Race Recap: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

Yesterday’s Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 mile race was by far the best race I’ve ever run!! I felt incredible both physically and mentally, and it’s ironic because I actually considered backing out a few (read: many) times both before and since last weekend’s half marathon and I am SO glad I didn’t.

So let’s rewind a bit.

First, I went to packet pickup on Saturday and it was pretty much a nightmare. It took 35 minutes of waiting in a line that was wrapped completely around the block, almost back to the entrance of the National Building Museum where the expo was, just to get inside the building.

Runners, runners, everywhere. Insane.

Once I finally got into the building, the waiting wasn’t over yet. There were lines and more lines leading up to the area where the packets were and it took another 15-20 minutes once inside to actually get my bib.

I will say that despite the waiting and crowds, it was quite well organized and I’m not sure what I could have expected with 16,000 runners. Yes, you read that right – 16,000.

After tackling the expo, grabbing lunch downtown, and then getting a haircut, I went home and took it easy for the rest of the night.

I laid my race gear out a lot more sloppily than last weekend…

A race pile, if you will.

I did manage to get twice as much sleep (6 hours v. 3) by falling asleep around midnight and then waking up at 6am. It actually felt like I was sleeping in a little, since I was already on site at that time for the half marathon last weekend!

I made a quick breakfast:

A cinnamon raisin bagel thin (SO GOOD!!) toasted with pecan butter and raisins (nice touch). Perfect.

I set out pretty quickly after that and headed to the metro towards the mall. It was CROWDED.

And for some strange reason, everyone on the metro at 7:00am on a Sunday was heading to the race. Odd.

The metro gods were watching over me, so I got there in no time and started to actually get excited about the race.

It was PERFECT outside for running – mid 40s, clear skies, and beautiful cherry blossoms!

Since I got there a little on the later side, my corral was already packed and I couldn’t even get into it so had to stand on the sides.

I had to wait until the faster corrals started for there to be enough room for me to squeeze in. At the least the scenery wasn’t bad…

Despite the incredible number of runners, we moved along pretty quickly and before I knew it, we were off! I felt great right from the start. Mentally, 10 miles seems so much more doable than 13.1 to me for some reason. Something about that extra 5k gets me, and it’s where I really start to fall apart and question my motive for doing it in the first place. Starting off this race feeling confident from the beginning really helped a lot.

The course itself was amazing and very scenic, and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom as we weaved all around the city and the monuments. It was also super flat, compared to last week’s rolling hills, so my energy level stayed pretty consistently high throughout the race. There were mile markers at every mile along with clocks, which was really nice.

As for fuel and hydration, I ate a GU at mile 4 and had a second one with me to eat at mile 8, but when I checked my pocket at mile 8 it had fallen out! Luckily I had a pack of sports beans with me to eat in case I didn’t want the full GU, but man, close call! I wore my Camelbak just like I did for last weekend’s half, and that was nice because I didn’t have stop at the water stations and instead focused my efforts on not  tripping over the discarded cups.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Mile 1: 9:27
  • Mile 2: 9:29
  • Mile 3: 9:08
  • Mile 4: 9:13 (ate GU)
  • Mile 5: 9:20
  • Mile 6: 9:14
  • Mile 7: 9:22
  • Mile 8: 9:29 (ate beans)
  • Mile 9: 9:34
  • Mile 10: 9:22

Do you see what I see? All the miles are in the low 9 minutes, with 9:34 being my slowest mile! For me, that is FAST!! I was so excited because even though I figured I was going pretty fast, I wasn’t going for a particular pace and just was feeling really good and listening to my body. Each time my Garmin beeped and I looked down to see the pace for the mile, I was pleasantly surprised. Once we hit Mile 9, I was definitely feeling good about being almost done, but what a difference from how I felt towards the end of the half marathon. I felt like a million bucks!

Official Time: 1hr34min32secs – 9:27 pace!!!!!!

This is the first race that I’ve run twice, so I was excited to be able to compare my time this year to where I was a year ago – 1 hour 41 mins, 2 seconds. That means I shaved 6.5 minutes off my time from last year!!

What’s the best race you’ve ever run? Please leave links to recaps if you have them!!

55 Comments on Race Recap: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

  1. Katie
    April 4, 2011 at 8:37 am (9 years ago)

    Great recap…you have come so far and you always look so cute in your running outfits! Awesome job!

  2. bearrunner
    April 4, 2011 at 8:38 am (9 years ago)

    Great job!! Sounds like a nice run… It must have been crowded with 16,000 people… That’s a lot, wowsers!


  3. Kathy @ newlywedindc
    April 4, 2011 at 8:44 am (9 years ago)

    Great job! I also ran the CUCB and I too had a fantastic experience! It was my first time doing this race and I really enjoyed it, and I ran a fast-for-me pace. What a gorgeous morning for running! I plan to do a recap tonight and I’ll post the link then.

