Race Report: 2009 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

On April 5, 2009 I ran the “Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run” with my coworkers and friends.  I’d like to say that I can ascribe running a personal best to the rigorous training schedule I was following (this was my first time making a concerted effort to “train” for a race and stick to a schedule), but I did fall off the wagon at times, and I think the exceptionally flat course and perfect weather conditions had more to do with it.  In fact, the conditions were so perfect that a woman broke the American women’s record, finishing in 54 minutes, 38 seconds!  My time was a little slower than that, but I’ll leave it to you to figure out how much.  In any case, a personal best is a personal best, and I’m darn proud of it.

My favorite part of the course (map) was also the biggest surprise:  miles 6 through 9, which I had run a few times before, promised to be a monotonous out and back, with no monuments in sight, but I did not count on the cherry blossoms reaching their peak seemingly at the moment we entered East Potomac Park!  The trees made a shady canopy that completely covered the course, and petals from the blossoms floated down like a ticker-tape parade.

My biggest mistake of the race was emerging from mile 9 high on endorphins and cherry blossoms, and underestimating the last mile.  As I crossed the mile marker, I heard a man shout out “Time to go to work!  Anyone can run a mile!”  Never mind that I had just run nine miles.  Never mind that I was already pushing it, and on pace for my fastest-yet ten mile time.  Never mind that he wasn’t even talking to me.  I took it as a personal challenge, cranked up my pace, flew past many of the nearby runners, and by the 9.5 mile marker I was out of steam.  Why was the old man in the sweatband and kneesocks leaving me in his wake?  I pulled myself together over the next, painful quarter mile and finally made a sprint for the finish, not quite edging out my octogenarian counterpart.  I crossed the line as my banana and granola pre-race breakfast almost made its second appearance in as many hours, and owned up to an important lesson:  you have to pace yourself (even in the last mile!).

If you’re up for another fun DC10, the Army 10 Miler (sold out for ’09) offers hotter weather, bigger crowds, and a brutal finishing stretch.  However, if you can only run one race in D.C., I’d say this is it.


4 Responses to “Race Report: 2009 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler”

  1. 1 irunthistown May 5, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Thanks to you – I now know how to split up my posts. Nice work!

  1. 1 Ditto: Medals???!?!?!!! « Go to Town Trackback on May 10, 2009 at 8:59 pm
  2. 2 Bike Ride: Maiden Voyage of the Clipless Pedals « Go2Town Trackback on June 4, 2009 at 8:05 am

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