Race Recap: Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler

Several days later as promised, here is my Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler recap!  I waited a few days to write so I could announce my finalist status in the Got Chocolate Milk? Team Refuel contest, which I felt was mighty important :).  So, if you missed that post you might wanna scamper on over after reading this recap and throw me some votes (or just click here)!!

After a few attempts in years past I was happy to have finally gotten into the Cherry Blossom race.  I’ve heard great things (and some bad ones) but wanted to experience it for myself.  This was race #4 in my 13 in 2013 challenge – only 9 more to go! (stay healthy, stay healthy).  We had a nice weekend warmup in DC and it was predicted to be in the high 60s by mid afternoon, but race morning was still a little chilly.  I opted for running tights, short sleeve tech shirt and arm sleeves – and was glad I skipped the running skirt!  I sported a throw away fleece until race time.  The good thing about actually living in DC is I didn’t have to get up super early or even fight the metro.  With it being Sunday, they don’t ticket in the area and I was able to find a parking spot at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and walked a few blocks to the race start.  Great warm up!

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The race start was on the National Mall.  They are currently doing some work on the monument so it’s sporting an ugly barrier at the base of it.  I learned my lesson from the Rock n’ Roll half and did not check a bag.  I will say even though I didn’t use the bag check it appeared to be in order.  No school buses to be had!  Getting to the corrals was interesting.  There were a ton of people and the entrance was packed.  The barriers were shut with people lining up around them so I found my way in from the back and used my vertically challenged frame to push my way through.  I was assigned to the Green Corral where the pacing was around 10:30.  I regretted my honesty of my last ten-miler time since that is how they assigned you and I didn’t do my best in that race.  I try to run more of a 9-minute mile.

In any event they did a great job of organizing the corral starts but it began slow.  I mean slow.  I jogged the first couple of miles or maybe that’s just how it felt.  I was warned it can be crowded, and that certainly held true.  Eventually it started to thin out around miles 3 -4.  At this point I was beginning to run steadily and pacing 10 minute miles.  I kept thinking, I’m faster than this I want 1:30, but honestly?  I didn’t want to run faster,  I wanted to enjoy the run.  The weather was so perfect and scenery incredible.  Yes,  I stopped for a few photo ops :)

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When the blossoms actually bloom, this is gonna be gorgeous!

At this point I thought that if I can just keep the 9-10 minute pace then I can afford to stop and snap a pic here and there and at least hit my 1:40.  So that’s exactly what I did!  I was disappointed that the cherry blossoms weren’t at peak bloom but I saw a lot of pink buds and there were some random blossoms that had peaked.  The course itself which went along the tidal basin was just phenomenal.

During half marathons I tend to get kicking between miles 8-10 so for this race I expected to just nail it to the finish line.  Around Mile 7 though things got nuts for me.  We had started to bottleneck at the turnaround at Hains Point, which was EXTREMELY frustrating.   I was weaving in an out of people and kept getting hit by passerby who clearly were on my wavelength trying to get through.  Ugh!  This happened for at least 2 miles.  Inside of the last mile they broke it down by meters which I  found hugely helpful but that last little incline to the finish line was a sweet little surprise *sarcasm*.  All in all I finished strong and even though I didn’t get the 1:30 I hoped for, I did better than my last ten-miler , which means a PR of 1:40:39.  Hooray!  Afterwards it took a while to get through the finish line.  But once I did picked up my water, banana, and medal pretty quickly.

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Ahh, Refreshing!

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BLING!

All in all I enjoyed this race and am glad I finally got the chance to participate!  I will say again though the crowding during the course was a bit frustrating and overwhelming.  I have concluded though I am not a fan of the ten-miler.  Maybe it’s the metrics or all in my head but the 2 ten milers I have done haven’t been the greatest of runs for me.  Perhaps I need that K on the end?  In any event, a gorgeous day and on the walk back to the car caught a sight of a group of people playing flag football in an open field behind the White House:

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Only in Washington… :)

I’m on a break for almost a month and then it’s on to Pittsburgh for the UPMC Pittsburgh Half Marathon!!  Race #5, 5th anniversary of that event on 5/5… hmm, perhaps I need to play the lottery ;)

One final plug to vote for me in the Team Refuel contest!!!  You can do it once daily until May 3rd.  ***VOTE HERE!!***

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