Cherry Blossom 10 Miler 2016 Race Recap

Well, my friends: I did it! I finally got my new 10 miler PR!! 10 miles in 1:17:34 – a 7:45 minute mile pace. Woo!!!

cherry blossom 10 miler 2016 recap

Who knew 25 mph wind with up to 50 mph gusts was totally my jam?! ;) Juuuust kidding – that was really tough but I basically decided I’d get that PR no matter what – wind be damned!

cherry blossom 10 miler race finishAbove post-race with my track buddy Diane and my college BFF Turner!

As you guys know, I was lucky enough to be running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler this year thanks to my friends at Cabot! Cabot is a race sponsor and reached out to me a few months ago to see if I’d like to put together a team of friends and blog readers to run the race as they get a number of bibs included in their race sponsorship. Um, heck yes I would! In addition to giving us free bibs, they offered to pay for one of my blog readers to come here for the weekend from out of town with a friend. So cool!

cabot cherry blossom 10 milerAbove from left: me, Lea, Mary, Kathleen, Turner, Sarah, Sokphal 

cherry blossom cabotfitAbove clockwise from left:
Kathleen, Mary, Theodora, Ashley, Sokphal, Rose, Turner, Mary, me, Sarah!

We ended up having such a fun crew – a great mix of college friends and running buddies, blogger buddies, and two blog reader winners and one of their guests, too! My friends came in (on their own dime) from all over to join in on the festivities – Philadelphia, Nashville, and NYC!

Here I am with the two blog reader winners – Rose and Lea! Rose was the grand prize winner of my giveaway and was flown here along with a friend and put up in a hotel for the weekend by Cabot. Lea was my local DC area winner – we ended up having an extra bib and I thought it would be fun to get one more blog reader in the mix! :) Thank you so much for reading my blog, ladies – loved meeting both of you!

fannetastic food blog winners

As part of the race fun, Cabot invited us to join for the official VIP pre-race dinner on Saturday night. Hanging out with elite runners Meb Keflezighi and Joan Benoit Samuelson? NBD. Meb = nicest guy ever. (Remember when I got to meet him at the Beach to Beacon 10k in Maine?)

cherry blossom VIP dinner

The whole #CabotFit gang:


The pre-race dinner featured an amazing buffet. I hit up the dessert bar, too, for some unpictured bread pudding and berries! Had to fuel up. ;)

pre-race dinner cherry blossom 10 miler

After we ate, some of the race organizers spoke, and Meb went up and said a few words! Given the insane wind weather predictions, Meb ended with the following: “It’s not the time but getting to that finish – you can do it!” He’s so awesome. He paced the 6 minute/mile runners for the race – if I only I could have kept up with them! ;)

meb cherry blossom 10 miler

And now – on to the race recap! My college BFF Turner came down from Philadelphia and spent the night at our place on Saturday, so we were up ridiculously early to head down to the race start together. We arrived around 6:20 (race started at 7:30) and found it basically deserted. Sweet – no bathroom lines! :) I HATE being late to races – don’t want to waste that much-needed blood sugar and adrenaline by being stressed out before the race, right?!

dc cherry blossom 10 miler 2016

It was about 35 degrees out but with the windchill it was in the low 20’s – ahhh! We were FREEZING. I planned to wear a light long sleeved shirt with my Cabot tank on top, but after much debate decided to keep my jacket on for the race.

