The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler is a verrrrry popular race in the D.C. area. So popular, in fact, the racers are actually chosen through a lottery system. I’ve heard of racers who have tried unsuccessfully to snag a spot for three years. So when entering, I really didn’t think I had a shot. Meanwhile, this guy Ben Beach has run 41 Cherry Blossom 10 Milers. Who does he know?
Luckily though, I rallied 8 of my closest racing buddies to join in too and with the power of the racing gods on our side, we got in! Yayyy we won the lottery!!! Now we get to run 10 miles and pay money…wait, what kinda lottery is this?
Training for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler
If you’ve noticed, I haven’t posted many running entries lately. Over the past few months, squeezing in runs seemed impossible. Until about a month and a half before the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, I wasn’t really running at all. Just a leisurely run once or twice a week.
Thankfully I have this dedicated friend, VB, who often helps kick my butt back into shape. One dreadfully long run with her on a Saturday morning was a true wake up call that I was out of running shape. I forced myself to painfully run during the week, and with a couple more long runs on the weekends with her, I slowly gained some running confidence back.
But what worried me most about this race was my feet. Yea, you know those things you run on. Whenever I reached a distance of 7+ miles, my toes really started to ache and by mile 9 or 10 I felt like I was running with cinderblock shoes. Despite these issues, I hesitantly set a goal of beating my Army 10 Miler time of 1:25:09 with high hopes that my feet would corporate.
Cherry Blossom Race Day
On race day, my plan was to meet my racing buddies at the Smithsonian metro stop, only someone (me) forgot to to specify which metro exit to meet at. Somehow we did meet up with 5 of the other racers, leaving 4 of my race buddies to fend for themselves. Even though most of my friends run at different paces, I love starting off races together even if I do trip them once we cross the start line. Hey it’s a race.
Brian actually wanted to run this race with me. Shocker. He’s real darn fast, so he usually leaves me in the dust, coughing and trying my hardest to catch up. Longer distances aren’t so much his thing though and he wanted to save up his energy for the Monument 10 K in Richmond the next weekend. Secretly I was plotting to beat him the whole time. mwhahahaha. just kiddddding. kinda.
But for real though, I never want to hold someone back from making their time, so I highly encourage people to leave me all the time. I often bring my broom to the race for this very reason, “Go on, skat!”
Okay enough silliness. The course was a beautiful tour of Washington D.C. and its many monuments, and even though I live here it still amazes me to run by the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial. I like to think they’re giving me a high five as I pass by. The cherry blossoms weren’t quite in peak bloom this year, but their pink buds were still beautiful and running around Hains Point and the Tidal Basin was lovely.
Around mile 8.5 my feet really did start to kill me. Every step was super painful, but with Brian by my side I pushed through. The last mile was surrounded by motivating fans. I blew kisses and used their energy to finish the race.
For some reason, D.C. races have this tendency to have the finish line at the top of a hill. This race starts and ends at the Washington monument. Even a small, tiny hill can feel like torture and this race was no exception. I did feel great reaching the top though, and I racked in a time of 1:23:48. Bonus: I was the fastest Seay to run the race.
If you know runners, the first thing they want after a race is…..water, the second thing is free food. This race had tons of freebies from Larabars, bananas, apples, and even these warm gooey homemade muffins. I think I ate two and stole bites from my friends muffins when they weren’t looking.
I would definitely run this race again and will try to snag a spot again next year.
Here are some tid bits if you’re running the race next year:
- Its important to start in the right corral, so enter with a time close to your goal time. This race is really popular(read: crowded), and you will have to weave in and out of people. It thinned out by mile 2, but if you start as close to your pace as you can, you won’t have to weave in and out as much.
- Be prepared for the wind tunnel at Hains Point. This mile was the hardest of the race with wind blasting off the tidal basin. Think it was around mile 6 or 7.
- When signing up for the race, you have the option to pay more to get a medal or a tech shirt. I chose the tech shirt and Brian the medal. Looking back I wish I had gotten the medal. It’s way cooler than a shirt.
- Hoard as many muffins as you can. Just kidding.
- Make brunch reservations in advance. After the race even further locations from the race like Foggy bottom got slammed.
- Take photos of your fiance’ on race day… Somehow I didn’t snap one photo of Brian :( He even sweetly grabbed brunch to go and made me homemade bloody marys when we got home. He’s da best.