MCM 10K [Review & Recap]

Its no secret that this past weekend I participated in the Marine Corps Marathon 10k (I was supposed to run the marathon, but…I covered that here).

I wasn’t necessarily set to break world records (let’s be honest, I never will be), but I was ready to chase down my PR — and get under 45:00.  That was the baseline goal, the one that was definitely achievable but that apparently wasn’t in the cards on October 27, 2013 — but it wasn’t because of what I did, that’s for sure.  So, where do you start when reviewing and recapping?  Well, first I want to say that the MCM10k, was overall, a fantastic race and I am definitely considering signing up for it again next year.  The course and support were great and straightforward, and I really enjoyed the run.

And now onto the recap: let’s start with the Saturday night pre-race fuel.

Saturday Night.

I met Brennan and Megan at Fireworks for some pre-race carbo-loading since Brennan was running the full marathon, Megan was working an aid station all freaking day (props girl!) and I was pretending I needed to eat the world for the 10k.  As such, enter 3 girls, 3 pizzas, and it was all but gone at the end of the night.

Megan, Brennan and I each with our respective pizzas.

Sunday Morning.

6:00am wakeup — eat breakfast (banana + almond butter), drink water, bathroom business, get dressed (in far too many layers to race) and get out the door by 6:30 to take the metro to the 10k start near the Smithsonian (about a 20 minute metro ride).

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Brrrrrrr.

[All is still going well.]

7:00am Arrive at the Smithsonian Metro stop and exit the metro and get ready to go drop my bag check (I was cheering marathoners after and knew I would need a ton of clothes) and then see the lines for the porta potties, realize that I need to get in line now to ensure I could use it before the race.

7:30am Still in line for the porta potty.  Have barely moved in half an hour.

7:40am parachuters with American flags drop from the sky and they sing the national anthem.

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Parachuters in the sunrise with American flag.

7:45am Get anxious and beg the people behind me to save my spot while I drop my bag at bag drop because I now desperately need to use the bathroom.

7:50am Back in line, they call people over the startline to start the race in 5 minutes. [still in porta potty line but half the people leave to head over to the start line — thank goodness!]

7:55am They announce a 5 minute delay [still in porta potty line].

8:00am The race actually starts and some 7300 people start the race [still in porta potty line].

8:12am Finally get to go go to the bathroom [Yes, 12 minutes after the race started.]

8:14am Start the race 14+ minutes after the race officially started, behind some 7500 people and realize there is no way I can get a PR with all the weaving and pace changing I’m going to have to do and resign myself to the fact that I will just run a strong race

–But before we go on, let me just let you know how bad the situation really was, so you get an idea of what I went through race morning.

(1) 50 porta potties for 7500+ runners = porta potty fail.
(2) I showed up 55 minutes before the official start of the race and didn’t use the bathroom until 17 minutes AFTER it was supposed to start — that means I was in line for 72 minutes — more than 1 1/2 times longer than it takes me to run a 10k (so it wasn’t like I was showing up 20 minutes before and had a problem)

And this is what it looked like in front of all of the porta-potties.

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Yes, those are the porta-poties, very small and very far away…and I am in a “line” [This was at 7:25am], 25 minutes after standing in line…

It’s really my only complaint about MCM 10k.  This was not okay.  It would have been one thing if I had shown up 10 minutes before the race started and started late, but I was there with plenty of time.  Runners use bathrooms far more frequently than the average person — especially before a race or run.  And this is MCM’s 38th year, they should know this.  Just sayin’.  So one last call out to MCM10k:

Add more porta-potties next year and you won’t have this problem. 

Moving on…

So the rest of the race went as follows: run fast and weave in and out and then suddenly have to slow down to weave around people who decide to walk at the moment I try to weave around them.  Repeat for the rest of race.  Or, in other words, you end up with paces that look like this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 1.33.57 PMThere is basically no consistency and I was constantly pulling up and surging and it ended up destroying my legs by the time I got to the final .2 hill, but that’s okay.

9:01 cross the finishline an hour and 1 minutes-ish after the race started with a time of 47:45 (after running 6.3-6.4 with all the weaving).  Nothing to call home and complain about, but definitely not the race I had planned.

I am a little bitter about the porta-potty situation (if you couldn’t tell) in large part because this was the first race in a long time where I didn’t have stomach issues on the course, and believe I could’ve done much better in terms of time if I hadn’t started behind the entire field.  That being said, the rest of the race was great.  The crowd support was awesome, the marines on the course were fantastic, the aid stations were well manned and well executed even for the 10k, and the finishline area was great (albeit a little long to get out of) full of lots of tents, food options, marines saluting you when they gave you your medal, and so on.  Great overall execution of the race with the exception of the 10k bathroom issue.

But, regardless, I’m keeping a positive attitude, and know that there’s another 10k I’m signed up for next weekend, Run for the Parks 10k, and I’m looking to that as my redemption race — should be a much smaller field, and am hoping we don’t have the same crappy issues.

After the 10k, I went out and cheered on marathoners and new friends and had a great time, before retiring back home to reenter the only world I currently know — that of law school.

Have you ever had a race with a porta-potty issue?  How did you deal with it and/or rectify the need to go to bathroom situation?  I honestly wanted to go to the bathroom in the wilderness and would’ve if the situation allowed for, however we were on the Mall, there was no wilderness, the closest open Starbucks was 1+ miles away, and frankly I needed toilet paper.

I heard there were people peeing against the monuments, and while I understand that people needed to go to the bathroom, it saddens me that that is what it came too — and couldn’t people have at least found a bush instead of a monument?  I’m hoping that next year MCM10k learns from this year and fixes the situation.

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2 thoughts on “MCM 10K [Review & Recap]

  1. The exact same thing happened to me before my first half marathon! Not enough porta potties. The race was smaller, but we still waited way too long and started the race late. Feels good to be passing people, but definitely hard to be consistent with the runners/walkers that suddenly stop in front of you. That picture of the line is insane!!! Hope next week’s race is better for you!

  2. Ugh! How frustrating with that porta situation…but really, you did what you could with what you were given in that situation, so WTG!

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