Race Report – 2017 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

This weekend, I ran my seventh Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.  And I think the weather was among the best that it has ever been.  This year has been pretty iffy, weather-wise, and while it was a little cool before the race, the day turned out beautiful and the blossoms were still beautiful.  Best of all, I got to meet up with some of my Coeur teammates before and after the race.  I’m so glad to get to know some of these girls so much better, and I’m looking forward to racing with them again.

As I wrote earlier this week, my goal was something under 2:10.  In my head, I had 2:05 wandering around, but I knew that was a long shot, as running 12:30s was going to be a whole lot faster than anything I’ve been able to pull out lately.  (Spoiler alert – I didn’t run that fast.  This isn’t one of those sorts of posts!)

This is probably the most “local” of races that I run, and I love that the logistics are so easy for me.  I get to park at my office building for free and walk down to the race start.  I love not having to worry about parking or traffic.  I left my house around 6 for a 7:30 race start and had plenty of time.  That’s the last time that’s going to happen this year.

Before the race, I met up with a bunch of my Coeur teammates and it was so fun to finally get to talk to these ladies in person instead of just online.  Everyone was so wonderfully nice.  Seriously, if you ever see anyone in a Coeur team kit out on a race course, just say hi.  Such friendly people.

I was in the Purple People Party Wave again this year – it’s the wave of people planning to finish in 2 hours or more. I joke that it’s the wave of people who like to get their money’s worth out of the course, but honestly, it’s often full of people who are stressed about the race time limit.  Because of the need to open up roads, Cherry Blossom has a 14 minute per mile pace requirement, so there are a lot of racers in the purple wave hoping that everything goes their way and they make that pacing requirement.

Before and during the race, I ran into a lot of friends, including some I was meeting for the first time in person.  Man, the internet is awesome.

As the race started, I didn’t really have a set pace in mind.  I knew I wanted to race under 2:10, so I wanted to run sub 13 minute miles, but other than that, I didn’t really have a major goal.  I just wanted to try to enjoy the race.

For whatever reason, this race, I just never found that running high, which was kind of a disappointment.  I was pushing, but not too hard, meeting my pace goals, and enjoying myself, but I never got that rush that we all often get during races.  So when I finished, it was kind of a bummer, even though my final time was pretty darn good.

Of course, part of the problem could have been that I didn’t realize how good my time was.

I ran a 2:07:09.  Which is meaningless until I look at my previous ten mile races.  This was faster than I have run any ten miler since before my heart issues were diagnosed.  I posted that, and my friend Kate said I shouldn’t qualify the PR.  And she’s right.  I should just reset everything in the spring of 2010 and move on from there.  So with that in mind, this was a PR.  It’s still a bit shocking to be cutting time from my races when I feel like I haven’t been run training a lot, but it shows just how much all my work on the bike really does help – and I enjoy it so much more.

Now, to see how this all plays out during triathlon season!

Blog post written with cat assistance.

Race Report – 2015 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

2015-04-12 07.10.32-1It was a gorgeous day for a race in DC.  Perfect weather.  Cherry blossoms in perfect bloom.  I heard a lot of runners say that the race hadn’t been this gorgeous with weather and flowers in over ten years.

I am so glad I was there, and this year was extra amazing since I was one of the social runners for the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.  I got to meet a lot of amazing people, both my fellow social media folks and so many people who reached out on Twitter and through the blog.  What a crazy experience.

I have been training like crazy for this race.  Lots of 12 mile runs.  But I didn’t prep as well as I should have in the days leading up to the race.  I was on my feet a lot at the expo (having a blast!) and I wasn’t well hydrated.  Worst of all, during Thursday night’s swim practice, I got a terrible cramp in my right calf and while I didn’t drown (and Kristin helped me get it to uncramp), my leg was sore for a few days.

Now, I’m not trying to make excuses for my race.  In fact, I had an awesome race!  But I knew that I wasn’t going to have a super fast amazing race.  So when we got started and Betsy and I seemed to be well paced, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to run together!  She had some time goals and I thought we could very possibly meet them.

Unfortunately, 90 minutes before the race start, there was an accident involving a pedestrian and the race had to be somewhat rerouted.  There wasn’t time to add distance, so somewhere between miles 4 and 6, we lost about half a mile.  (The race organizers are going to remeasure so that people know how long the race really was.)  I have to say though, the change was seamless.  I didn’t even notice until we were at mile 6 and my watch only said 5.5ish.

2015-04-12 09.13.54

I don’t know why so many people hate Hains Point.  I don’t mind it at all.  I guess it is long and boring, but when the blossoms are blooming, it’s beautiful.  On the way out, Betsy agreed with me.  By the time we reached the point, Betsy’s opinion was “Hains Point is dumb.”

Running a race with a 14 minute mile pace requirement is mentally challenging for me.  I know I’m fine within that time, but I was trained to really only run just under a 13 minute mile.  And when you’re an interval runner, this also means that in the beginning, you’re at the very back of the pack.  I knew we wouldn’t get swept, but that doesn’t make it a whole lot easier.

