Winning the Army Ten Miler: My First Major Win!

Racing Tips

I think I have officially redeemed myself for the 5k in Indianapolis!knew I was in good shape, I just didnt have the results to prove it, but this weekend I was able to, and it is such a relief.

I had been saying to friends recently that I had never actually broken tape, and I always wondered how good that would feel to burst through it (and was it as easy as it looked?). As I ran towards it, I thought to myself “oh my god I am gonna do it!!”, and to be 100% honest, a quick thought even went through wondering what the heck I did with my arms; do I raise them straight up, half up, do I flex? Haha, the mind of Tina Muir.

Turns out I chose an awkward-not-really-anything pose, but hey, it wasn’t about that, I was enjoying it, and THAT was what mattered!

Lets backtrack a little, and I will share how the race played out.

Well firstly, I would like to thank a few people who are the primary reasons I was able to do this. I think you can guess who number one is? Yep. My wonderful husband. I don’t know how he puts up with me sometimes, and we get a lot of questions about how we handle the coach athlete and husband wife relationship at the same time, but somehow it works. Either way, he was the reason I was able to run so well on Sunday, and I literally, cannot thank him enough.

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My strength coach Drew Watts. He has made me stronger, and continued to look for ways for me to improve my form. He is not just a strength coach, but a friend too, and I am so thankful to have him.
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Dr Mike Sullivan and Karen, for keeping me healthy through your treatments, Jeremy Stoker for your physical therapy from afar, and my dear friend Sarah for insisting I find a good race as she knew how good shape I was in.

There are so many other people involved, including of course my family and friends who are there for me no matter what with their love and support, but I don’t want to offend anyone by leaving them out, so I am just gonna leave it at that. And of course my sponsors Saucony, EnduroPacks, Sizzlefish, Nuttzo, Primal Sport Mud, and Twin Lab for helping me get there strong.

Okay, enough of a awards acceptance speech (clearly I am one of those people who would leave everyone yawning, looking around the room as they take so long). Side Note; Steve is always teasing me that everywhere I go I have to be best friends with everyone, and that I can’t just go and do anything and leave, I have to really get to know and care about each person. Funny, but true.

Steve and I decided upon the Army 10 miler while I was at Zap, we talked to my mentor Larry Rosenblatt about it, and he agreed, and began working on getting me into the race. I looked into flights for the race, but it was almost $400 for the flights alone, and with lots of expenses over the last 6 months, we agreed I could drive the 8 hours, on one condition; I had to drive Friday.

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That was fine by me, it meant I got to hang out with one of my best friends; Frances Koons for the weekend. We had a great time, and I could never tire of spending time with her. I also got to meet Amanda (Miss Zippy) in person for lunch, which was great to chat 🙂

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The night before the race, I landed in a sketchy looking hotel motel I found on Hotwire (the first time they have disappointed me with their choice), and although I was a little scared, I managed to sleep pretty well.

The morning rolled around, and after my tea, bagel and banana, I headed to the race.

I had never seen the Pentagon before, and I had to admit, it was pretty cool to see. I waited for the elite athlete desk to open, and talked to Steve about the race plan.

As always, he would not give me much instruction. He told me to go through the mile in around 5:40, and then just trust my instincts. I hate when he says that, but I ended up going through the mile in exactly that, and it always is the right thing to do.

I warmed up within the contained area (lots of security to go through to get in), and put on my Saucony Fast Twitch. It was a good half mile to the start line. I did some strides, and had to push my way through a lot of unimpressed male runners, but I got myself to about 4 rows back, which I decided was good enough to lessen my risk of being trampled, but far up enough to get a good start.

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The gun went off, and for some reason I was more scared of tripping than I usually am. I did not worry about tangents, and instead worried about staying out of trouble. I think that added a little to my overall distance, but at that time it was what I felt like I needed to stay calm.

Within 1.5 miles I was in the front, and I had a feeling that my gap would continue to grow. I felt strong, and I know myself; I like to progress as I go.

Usually it bothers me when guys try to race me when I get level with them, but this time I actually appreciated it…..well, kind of. It still annoyed me, the principal, but I used it as motivation. Each time they would sprint off, I would work to catch them, until eventually they gave up sprinting ahead and let me pass them. I used this to keep my eyes focused in front, and to keep the intensity on.

