Through a bit of luck, I got to run the 40th annual Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler today! It was my second race of “the season”, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon having been the first, and it was a lot of fun. Although I was surprised by my (slow) finishing time of 1:21:10, I felt absolutely wonderful throughout the race and felt that I ran strong and consistently. It helped that the course was completely flat, at least until the very end. There was a very small rise in the last quarter-mile of the race, but it wasn’t bad at all. I’m definitely not thrilled at my time, but, just like with the marathon two weeks ago, I’m not going to beat myself up over it.
Instead, I’m focusing on the positives. I felt great and injury-free going into the race. I felt great and injury-free finishing the race. I realize now that I could have pushed myself harder, and now I’ll try to focus on speed workouts. However, I won’t be going to the track at 4:30am! Something about running around in ovals in the complete dark, all alone, freaks me out. I’ll do some sprints on the streets, which are well-lit. The temperature today was definitely cooler than on marathon day, which helped to cause less fatigue and sweatiness. And of course, it was only ten miles! Ten miles instead of 26.2! Cooler temperatures, pancake-flat course, MUUUUCH shorter distance, and I didn’t eat breakfast today- I believe all those factors helped me feel a lot better about today’s race than my previous one. Although I (intentionally) didn’t eat breakfast, I made sure to eat well yesterday afternoon and evening, and I ate Clif Bloks before the run. Although I’ve been given the advice before that one should eat four hours before a race, I don’t think that’s the best idea, because then I just feel full and fat during the race.
So, the race itself. Like I said, I had a pack of Clif Bloks about 30 minutes before the start, and then right before the start, I had a Clif Shot. (Dear Clif, thanks for making so many organic, vegan products!) While I was standing in the Red Wave corral to begin the race, I saw a woman with a jacket around her waist (if she already had it around her waist, why not have put it in the bag drop?), and she had some words written on it in puffy paint. One of those words looked like “Excrement”. Upon achieving a better view, I confirmed what I’d thought and was able to read the whole message: ”Promised Sweetness, Delivered Excrement”. Huh?? Gross! Why would she put that on her jacket? Ugh! It wasn’t until after the race that I got the answer to my question. Either I saw that same woman again, or she was part of a group who all wrote the same thing on their jackets. When I saw this woman post-race, she was wearing her jacket, and it was from the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K. Ohhhhhh……. now I get it! Hahahaha! So glad I didn’t take part in that chocolate debacle!
The course was packed the entire time, but I actually found that really enjoyable. I do all my runs alone, so to now be surrounded by all sorts of people, all running, was great! In the beginning, it was so packed that we all had to do a lot of dodging and weaving, but soon it spread out enough so that we could run our own races, but never once feeling that there’s no one within a one-foot radius of us. It’s too bad that most of the cherry blossoms were already gone by this time, all that the trees are now all green, but there are still a few cherry blossoms! And they looked absolutely beautiful. The sun also didn’t quite make an appearance till much later in the day, so the race didn’t feel as “beautiful” as it could have, and that also means I was proudly wearing my sunglasses for no reason at all. Oh well
Some other memorable parts of the race: a guy with a small table set up at Hain’s Point, handing out free beer (funny); a girl who first directly in my way and then, when I passed her, she elbowed me to get back in front (not cool); a guy lying on the sidewalk at Mile 9 (bad, very bad); seeing signs right at the end that said “800 to go” and “400 to go” (annoying). 800 WHAT to go? 400 WHAT to go? And some guy in the spectating crowd, in an attempt to motivate us, yelled, “800 to go!” Great, thanks buddy. Yards, meters, elephants, dolphins, crayons, WHAT ARE THE UNITS?? It wasn’t his fault- he didn’t make the sign. But for the race officials to put signs like that, with just a number, was very annoying to me, not that it really made a difference whether I had 800 yards or 800 meters to go. And I ran strong all the way to the end, but my finishing time wasn’t awesome. That’s ok.
One funny thing to note in closing- after we finished, there were a couple of people handing out flyers about some upcoming races, so I of course took one. Once I was on the Metro going back home, I looked at the paper in detail. On one side, it described the half marathon in Alexandria in May. The part that made me laugh was “Starts/Ends at the United States Patent and Trademark Office“. Oh boy! Hehe, I can never get away from that place, can I? There’s also a 5K option, and I wonder if I can get any of my co-workers to run one of these races, too.