After wishing some of the other team members good luck, Turner and I headed to our corral. We planned to start the race together and see how it went! She’s speedy but this was her first road race back after having a baby 11 months ago so she wasn’t sure how she’d feel. (Spoiler alert: she felt GREAT and ended up finishing only a few seconds after me! So proud of her!)

cherry blossom 10 miler corral

Will run for cheddar? It’s true. We will!

will run for cheddar

I was shivering like crazy waiting to start and was glad when the race kicked off and we were on the run! Let’s do this! They actually eliminated the wave start due to the cold (we still started in time-based corrals, but there was no break in between each wave), so once the elites started we all followed behind!

cherry blossom 10 miler race

My feet were SO COLD the first mile – it actually kind of hurt to run on them since I think they were a bit numb. Yikes! Luckily they warmed up quickly – and so did I, and promptly wished I wasn’t wearing a jacket. Darnit! Should’ve known better! Oh well. :)

cherry blossom ten miler 2016

The first mile was a bit slower as I tried to warm up my muscles – I hadn’t really stretched out or warmed up at all before the race because I was so frozen, which was probably not the most brilliant thing to do but whatever. I also think we started too far back in our corral because we spent a lot of the race, but especially the first few miles, dodging and passing people!

cherry blossom 10 mile race

By mile 2, though, I was able to settle in closer to my PR pace and then kept dialing it down from there. I was determined to crush this race after last year I should have PR-ed but the course was short – and after being SO CLOSE to a PR at the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon last month!

  • Mile 1: 8:10
  • Mile 2: 7:53
  • Mile 3: 7:44

We found my track buddy Diane right after the start of the race which was awesome and ran with her for the first 4 miles or so. She’s right around my pace so we figured if we could find each other we’d try to pace each other until one of us wanted to take off! She ended up finishing shortly after us and setting a new PR, too – awesome!

cherry blossom 10 miler dc

By around mile 4, I was feeling good and started really pushing it – I was doing a pace that felt hard but sustainable and the wind hadn’t been too bad yet, and was even behind us for a tiny bit of the course.

cherry blossom 10 miler 2016 recap

I started working to pick it up a bit, using my usual approach of “if I start to feel comfortable/like this isn’t super hard I need to go faster.” :)

cherry blossom 10 miler dc

I also wanted to bank a little time because I know my watch always tells me I’m running a bit faster than I am during a race (because the distance is always slightly off).

  • Mile 4: 7:27
  • Mile 5: 7:26

When I saw those splits pop up I knew I totally had this PR in me if I could just hang on for dear life once we hit Hains Point and the crazy wind set in! Hains Point is notorious for being tough when it’s windy because it’s so exposed – this was going to be interesting. Shortly after mile 6, we we started out onto Hains Point, where we’d be for the next 3 miles. Gulp!

The wind was coming more from the side than from the front for the first part of Hains Point – which I knew meant that as we turned the corner, we’d get blasted head on by 25-40 mph winds. Yikes. Since I knew what was coming, I tried my hardest to keep really pushing it on pace – had to bank as much time as I could!

  • Mile 6: 7:32
  • Mile 7: 7:28

cherry blossom 10 miler hains point

I lost Turner around mile 6 at a water stop and charged on solo. Here it comes – almost time to turn that corner!

hains point race

As soon as we hit the corner the wind was basically blasting right at us. Miles 8 and 9 were by far the hardest of the course – I was starting to get tired and of course the wind made it even harder than usual to keep pushing, but I told myself that I hadn’t run that fast for 8 miles (and gotten up early for all those track workouts) to fall apart and let the wind show me who was boss. I still had this!

hains point racing when windy

  • Mile 8: 7:25
  • Mile 9: 7:39

I was pretty proud of myself for hanging on so well in the wind! We finally exited Hains Point at around mile 9.4 or so – let’s finish this!

cherry blossom 10 miler after hains point

I was getting so tired by this point but I was NOT about to give up on my PR. I totally forgot there was a bit of uphill before you get to the finish (which is slightly downhill) – rude. That hill was ROUGHHHHH but I did my best to power up it. There were runners going by us the other way who were a few miles behind us in the race, but for a moment I totally thought – oh my gosh, do I have to go up and turn around and then finish back the other way? Is it farther than I think?! I was so happy when I realized that we weren’t turning back and the finish line was close!

  • Mile 10: 7:44

By the last quarter mile I dialed it up big time – you can do anything for a quarter mile, right? I just kept telling myself I only had xx amount of laps left on the track. When there was 1 left I really went for it!

