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!
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 :)
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.
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:
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!!***