The famous United States Marine Corps Lieutenant General Chesty Puller was one of the most decorated war heroes in the Marine Corps. I love history so I thought it was pretty neat running this race in his hometown of West Point. Runners got to run right past General Chesty Puller’s waterfront home which was at the beginning of the course.
A coworker told me about this race so I decided to sign up for it, plus it was a decent price. This was my very first 10k! This was my first time ever being in West Point. It seemed like a very small town. I unfortunately did not sleep very much the night before (I can never seem to before a race). I woke up pretty early and had two pieces of cinnamon raisin toast. One with peanut butter and the other with apple butter. I was done eating by 5:30am and I ended up leaving about 6:15am. As I started driving over the bridge into West Point, I noticed the cones and how steep and long the bridge was which intimidated me a little bit. I also noticed a giant factory emitting a boat load of smoke. I ended up arriving at about 7am. It was an easy 42 minute drive and thankfully parking wasn’t very difficult to find. As soon as I walked up to the packet pick up area I saw my coworker was already there. I had a good hour until the race started so I took my shirt to my car and used the bathroom at the nearby McDonald’s. Just as I was about to line up for the race another coworker tapped me on the back and surprised me. It is always nice to have support! This time I decided to start up towards the very front of the race so I did not get caught behind a ton of people like I did in my other races.
The course had very nice views over the Pamunky and Mattaponi Rivers. Although the decent on those bridges up and back were quite a workout. The hardest part for me was coming back up on the last stretch of the bridge in the scorching sun. My coworker made a joke about calling the bridge “Heart Break Bridge”. This probably was the hardest bridge I’ve ever had to run on. It was definitely very hot and humid that morning. It also did not help that the air smelled polluted. There was a massive factory nearby emitting tons of smoke nearby. Having to breathe that air in was a major turn off, but I’m glad I was able to pull through and finish. It would have been nice if the race had started at 7am instead of 8am.
My goal was to be in the top quarter of my age group and yet again I ended up underestimating myself.
I sat down on a hay bale with my coworker waiting the results of the race. The top 3 males and females were announced followed by the top 3 in each age group. I was in shock when they announced my name that I placed first in my age group!! I was so excited and in disbelief. I kept thinking that there had to be other girls out there my age that were crazier than me. During the race I had a few negative thoughts running through my mind saying “This sucks”, “It’s so hot out, why am I even doing this again?”, but after finding out my results I know it was all worth it in the end. Sometimes you don’t really know what you are really capable of until you actually do it. Just like the old saying goes “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything”.