  4. Amy
    April 4, 2011 at 8:50 am (9 years ago)


  5. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    April 4, 2011 at 9:05 am (9 years ago)

    Beth this is wonderful! You did great and your times are super speedy! I’m glad you decided to race after all.

  6. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    April 4, 2011 at 9:05 am (9 years ago)

    Congrats! I’ve read a few recaps and it seems that you girls all had a really great day! 🙂

    My favorite race was probably my first half. I think it was more the situation than the race itself- I have never felt so happy when I crossed a finish line…

  7. Mary
    April 4, 2011 at 9:26 am (9 years ago)

    AWESOME! I knew you’d do great!

  8. Jillian
    April 4, 2011 at 9:47 am (9 years ago)

    Great Job, Beth! You look so darling in your pictures! Love the new haircut 😉

  9. greensandjeans
    April 4, 2011 at 9:50 am (9 years ago)

    You are a running machine Beth! Congrats on another PR!

  10. EatMoreMeatLess
    April 4, 2011 at 9:58 am (9 years ago)

    Great job Beth!! Your hair looks adorable!

    • Beth
      April 4, 2011 at 9:59 am (9 years ago)

      Aww thanks Rachel!! I just got it cut on Saturday! =)

  11. ultrarunnergirl
    April 4, 2011 at 9:59 am (9 years ago)

    Awesome race Beth!! You rocked it!
    Those big races are fun for the crowds cheering, and the energy of all the runners, but it can get to be too much. It’s fun running the smaller races where you can actually feel like your energy is put into running rather than used up by trying NOT to run into people.

    • Beth
      April 4, 2011 at 10:00 am (9 years ago)

      Good point! I did spend a good amount of the race weaving around people and trying not to collide. It was super fun though!

  12. Maryann Z.
    April 4, 2011 at 9:59 am (9 years ago)

    All that speed training in paying off. Congrats.

  13. Theodora
    April 4, 2011 at 10:00 am (9 years ago)

    Congrats! I’d like to do that race one day.

    • Beth
      April 4, 2011 at 10:01 am (9 years ago)

      There’s a lottery for it, and I got picked last year and this year somehow. I’ll fwd you the info when it comes out for next year and hopefully we can both get in!!

  14. Gwen
    April 4, 2011 at 10:05 am (9 years ago)

    Congrats Beth! That is AHMAZING! What a wonderful race for you 🙂 And it was lovely to meet you Saturday am!

    • Beth
      April 4, 2011 at 10:15 am (9 years ago)

      Thanks Gwen! You too!!! You’ll see me again April 16th! =)

    • Beth
      April 4, 2011 at 10:14 am (9 years ago)

      Ohhh I’m going to check out your recap now! I’m actually running the 5k Friday THIS Friday. Are you doing any more of them??

      Good luck at the 10 Miler!!

      • Carly D. @ CarlyBananas
        April 4, 2011 at 11:45 am (9 years ago)

        I signed up for the whole series since it’s so close to home. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll see you there!
        Since I’m doing the 10 Miler on Sunday I’m going to take this Friday’s 5K slower and try to practice running the shortest distance on the course. I have to stop adding all that extra distance by not paying enough attention to the course!

  15. jen
    April 4, 2011 at 10:27 am (9 years ago)

    I completely agree that a 10 mile race is so much easier than a half. I did a 10 miler last fall the week after a half and it felt like a total breeze! I wish there were more of them. 🙂

    Congrats on a great race – enjoy the high!

    • Beth
      April 4, 2011 at 10:29 am (9 years ago)

      Thanks Jen! At first I thought i was crazy for doing the 10 miler AFTER the half, but I think that might be my new thing if I can find one!

  16. Christine @ Merf In Progress
    April 4, 2011 at 10:36 am (9 years ago)

    Wow, great job, Beth! Congratulations on keeping an admirable pace and feeling strong and happy the whole time. That’s the kind of race I like to read about. 🙂

    The haircute looks great! (<– I typed "haircute" on accident but hey, it works for me)

    • Beth
      April 4, 2011 at 10:38 am (9 years ago)

      Thats the kind of race I like to run, too! And thanks! I like that.. haircute!

  17. Liz
    April 4, 2011 at 11:21 am (9 years ago)

    Great job Beth – and i love the haircut!

  18. Lisa
    April 4, 2011 at 11:33 am (9 years ago)

    You’re glowing! Glad you had a great race!

  19. Andrea @ CanYouStayForDinner.com
    April 4, 2011 at 11:38 am (9 years ago)

    Beth! You.Are.Awesome! Congrats on a fabulous race!!

