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Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Recap

What an AWESOME race yesterday! I took a whopping TEN minutes off my time from the same race 3 years ago. So proud of how far I’ve come!

cherry blossom 10 miler

As you know, yesterday morning I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler here in DC! I first ran this race back in 2010 and was very excited to do it again. It’s a DC favorite with a beautiful, flat course and usually beautiful weather, too! I was very lucky this year and was offered a free bib for the race in exchange for sharing my race experience here on the blog. A big thank you to the Cherry Blossom PR team for the awesome opportunity! I was so happy and excited to be out there.

cherry blossom ten mile run

Yesterday morning began how all other race days begin – with a very early alarm clock and a question of my own sanity for thinking this was a fun idea. Funny how during and after the race I always quickly forget all about that. ;)

The last time I ran Cherry Blossom I was stuck in the porta potty line for ages and missed my wave start, so this year I planned to get there insanely early just so I wouldn’t be stressed and rushed. The race started at 7:30, but I was on the metro by 6:15 and down on the mall shortly after 6:30. A beautiful sunrise greeted me from behind the Capitol.

us capitol

From there, I followed the masses on a quarter mile walk to the race start.

washington monument

How pretty is the morning sky in this picture below?

washington monument

My college BFF Turner and I planned to run the race together, so we found each other as soon as I arrived, hit the porta potties with no problem, checked bags, and were in our corral and ready to go by 7:10. Sweet! I don’t know if it was just because we got there really early or because the race was really well organized, but either way, no problems whatsoever.

cherry blossom 10 miler bag check

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Turner and I were in the red corral, which was wave 2, for anyone expected to finish in under 1:24. Our friends Sarah and Sokphal were in the same corral, so we all hung out together waiting for the race to start.

cherry blossom 10 miler

It was FREEZING but after wearing way too much clothing and getting hot a month ago during the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA half marathon, I decided it would be worth being really cold at the start to not overheat during the race! It ended up being a really good call. :)

Before we knew it, it was time to start!

cherry blossom ten miler

Turner is a faster runner than me but wasn’t gunning for a new PR, so she decided to run with me to help support me on my way to a speedy finish. Thanks for the company, Turner! You rock. :)

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The first mile especially was really crowded but we were able to settle in to a good pace. Since I did an 8:15 minute/mile pace for my recent half, we decided to aim for around 8 minute miles for this race. Before the Rock ‘n’ Roll race I never would have believe I could do 8 minutes flat for 10 miles straight, but I felt so good during that race that it boosted my confidence for this one. I could do this, I knew it! I just had to keep my head in the game.

The first part of the race took us past some of the monuments.

cherry blossom 10 mile run

And then over Memorial Bridge…

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And back!

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running in washington dc

  • Mile 1: 8:02
  • Mile 2: 7:47
  • Mile 3: 7:59

We kept checking our watches and were right on track for 8 minute miles. Feeling good!

We then headed down along the river towards Georgetown, past the Kennedy Center, then back.

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washington dc running

It was such a beautiful morning for a run. Cold but sunny! We had our first glimpse of the Tidal Basin around mile 5. Sadly, the cherry blossoms were not quite out yet. :( I also ate my fuel (a mocha Clif Shot gel) around mile 5.

  • Mile 4: 7:29 (!)
  • Mile 5: 7:52
  • Mile 6: 7:49

tidal basin

From there, we headed down to Hains Point. This part of the run was hard – we had a pretty strong headwind to run into and of course by this point my legs were feeling a little tired, too! But overall, still feeling great and staying positive, which is half the battle with running.

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Turner and I chatted occasionally and soaked up the scenery, checking our watches to make sure we were staying on pace. So far, so good! Below is the view from about mile 7, rounding Hains Point. Once we turned the wind was at our backs – hooray!

  • Mile 7: 7:59
  • Mile 8: 7:51

hains point

This section of the course was really pretty – the cherry blossoms reeeeeally wanted to come out to play, but they weren’t quite there. Still pretty, though!

hains point

By the second to last mile of the race, I realized that we were on track to break 1 hour 20 minutes, which would be exactly 8 minute miles. I still felt pretty good and I decided I wanted to leave it all out there on the course. I turned to Turner and said, “I think we can break 1:20 – let’s dial it up a notch!” And dial it up we did. I still can’t believe how far my running has come even in just the past year – I never would have dreamed I’d be able to run the last two miles of a 10 miler this quickly!

  • Mile 9: 7:40
  • Mile 10: 7:23 (!)

