Today’s my birthday and I am now 27! I can’t say I feel a whole lot wiser than I did a year ago, but I (and my joints) definitely feel older ;) Since it’s a weeknight, I think the celebration will be limited to eating cupcakes, but we’re planning to watch the Winter Soldier in the movie theater this weekend and go out to Toki Underground afterwards!! If you’ve read my blog for a while, you may recognize this as my favorite restaurant in DC; I went there for my birthday last year too.
Cherry Blossom 10 Mile – 2014 Recap
This was the second year that I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler – I really enjoyed the course last year, so I was looking forward to running it again this year, this time with Alexa!
I woke up on race day (Sunday) at 5:20 AM, and ate a bagel with jam and drank some water while waiting to feel somewhat awake and functional. I’m thinking about trying a little coffee on race day next time; these early wake-up calls are a little tough! After debating the night before between a long sleeve and short sleeve shirt, I ended up going with a long sleeve Nike dri-fit top and capris. I’m glad I opted for the long sleeve because it wasn’t that warm on Sunday morning, and I didn’t feel like I was over-heating at any point in the race.
I also wore Mike’s oldest, holey-ist sweatshirt as a throw-away on top. Per usual, I didn’t bring any liquid (I just drink at the water/ Gatorade stations on the course), and I decided to try out the RooSport pouch that I picked up at the expo the day prior to hold my phone and a few gels.
Andrew wanted to spectate the race to support Alexa, so he got up early as well. In case you’re wondering, Mike chose to get some more sleep and potentially spectate while playing golf at Hains Point later that morning ;) The three of us left the house at 5:45 AM and parked at Pentagon City to take the metro into DC. The race start/ finish was by the Washington Monument, which looked beautiful in the early morning sunlight, especially now that the scaffolding is all gone!We got there in plenty of time to use the port-o-potties (lines weren’t bad) and get into our corrals.
I was internally debating at this point whether to push for a PR or run an easier race, and I decided not to go all out because of my achey knee. We headed into the corrals and waited for our wave to start around 7:45. Once our wave reached the front, Alexa and I wished each other a good race, started our watches and began running…and then I felt the RooSport fall off my pants. I scrambled to go back and get it, apologizing to the runners for getting in their way, and then I started running again with the RooSport, gels and phone in my hand. I was definitely a little thrown off by my flustered start to the race!
I saw Alexa up ahead so I caught up with her and told her what happened, and felt my irritation dissipate as we ran together and chatted. The miles went by quickly, and the day got warmer as the sun came out (I tossed my sweatshirt around mile 2 after the bridge). We ended up running the entire race together and had a great time!
The course was the same as last year – beautiful scenery with the monuments and river-side paths. The cherry blossoms weren’t in full bloom yet, which makes sense given the late start to spring, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the gorgeous day! Here’s the course we ran – it starts at one end of the National Mall, does a pin across and back on the Memorial Bridge and goes north along the Potomac before turning around and tracking along the Tidal Basin and finally around Hains Point. I think the Tidal Basin was my favorite part of the course – so scenic!
Our final time: 1:45:12 (10:31 pace). A solid pace for a long run!
I went to collect my medal after the finish (you have to pay extra for a medal when you sign up), and we met up with Andrew, who didn’t see either of us on the course, which was not surprising given the nearly 18,000 runners in the race. Post-race spread was very simple – bananas and granola packets. Here’s what the medal looked like this year:
Thoughts on the course: While the course itself is flat and fast – good for a PR, there are so many runners that it might be challenging to hit your goal paces for the first couple of miles. If I get into the race next year, I’ll start in the right corral and see if that makes a difference! It’s otherwise well organized (I’m a fan of the corral start) and has plenty of fluid stations and spectator support on the course. The race amenities are a little minimal – tech t-shirts and medals cost extra – but they say that’s to keep the base cost of the race down.
Thoughts on my race: I’d love for every race to be a PR, but running with a friend made the race 100X more enjoyable! I’ve also realized that while I love incorporating shorter races while training for a long race like the marathon, running that hard equals significant recovery time and often forces me to reduce my mileage the following week. I’m glad I didn’t push too hard this past weekend since this week is my last high mileage one before tapering and I want to make it a solid one!