Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race Recap

On Sunday, I ran my second Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run.  I love this race as it is one of the most beautiful, scenic races in Washington, DC.

Saturday, I went to the Expo for packet pick-up and had the opportunity to hear Meb speak and then get his autograph.  I had met  Meb in the past at my first race Expo in Las Vegas for Team Challenge and the Rock-N-Roll half marathon.  So, I grabbed my scrapbook and his latest book, Meb for Mortals and headed to DC.  Parking is always a problem but I lucked out and grabbed a spot on the street right next to the National Building Museum.
 This is one of the most beautiful buildings inside and outside while packet pick-up is well-organized.  The expo is one of the smallest but accommodates a runner's needs.   I got my packet and headed to hear Meb.

 His lecture was amazing; just like him!  He spoke about running, training, winning the Boston marathon the year after the bombing and his love of God and His goodness.  He answered several questions and got right to the autograph signing.  He is gracious, warming and genuine!  I showed him my scrapbook and he remembered me and that expo is Vegas!  He signed it along with his book and smiled for several pictures along with well race wishes.  He hoped to run CB with a six minute mile!

I also took pictures of the race map and runner's area even though I have done this race in the past.

The weather forecasts for Sunday weren't great and I had to keep checking due to the changing conditions.  Cold, high winds and rain were initially forecasted.  The forecast changed to cold and high winds only with gusts up to 60 mph.  Here are articles outlining the conditions Local weather and  wind article .  The race organizers were great with the communication indicating that the race was still on however mile makers, the start/finish overhead markings along with various tents and the kids race was too dangerous due to the winds.  I put together my flat me with various adjustments due to the cold windy weather  along with my running prayer and headed for bed.

I was up at 4 am and on the road by 5:15 am to avoid traffic and park in DC.  I also arranged a Sparkle Skirt picture meet-up so I wanted to be there early since I knew the signs wouldn't be out at our arranged picture opportunity.  Thank you to the girls for showing up for the picture.

Then it was off to MRTT (Moms Run This Town) multi-chapter picture but somehow I missed the big group picture.

Trying to get warm was the hardest part.  I had on four layers and the wind was still blowing so hard that I couldn't get warm.  You can see by how my jacket was wind-blown in this picture.

I found my corral; lined up with everyone, national anthem and we were off about 15 minutes after the first corral started.  The first two miles weren't bad (just a bit cold) but after coming off the Memorial Bridge around mile three, I started to get warm.  I took off one jacket and tied it around my waist.  At this point, the 5k had started and I saw some of the fast runners around mile four for me.  All that I could think of was that I needed to be faster because CB has a strict time limit of 2 hours and 20 minutes.  Panic set in as I saw those runners and thought I still have six miles to go and can I make these time limit.  However around mile six (the second jacket had come off so now I had two jackets around my waist), I realized that I would not only make the time cut-off but be okay with my time.  I slowed down and enjoyed the race more at this point as I was coming into Haynes Point which is quite beautiful. I also managed to grab a great picture with the Washington Monument and Tidal Basil.
 It was extremely cold as there was nothing blocking the wind from the river front but I didn't want to put a jacket back on due to time.  At mile nine, I realized that I had only one more mile and several volunteers at the water stop recognized me, hugged me and congratulations me for running the race. A huge THANK YOU to the volunteers that day either at the water stops, mile markers who were shouting out the miles, medical and police.  You chose to support us in this cold, windy race and we couldn't have done it without you!!

As I started off Haynes Point towards the finish line, I always forget that there is a small incline around mile 9.5.  I struggled through the wind front and crossed the finish line with the time that I had last year.  A bit disappointed but overall happy given the weather conditions!  Quick pictures but no medal (I actually borrowed someones) because I forgot to order one early.

However, one is now ordered and on it's way to me!  Homeward bound and another thank you to my friend, Chris who ran the 5K and cheered me on through the cold wind!

I love this race and can only hope that I will be able to run it again next year for my third year in a row.  Did you run Cherry Blossom this year?  How did you do considering the weather conditions? Would you run it again if you were chosen in the lottery?

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said! 

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