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!


Washington DC, Some Cherry Blossoms and a 10 Mile Run

I’m back in Kansas exhausted and listening to the beginning of a storm, which is very calming amazingly enough.  Friday, I headed back east to check on my place in Philadelphia, deal with too much mail and get walked in on by a realtor showing my place before heading to DC on Amtrak.   DC always has the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and this was year 3 or 4 of my family heading out for it.  I got in around 9 and my parents around 11.  We stayed just off the Rosslyn stop which is a nice walk away from Georgetown and by the metro. Perks? Free parking at the hotel for my parents and us not spending an arm and a leg in downtown DC.

Saturday, I woke up early and spent the morning volunteering at the expo.  With 4 hrs of volunteer work, I had guaranteed entry into the 2014 Cherry Blossom Run and no worries about the lottery (yay me!).  I spent time in the t-shirt exchange.  Words of wisdom, ladies, don’t let the men sign you up for the lottery.  They know nothing about your sizes.  my mom came over later and spent the afternoon working at the bib hand out for the 10 miler.  My dad?  He had the easiest job of all.  He was a running medic (how did I not see that on the volunteer sign up list?  I have so done that).  By the time  I got off, I met my dad and sister for lunch before meeting up with my mom for church later on.  We of course had to watch some Final 4 action before heading off to bed.

This morning, we were up bright and early.  Poor mom ended up sick and somehow still came out (she’s related to 2 docs so really, we had her covered).  My dad headed out early to be briefed by the medical director of the race and my mom and I headed out shortly after.  A 10 minute metro ride later, we were off at the Smithsonian with 17,000 of our closest friends.  Normally, I don’t check bags, but when people I’m running with want to, I will.  It all goes under my since I tend to finish first.  After checking our bag, we headed off to our corals, me to orange and mom to green.  After the elites went off, I waited for the orange coral to leave and was enviously watching tweets about the elite women having 5 miles up on me before I even started.  I was too far back in my coral (or so it felt like) so I was weaving in and out of people trying to get on some sort of pace.

The first few miles, it didn’t feel like I was running, but I apparently was.  I was also looking to see if I knew anyone (which hardly happens)- I later found out my mom had seen me while I was passing her by one of the out and back sites.  We saw the elite men coming through while I was around mile 1-2 and of course we all cheered.  We kept on chugging along and the pace brought us back to the halfway point and the Washington Monument.  So many people and I saw one of my favorite signs of the day:



We then headed for the running path, which tends to be a lonelier part of the race, but is where most of the Cherry Blossoms are.  Thanks to the climate not knowing what it wants to do with itself, the Cherry Blossoms weren’t fully out yet.  I’m convinced they’re having some PMS issues, but what can you say.  We kept on going and I was getting text updates on where my parents were (thanks tracking!!!). Around mile 7, we passed a beer and oreos station- too bad they were out!  Come mile 7.5-8, there was the volunteer banana handing out water in a TNT shirt.  Mile 9 never looked so good and I appreciated the count down of how much further I had to go.  Not so much appreciated: the pot holes of DC.  I always forget about the little hill at the end and not being able to see the finish right away, but once I saw where I was going, I was off.  Officially, time was 1:37:15 and I held a steady pace.

Afterwards, I picked up some food, my bag and my medal and waited for the rest of the family.  After grabbing some showers at the hotel, we were off to brunch before we all had to head separate ways (me to Kansas via BWI, my sister to Baltimore and my parents to Ohio).  As always, a great race that’s well organized and run.  You can tell it’s well put together!!  Kudos to the dude who’s run all 41 of these things.  That’s impressive!!  Sleep well tonight runners, I promise I will

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

March has gone and April is here in full force.  This past weekend was the 40th running of the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC.  I’m currently rotating in Renovo, PA which is up a mountain with no cell phone service unless you’re in the ER or standing on the helicopter pad (I kid you not).  We have no MRI/CT scan at the hospital I’m at, no respirator and everything serious is transported to Williamsport or Geisinger.  Anyways, I digress.  Friday afternoon, I left at lunch and headed to Philadelphia to pick up some stuff I forgot at my apartment and then headed to DC.  I met up with my parents and some friends of the family after parking at the hotel for dinner.  We ate at J. Paul’s in Georgetown (good food there btw!!) and then headed to the hotel.

Saturday morning, I headed out for an early morning run since I was stiff from sitting in the car all of Friday.  Needless to say, I took a little bit of crap from the Cherry Blossom Run Twitter team, but hey, when you’re stiff, you need a run.  We then headed out to the expo to pick up bibs and to volunteer.  Guaranteed entry for next year, check!  I also was able to get Joan Benoit Samuelson’s autograph.  Definitely a cool person to meet and very down to earth.  I mean the woman won the first women’s Olympic Marathon in 1984 and ran in 1:01 on Sunday!  After heading to church, I went to get some work done while the rest of the family headed to dinner at my dad’s cousin’s house in Alexandria, VA.

Sunday morning, we were up bright and early at 6 AM.  We were staying close to the Rossyln metro so we hopped on and headed to the Smithsonian stop.  My parents headed off to the bathroom, I headed to check a bag that we had extra shirts and powerades in.  I jumped in the blue corral while my parents ended up in the orange corral.  The elite women started off and soon after, the rest of the elite followed by all of us mortal runners.  I unloaded a throwaway shirt right before crossing the start.  The first mile or so was really congested with runners and I’m not entirely sure how fast I ran that mile.  Things spread out some and I got into a groove.  It was in the high 40s, low 50s at the start of the race and the cherry blossoms had actually peaked the week before due to the warm weather and spring deciding to show up early (hence the “There may be no blossoms, but you runners are awesome” sign).  We pounded some pavement and hit some fans set up around one of the out and back pieces of the course (which we shouted for some more cow bell).  As we were heading out, we saw the lead women pack (that’s kinda discouraging actually) and everyone else in front of us.  Oh well.  We ran over some bridges, passed one of DC’s airport and took our time along one of the bike/run trails.  At mile 4, I took a bathroom break that wasn’t worth waiting in line for at the start.  Other than that, I took advantage of the water every 1.5 miles or so.  Around mile 7.5, our guy from last year with the beer and oreos was at his spot.  Nothing like oreos dunked in beer for some runners.  Truck on some more and with less than a mile left, we passed a guy pouring Miller Light (because regular Miller would have been too much to ask for) for runners who wanted it and there was definitely at least one toast that happened in front of me between runners.  What I conveniently forgot about this race was the hill it decides to end on.  I mean, what’s more fun than a hill when you’re tired?!  I finished in 1:32:07, so a good 6 minutes better than last year.

I hung out and waited for the rest of Team Guenther at the finish and then caught up with my parents about 25 minutes later.  I was cold and as we were heading back to the metro, I decided to have the breakfast of champions, diet coke and a hot dog.  Hey, it sounded good and I needed food.  My mom got a laugh (and a picture) out of it.  I got first dibs on the shower and finished packing my stuff.  I headed back to lovely Renovo PA and headed to the hospital to do laundry because I wasn’t smelling my running clothes all week.  Looking forward to it next year, as always!!

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler: Warm Up




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