around the Baltimore area.  Of the few that there have been I have always had a conflict in my racing schedule.  That is until March 28th. 

Back in January my friend Jen and her husband Sean took on the task of talking at many club members as they could into participating in the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge next year.  While they were at it they also urged people to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon.  I of course said I wouldn’t do either and then decided to do both.  Both can be difficult races to get into.  To get around the registration rush for the MCM Jen and Sean offerred up an alternative: The MCM Run to Register 10K in Quantico, VA.  Having never run a 10K distance and not wanting to deal with the stress of trying to register for MCM I was all for this race. 

The race itself took place on the Marine Base at Quantico, which is about 2 hours away.  Packet pick-up was also at the base and needed to be done before race morning.  Thankfully Jen volunteered to go down and retrieve our packets for us.  I owe her one for this because I wouldn’t have been able to get down there myself.  So race morning I set my alarm for 3:30 AM and drove to meet Jen, Sean, Erica and Mustapha at Erica and Mustapha’s place.  There Jen gave me my packet which had my bib and shirt in it.

I have to say I love the bib.  They definitely took the concept of getting access to the MCM and ran with it.

The shirt followed the theme as well.  The front had the MCM R2R logo on it and the back had the words Access like the bib and then an “Granted” stamp with the MCM logo as the A.

We left Erica and Mustapha’s place and continued south with only about an hour more of travel.  When we got off the exit for Quantico things were already backed up some at the gate.  Just outside the gate there is a replicate of the Iwo Jima statue that the finish line photo for the MCM is taken in front of.  That seemed like an appropriate touch to the start of our race.  As we waited in line it continued to grow quickly, which made us thankful that we got there when we did. 

We drove onto the base and found a parking spot then set off in search off the port-a-pots.  We made our way down into a small stadium on the campus that had a track and some bleachers.  They had brought out the blow up finish line from the MCM and put it across the track as the finish line we would cross for the 10K.  One interesting thing was that the race had a waved start but it was based on the honor system.  I stayed back for the second wave as my bib number indicated along with my friends, two of which stayed back with the second wave even though they were first wave.  After the national anthem was song and the color gaurd did their thing the race was off.  I could feel that we were heading out really fast, so I mentioned to Jen and Erica that I needed to slow down and then slowly watched them disappear from sight. 

We started winding our way around the Quantico Base.  I was trying not to get too distracted so that I didn’t let me pace drop off too much.  I cranked out miles 1, 2 and 3 at 11:20, 12:01. and 12:24 respectively.  Somewhere between Miles 1 and 2 another member of blew past me but not without a quick hello.  Mile 4 started out great but held a surprise for us.

As we were looped back around to go past the stadium again I knew we were making our way towards the trail portion of the course.  For several days leading up to the race the weather was damp, so the announcer at the start forwarned us of slippery conditions.  With a quick left hand turn we made our way onto the trail that was marked by a small sign with the word “START” on it.  At first it wasn’t bad at all as there was gravel mixed with the dirt which was giving us traction.  Mile 4 ended with a pace of 14;17.  As we made our way things gradually got slippery.  At this point we started to travel single file along the sides of the trail where our footing was its strongest.  As the brush grew we eventually ran out of the stable side portion.  As runner after runner made their way along the course it was getting more and more torn up.  We passed a sign that said “.5 mi” and things went from bad to worse.  The once slippery mud started to turn into the kind of mud that would suck the shoes right off your feet.  All along the trail there were marines posted and I can’t help but feel that they were amused by all us non-soldier types trying to trek through mud that they have probably regularly trained in.  They deserved to get a good laugh out our expense though. :D 

As the mud got stickier the hills got steaper and we passed the “1 Mi” mark.  The trail made a sharp left and there was a marine posted just at the bend.  We asked him how much further and he said just at the top of the hill by the water tower.  I turned the bend and looked up and just about slid right back down the muddy hill.  It was a rather steep incline to the water tower.  At this point the runners were all working as a team to get to where we needed to go.  We knew we had a 14 min/mile pace cut-off to earn our spot in the MCM and we weren’t going to let a little mud get in our way.  As we reached to the top of the hill we found the second water stop just before a gracefuly down hill to the finish line.  After a 18:10 min mile 5 through the mud the downhill was a very welcome sight to see.  Thanks to the hills mile 6 was an 11:30 mile.  As we neared the end of mile 6 we can back down to the stadium where it all began to do a circle of the stadium and one of the track before crossing the finish.  I looked down at the stadium to see Erica and Jen making their way to the finish line.  As I circled the stadium my friends all lined up along the track to cheer me on to the finish.  I slapped 5 with everyone and at an 11:03 pace ran it on home.  After we crossed the finish we handed in the bottom of our bibs for the coveted Registration code and password for early registration into the MCM. 

As we headed back to the car we all began to survey the damages.  Seemed that we all had evidence of the trail run splashed all over our shoes.  Luckily we all had planned ahead and brought a change of shoes with us for the trip. 


On the way home we stopped at the Silver Diner for a celebratory breakfast.  When I got home that afternoon I tooks a shower and a nap then I hopped online to register myself for my second marathon.  Ready or not Arlington, here I come!