Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Recap

We got to DC around 10:30am on saturday, and after getting on the Metro to the hotel, we found ourselves in Macys. How the heck is there a Metro stop inside a Macys?? After finally finding our hotel, we headed to Capitol City Brewing Company for lunch. Next up was packet pick up.

We walked the few blocks away only to find a HUGE line wrapping around the entire building. We settled in at the back, then started to feel a sprinkle. Soon enough it was raining, then hailing! With no umbrella, or way to get shelter without skipping out on the line, we decided to tough it out.  Luckily a ton of people in front of us bailed, and we moved up a little more. Our total wait time? 1 hour. The most ridiculous wait time ever for race packet pick up. I'm not even sure why it was such a long wait, since when we finally got to the room for our bibs, there was barely anyone inside, and no wait at the check in tables. Completely ridiculous.

The expo wasn't too bad, I picked up a couple new sweaty bands, and a free swim cap. Scoped out the gear, then headed out to see the White House, and take a few pics. For dinner we headed to Aria, which was listed as an italian resteraunt and near our hotel. The only things "italian" about this place were the 3 pasta dishes and pizzas. The rest of the menu was salads & sandwiches, and the service was horrible. I would NOT recommend eating there to anyone.

After dinner we crashed to prep for our early wake up (actually a late one for me)! I was completely undecided on what to wear until the absolute last minute. After feedback on facebook, and checking out the Runners World "what to wear" page, I finally decided!

Pink shorts & socks won!

Race Day

Alarm went off, and I got up and started to get dressed and get my breakfast together. I put on my outfit, grabbed my throwaway longsleeve shirt, my breakfast and other gear and we headed out. We had a short walk to the race start from our hotel, and it was easy to find it since there were so many other people out walking to the start. We checked our bags, and took a few pictures by the Washington Monument.

We were in the green corral, which was 2nd to last. We crossed the start around 7:50am. My brother was running this race with me, which was our first really running together since his downfall at the Disney Half in 2010. He had just started training for his first marathon, and wanted to use this as a training run at a slower pace, so he decided to stick with me.  The weather was great, a little breezy to start, but I was able to ditch my throwaway around mile 3 or 4.

We cruised along, I was feeling pretty good.  I felt great for miles 1-5. By mile 5 I was really starting to feel it. Maybe because I was keeping a pretty steady 10:30ish pace.  I noticed that my Garmin was about .1 ahead around mile 3. The bad thing about the race course was the amount of out & backs. There were so many that you would see people running opposite you and not get to that point for quite a while later, a little discouraging! Around mile 5ish there was a water stop set up in a extremely narrow running road, which created a huge bottle neck, and slowed us down a bit. By mile 6, I was starting to slow, and I told my brother to go ahead without me.

As you can see, I faded hard. I had to take one walk break mile 6, 2 mile 7, then more throughout the rest. It must have been because I went out too fast, which sucks because I felt great, and I thought the pace was good, about 15 seconds slower than my half pace. I guess 10 miles is pretty close to a half marathon! Any advice on decreasing the fade?!

shots along the race

I was so excited to see the finish line! It was an uphill finish, and then we were done! Plus, I made my goal time (barely)!

After the race, I met up with my brother, who killed it in 1:44. We got our finishing medals and a muffin. Another bad thing? The set-up for post race food! I couldn't find it! Instead of being right off the finishers chute, it was off to the side, and I missed it until my brother pointed it out. 

Back to the hotel for a shower, then I starting searching for a lunch place. After searching for breweries online, I found one that served brunch. AMAZING. We were sold, and headed over to the District Chop House for fabulous beer & breakfast. 

Cherry Wheat beer, french toast & fruit! yummmmm
Overall, the race was fun, but not sure what the big hype is. It was really cool to run by some of the monuments, and the scenery was nice, but we won't be traveling for this race again. After the crazy packet pick up, and post race crowded confusion, I'd rather do a local race.


Angela said...

For what it is worth- typically there is only 2 out and backs, but because of the construction of the MLK memorial they had to change the route.

Also, I am not sure why they had the packet pick up at the National Building Museum, but according to friends, when they had it at the armory all the previous years there was never a long wait.

Maybe they will learn some things from that.

Hope you had a little fun!

Wells L said...

Great insight from Angela's comment, but that certainly doesn't make the frustrations any less frustrating.

Did you take in fuel during the run at all? That might have helped prevent the fade. Not that I'm an expert or anything - didn't mean to sound like a know-it-all bc I'm definitely NOT!

Got to admit - that I'm bummed this wasn't the DREAM race I had made it out to be in my head. Were the cherry blossoms out? Did you run along the tidal basin and they were stunning to see? Bummer it wasn't just an overall amazingly fabulous experience!!!

Mary-Michael said...

Congratulations on finishing!! It got a little hot around mile 5, I thought. Maybe that contributed to the fade? Also, I think Hains Point is so long and boring, it'd make me fade too.

I love your picture of you with the Washington monument--the monument looks pink in the sunlight, like it matches. :)

I agree that packet pickup was ridiculous. I was annoyed and not impressed by that. Next time you're here, you should hit up Vapiano for Italian, it was right in Chinatown--near your hotel.

Savannah said...

Great race - congrats on getting your goal time! I love the pink shorts and pink socks combo!

Jogging with Fiction said...

congrats on your goal time!

As for not fading, have you tried the energy gels?

Penny said...

Congrats on your finish and time. You know what I find is when I run my long runs at home I do good, but when I do a race I fade early too. Sometimes we just have to psych ourselves out and treat it like a normal long run and than I seem to do better. Least you got to experience the Chery Blossom race and learned you did care for it that much. On to another one.Keep on Running girlfriend

Anonymous said...

Way to make your goal time! I've been seeing a lot of posts about this race, but I think yours is the most honest about the bad. Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

Way to make your goal time! I've been seeing a lot of posts about this race, but I think yours is the most honest about the bad. Thanks for the info!

Suzy said...

Congrats on making your goal time! I love the Runners World what to wear page. It is so helpful!

The Green Girl said...

Congratulations on still pushing and making your goal time despite the fade!