The course was not quite as easy as Cherry Blossom 10 Mile, there were a few more hills, and some sharp turns, but it was still a great course for me to keep picking up the pace. I enjoyed running by the monuments, and I tried to take in the fact that I was feeling very strong. My mental state was a lot better than it has been in a while, and I wore my momentum bracelet to remind me to believe in myself during moments of doubt.

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I do feel like I had some left in the tank, as Steve told me to really go for it with 3 to go, which I just could not bring myself to do. I was working very hard, don’t get me wrong, but I would only say I really “went for it” with a mile to go. That last mile I was breathing very hard, and I am sure anyone I ran by during that time knew I was going as fast as I could.

Once I turned the corner into the finish, I tried to soak in the moment as best I possibly could. This was a moment I had wanted for a long time, and I was finally going to break the tape! I threw my hands into the air, and smiled as I went through. Photographers were everywhere. I experienced what it is like for the best in the world (well….on a smaller scale), but everyone was cheering, and people were putting microphones in my face asking how I felt. It was a great moment. I only wish Steve was there to hug (haha how soppy!).

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After asking about 100 people where the media tent was (and no one knew), I found the media tent, and did some interviews with the press. That was a surreal moment, and brought home to me what this race was really about; the military, and all they do for the US. That moment made me realize just how incredible that was to be running amongst wounded warriors and others who had given their lives to keep the rest of us safe. At the end of the day, all the hours of training I had put in to get to this point meant nothing compared to the sacrifice they had made. It really brought it home for me, and for a moment I felt very selfish about thinking about myself and the win.

That was what really mattered about the Army Ten Miler, and that was what made it such a fantastic event!

I cooled down with a very proud Frances, and we waited for the awards.

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I was presented with a flag that had been flown over the Pentagon on September 11th, and $500. For the first time, I was more impressed with the award than the money. That was definitely the best race award I have ever won, and I will be keeping this out on display in our house.

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So just some stats for those interested. There were about 30,000 runners, 12,000 were women. My overall time was 55:19, which works out to be 5:32 per mile (although my Garmin says 5:27 :P). Either way, that is a significant improvement on my previous 10 mile race at Cherry Blossom where I ran 56:37. I ran a significant portion of the race in the low 5:20s, and it gives me confidence that I can race a big PR in my half marathon at the end of the month. Oh, and I won by about 2 minutes 🙂

As hard as it is not to get carried away, this is a time I need to keep my feet on the ground, and as Steve said, approach my half in the same way I approached this one; no expectations, just wanting to have a good race, and feel strong.

I know I am stronger than I ever have been thanks to Drew, and this once again shows how good of a coach Steve is for knowing exactly what I needed in my training.

Thank you so much to everyone who has congratulated me over the past few days. I really appreciate each one, and it makes my heart swell to think I am surrounded by such wonderful people.

I will keep chasing my goals and striving to be better. I hope you will join me and do the same with yours 🙂

One more breaking tape photo? Oh, if you insist 😉

http://www.army.mil/article/156971/Army_team_sweeps_male_individual__team_categories_at_Ten_Miler/

http://www.army.mil/article/156971/Army_team_sweeps_male_individual__team_categories_at_Ten_Miler/

[bctt tweet=”LOVED reading this recap from @tinamuir about WINNING the #ArmyTenMile!” via=”no”]

What was your most recent step forward?

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40 Comments. Leave new

  • AHHHHHHH!!!!!! I only wish I could give you the biggest hug ever!!!!! I absolutely adore this entire recap and girl, you are blazing fast! So, so happy this race has given you the boost you need to set your sights on Philly 🙂 And yes, please post even more “break the tape” photos. And that award? How humbling indeed. Just amazing. All of it and all of YOU! Congratulations on a hard-earned win and many more to come!!!!

  • I was so happy for you when I saw it on Facebook. Awesome achievement!

  • Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!! I am so overjoyed for you. This is huge. You are strong and in good shape right now and this proves it. Congrats to you in a fab race. And yes to more breaking the tape photos!!!

