In preparation for some longer events towards the end of this year, I decided to sign up for a couple of fun non-triathlon events to get myself mentally ready to endure what my mind may provide while physically punishing my body. This weekend’s event wasn’t physically difficult as I have done half marathons distances before, but it was one of the longer runs of the 2017 race season. The other mental challenge was to attend a larger event that included thousands of people vs. the local triathlon events that don’t have more than a couple hundred athletes.

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom (CUCB) 10 Mile Run has been held annually since 1973. This year there were nearly 17,500 participants in the 10 mile run (and I’m not sure how many did the 5k or kid’s run), which easily makes this the largest event I’ve ever done. When you deal with this many people participating in one event, the ability to provide packet pickup the morning of the event is simply not possible. Therefore, race participants were required to complete pickup pick-up on Saturday, or have someone pickup the packet for you as long as they could provide an official looking document (email worked) giving your permission. Having an event take up two days is somewhat annoying as it significantly impacts me helping out with the family. Furthermore I hate the feeling of being rushed around with seconds minutes a little over an hour to spare before the pickup closed (no packet = no race and big cry baby). There was an expo for participants to make the trip out to DC a little more worthwhile which included some interesting speakers and vendors, but I’ve attended too many expos (MacWorld/MacIT) so I wasn’t interested in spending too much time walking around window shopping (other than saying Hi to Mindy).

But let’s talk about this fun 10 mile run! The morning started off great meeting up with Speed Sherpa teammates and getting dropped off in downtown DC so we can walk over to the bag drop-off. This allowed us to safely store our personal items vs. trying to carry them while running. The lines for the drop-off caught us off guard as by the time our bag was checked the race announcers had already sounded that the elite woman had started their run. We were able to get inside the starting gate (jumped the fence, sorry) with four minutes and counting before the red wave (8-9/mi pace) started. Soon we able to start and the familiar sounds of Garmin watches all chirping together as runners crossed the starting line and we slowly began our run. It was a little more crowded of a run that I’m used to doing as in a triathlon the run is at the end and pretty well thinned out… but for this everyone was running mostly at your same pace so bursting through the crowd could have disastrous effects and put your ability to cross the finish line in jeopardy. I reminded myself that this was for fun, and just have patience. Five miles later I finally got some elbow room. ;)

It was fun running through the flat roads of DC, on what normally would be an interesting episode of Frogger in trying to not be squished by speeding motorist from Maryland. The Cherry Blossom trees were somehow in bloom even thought it had been raining the entire week and the early February heat wave didn’t confuse nature on when spring should arrive. My fellow runners were focused, but happy to share a quick smile of encouragement… but I’d have to say the side line spectators definitely helped as I was able to see:

  • Leamur Lady
  • Mr. Incredible
  • DJ/Spin Girl
  • Small band that included a sax, flute, and drums
  • The Batala Washington
  • Some awesome DC fitness crews popping streamers and confetti
  • Plenty of aid stations being staffed by happy volunteers
  • SO MUCH COWBELL!

Strava Ride Activity

Post Race

I had no expectations for Cherry Blossoms as this is the first time for me participating, and if I had to choose between the three disciplines of Triathlon I would rank road running about number five1. I knew I could complete the run, I wanted to have fun and maybe share some good vibes with my newly acquainted 17.5k best friends. My race plan was to target my assumed half marathon pace (8:30/mi) for the first two miles, build till mile 8 (8:00/mi), then kick it for the last two (7:30/mi). While looking at Strava and Training Peaks, I see that I heald the race plan for the first 1.5 miles at 8:23/mi (pretty good for following the plan), I then increased my speed to a 7:53/mi pace from mile 2 to mile 7.5 as I was going around the bend at Hains Point, then crushed it to hit 7:27/mi pace for the last two miles. I beat my mathematical target time and actually PR’d my 10mi and 15k runs, and had my 2nd fastest 10k!

Race Results

Location Net Time Clock Time Pace
Start 00:00 3:53  
5 Mile 40:54 44:47 8:10 /mi
10k 50:32 54:25 8:08 /mi
9 Mile 1:12:04 1:15:57 8:00 /mi
Finish 1:19:21 1:23:14 7:56 /mi

Rankings

  • Overall: Placed 2450th out of 17,449 (top 14%)
  • Gender: Placed 1716th out of 6,990 (top 25%)
  • Male 40-44: Placed 196th out of 872 (top 22%)

Footnotes

  1. Sport ranking is: Ride my Tri bike, ride my Mountain bike, trail running, ride my road bike, then road running. Open water swimming is last. VERY VERY LAST. 

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