On Sunday, I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler for the third year in a row and walked away feeling like a million bucks and with a new PR! I love the strategy of running a half marathon a week or two before a 10 mile race because the 10 miler feels really good after you’ve done 13.1. I remember two weeks ago seeing the 10 mile marker when I was running the Rock n Roll Half and thinking “In two weeks, seeing that means I’M DONE!”
I know a lot of areas don’t have many 10 mile races, but it’s my favorite distance and I’ve run quite a few!
The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler also holds a special place for me because it’s the first double digit race I ever did, and the course is flat which is never a bad thing.
I woke up at 6am on Sunday and had all my gear laid out the night before.
That “9:00” bib in the middle is a tag for the Gold’s Gym pace groups, but I didn’t end up wearing it. My approach for this race was just to run at a pace that felt good and enjoy it. The race is SUPER crowded (20,000 runners!), so it’s pretty tough to go as fast as you want, especially during some of the narrower parts of the course and the turnarounds.
After getting geared up, I made my go-to prerace breakfast:
A blueberry bagel thin with peanut butter (regular creamy Jif this time!) and a smashed banana. It never disappoints.
After that, I got all geared up:
And once again did another race no-no. I just bought those arm sleeves at the expo the day before the race and wore them for the first time on Sunday. That said, I LOVED them and want to get at least one more pair. They are great because they keep you semi warm, but are airy enough since your shoulders are out. I also think they look cool, though that may be a stretch.
I ended up biking to the race start since it was just 1.5 miles from my apartment, and that definitely turned out to be a great decision because it was easy to get in and out. I immediately got in line for the porta potty, because the lines were insane.
I was so glad I did, because shortly after I got in line they basically doubled in length and I was able to get to my corral just in time, which was even more crowded than outside the porta potties.
Before I knew it, we were off! I’ve been using this new app I got called Runmeter GPS for my iPhone, and I LOVE it. You can see a link to my race course with paces here, but the app is really great because I always have my iPhone with me anyways when I run, and it seems relatively accurate. I ended up eating two GUs – one at Mile 5 and one at Mile 8 – and also got water at every single water station. I walked through the last water station, but kept running through all the rest.
Around Mile 6, I started to struggle mentally. I was having a battle with myself because I wanted to stop and walk, but I knew physically I was able to keep running. And then I remembered something Caitlin said to me after she rocked the hell out of the Rock n Roll Half two weekends ago. She started off around my pace when she started running (10 min/miles) and just ran the half two weeks ago in 1:53! I asked her what her secret was, and she said she was working on being more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I honestly never thought of that before, and it obviously depends on your goals for running, but if you want to get faster, you have to make yourself realize that sometimes you won’t be comfortable when you are running. I have always wanted to be faster, but also wanted to make sure I felt good/not pushing it during runs. Saying that over and over to myself really helped me to dig deep and be able to push through.
And I am not going to lie – the last mile was HARD. Once I passed the 9 mile marker, there was a 15k marker that felt like it was at least a mile later (but was obviously only .3 after that). Then there were 1200, 800, and 400 meters to go signs, and each one felt further away than the last. I actually slowed down a bit because I was feeling totally depleted, but as soon as I got a glimpse of the finish line, I booked it for the strong finish.
I didn’t know what my exact time was, but knew I’d finished close to last year but perhaps a little quicker. I headed home and made myself food to eat immediately.
Chicken + Apple Sausage, Scrambled eggs, 2 kiwis, and a bunch of mini bell peppers. Seem too healthy for a post run meal? Don’t worry, that was meal 2 of 4 that day. I also went on to have this:
Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake (from The Cheesecake Factory), which was TO DIE FOR. Layers of regular cheesecake mixed with pb cups, gooey caramel, and chocolate fudge cake, all topped with a delicious fudge icing, plus peanut butter icing on top, and chocolate shavings pressed into the crust. Holy deliciousness.
And then I found out my official time:
1:34:19 – a 9:26 pace and 13 seconds faster than last year.
But hey, a PR is a PR, even if it’s only a few seconds! Woohoo!