  • Last 0.16 mile nubbin (according to my watch) pace: 6:49 (!)

Finish line, I am SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU!!! Due to the crazy strong wind the race organizers smartly opted to not erect any overhead structures – including starting and finish lines, hence no signage. :) They did the same thing along the course and took down any mile markers and signs, instead having (very amazing) volunteers out there shouting out “mile 8!” or whatever.

cherry bossom 10 miler finish line

When I saw 1:17 on my watch I knew I had it! The pace and distance are always off but the time is correct. :) Hooray!! My previous 10 miler PR was 1:18:46 from the 2013 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, and last year’s expected finish time based on my pace had we been able to run the whole course was 1:18:00. Crushed it! :)


This crazy windy day apparently turned out to be a good PR day for my friends, too – here I am celebrating with Mary and Sokphal, who also set new PRs! Way to go ladies!!

minutes per mile blog mary1

Also worthy of a shout out: my college friend Kathleen rocked the race with a baby on board!! She’s due in late August. Way to go, Kathleen!! How cute is the sign on her hydration pack? :)

cherry blossom 10 miler baby on board

We finished out the race adventures by heading over to the finish area to cheer on my blog reader Lea, who was the local winner of my giveaway! This was her first race back post-baby – so proud of you, Lea! :) Great job out there!


And last but certainly not least: post-race brunch! About half of the team had headed out earlier so it was a smaller crew, and we decided to walk over to Le Pain Quotidien in Metro Center since it was only about a half mile away. Perfect! Their omelettes (and enormous lattes) never fail.

le pain quotidien omelette

Such a fun end to a great morning! Love these ladies. :)

best post-race brunch dc

As always, thank you guys so much for your encouragement and good luck wishes on social media and here on the blog – knowing you are rooting for me makes it easier to keep moving my legs when I want to quit! A big thank you as well to the race volunteers who were out there in the FREEZING cold supporting us. No small feat!

And lastly, another HUGE thank you to Cabot for providing our group with bibs, giving us the opportunity to hang out with our new bestie Meb at the pre-race dinner, and for flying my blog reader winner and her friend here for the race! Best cheddar ever – you guys rock.

cabot cheese cherry blossom 10 miler

Who else raced or ran this weekend? How did it go?


  1. 1

    I knew you could do it! Awesome race!

  2. 2

    Also ran cherry blossom this weekend. BY far the coldest race I’ve run. I didn’t know they had eliminated the wave start, which explains why it felt so much more crowded at the beginning. The first few miles were slower than I wanted because of all the people. Eventually found my groove around mile 3 and finished just 40 seconds slower than my PR. I blame those first few miles for that.

    • 3

      Yeah… it was definitely even more crowded than usual out there. Glad to hear you found your groove – great job out there!

  3. 4

    I so want to pick on you for wearing a hydration pack in a 10 miler but since your splits completely kick my ass, I have no right to pick! Great job. The only way I’m running those splits is straight downhill. lol

    • 5

      Lol, thanks! The hydration pack, while it adds extra weight, always leads to way better races for me. When I try to do the water stops I end up choking/not drinking enough water – and even stopping briefly to walk/jog through the water stops really throws me off in terms of pacing – I find it hard to get going again. I do really well if I can get to a pace and just hang on for dear life. :)

  4. 10

    Congrats on such a great race and a new PR!! I ran it too and while it was definitely windy on some stretches, I actually didn’t think the winds were so crazy, but I’m used to running on the West Side Highway in NYC where its always pretty windy.

    I recapped the race here:

  5. 12

    Woohoo! Congrats Anne! That is awesome!

