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!!