Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Recap

It's not to often you can cross something off of your Bucket List. After running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, I can do just that.

I have wanted to run this race for years. In my previous running life I was living in Boston and DC was just a little too far for a quick weekend trip. Now I find myself living 4 hours from DC and thought the time was perfect to try to get in. I joined the lottery with my friend Jenni's running group and managed to get accepted.

I drove up to DC on Saturday morning and met an old college roommate for lunch. We ate in Chinatown and meandered around town for a little while. After saying goodbye to her I made it over to the expo to check out all of the running goods. I picked up a iFitness Belt which I am absolutely in love with!

I headed back over to Arlington to meet up with Jenni and check into the hotel before we turned right back around and met up with some of her friends for dinner downtown. The amount of walking I did on Saturday may not have been ideal for a day before a race, but I loved DC and had a great day.

After dinner, Jenni and I headed back to the room to lay out all of our stuff and get to bed since 4:30am rolls around pretty quickly.

It was a cold and windy morning as we headed out the door in search of coffee before getting on the metro.

Bright and early in DC

The waiting before the race was pretty tough given the cold temps and blustery wind. After reluctantly parting with my fleece at the bag drop I tried to make the most of it and not think about how cold I was. I was excited to meet up with my Twitter pal, Fran, briefly before the race. Fran is super tall, super cute and super speedy! She kicked this course's ass!! (Check out her recap here.)

I made her crouch so I wouldn't look so short! She's a trooper.

I was pretty excited to start once I lined up in my corral. If anything, it was a little warmer standing near 17,000 other people. I place myself right in between the 11:00 and 11:30 pacer. My goal for this race was 1:50-1:55.

Miles 1-3: When the green wave took off I was right next to the 11:00 pacer. The first mile was slow as I expected (11:30). After the first mile she showed no sign of trying to speed up so I went off on my own to run my own race. I decided to try to find the balance of pushing myself and soaking it all in. We passed the World War II memorial early in the race. I got a little choked up thinking of my Pop, but quickly got my head back in the game. We headed out and back over the Arlington Memorial Bridge before heading over towards the Kennedy center. I lost my Garmin signal for a little while and have no idea how that affected my info. I decided not to worry too much about it and just run strong.

Miles 4-6: These were some of my strongest miles. I just felt good and was ticking away the miles. I found a good rhythm and just kept one foot in front of the other. I took a Gu at mile 5 but didn't stop to walk like I normally do. I was feeling pretty strong and executing my plan just as I wanted. Plus I got to see a little of the Jefferson Memorial, which was pretty awesome.

Miles 7-10: At this point we were entering Haines Point, which I had heard a lot about. The wind coming  off the river was brutal. Up until this point I had been running strong but I was starting to get tired and the wind wasn't helping. I stopped to walk for the first time around 7.5 miles. After a minute or two I was back to running. The last two miles were hard mentally. I walked again briefly through the next water stop. Eventually the Washington Monument came back into view from behind the trees and I knew I was close. When my Garmin beeped mile 9 I tried to leave it all out on the course. My head got in my way for a couple of 30sec walk breaks including up the only hill of the day with 0.25 miles to go. After that I kicked it into gear to finish a strong as I could.

Garmin Data: 10.11 miles 1:52:26  11:07 min/mile
Official Race Results: 1:52:26 11:15 min/mile

Can I just say how excited I am about these splits. Mile 1 was spent in a traffic jam of thousands of other runners and miles 8 and 10 had some walking. Other than that these splits are awesome for me. I can feel myself getting faster and more consistent, which has been a struggle for me. Miles 4-7 are just awesome for me. These splits made me so happy. Plus, I get an automatic PR since this was my first 10 mile race! Bonus!

What this race tells me is that if I keep it up through the rest of the spring and into my next half marathon training cycle, I really believe that a sub 2:30 half marathon is a completely realistic goal for the Fall.

After finding my friends in the finishing area, we hung out for a little while before heading back to the hotel. I did a quick change in my car and started the drive back to NC. I was missing my kiddos and just wanted to get home. A 4.5 hour car ride immediately following a race like this is not recommended however. My legs were not so happy with this plan.

This weekend was a blast from start to finish. I have to say that this was my favorite race and definitely worth the trip up for.

Best. Weekend. Ever.


  1. Such an amazing race, Rose! You splits are amazing, and I have no doubt you'll rock out a sub-2:30 half marathon. That's my goal, too!

    1. Thanks, Jina! I am hopeful. I don't have another half until Novemeber, which feels much too far away!

  2. Nice race! That wind sure was something. No one warned me about that! Looking forward to following more of your races :)

  3. Thanks for following Lisa! As soon as I saw you were not only a fellow runner, but also (and probably more importantly) a fellow cupcake lover, I knew you need to be on my Reader list!

  4. Congratulations friend! Great race recap! BTW you need to change the title of your blog.... you're speedy my friend!!

  5. Hello! I'm a new reader from Maine and so happy to have discovered you (Thanks to Flash Fran)! I have a similar pace and approach towards running! I really enjoyed this recap!

    1. Hi there! Thanks for following along! I look forward to following your training as well!!