  6. 13


  7. 14

    You definitely made that race your bitch (sorry for the language but that wind was crazy!) Glad you got your PR and sounds like everyone had a good time running for Cabot, congrats :)

  8. 16

    Congrats on the PR! I can’t believe how many PR’s I’ve heard about in those windy conditions. The cold is clearly a great motivator!! haha

    You’re probably asked this a lot, but how do you get such clear pictures on the move? Is there a trick? I’d love to capture more race moments, but they always seem so blurry…

    • 17

      I think we all just wanted to be finished very quickly, ha! Thanks! And I use a point and shoot camera to get my running action shots. (This one – nice and lightweight.) Way easier than a phone!

      • 18

        Part of my brain is like duh! a real camera, but part of me is also so surprised! Been meaning to say, thanks so much for the suggestion! If I can think of a place to put it (I have a small hydration pack) it’s something I’ll have to consider in the future.

  9. 20

    Congrats on the PR! I ran the race, too, and my biggest complaint were the crowds! It was just too packed for me to run fast and fully push myself. So, I just ran, and enjoyed the sunshine. Congrats again!

    • 21

      Yeah, it was definitely even more crowded than usual since they nixed the pauses in between the pace groups due to the cold/wind! Well done on making the best of it anyway and having a fun race!

  10. 22

    Congrats Anne, that is amazing especially considering those insane winds you were battling! One of these years I’ll do the cherry blossom race–my favorite so far is the GW Parkway 10 miler, love that one!

    • 23

      I did GW Parkway 10 miler last year and enjoyed it, although the rolling hills got me! Pretty course, though, and so well organized!

  11. 24

    That always happens to me at the beginning of cold races… can. not. feel. feet. Glad you got your PR!

  12. 25

    Congratulations on the PR! You definitely earned it! I can’t even imagine running that fast for 10 miles. I’ve run multiple 10 mile runs but my fastest split is 9:46! I’ve got some work to do!

  13. 29

    Well done!!! Such a bright beautiful day!!! We’re lacking sunshine here at the moment, I can handle the cold I just need some natural Vitamin D :)

  14. 31

    Awesome job!! I hate super windy runs! I’m always a few minutes slower!

  15. 32

    Oh my gosh congratulations Anne!! I’m so happy you totally nailed your PR! Looks like you had a blast doing it too! I’ve never raced a 10 miler before, but think it would definitely be a fun distance to try.

  16. 34

    Congrats on the new PR! That sounds like a great race!!

  17. 35

    I thought it was a gorgeous morning once the race got started but waiting around before the race started was miserable. I enjoyed the race but mistakenly got into a corral other than red and it was unbearably slow to start. It was frustrating feeling like I lost so much time, but I was able to appreciate the run, pretty morning and gorgeous city while I was out there. Fun seeing you after the race…congrats on your PR!

    • 36

      I’m sorry to hear you got stuck farther back than you should have been – that’s always super frustrating. Good for you for making the most of it anyway! :)

  18. 37

    I ran Cherry Blossom too. It was my first timed 10 miler so automatic PR. I had done a 15k at a 10 min per mile pace so secretly i was hoping to do similar but outwardly i said i was hoping for 11 min per mile pace. The wind didn’t get in my way either. Not only did I finish with a 10:05 pace but I even had some 9:30 splits in there. I loved the race course. Congrats on your PR!

  19. 39

    I ran to – super windy and crowded but also fun! I actually saw you around mile 7 on Hains Point but thought that probably wasn’t the best time to start chatting! I think you pulled way ahead and I got caught by the wind after the turn. But, as my only 10-mile race, it was an automatic PR!

    • 40

      Good for you for rocking it out there too! Sorry we didn’t get a chance to say hello – that crazy wind would have made it a little hard to say hi! :) Congrats on your automatic PR – those are the best!

  20. 41

    Yay for old friends, new ones, Cheddar, (Boo for chattering teeth during cold starts), Cherry Blossoms, PRs, (Boo for cold feet), Meb and yummy omelettes :)

    So glad it was a great weekend!

  21. 43

    What a great race. You sure showed Hains Point who’s boss! I can’t believe you were at the dinner. I think I was too focused on Meb!

