I know – I know. I’m SUPER behind on posting this…but I’m excited that I’m finally getting around to sharing this great run/weekend with y’all! Part 1 is the Race Recap…and Part 2 details some of our weekend shenanigans! (This trip also helped me cross off #10 “Revisit DC and see all the monuments/sites I was too young to appreciate” on my 30 During 30s! List!!) Enjoy!
On Sunday, April 7th, I ran my first Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in Washington, D.C!
My bestie Jenna and I both signed up for the lottery entry WAY back last year… Even though the cap was around 15,000 runners/walkers, we did not really think that we would get selected. However, it turned out that over Christmas break, we BOTH received emails saying that we were selected!!! I was ecstatic – it is, by far, my FAVORITE city, and I have always wanted to experience the Cherry Blossoms! I love the hustle & bustle…the food…the people…the scenery. What better excuse to travel?!
My race goals were as follows:
GOAL A: 1:30. This was my stretch goal, as it would put me at a 9 minute per mile pace…my goal pace for my next half marathon!
GOAL B: 1:32. This was my most realistic goal. This would put me at a 9:12/mile pace. My last half average pace was 9:19/mile…so I thought 3 less miles would spur me to action!
First things first. I think I have been in the south a bit too long, because even though I grew up in West Virginia…Oh my….was it COLD! We jogged the half mile from our hotel to the starting point with pants and long-sleeves, with every intention to drop our warm clothes at baggage drop and run in our shorts and tank tops. No such luck. We tried walking around and active stretching to keep our bodies warm, but both decided to keep our long-sleeve shirts on during the race.
The starting line was located on 15th Street SW, behind the Washington Monument. It was a great backdrop!
Everyone started lining up by their corral assignment. We were in the Blue Wave, but honestly took much more time than planned on warming up and keeping warm, that we ended up finding the 9 min/mile group and sticking with them! Everything was very organized! I believe there were ~6 corrals of 2,500 runners, each wave starting just minutes behind the last. We took our “Ready to Run” pic and were off!
We reached Mile 1 by following Independence Avenue down to the Lincoln Memorial. I finally felt warmed up around mile 1. We started out strong, but steady, considering the crowd. We then turned left to cross the Arlington Memorial Bridge, circled around on the other side, and headed back across hitting Mile 2 just before we headed left along Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway.
Mile 3 was the turnaround at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts. We backtracked all the way back to the Lincoln Memorial, where we continued along Ohio Dr. SW until we hit mile 4, then backtracked along Independence Avenue, viewing the Tidal Basin right at Mile 5. We then took Maine Avenue back to Ohio Drive along the Tidal Basin, passing the Jefferson Memorial on our way to Mile 6.
Miles 6-9 took us all along East Potomac Park, where we hit some major headwinds during miles 6-8. Mile 9 was along the back side of the island, leading us back up to the Jefferson Memorial. From there, it was just one last quick mile along Ohio Drive and 15th Street to end back at the Washington Memorial!
Once we were in the homestretch (last mile), there were some very cool signs: “1200 To Go”, “800 To Go”. We picked up our pace a little at the “1200 To Go” sign, and then really kicked it into high gear at the “800 To Go” sign. But little did we know that when we crossed under the bridge and reached the “400 To Go” sign, we were met with a HUGE incline!!! Although most of the race was gentle rolling hills (quite flat by some standards), the last 400 was definitely a shocker!!! We wanted to scream, “Who adds a hill at the END of a 10-mile race?!” But we finished strong, and with smiles on our faces as the crowd was AWESOME in cheering us on!
The finish area was very organized. We took quite a few pics, walked around to stretch out our legs, picked up bottled water and our medals. I then grabbed my phone to tweet/message the AWESOME splits! And I even got a chance to meet up with Krissy – a longtime twitter/fellow blogger who was in town for the race.
*No joke…look at the spike for the hill at the end!!!
1:30:45 (9:04 pace)
*Yes, this was my very first race in the 30 age group!!!
My finishing time really encouraged me to keep chasing down that sub-2-hour half!!! Until the next race…