Cherry Blossom 10 (ish) Miler Race Review

After a day of running, a race to get lunch and on the train to BWI, I finally have some time to recap the 5th Annual family running of the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC.  I flew out to DC (via BWI) on Friday night and spent Saturday morning volunteering at the expo with my mom (I can’t argue guaranteed entry into the 2016 race!). We had time for church and dinner last night before my dad took some of the family to a show at Ford’s Theatre.

This year, I had the opportunity to participate as a medical runner. I had emailed back in November to try and get in to be a medical runner (the perks of having a full medical license), but at that point they were full. A few months later, I got an email asking if I was still interested- that was a no brainer! Not only did I get my race fee reimbursed, I essentially ran for $10 (the cost of the medal). This morning, I was up bright and early at 5 and on the metro with my mom at 530ish. We arrived to The National Mall and I went and signed in with the medical tent. It was in the 40s this morning, so the heat lamps in the medical tent and no bathroom line, so point us! We were briefed and hung out in the tent for awhile. about 20 minutes before the race start, we found out that a pedestrian had been hit about 40 minutes prior on the course by a motorcycle and the race would be on diversion from miles 4-6. Try explaining that one to people!

We headed off to the start and waited for the race to get going. The race director was good about announcing the diversion every so often (and really, there was nothing that the race could do since a portion was essentially a crime scene and that’s going to shut things down awhile regardless). I at least got to see the elite men and women take off!

As corrals were started on the course, us medical runners started joining every so often. We were under instruction to not PR and be on the look out for any runner or spectator needing help, so today was by no means a race for time. The first 2.5 miles were good. I made it to just past the 5K when someone saw my medical runner bib from behind and pointed me back towards a down runner. Running against the flow wasn’t the best idea, but when you don’t know where other medical runners are, you have to error on the side of caution. I spent at least 10-15 minutes with that runner and calling out to command central for help. A decreased amount of gators wasn’t the best situation either. 2 other medical runners showed up and we at least were able to get the runner to an aid station. As that situation was dealt with, another runner fell victim to a pot hole and had to call it a day.

The rest of the race was pretty uneventful from a medical runner stand point. After mile 4, miles 5-7 seemed to come quick because of the diversion. Since I was so far back from where I normally run for 10 miles, it was nice to enjoy things from a different perspective! And, the Cherry Blossoms were at their peak for the first time in 8 yrs for the race.

Around mile 8.5, my mom caught up to me and we ran for a bit. We made it through the rest of the race with no problem and got through the finish chute and grabbed some water (a hot commodity).  We headed back towards the medical tent so I could drop off my fanny pack they had outfitted us with. We also went and picked up our medals and then hung out at the finish for a bit waiting for my dad and cousin. We also saw the Kenyan embassy at the finish cheering. I really want to be an honorary Kenyan because they seemed fun!

I finished in 1:59:30. I’m normally about 20-25 minutes faster, but I took today as a medical runner, so time is not really important as much as doing my job. At this point, we’re still waiting for the official course length, as race officials are in the process of remeasuring the course. It’s a guesstimate that the course was 9.50-9.75 miles this year. Despite the circumstances, a great race to run and should be on anyone’s bucket list to do!

Sidenote, did you run today? Head over to BibRave and review it!


Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

The right of Spring in Washington DC made its presence known this weekend with the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. I flew out from Cleveland to BWI Friday night. I made the mistake of not bringing my luggage with me, a problem when you finish up a late consult and you have a 6:50 flight out of Cleveland Hopkins Airport, which is 40 minutes from your apartment. I got to the airport an hour before my flight and got through security with plenty of time to spare. I got in to DC and to my hotel with the rest of the family.

Saturday, mom and I got up at 7 and headed to the expo to volunteer until noon. We checked in, but my name wasn’t in the master list, but it wrote my name and email down. Hopefully I get my guaranteed entry for 2015! We were in charge of directing runners to shirt pick up (to the left, to the left!). We preached out and met up with my dad, uncle and sister for lunch. After some R&R, we headed to church and dinner and watched some Final Four basketball.

This morning, we woke up earlier than I’ve been getting up to work to head to the National Mall. The standard have Christine check a bag because she’ll be done first was in full effect for post race long sleeved shirts.

After the elite women and men were set off, I crossed the start with the orange corral about 14:30 min into the race. The weather was perfect for running, 40s-50s with no wind, like we had on Saturday. The start was so crowded and I was hoping for things to thin out, but not so much. The crowds were out and cheering. Somewhere close to mile 1, we had the elite men pass us in the opposite direction who were around mile 4.5-5 (speed demons). After a solid first 2 miles, we were met with water and Gatorade. The first bathroom line was a good 20 people deep, time well lost. After some loops, we were running along the river through about mile 3.5. We found miles 4-5 and the first mile of the course was quiet. Around mile 5, the crowds picked back up and we headed out towards Roosevelt Island. The water stations around mile 6 were packed, as was the course. Come mile 7.5, the beer and Oreo stop was set up. You people rock!! I was keeping a steady pace between 9:30-9:45 minute miles. Things were going well until about 400 meters, until I started hacking up a lung. I hit the finish at 1:36:06 according to the Garmin.