    • 44

      I was, too! I saw on social media after that a bunch of fellow bloggers were at the dinner – would have been fun to say hello! Next time!

  22. 45

    Yeehaw! Congrats! And I love seeing the familiar faces of your friends and running buddies…in real clothes! Lol. I almost didn’t recognize them in the pre-race event photo!

  23. 47
    Roadrunner says

    Wow! Great race, especially considering the conditions. Most impressive. Congrats! You did, indeed, show Hains Point who’s the woman!

  24. 49

    I love following your journeys, Anne!

  25. 51

    Great job on your PR!! It’s always such a good feeling when all those days of work and effort pay off. :)
    I ran this weekend as a pacer in a half marathon. It was also freezing here in Michigan – 13 degrees at the start! But it was a blast to run with so many different people from all over, hear their stories, and cheer them on as they crossed the finish line!

    • 52

      Thank you, Allison! :) How cool to do a race as a pacer — I bet that was a blast! Good for you, especially given the freezing temps!

  26. 53
    Paul Silberman says

    Congratulations! Wonderful blog. I hope we were able to give you a boost just prior to Haines Point. Signed, Mr. Incredible and Violet

  27. 55

    Congrats! Great job. The weather is a bit of a challenge. Oh my. Great group of runners.

  28. 56

    Awesome job in the PR! I ran the race this weekend as well, and had a blast!

  29. 58

    Way to go on the PR!!! That’s awesome! Sounds like a tough race with the weather/wind, but great job on powering through! This is a race I’ve always wanted to run, it seems like a blast! Between moving and school, I’m never in the right place at the right time. One day though :)

    • 59

      Thank you! I hope you are able to run it someday – such a fun race, even when the weather isn’t good and the blossoms are all gone. :)

  30. 60

    Wow, congratulations on your race!! What wind? LOL! I was happy to have a strong race as well – it’s funny how these things work out sometime!

    Your pictures with your team are awesome! We may have passed each other at the VIP party!

  31. 62

    I thought I saw you at the dinner on Saturday night! Meb is just the nicest guy – I also heard him speak Thursday night at PR Running so I’m even more Meb obsessed now. :) Congrats on a PR – I PRed as well and agree that a lot of folks were motivated to finish fast by the weather! This is my fourth year in a row running Cherry Blossom and this was definitely the most crowded year due to the lack of waves. I also think because of the weather and lack of signage, people hopped in corrals that were way faster than they should’ve been in. My first mile was about 50 seconds slower than my overall average pace because I was stuck behind walls of people, haha. But I still love this race! Way to push it!

    • 63

      I heard about that PR event on Thursday — wish I could have made it! Sounded awesome. Was it packed? Congrats on your PR, too! :) And yeah, so crowded at the start and I agree people probably weren’t where they were supposed to be… but I still love this race, too. :)

  32. 64

    Congratulations everyone! Dickinson College ladies crushing it!! :D

  33. 66
    TrackBuddy says

    Congrats on the PR!! What a great race, really enjoyed hanging with you as long as I could – and trying to keep you in sight after that! :-)

  34. 68

    I’m a bit behind on my blog weekend this week. Congrats on the PR! I wish I had known when I saw you at the finish. Thank you and Cabot again for a great race weekend, weather and all. It was wonderful to meet you.

  35. 71

    So much running love this weekend! Thanks for making it possible Anne! You are the wind beneath my wings. <3 :) Way to crush it!!! I'd like to see how we do in a not-so-crowded course!

  36. 73

    get it girl; great job! my brother ran this race and finished in 1:17, too! i was looking for him in your photos but didn’t see him, haha.

  37. 75

    Way to go!!! That wind must have been brutal!! I’m hoping to do this next year! :)


  1. […] three of us were reminiscing about the CRAZY windy Cherry Blossom 10 Miler we ran back in 2016 – so windy that they had to take down all the race signs, tents, etc! We […]

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