  • When I heard about this Tina, I was so excited for you. Congrats on the win and you truly deserve that.

  • So proud of and happy for you! REDEMPTION IS YOURS. And, of course, now you have your hard-fought-for American Flag!

  • I love this so, so much! What an amazing day for you–there is nothing better than seeing all your hard work pay off! And I loved having the chance to finally meet in person. Awesome, amazing job my friend!

  • Amazing! Huge congrats to you, this is so incredible! What a race….and what a great boost for your half. And the award – that’s just awesome. Congratulations!!!

  • I wish I had been able to watch the end of this race to see it, you really killed it and from someone from DC i know this course is certainly not the breezy cherry blossom 10 miler course. So amazing!!!

  • AMazing!!!! I love everything about this recap… you nailed it! And it’s so awesome to have that confidence boosting run. The breaking of the tape photo is fantastic too, even if it felt awkward in the moment. 🙂

  • So awesome!! Way to go!! I forgot the Army 10 miler was in D.C. That’s right near where I grew up. If I still lived there and knew you were racing, I totally would have gone and cheered you on:)

  • Congratulations! How amazing! You smashed it 🙂 And what fantastic prizes as well.

  • sheswickedhealthy
    October 14, 2015 8:38 am

    SO amazing. What an incredible race and experience for you. And the meaning behind the award is so special! Happy happy for you!

  • Omg!!! I wish I was there!!!! I’m so proud of you!!!!! What an experience!!!!

  • Laura Anderson
    October 14, 2015 8:52 am

    SO proud of you and an incredible win! You deserved to soak that in, and I’m glad you had a race that you walk away proud of. Also, share ALL the breaking the tape photos- pretty sure that is a requirement 😉

  • ah so proud of you and so impressed! You’ve worked so hard and I am so glad for you that it paid off. Congrats on an amazing race and many more!

  • It was so exciting to see that you won! That race is so meaningful to me. We were stationed in DC for 5 years and I love both A10M and MCM– such special races and SO awesome that you received a flag that was flown over the Pentagon– not even my husband has one of those and he was at ground zero on 9/11– best prize ever and well deserved!! Congratulations my beautiful friend! xoxo

  • Congratulations on your win, the $500, and the flag (which I agree is a very impressive prize). It’s so cool that you got to break a tape, too- I think all races should have that even a small community one just so people get the chance to feel it ;). Your mile splits are so amazing- I can’t imagine running that for one mile, let alone 10. Hope you have a good recovery from the race!

  • Karla Bruning
    October 14, 2015 9:18 am

    Congratulations, Tina!!!! I can’t even imagine how you must feel! So well earned and you look so happy! Sounds like you ran a great race and that is indeed the most moving award I’ve seen. Super big congrats!!!

  • So proud of you, lady! Congrats! Bask in the joy. You deserve it. You worked hard and this is only the start of more good things. xx

  • Now you need a bracelet that reads ‘girl on fire’!!! Congratulations!!! So happy you were able to find (and WIN!) a big race! That is a VERY big one! Enjoy your accomplishment!

  • Tina! This write-up was the best written post you’ve ever done. The bit about how you were thinking how to hold your arms made me laugh. You are SO real, and so sweet and so funny and such an incredible athlete. I say you make all the breaking tape photos into a collage and use it as wallpaper. 🙂

  • Oh, my gosh!! This is the best recap ever, Tina! I’m so excited for you and it’s so encouraging to see that your hard work has really paid off (and a reminder to keep doing my strength work – ha!) in such amazing ways. I’m with you on the award for this race – wow. That is incredible. Congratulations and I wish you all the best with your upcoming race, Tina!

  • HURRAH!!! I love your take on it and how cool/sad/momentous to get the flag from September 11th. Keep up the hard work, my friend, and I will be happily cheering you on from afar.

  • NutButterRunner
    October 14, 2015 12:31 pm

    WOOOOO! I wish I could give you the biggest hug ever! I am SO excited for you! You are so deserving! XoXo

  • So proud and happy for you!!! This is one of the best race recaps out there, hands down, and you are so fast – and only getting faster! The smile on your face while breaking the tape says it all. The flag is such an incredible prize – congratulations, Tina!!

