Today was the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler (CUCB) race: a DC classic inspired by, what else? Our own Cherry Blossom Festival. It’s one of the more popular races, and requires a lottery to run. The beautiful course took us through monuments, over Memorial Bridge, Kennedy Center, the Tidal Basin (the cherry blossom hot-spot), Hains Point, and back again. The weather was supposed to perfect (it was pretty close) and the cherry blossoms were supposed to be in peak bloom this weekend (um, not so much), so all-in-all, I was really excited for this race.
This was actually the first race (but more than likely not the last) that I went to by myself. I was sort of nervous because it meant I had to consolidate my stuff enough to not dump it on someone when I was ready to run. I was up at 4:30 am to take the metro to Mall. That went pretty smoothly (yay, no line transfers), but oh my gosh, the line for the bathrooms was so long. I know I shouldn’t have been surprised, but still. I basically sprinted from the Metro to the race site so I wouldn’t have to wait so long, but I was waiting in line for 45 minutes. I made it to the starting corrals with maaaaaybe 5 minutes to go before the gun went off and never got to meet up with my sorority sister like we had planned. At least it didn’t leave me with much time to get nervous, I guess!
CUCB utilized a wave start, which seemed to work relatively well. I’d heard people mention that if you were in the wrong wave, though, you would be stuck behind those people for the rest of the race. I was really nervous about that because I was in a wave that was slower than my pace. I ended up lining up in a quicker corral, and that seemed to work out just fine. I accidentally tripped someone on the way out (sorry!), but other than that, it was a smooth start. I felt my ankle a little bit for the first few miles (it didn’t hurt, it just didn’t feel as strong as the other), but around mile 3-4, I stopped feeling it at all. My knee did okay through mile 8, but right after we passed that mile marker, I felt a sharp pain in it that made me catch my breath. I thought I was going to have to walk for a few seconds to get through it, but I ended up limping for a few paces. This happened a total of 3-4 times, and each time it hurt so badly that I couldn’t help but gasp at it. At that point, I knew my pace so far had been decent, so I let myself ease up on speed for a little bit (but no walking!). I was afraid I’d have to deal with this for the entirety of the last two miles, but the pain actually stopped after a half or mile or less (well, until the soreness I am still feeling). Very weird…I’m trying to decide whether to see a specialist now or after my next two April races…
My goal for this race was really just to finish under 1:30 and I finished in 1:26:36. I didn’t go in with many expectations other than the time, and it ended up working out. I kept a pretty consistent pace throughout the course (5 mile pace was 8:35, 10K pace was 8:36, 10 mile pace was 8:40), and only lost a minimal amount of time limping through part of mile 8. Honestly, I had a great race and a fun time. I didn’t feel like any of the miles dragged more than another, and usually when I race, there is at least one mile that seems longer than the others. Heading out towards Hains Point was maybe the most “boring” part of the course, but it wasn’t mentally challenging. The whole morning was pretty breezy, and Hains Point was definitely windier than the rest of the course, though. I am also really glad that I read ahead about the sole hill on this course being at the finish line. Being aware allowed me to mentally prepare for it, which made it so much easier to “conquer” (it wasn’t that bad), especially right at the end.
Overall, I had a great time, and hope I get a slot next year! If not, I’ll have to fundraise, because I intend on running it again. Hopefully by then the Washington Monument repairs will be completed. I know this is not really a new thing, but our race bibs were personalized with our names, so I had a lot of people calling me by name along the route, and it was so nice! The crowds were really fun.
I know I got in a few professional pictures (I tried to switch up my “pose”), but for now the only one posted is the one the photographer insisted on taking of me and the girl next to me in line for the bathroom. We were like, um, really?
Here are official stats:
Time – 1:26:36
Pace – 8:40
4,953 out of 17,530 finishers (top 28%)
1,739 out of 10,321 women (top 17%)
537 out of 2,819 women ages 25-29 (top 19%)
Here is the only picture so far (and sadly, it was taken in front of our house because of a hectic post-race experience!):