Of course, as per usual, the intervals paid off, and as I had promised Betsy, around the mid-point of the race, we started picking off runners.  I’d like to think this was motivating for Betsy, but mostly she just hated me for the last three miles of the race.  We appear to still be friends though, so that’s positive.

The hardest part of this race is the tiny uphill before the final downhill to the finish line.  Seriously, a hill at the end?  What’s wrong with you, DC races?  Honestly, it’s not a terrible hill, but it’s the last thing you want to see when you’re nearing a finish line.

We finished at right around 2:05, which is awesome!  Still not sure of the exact distance of the race, but I’d like to think that if we had pushed that final half mile, we would have gotten the sub-2:10.  We were flying by the end and I’m so proud of Betsy for gutting it out and not shoving me in the Tidal Basin.

2015-04-12 10.05.06Thanks again to everyone who made this race possible, from the amazing Race Directors to the support staff to the hundreds and hundreds of volunteers.  I had a great time!

Be sure to check out the official race blog and if you’ve written a recap post, make sure you add yours to the linkup!

 

 

 

Good luck, Cherry Blossom Runners!

cucblogoThe Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run is just a few days away!  Good luck, runners!  As one of the social runners for the year, I’ve had such fun meeting so many of you.  I can’t wait to hear race recaps on Monday!

The expo opens today.  Be sure to check out the list of speakers today and tomorrow.  I’ll be there all day today tweeting and instagramming, so look for me!  You can’t miss my hair.

On race morning, I’ll be in what I’m calling the PartyPeoplePurple wave.  We may not be the fastest, but we’re out there doing our thing and having a great time doing it.  Don’t hesitate to say hi!

And most importantly, have fun.  You’ve done the work.  Now enjoy the rewards.

 

It’s CUCB Race Week!

cucblogoIt’s race week, CUCB runners.  You’ve made it!

The CUCB blog has some awesome tips for race weekend.  Be sure to check them out.  The Social Media team has been awesome for this race. Such awesome people and I can’t wait to hang out with them this weekend.

I’ve seen lots of Twitter posts from lots of nervous runners.  I totally understand the feeling, but have confidence in yourself.  You put in the work.  Trust your training.

Worried because your training didn’t go as planned?  Don’t let it get you down.  Plenty of people have showed up to a start line undertrained.  Sure, it’s not ideal, and maybe you have to let go of those PR dreams, but you can still do this.

Trying to get in some last minute hard training?  Don’t.  This is taper week.  Don’t just sit on your couch all week, but keep the training this week nice and light.  The last thing you want to do is risk hurting yourself.

Most importantly, remember to have fun.  Don’t worry about the weather or how fast others are running or the other things you can’t control.  Just go out and do your best.  And don’t forget to look at the blossoms!  It’s a beautiful time to be in DC!

Tips For Nervous Cherry Blossom Runners

As one of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Social Runners this year, I’ve been seeing a lot of tweets from nervous newbies.  Lots of people worried about the distance (10 miles) and the time limit (14:00 minute miles).  So over the next few weeks, I’m going to start posting some things I’ve learned in my years of racing.

First off?

You can do this.

Trust your training.  The Virtual Training program started this week, and the Beginners are currently doing a run/walk pattern.  It starts off slow, but it will get you to that ten mile distance.    Do the workouts.  Even when you don’t want to run, get out there and run.

And if you miss a workout due to illness or unavoidable conflict?  Take a deep breath and move on.  If you miss a long weekend run, try to get that one in on another day, but if you miss a midweek workout, don’t let it stress you out.  Just keep sticking to the plan and try to not miss too many workouts.

Note – I have learned the hard way that missing too many mid-week workouts but making sure I get in all my long runs does not a pretty race make.  You can still do it, but it’s not going to be awesome.  You will regret missing those workouts come race day.  If you’re sick, well, you have no choice.  But if you’re just tired and don’t want to run?  GO RUN.  If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I don’t always want to do my workouts either, but I still do them and I’m always glad I did.

I’m hearing from a lot of runners that they don’t want to do a run/walk pattern – they feel they have to run the entire race.  I personally think this is untrue.  Read a little bit about Jeff Galloway, who really pioneered the run/walk method.  I know incredibly fast runners who still walk parts of their races.  Sure, they maybe only walk the water stops, but there is walking involved.

I personally do a 1 minute run, 1 minute fast walk.  It’s what works for me and my heart rate issues.  I’m not super fast at this, but I’m improving.  I know people who really succeed with a 30 second run, 30 second walk.  I know people who do longer run intervals, like a 5 minute run, 1 minute walk.  Figure out what works for you.  Don’t feel defeated because you can’t run the entire 10 miles.  It doesn’t make you any less of a runner.

A big part of running is just believing in yourself.  You can do this.  You signed up and on race day, you will be ready.