  • I have to echo others and say this is SO deserving. You are definitely someone that everyone WANTS to do so well. Congratulations!! Awesome job.

  • Chaitali Shah
    October 14, 2015 1:35 pm

    Yay, that’s awesome that you got to break the tape! And I loved the story about your thoughts about what to do with your arms as you crossed 🙂 Congrats!

  • Brilliant Tina, well done. Sounds like you ran amazingly and it must be a superb feeling to win and to win so well. Congratulations and enjoy your special moment. Best of luck with the half-marathon 🙂

  • Amazing!!! Congratulations 🙂 I saw this on FB and was excited to read the blog. I’m so happy your hard work is paying off. Inspirational!

  • WAHOO!!! So happy for you friend…all the hard work paid off…you ROCK! XOXO

  • Sandra Laflamme
    October 14, 2015 10:18 pm

    Oh my goodness! How exciting and incredibly inspiring. You are just so awesome!!!!! This race recap was great and I am so excited for you. The pics of you breaking the tape are priceless. Huge congratulations on your win!

  • You’re in Heaven, it’s easy to see:) Redemption complete, and as an Army Vet (82ndAbn), thanks for your kind and appreciative thoughts. Most excellent trophy it is, highly memorable, and $500 is the icing on the cake. Of course, your achievement is at the apex of it all. I’d like to do that race in the future.
    As a triathlete,(runner 1st) I like hearing all about your stats, prep, fueling during race, hydration, etc., and especially replenishing after (those muffins look great). Like You, I’m a sugar fiend also, beside, how can your argue with Meb!
    It also would be nice to hear specifics about your strength program from your Coach Drew, and specifically what you do with frequency, sets, rest, weight. I would also like to hear more about others who contribute to your success because it obviously all works wonders to solve the puzzle. Maybe just a thought for some blog posts!
    Yes, those annoying men are everywhere; but they only race you because of their insecurity; I’m tickled pink you used it to your advantage.
    I was jumping up and down reading this post, great for you, you’re so awesome!

  • Yaaaaaaaaay!!!!!! So, so, so happy and excited for you! You are so strong and had such a great race. I’m so glad you got to prove all that fitness is making big strides for you, and I am waiting on pins and needles to see how well you run in your half at the end of the month. Gigantic congrats and hugs to you! xoxoxoxo

  • Martina Di Marco
    October 15, 2015 4:04 pm

    Wow Tina. This is SO amazing! CONGRATS! You worked really hard for this and I couldn’t be happier for you! I knew your break-through race was just around the corner… Well done!

  • Christine @ Love, Life, Surf
    October 15, 2015 4:39 pm

    Oh Tina. I absolutely loved reading this and seeing you break the tape!! I’m so freaking happy for you. You’ve been putting in so much hard work and so awesome to see if pay off. Congrats!!!

  • Yea girl!! Amazing!! So excited for you! You have worked so hard and you killed it!! And next time you go to book a hotel on Hotwire, call me. I have a spare bedroom that isn’t sketchy…well unless you consider staying at a complete strangers house sketchy 😉

  • Congratulations! I really did LOVE your recap. This course is harder than Cherry Blossom and you killed it! So, so happy for you!

  • A HUGE congrats to you Tina!! I’m glad you didn’t have to wait so long for redemption after your recent 5K. I can’t imagine what it feels like to break the tape (awkward or not, you look HAPPY, and that’s what matters :))!
    I love your side note about what Steve says about you – there’s nothing wrong with that at all. It just means you’re a down to earth and genuinely nice person! The world needs more people like you 🙂
    It’s funny because the few guys I’ll “chick” during a race don’t really bother me. The majority of the ones I pass are super positive & tell me “good job!”, while maybe 10% of them put up a fight and try to stay ahead of me. I guess when you’re passing the amount of guys you do though, they might not be used to it and it could be annoying. Too bad for them! 😉

  • This is fantastic!!! As a local DCer I was so happy to see this wonderful win happened at the Army 10 Miler! A well-deserved win 😀

  • Maria Chamorro
    October 27, 2015 9:00 am

    This is so awesome, Tina! So proud of you!

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