Race Recap: DC Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run
The Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run in Washington D.C. is supposed to be a gorgeous run full of cherry blossoms as far as the eye can see. While many of the cherry blossoms were already gone, the run was still gorgeous. Washington D.C. itself is simply gorgeous.
For the last few months my IT band has been giving me some trouble. It has been causing knee pain, and I was not sure how easy this run would be. I decided that I would stick to 10 minute miles and even planned to run with Ashley of Daily Goods. However, the morning of the race Ashley was running late and was in a different corral, so I decided I would run by myself. She was running with 4 other friends anyway, so don’t worry, I wasn’t leaving her by herself! We were running the race with friends, but I didn’t want to be pressured into running faster, especially with my recurring knee pain.
Our group of friends did everything right. We ate dinner at 5:30 PM and got into bed by 9:30 PM. When we woke up in the morning, the sun was shining and we were all well rested. It was going to be a good day. Running from our group were PB (my husband), Manoug (our friend who lives nearby), Jon (Kristine’s husband), and I. Kristine could not run due to some really bad knee issues she is having, so I was the only woman running from our ever expanding running group.
This is what I ate before and during the race:
6:30 AM: 3/4 Clif peanut butter bar
During the race: Gatorade at 4/5 water stops. 4 Clif shot blocks safety pinned to my capris Caitlin-style (thanks for the idea- it worked perfectly). I ate one each at miles 5, 6, 7, and 8.5.
Immediately after race: 1 banana, 1/2 cup Gatorade, 1 bottle Cherry Blossom branded water (yes, they branded their own)
I wore my new RhodeyGirl Tests t-shirt, black workout capris, Nike hat, iPod, Garmin, wedding rings, and the pinned energy bites.
We were in the blue corral, which meant that for the first time we were not with the walkers. I was very appreciative of that. It was a lot easier to keep a good pace when everyone around us was running and we were not trying to run around walkers. Also, it was really motivating.
Within 2 minutes our group split up into our own paces. PB passed me quickly, but I did not see the other guys ever pass me. In fact, at the end of the race I thought I had beat them (I hadn’t). The first few miles were simply fun. I was trying hard to hold back as I know my knee pain is aggravated by speed, but it was hard with all of the fast runners passing me. Also, it was the first time I was being passed so much!!! I have been used to trying to pass group after group of runners and walkers, so it was humbling to be the slow one in the group. I won’t lie, while it was difficult to have them passing me, it was also extremely inspirational. Older men and women passed me left and right, and it made me hopeful to be one of them one day. I hope to run forever.
I had my iPod with me but I was trying to wait to use it. I was feeding off the energy of the crowd. In the first couple of miles we saw the elite runners heading to the finish, and groups (including me) were cheering for them as they passed. The race consisted of a few out and backs, so we passed other runners several times. I even spotted PhillyBoy once! I was doing great until mile 4, when my knee started to hurt. a lot. I knew I had to hold back the pace so I did, but running slower was making me lose my energy. I finally put on my iPod to the playlist I was supposed to use for the Disney Half Marathon (my iPod was dead for that race however, and I hadn’t been able to use it) and rocked out. I need new music. The music just wasn’t intense enough, although it did give me the boost of energy I needed.
The interesting thing about races is that I never really feel like I am running. You know how when you are in the middle of a house project, like reorganizing your closet, and you are exhausted and want to take a break but you suck it up and finish it? That’s how I feel during races. I never feel that way during normal training runs though. At mile 5 I was really happy we were halfway through, but it was also unbelievable to me. When we hit mile 8 I knew that even though my knee pain was getting worse and worse, I was really close to reaching my original goal of finishing this with a pace under 9:30 min/mile. I will never be a fast runner, but I hope to improve every race. I picked up my pace and bit my lip to keep from crying out about my knee pain. I am not being dramatic here- it really hurt. I probably should have stopped for a minute to stretch, but the congestion of the water breaks was enough, and I was afraid I would not be able to start up again.
When I hit mile 9 on my Garmin I knew I had 1.13 miles left. Race courses are always a bit longer than the actual distance because of the width of the street and weaving in and out of people and whatnot. I blasted my music (a song from the Glee soundtrack that always pumps me up- Don’t Stop Believin’) and I believed in myself, as corny as that sounds. I ran as fast as I could which ended up being a pace of 9:07 for the last mile and a pace of 7:32 min/mile for the last minute or two. I crossed the finish line with a look of determination on my face, and I was happy.
Of course, after the race I was extremely out of breath and the pain of my knee came rushing full force. I took a post race photo and tried to head over to the water/snack station, but it was slammed. I was finally able to grab a banana and a bottle of water. After longer runs I never have an appetite right away, but I knew I needed the fuel so I forced myself to eat the banana and drink a bit of water.
Mile 1: 9:14 min/mile
Mile 2: 9:17
Mile 3: 9:37
Mile 4: 9:38
Mile 5: 9:46
Mile 6: 9:40
Mile 7: 9:50
Mile 8: 9:24
Mile 9: 9:29
Mile 10: 9:07
Mile 10+: 7:32 (total time for this section 1:03)
Average pace per Garmin: 9:28 min/mile
Average pace per official race results: 9:37 min/mile 1:36:05
Depending on which average pace you count I either beat my Philadelphia Half Marathon pace or came really close to it!
PB had a personal best of average pace 8:27 min/mile, and Jon did as well with an average pace of 8:52 min/mile! I am so proud of them!
The race was never difficult. 10 miles is a really good distance, and somehow much easier than 13.1. I have learned how to fuel myself and I know I run best on a low calorie breakfast with ample fuel during a run. I was proud to wear my RhodeyGirl Tests shirt, and the hat saved me from the sun.
I am now even more excited for the Broad Street Run in 3 weeks in my new hometown of Philadelphia!!
The cherry blossoms may have been dead, but my spirits are alive and strong.
Goal for the Broad Street Run? Average pace 9:20 min/mile. Time for some speed work!
Oh, and my knee is still hurting today, but I plan on icing it and foam rolling my IT band a lot. I am starting yoga this Wednesday with Kristine, so hopefully that will help with the IT band/knee issues I have. Boot Camp has helped a lot too, as my legs are stronger than ever.
Post race meal: Clyde’s in Chinatown.
Anne P. of fANNEtasticfood came to meet us for brunch, and we had a fabulous time eating and chatting. We both ordered the Eggs Chesapeake which was a toasted english muffin topped with crab cakes and poached eggs. We both opted for no sauce and fruit instead of potatoes. I also had an orange juice. It was a perfect post race meal.
Anne P is awesome! I hope I get to see her again soon!!!
In the afternoon Jon, Kristine, PB and I went to Georgetown to shop a bit and check out Sweet Green, which Anne P. said had awesome tart soft serve yogurt made with Stonyfield Farms yogurt. I had a small with strawberries, blackberries, candied walnuts and chocolate chips. It was so delicious and the perfect level of sweetness.
I love my life.