    I’ve never done any races, but I’m always inspired and slightly envious when I see others so triumphant 🙂

  20. Beth
    April 4, 2011 at 11:39 am (9 years ago)

    Awesome awesome race! Congrats on your huge PR!!!

  21. legallyheidi
    April 4, 2011 at 11:41 am (9 years ago)

    congrats on the awesome race!! 🙂

  22. Amy @ Conquering Self
    April 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm (9 years ago)

    Wow! That’s awesome!
    Yesterday I ran over ten miles for the first time in my life and it seems crazy to me that it is even possible. After your 10 miler seeming so much easier than your half, doesn’t it blow your mind that running 10 miles could ever seem fun and relatively easy?? Just thinking back to when you started, and how much building up it takes to get there and now look at you! It must seem surreal!
    It truly is amazing what the body is capable of accomplishing when you train and condition. You continue to inspire…Go Beth!

    • Beth
      April 4, 2011 at 12:20 pm (9 years ago)

      Wow what a nice comment. Thanks Amy!!

      Congrats on your first double digit run!!! I mean it wasn’t EASY, just relatively so. It is crazy how far I’ve come though for sure!

      • amybart
        April 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm (9 years ago)

        haha…as soon as I typed the comment, I went back and added the word “relatively” before the word “easy” cause I thought, there’s nothing EASY about it!
        haha…every step of a run like that takes hard work and determination, but the fact that it is even possible amazes me (about myself, so I assume for you too!)

  23. dilettante07
    April 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm (9 years ago)

    I saw you at the turn around near the Kennedy Center (you were a few minutes ahead of me). You were actually smiling! Very impressive. Congrats on the time–9:27 pace is nothing to sneeze at.

    • Beth
      April 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm (9 years ago)

      It’s crazy how good I felt during the race! Glad to know it showed! =) Hope you had a great race, too.

  24. Caitlin
    April 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm (9 years ago)

    What a fantastic race re-cap! Congrats on your finish! I ran that race yesterday too, and looks like we finished within minutes of each other! I had to start on the outside of the corral too–so stressful in the beginning, but what a great race overall! Congratulations!

  25. holly
    April 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm (9 years ago)


    seriously, the fact you ran 10 miles after doing the half mary last week (was that really a week ago?!?) is inspiring. i ran 2 miles yesterday and felt proud 😉

    congrats lady!

  26. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    April 4, 2011 at 5:47 pm (9 years ago)

    “And for some strange reason, everyone on the metro at 7:00am on a Sunday was heading to the race. Odd.”

    HAHAHAHA. You’re too funny. I love how you look so happy in your pics. Sounds like a great race.

  27. sarahsscrumptioussamplings
    April 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm (9 years ago)

    CONGRATULATIONS!! I can’t believe you ran a half and a ten miler within a week! You are awesome 🙂

    I think my best race was back in 2008 at Virginia Tech when I was a student. My sorority lost a member on 4.16.07 so we had a 5K in her honor the following year. It felt amazing running with my sisters and other Hokies!

  28. karenlovescardio
    April 4, 2011 at 7:33 pm (9 years ago)

    Sounds like you had a blast, and great time!!! Keep up the hard work:)

  29. Jill
    April 4, 2011 at 9:06 pm (9 years ago)

    Holy Smokes–u ran fast! As a runner I know how challenging this can be. You are an inspiration and make me wanna run fast too 🙂

  30. cindylu
    April 4, 2011 at 11:32 pm (9 years ago)

    Nice run! Seems like the extra sleep showed in the increased energy. Plus, nothing like a flat course to speed you up.

    I think my best race was the Long Beach half marathon last fall. It was my first and only race of that distance. It was a pretty flat, sea side course. I had a great time running it, the weather was perfect and I met my goals.

  31. Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt
    April 5, 2011 at 10:32 am (9 years ago)

    Yay! I’m so proud of you! All your hard work is really paying off. 🙂

  32. happywhennothungry
    April 5, 2011 at 9:40 pm (9 years ago)

    Congrats on your run Beth!!!!! This past weekend was the perfect weather too! So glad you had such a great time and a nice way to see the beautiful cherry blossoms!

  33. Ashleigh
    April 6, 2011 at 10:14 am (9 years ago)

    You are a rockstar Beth! Congrats on the awesome race!

  34. Sruthi
    April 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm (9 years ago)

    Thats great! I ran the race too, I was in the purple wave and was way slower than you, but I am so happy I did it. People like you inspire me to keep going.

  35. Monica
    April 9, 2011 at 11:52 am (9 years ago)

    Yay, congrats! Great work!

  36. sarah
    April 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm (9 years ago)

    great job on the race!

    i’m traveling to dc for the first time in a couple weeks..do you have any suggestions for restaurants (preferably healthy!) in the area? they’d be greatly appreciated!


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