Race Report – 2010 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

Late race report!  Last weekend, 4/11/10, was the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.  This was my third year running it and I was so excited to get a lottery spot in the race.

Somehow, I managed to convince some friends from college to run the race as well.  It’s amazing how so many of us have become runners.  The joke is that we were so lazy in college that we would order pizza rather than walk to the dining hall (which couldn’t have been a full block walk).  Now we voluntarily go out and run ten miles.

I was really hoping to finally make this the race where I finally break 1:50 for a ten mile race.  Yes.  I’m slow.  At the beginning of the year, this was a feasible goal, but after getting sick in March and getting thrown off my training schedule, I knew it wasn’t going to happen.  A PR was definitely a possibility though.

The course itself is gorgeous.  It starts and finishes near the Washington Monument and, of course, passes tons of cherry trees.  It’s a relatively flat course, and it’s always a fun race.  It’s not a huge race, but it’s a good group of people.  The course is well-staffed, and there’s always someone offering beer somewhere along the course.  This year it was beer and Oreos.  Deeeelicious. Not that I ate any.

I knew that I was the slowest of my group of friends and fully intended to finish last, which was okay by me.  I even figured I would be in the last corral.  But I was wrong!  My time from last year bumped me into the second to last corral.  A green bib at last!  I was so excited.  So we got to start together, and then promptly lost each other.  As I ran, I was checking my watch.  For the first few miles, I thought that maybe my 1:50 goal was in reach.  But as I settled into my pace, I realized it just wasn’t going to happen.  I was going to be close, but it wasn’t really doable.  That was solidified when I got stopped up at a water stop around mile 6.  I wasn’t even getting water, there was just an unusual collision of people and some girl slipped in front of me.  She was okay, but it was all a time delay.

By the last mile, I just kept chanting in my head “One more mile, less than 12 minutes to go” (knowing that my pace was closer to an 11 minute mile at that point).  And I kept counting down.  Six minutes.  Five minutes.  Three minutes.  I can do anything for three minutes.  And then it was done.

Final time?  1:51:32.  Only 92 seconds over my goal.  And a new PR!  Averaged an 11:10 pace.  Last year it was an 11:17 pace, so I’m improving.  I’ve got two more ten milers this year (one in a week!) but I think the Cherry Blossom course is going to be where I finally hit that goal, thanks to the lack of hills.  Maybe next year!

And now for the details that those of you thinking of running this race want to know.  Transportation to the race?  Easy.  Metro opens early.  Course amenities?  Water and Gatorade, pretty standard fare.  Post-race amenities?  Water, bananas, and muffins.  Again, pretty standard fare.  This year, they also offered the option to purchase a finisher’s medal (purchased when you register).  I didn’t purchase one, but I saw people wearing them and they were pretty.  The expo is small, but nice.  Good number of vendors and they do what they can to keep the lines moving.  It does get crowded picking up your number.  Not much swag involved in this race packet.  A t-shirt (that’s always horribly brightly colored) with the option of upgrading to a technical t-shirt.  Info about other races.  Nothing exciting.

All in all, I’m happy with how this race turned out.  I was nervous, knowing how slow I am and how fast my friends are, but it seemed like everyone was happy to wait for the slow runners to finish.  And that’s always nice.

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