These days, I don’t usually sign up for a race too far in advance, and this year’s Army Ten-Miler is a perfect example of why that’s a good thing. Surprisingly, after all the races I’ve run, I never signed up for the Army Ten-Miler even though it was a staple race for many of my running friends.

While on a longish run with some of my MRTT friends last fall, I delighted in listening to their planning for race morning and the logistics for getting to the Army Ten-Miler the following weekend. When they were surprised that I’d never run the race, I decided to add it to my bucket list. Fast forward to celebrating my son Daniel’s birthday in January where, while walking home from dinner, Daniel’s girlfriend Jess and I decided to run the race.

I’d never signed up for a race that filled up quickly, heck, the first time I ran the Marine Corps Marathon, I signed up for it in late July – you now have to enter a lottery to get in. On the morning that registration opened, I nervously sat at my laptop making multiple mistakes before finally receiving notification that I’d successfully registered. Both Jess and I got into the popular race before it filled up, and looked forward to running our first race together since last fall’s Ragnar DC.

Training was going extremely well as I set my sights on running the OBX Half Marathon in mid-November, and the Army Ten-Miler fit perfectly into my training cycle; however, fate had other plans. While in for a regular full body skin-check, I asked my doctor to biopsy a place on the skin just above my left knee. It was following the same pattern as my two previous melanomas and its most recent change (a darker spot appearing in the irregular shaped medium brown patch that had been there for a while) made me nervous.  My pathology report came back as abnormal, but not malignant; however, with my skin cancer history, my doctor advised that I have it removed and aggressively. As he said, “We’re just going to call it pre-melanoma, and treat is accordingly.” The surgeon was in total agreement and I was left with a beautiful 2.5-inch incision and instructions not to run for two weeks. The Army Ten-Miler was just thirteen days away…

It was too late to transfer my bib or defer, so I asked Jess to pick up my shirt from the race expo when she got hers. At $75, it’s the most expensive running shirt I own. 😉 Fortunately, I like the shirt and will wear it occasionally.


The best part of my packet, and something I suspect I’ll wear often, are the arm warmers. I’ve never worn them before but have been curious as to whether or not I’d like them. Everyone I know who wears them, loves them, so I’ll be excited to try them when it gets colder.


Equally exciting to receive was this 2018 calendar which starts with October 2017. I’ll hang it in my pantry where it can taunt me whenever I look at it.


I was quite bummed that I couldn’t run the race, but I tried my best to keep it in perspective. There’d be other races and I knew that it was wise to get that little jerk out of my skin before things turned ugly. I’m glad I didn’t postpone my surgery, something my doctor advised against, because I just might have put my health in jeopardy only to end up running a recreational run. Yes, you read that right, for some of the runners the Army Ten-Miler became a recreational run.

Rather than a typical cool and crisp October morning, runners awoke on race morning to a hot and humid sticky mess. Sleeping soundly in my bed, I was not aware of the less than optimal weather conditions greeting runners. It wasn’t until I started seeing Facebook posts later that morning that I realized just how miserable it was outside.

Conditions were so bad that my Cruisers friends who ran the race said there were many runners in really bad shape, some even passing out along the course. I quickly learned that runners in the corrals starting farther back were directed to a shorter course – closer to nine miles – and that they wouldn’t have official times posted. Early on there was a lot of confusion about why times wouldn’t be posted, but once race officials updated runners via email about the shortened course, it made sense and showed that they made the best adjustment possible while facing unusually harsh circumstances.

Jess and my Cruiser friends were in the earlier corrals and ran the entire ten miles. Jess had a great race and finished with a smile on her face. Up next for Jess is the Baltimore Marathon on Saturday. Good luck, Jess, and I hope the weather conditions are far more favorable!

army ten-miler

Photo credit: Jess

Will I register for next year’s Army Ten-Miler? I have no idea, but it’s a little too early for me to think about it. Perhaps I’ll wait until the summer just as the transfer deadline is looming and buy someone’s bib at a time when I have a little better feel for whether or not I’ll be able to run…


  • Questions:
  • Have you ever not been able to run a race for which you were registered?
  • What were the worse race conditions in which you’ve had to run? ~ 1999 Steamtown Marathon for me where it poured buckets of rain the entire race, yet I PR’d!
  • What military races have you run? ~ Still only the Marine Corps Marathon for me…