The race seriously flew by and before we knew it, we were approaching the finish! We laid it all out there and sprinted our hearts out. Sub 1:20 was mine!

cherry blossom ten miler

My official results:

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Our average pace per mile was 7:53 – talk about blowing my old PR (1:28:27) on this course out of the water! And in my age group (F 30-34), I came in 177 out of 2,306 people! Woohoo! What an awesome race. :)

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Here I am post-race with my partner in crime, Turner, having a laughter-filled photo shoot by the porta potties (so classy). We’re going to run together again at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in a few weeks, too! :)

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I want to end by saying a big thank you to everyone who came out and volunteered on the course and at the start/finish line areas! I had my CamelBak on so I didn’t stop at the water stops, but Turner stopped at a few of them and as far as I could tell, they were well staffed and well organized.

cherry blossom 10 miler water stops

And with that, another PR is in the books. Now, I’m eyeing a sub-8 minute mile half marathon… ;)

Who else did a race this weekend? How’d it go?

Comments

  1. 1

    Nice work, A!!! You did awesome! It definitely was a great day for a PR!

  2. 2

    Congrats on the awesome race! But, ugh, Hains Point wind. DO NOT WANT.

  3. 4

    Congrats on the PR!

  4. 5

    Congrats on an AWESOME PR – I can’t wait to run DC at Nike in a few weeks, too! My first sub-2 goal race … and it WILL be mine! (I’m riding off your PR juju to get there!) Congrats!

  5. 10

    You’re so speedy girl! Congrats on the big PR!

  6. 11

    We did good lady! That sub 1:45 half marathon is going to happen this year for us! What a fun way to start the day! My body is officially tired. :)

    • 12

      It was so fun running into you at the end and finishing together! I’m still looking for Ryan Gosling and my puppy, though… ;) See you tonight!

  7. 13
    Lindsay says:

    What a beautiful day for a race, despite the lack of cherry blossoms. Glad to see the race organization is still the best in DC!

  8. 14

    Congratulations! I ran too and it was a beautiful run with the cherry trees and monuments! The cherry blossom 10 miler always marks the start of Spring and this morning shows it is here to stay :)

  9. 16

    Congratulations on your new PR — how exciting!! And how awesome that the weather cooperated. I’ve run the Cherry Blossom a few times, and let me tell you, it was *always* cold, windy, and gray, and I have yet to see any cherry blossoms in DC. :) Good luck in your next race too!

  10. 17

    hilarious enough, you got a great shot of me and my friends (well the back of our heads while running!) we are in the first race shot you just after we turned onto independence! it was such a perfect day for a race. I also PR’ed but only 1:22 really want a sub 1:20 on day- congrats!!

  11. 19

    You rock. Seriously, those mile splits are amazing! I feel inspired to get running again after reading this :) Congrats!

  12. 21

    Woo! What an amazing time Anne!! Congratulations! You will kick butt at the half marathon, for sure. :-)

  13. 22

    Congrats on a great race! It was my first 10 mile race!

  14. 26

    Awesome job! I hope to run that race one day!

  15. 27
    Healthy Eater says:

    Awesome race, Anne. Congratulations! Most impressive!

  16. 28

    great job! this looks like an awesome race. I’m definitely going to check it out next year!

  17. 29

    Once again – I love, love, love your race pictures! Such a beautiful city and it looks like it was a beautiful day. Congrats on your new PR. Can’t wait to hear about the Nike Women’s Half. I’d love to run one of their races one day.

  18. 30

    You are speedy! Congrats on dropping 10 minutes, that is awesome! No race for me, but still got in lots of mileage.

  19. 31

    Congrats on your PR! I am always amazed at your pace, so speedy. I’m getting ready to run my 3rd Half, the Rock’N’Roll Nashville at the end of April. We did a 10 mile long run yesterday and it was great! I would love to work on improving my pace, but not really sure how to go about it. Anything specific (speed work, etc.) that you would recommend?

    • 32

      Honestly I think CrossFit has helped with speed! All those squats. Also, doing a lot of hill running has really helped – and running with fast friends, too!

  20. 34

    Great run! I was stuck at the BACK of the blue corral and my race was totally different. I was stuck behind so many people that I was just dodging them the whole time, I still managed a PR but I know I could have gone fast!! Glad you got your PR too!!

    • 35

      That’s always so frustrating when you want to go faster but you can’t! That was how my race was 3 years ago – I made sure this year to be up near the front of my corral.

  21. 36

    Baller. I really want to run this race some day.

  22. 37

    Nice job. A PR always feels so good!! :)

  23. 38

    That is awesome, congrats! I definitely think you could do sub-8 miles for teh half, after that race!

  24. 39

    10 minutes! Congrats!! You can’t beat that course – it looks beautiful. What a gorgeous day for a run, and a stellar PR!

  25. 40

    Dang, you’re super speedy! Congrats on an awesome time! I was FREEZING MY BUTT OFF while waiting around in the beginning but the weather was perfect once the run was underway. I wish the cherry blossoms had been out, but it was still a beautiful run – I love living in DC!