I checked my results online and somehow my results came back as 1:50:54. The Race Joy person told me to calm town, but with a 14 minute difference, it’s a big deal. Apparently, all my splits except me crossing the start recorded, so my time defaulted to the gun time. I’ve already submitted my I want my time changed form so time will tell over the next week if it gets fixed….first race in 93 races where my time has been so off!

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler- My NEW PR!

Yesterday, had an awesome run in Washington, DC at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  I took the train in Saturday morning, quickly dropped my bag off at the hotel my family was staying at (more like bag check since my parents weren’t getting in until early afternoon) and headed over to the Expo at the National Building Museum.  When I got there, the line to pick up bibs and shirts was out the front door and literally around the building.  Since I was volunteering, I got to sneak in the back door to head to the volunteer check in.  The organizers had sent out emails reminding people that it was a. easier to take the metro than attempt to try and park in DC (in any major city with public transportation, this makes sense since parking is usually horrendous- this coming from someone who’s lived in Chicago, NYC for a few months, been to DC and living in Philly), have your confirmation sheet with your bib number. My volunteer job was to point people towards the 10 mile pick up or the 5k pick up.  Despite the big sign pointing to the 10 mile or 5k packet pick up, people still asked which way to go.  No matter how many times I announced where the solutions office was too look up numbers, people still asked where it was.  There was a steady line of people the entire 3 hrs I was there.  My suggestion would be for the 10 miler pick up to have two rooms- one for numbers 1-10,000 and a second room for 10,001 onwards and then a room for the 5K.  I will say kudos to them for having a shirt exchange so if you had a L and wanted a M or something, you could do that.

There was also an opportunity to meet Bill Rodgers, the guy who managed to win 4 straight NYC

With Bill Rodgers at the Cherry Blossom Expo

marathons, 4 straight Boston Marathons, 22 Marathons total and 4 Cherry Blossom Runs (I’m wondering if 4 is his favorite number?).  He is a super nice guy.  He was talking with people for a few minutes per person and really asking people about races they’ve participated in all the good stuff that comes with running.  He signed my bib for me in addition to a picture of him from one of his Boston Runs.  Needless to say, he was getting a steady flow of runners coming by to meet him

On race day, we left the hotel around 7 since we were only a few stops away from the National Museum where the race started.  we got to the race at 7:32 (the race started at 7:40).  My sister was coming later to the 5K (but never made it because she overslept).  I ended up racing to the orange wave (my parents were in the green wave behind me) and we were off 10 minutes into the race.  We started at the Washington Monument and then headed out from there.  The entire course there were Cherry Blossoms in full bloom.  The race itself was a steady stream of runners.  Usually after a few miles, things thin out, but that never happened.  There were 6-7 runners across in the roads, a good 5-6 runners across if it was on the running trails.  Steady stream, the entire time!!  There was a gorilla with a cow bell cheering on runners, two teens dressed up as statue of liberties, and a guy with a sign at mile 7.5 with a sign that read “Free beer and oreos“.  Yes, the guy was handing out beer (yuengling) and oreos to runners.  The course was fairly flat, but there were some pretty sharp curves in there and then a mild hill at the end.  I couldn’t see the finish which, wasn’t ideal, but eventually I saw the wonderful line that welcomed me home.  I finished the race in 1:42:53 which is a PR for me in a 10 mile race!

Overall, a really good race.  I have a guaranteed entry into next year’s run since I volunteered this year.  The race changed to a lottery system this year since it sells out rather quickly.  I will say the expo either needs to be moved to a bigger location or the bib pick up needs to be changed because picking up bibs was horrendous.  Apparently some people took over 40 minutes to get their bibs.  Good run though overall!!

Quakertown Rotary Run for Youth 10 Miler

My first 10 mile race since Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run last year, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Quakertown 10 Miler.  My legs (more so my calves) have been sore the past few days, and a massage I got last week didn’t go well at all, as it didn’t loosen me up that much.  Anyways, this was a 9 AM race about 45 minutes away from Philly.  I arrived around 8:15, picked up my number and shirt (which they didn’t have me down for but gave me anyways) and got situated before the start.  They had a pretty good selection of race registration forms for upcoming races in the area (5Ks, 4-5Milers, 10Ks and half marathons in addition to some trail runs) and a book of races with the registration forms from the NJ track and field people.

The race was a smaller race and you had the option of 4 or 10 miles, with the first 1.5 miles or so run together.  I almost made the decision to run the 4 mile route, but I needed a double digit run.  The course itself was incredibly hilly, with rolling hills about 95% of the race.  What I wasn’t a fan of was there was no shoulder to run on and some of the hills were blind meaning you couldn’t see if anyone was coming the opposite direction until you got to the top of the hill.  There really wasn’t anything marking the race (signs, cones, etc) with the exception of some volunteers.  There were also some intersections that told you where to go was only spray painted arrows on the road.  There were only 2 water stops, one at 3 miles and at 6 miles.  I felt like I was dehydrating towards the end because 2 water stops for 10 miles is really not enough.  There were definitely points (ie most of the race), where my goal was not to finish last.

At the finish, there was water and food which was race appropriate and appreciated.  The race wasn’t chip timed so I came in approximately 1:49:15 or so.  Overall, definitely not a race I would do again.  I wasn’t a fan of it and thought it could do a bunch to improve.

Quakertown 10 miler route

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