Monday, April 12, 2010

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Report

It's always good in a race when you see the finish line sooner than you expect to.

Especially if you still have a decent amount of energy in the tank.

Especially if you can bust out a sprint and pass about 20 people (at least one in your age group) on the way to finish line.

That's what happened this weekend at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.



The alarm going off at 5 a.m. wasn't fun and walking to the Metro station eating a PBJ was an adventure. (Jelly is really goopy and drippy).

The race itself though was really fun.

We had to wait a looong time in the starting corrals for the waves to go off and the waves were huge.

In the still empty corral.

I think there were 15,000 runners and only five or six waves.

Corral not even half full

The entire course was really packed with people and the first two miles were awful, it was impossible to get around slower people because there was no where to go.

I ended up following several people who jumped up on the curbs and started running there for a bit.

My first mile split reflected the slowness: 10:15.

I knew I had a lot of ground to make up if I wanted to get anywhere close to my reach goal of averaging 9:40 per mile.

But at the same time, I tried not to stress about it and tried to enjoy the race. It was after all a gorgeous day for a race.

Around mile four I was getting closer to my goal splits. I was only a couple seconds off, so I was hoping I'd be able to make up some time.

But then I hit a water station and lost some more time. The water stations were a mess. There were times I actually had to stop running and then stop walking and just wait in line to try to get through the runners five deep at the tables.

As a fun surprise around mile 4.5ish I saw a friend of mine who was there cheering on another friend. The crowd was kind of thin at that point so I yelled his name and he cheered me on a bit. It was a totally fun and random pick-me-up during the race.

Mile five was the first time I came in at one of the splits on my pace band.

My legs were feeling good and there was a lot of crowd support going through miles five and six.

At this point though the sun was bright and I was regretting wearing long sleeves. But I just kept on trucking. The course was extremely flat, there was one tiny incline at the end that I wouldn't even a call a hill, which I think helped keep my legs really strong.

Miles 7 through 9.5 were uneventful. All the cherry blossom were gone from Hains Point because of the warm weather we had so that stretch was definitely dull.

But coming off Hains Point and into the last half mile there were tons of people in the crowd. I couldn't spot the BF because there were so many people but he said he saw me near the last turn right before I kicked into my sprint.

I remember looking at my watch during that turn and thinking I had at least two minutes of running left. Then I looked up and could see the finish line. I knew it wasn't going to take me two minutes to get there.

So I kicked hard.


And I finished in 1:35:48. Almost a whole minute faster than the 1:36:40 I had on my pace band.

Hordes of people at the finish.

I felt awesome afterward, yes my legs were tired, but I probably could have kept running. I had so much fun.

Hot and sweaty, but happy.

Hands down it was the easiest course I have ever run. I didn't think it was possible to find a course so flat and fast. I have a feeling the only way I'll break my 10 mile PR is to do this course again next year. No other course could be this easy.

The race was fun, the course was flat and I set a PR all by 10 a.m.

Is there really a better way to start a morning?

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