My mom and Dan came to the race with me for support! We all camped out at a hotel in DC the night before and definitely did not sleep enough. Oh well. I had made sure to get a fair amount of sleep Friday night in anticipation! I think we were all up when the alarm went off at 5:45 am.
I ate half a PB&J on wheat (normally I have a piece of toast w/ PB&J pre-run, so this was a good make ahead option for the hotel) plus a banana. Plus coffee of course!
We took the metro down to the start at Smithsonian. I couldn’t believe how crowded it was--considering this was only my second race ever and my first “big” race, I was really overwhelmed!
|Waiting for metro at 6:30 am. That thumb wins the|
supporting actor award for this recap.
|Waiting in my corral with a nervous smile-grimace.|
|Panic levels (and corresponding manic face) increasing.|
I’m having a hard time remembering all the details from the race, but I’ll do my best to document it!
Miles 1-2: Man was it crowded. I was honestly shocked at the amount of people and how packed it felt--was not prepared for that. My first mile pace was almost a minute slower than my others due to the crowd! I also probably was doing some weaving here--I ended up about .2 miles over 10 according to my phone.
I found the 10:30 min/mi pacer and stayed around her for a while. The bridge at mile 2 was nuts--sooo crowded and hard to run. I was having a hard time settling in to a comfortable pace.
Miles 3-4: We ran up to the Kennedy Center and back. I wasn’t super big on all the turnarounds on this course--I think I just prefer a bigger loop. We went under some overpasses, which were like mini-tunnels and kind of fun. I was still hanging around the 10:30 min/mi pacer at mile 3 but still wasn’t really finding my legs. We went down a downhill and she kind of started pulling back, whereas I was ready to kick it in. I decided to pull ahead of her a bit and see how that felt. What a difference! My legs were ready to go a little faster and wanted to hold their own pace (as opposed to following someone else). I was nervous about this decision at the time (going out too fast!), but it ended up being the right call.
|Focus face. My on-the-course pictures reveal that I put my thumb |
up when I run, even when I'm not trying to. Perpetual thumbs up!
I started to feel the rumbles of hunger at mile 5, which is earlier than normal for me. As I’ve mentioned, I never take in water or fuel during my normal long runs, so I was a little wary of trying anything out on race day. I kept focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.
Half-way split: 51:42 (10:20 min/mi pace)
10k split: 1:04:12 (5 minutes faster than my 10k in October!)
Miles 7-8: Hains Point! I was excited to reach it because I had never run along Hains, and I know it is considered sort of a “athletes’ paradise” in DC. I think I’d agree with that! Beautiful, serene surroundings and a flat, long stretch. The only issue with it was the wind coming off the water! It was the only time during the race that I got chilly, but I was still glad I opted for no jacket overall.
I was feeling pretty good but hungry. I knew I had some time in the bank to work with for my goal, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and try some Gatorade at a water stop. Man did it taste good. I just had a few sips, but it stopped my stomach from rumbling and seemed to give me a boost!
I remember along this stretch having to constantly remind myself that I was racing. My legs kept wanting to fall into a normal run pace of 10:30-45, but I was feeling good and could give more--I just had to remember to do so! I found a girl that was keeping relatively my pace and tried to keep her in my sights for the rest of the race (thank you, off-white long-sleeve girl! Sorry if I was creepy!). Some good crowd support during this leg of the race--loved the drum groups!
|Intentional thumbs up. Feeling good!|
|Dan is a really good photographer! Love this picture.|
Splits according to my phone:
Runkeeper claims it was more like a 10:03 min/mi pace to account for the total distance of 10.2 miles that I actually ran. Either way, I’ll take it. I’m SO THRILLED with how the race went and truly astonished that I finished that fast. That was close to a full minute per mile faster than my 10k just 6 months ago!
After the race I was so ecstatic about my finish time! I seriously couldn’t believe it. I think I probably annoyed everyone all day with continuing to talk about the race. :)
We wandered around for a bit trying to find me some nourishment. I was fairly famished by that point, but that weird queasy hunger that made me not want to eat a ton of solid foods (I got over that pretty quickly). Gatorade tasted awesome.
We met up with the rest of the fam back at the hotel. I am normally not a big shower person, but man that shower felt fantastic! After I got cleaned up, we had lunch at the (very nice) hotel buffet. All you can eat brunch buffet (with really really good food) post long run = exactly what I wanted.
And then the fam had to get on the road (sadface), and Dan and I headed back to VA. We rallied to get some groceries, which is where he surprised me with these!:
|Beautiful congratulatory flowers! And drying dishes.|
|Shirt of success. Pose of awkward.|
The 10 mile distance was a lot of fun to run. Long enough that real “training” was required, but not so much that training took over my life. I found it a little challenging to race that distance--I couldn’t figure out how much to hold back--but I think that’s more from general racing inexperience than anything else.
The Cherry Blossom 10-miler is a great race. Mostly flat (though not QUITE as flat as I expected) and a pretty course (though minimal cherry blossoms during this particular year!). I was shocked at how big it was though--I honestly don’t know if I really love big races. It was so crowded and overwhelming. But then again, it was very well organized, the expo was fun, and the course was well-staffed with support. I think I’ll have to try out a small local race before I decide which I prefer!
Most importantly: I was SO HAPPY that my mom and Dan were able to be there. It really made the day 17 times better to share it with them. They were both so amazingly supportive and proud that it makes me tear up! So a big THANK YOU to them!!! Love you both!