  26. 41

    Great job on the awesome PR for the race!! I totally agree with you that the race was very well organized!

  27. 42

    Great race!! Super impressive time, it’s amazing to see how much you’ve grown as a runner in a few short years!

  28. 43

    wow! Those are amazing splits! What do you think has helped you get so much faster?

    A friend and co-worker of mine who just beat cancer was the race announcer. I hope he celebrated in your speedy finish~

    • 44

      Very cool about the race announcer! I think a combination of things has gotten me faster – Crossfit (stronger legs), more yoga (stretching always helps), doing a lot of hilly runs, running with faster friends, and also just generally having run for longer – races are a little easier when I know what to expect mentally and physically from the distance!

  29. 45

    Amazing time! Well done you must be delighted! Always amazed at the incredible photos you get!

  30. 46

    Wow, congratulations on the huge PR! And spring looks so beautiful in DC!

  31. 47

    Awesome Job Anne on your new PR!! I love getting new PR’s. The race looked amazing and beautiful. I love the east coast, and D.C. is one of my favorite places over there. You always take great pictures. It makes me want to do the race next Year!!

  32. 48

    Fantastic job! A ten minute pr is HUGE! And I definitely think you have a sub-8 pace half in you. It’s fun to have new goals to shoot for, isn’t it?!

  33. 50

    Congratulations! What a beautiful course!

  34. 51

    Congratulations, I’m impressed. I’m impressed at all the port-a-potties too. lol

  35. 52

    Whooo hoooo!! you killed it!!! I ran it, too, but it was a fun run for me, not a race where I had a time goal. I wish there had been more blooms out, but I thought it was a great race!

  36. 53

    Congratulations!! I PR’d the Cherry Blossom 10 miler this year too. I never thought I could do it…my training hasn’t been where I would have liked it to be. This race definitely wins for MOST CLOTHES WORN AT A RACE EVER!!

  37. 54
    Caroline says:

    Congrats! That is a great PR- way to go! I totally understand what you mean about never dreaming/imagining you could run that way and then doing it- I ran my first marathon on Saturday and even 6 months ago I never believed I could do it- let alone at the pace I did (4:05- woo!!). Its so exciting when you exceed your expectations and meet goals! Have a good night!

  38. 56

    Congrats!! Great race in a beautiful day…as always.. you did it girl!! :)

  39. 57

    Awesome race! Congratulations!

  40. 58

    Wow! Great job! Looks like a beautiful race.

  41. 59

    Hi Anne! I am pretty new to your blog, but you have become my running inspiration!! Congratulations on the PR. I think I am a couple of years younger than you are, so I’ve been telling myself that maybe in two or three years I can be as fast as you are :) Great job this weekend!!

  42. 61

    Congrats Anne! What a great run. I thought it was a wonderfully organized and a beautiful course (although could have done without the wind on Haines Point too!) I beat my goal time and only wish I had a spot in the upcoming Nike Half! This was my first ‘long’ race and I’m already ready to improve my time :)

  43. 63

    Wow congratulations! well done on a great run and race! :)

  44. 64

    Wow! Congratulations!! Fantastic! Wish I could have been there to cheer you on! Hi Turner and Melby :)

  45. 65

    Great job, Anne! I am so jealous that you are running NWM, I wish I could run that. I am hoping to PR my 10K this summer.

  46. 66

    Congrates on the awesome race!

  47. 67

    Love the photos! Looks like it was a spectacular race, lady.

  48. 68

    Congrats! Impressive that you were able to take so many photos while speeding through the course!

  49. 69

    Great job! I ran it too and beat my 2011 time by 20 minutes (I was pregnant last year so I had to miss it). What hurt was that I almost beat my 2010 time by 9 seoconds! :( Perhaps in 2014 I will get a Cherry Blossom PR!

    • 70

      Man, 20 minutes – that’s amazing! Rough to be so close to your other time but that’s great you got right back into running after your pregnancy – I’m impressed!

  50. 71

    Wow!!! Congrats on such an awesome race! I am slow (like a 10 minute mile and I am feeling fast!!) and love to hear about runners who gain speed. And… always jealous of the gorgeous scenery you get to run to!

  51. 72

    Wow! You did a great job!

  52. 73

    Really well done… Anne
    Proud of you!

  53. 74

    Hi Anne! Sorry to be the crazy girl at the race that ran up to you to say hi! Congrats on your PR! It was a PR day for me too! Thanks for all the inspiration!

    • 75

      Haha not at all, I loved that you said hi! Gave me a boost of energy. :) Congrats on your PR, you were looking strong when I saw you!

Trackbacks

  1. […] your workouts this week? Any great runs/awesome workouts to report? Also – anyone running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler this weekend? I’m so sad I’m missing it – love that race – even though the cherry blossoms […]

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