Guest Blogger: Brandon Boucher
“It’s cold. Man is it cold. The sun will be up in a little bit and it will warm up,” I think to myself. It’s November 11, 2012, Veterans Day. I’m walking to the starting line of race number 3, The Veterans Day 10K. The race starts near the Lincoln Memorial and runs around Hains Point in Washington, D.C. I’m walking along Independence Ave and the Tidal Basin and look across to the Jefferson Memorial. With the sun starting to show itself behind some of the buildings nearby, it’s quite a site. I continue on, and notice the World War I Memorial, with a lone wreath in the center. I take a couple of photos and continue to the start. I grab my Number and T-Shirt and start to get ready for my race.
As I’m warming up, I run in to one of the managers that I work with at Pacers. He tells me that he expects me to win the race. I chuckle and say “there are some fast people here today; the only way that will happen is if you give me a 20 minute head start.” He replies, “no deal, but I expect you in the top ten.” I laugh and reply, “how about if I hold 7 minute miles and come in under 45 minutes.” He says “deal” and we part ways, as I continue my warm up. The race starts at 8:00 AM and after the National Anthem, I hear the familiar words, Runners set, and the sound of a horn. We’re off and race number three for my 30 Before 30 adventure begins.
I worked my way in to the front of the starting area and was relatively unencumbered during the start. I get up to pace and start to sidle in for the next 6 miles. The race course goes around Hains Point, so it’s quiet and uneventful. Also, its pan flat, so the pace is very fast. Around a mile and half we run past a small crowd and they are quiet. Someone yells out, “come on where is the cheering?” The crowd immediately bursts in to applause and cheers. We round the end of Hains Point and start our way to the turn around. It’s an out and back course and I start to see the leaders. I make my way to the turn around heading back towards the finish. I run up on an older gentleman with something written on his shirt. It said “I’m 60 and I’m beating you.” At this point it was mile 4 and I was not feeling so hot; my legs were burning and my stomach was starting to get upset. (My GPS watch would show that mile 4 was my slowest). So the 60 year old and I pass each other back and forth for the rest of the race. Each time he passed me, his shirt annoyed me more and more. I’m not sure why, but it irked me. Around the Tidal Basin, probably 5.75 mile or so, I pass him for the last time. The finish is close. I start to increase my pace and cross the line at 44:04, a personal record.
After the race, I grab my bag and start the walk back to the car. But I take a detour. Walk over to the Koran War Memorial. It’s eerily quiet. I take a slow walk around the memorial, and at the top of the memorial there are several memorial wreaths that were laid earlier in the morning. A veteran is standing there as well. I shake his hand, say thanks, and continue on. It’s a short walk to the Vietnam Memorial. The Wall is a little more crowed, I slowly walk down, stopping to read a few names. I continue down to the World War II Memorial. A large crowd is at the memorial listening to a speech. I snap a few photos and slowly start to walk to the car.
Later that day I learn that my cousin had returned to the United States after a 10 month deployment in Egypt.
I’ll end this post with thanks. Thanks to all the Veterans, past and present. Thank you.
Stay tuned for Brandon’s next 30 Before 30 running adventure!