This was my sixth running of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler. My recent ten mile races haven’t been all that great – all have been slower than I wanted. Of course, I’ve also opted to run with friends and chat my way through the race, which leads to slower running. And of course, last year’s race got cut short due to an accident.
My training has not been great leading up to this race. In March, I took a week off for my brother and sister-in-law’s visit (worth it). Then I got in a solid week or so of workouts, then I got a killer cold that turned into bronchitis that had me down for almost three weeks. So… you know. Not ideal. I still have a slight lingering cough, but it’s really not a big deal. I figured the race wouldn’t be terrible.
Then guess what happened? MOTHER NATURE.
On Friday, when I went to packet pickup (which is awesome), it was around 80 degrees. But that was going to change quickly. A huge cold front came in. The forecast for Sunday morning was high winds and temps in the 30’s with windchills in the 20’s. And 45-50mph gusts of wind. Not ideal.
The poor race organizers absolutely did their best though. All unnecessary tents came down (they kept bag check and medical, I believe). All the mile markers came down. The Start/Finish banner came down. And they had to rework the water stops so no one blew away and so there wasn’t a sea of cups in the water. Unfortunately, they caught some heat about this on social media, which was a bit ridiculous. Yes, mile markers are nice, but they don’t make a race. And at many of the mile marker spots, there were volunteers with bullhorns yelling out the mile. Which means they were probably out there yelling for about an hour or more. Awesome volunteer work.
Every single one of the volunteers out there yesterday were amazing. I’m so thankful for every person who showed up. Volunteers are incredible.
So my race. Initially, I wanted to race well. Then when I got sick, I just wanted to finish. This race has a strict 14 minute per mile pace, so I just wanted to keep that. I’m always in the last corral with the party people, so I have to be careful about that pace.
It was cold standing around before the race, but once I got started, it felt pretty good. Mile one, I was under a 13 minute per mile pace. That’s my usual goal as of late when I’m racing – stay under 13 minutes. So I thought I would see what I could do. I managed to hold a sub-13 through about mile 3, but mile 4-5 got a bit tough. I hit the mile 5 mat right at 1:05 on my watch, putting me at exactly a 13 minute mile pace. I opted to push a bit harder to see if I could hold the sub-13 and finish under 2:10.
The winds were no joke during this race. There were a few moments early on where the wind definitely pushed me to the side, and I’m no waif. But there were also moments where we had some significant tailwinds which I think helped.
Speaking of tailwinds, I used Tailwind as my only fuel this race and I think it went well. No need to slow to eat something. Not that I need much to eat during a 10 miler, but since I’m out there 2 hours, I need something.
I managed to pull into the finish in 2:08:46. Kept that sub-13 and even picked up the pace in the second half. Pretty much a perfect race all in all.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to hurt tomorrow – going from being really cold right into running never goes well for me. At least I had the walk up to the start. That should help some.
I came home and immediately took a hot bath to get warm again. It’s been a while since I raced in weather that cold!
Thanks again to every single volunteer and spectator out there. I know it was a miserably cold day, and everyone who showed up is awesome.