My first Cherry Blossom race — and my first time seeing the cherry blossoms at peak bloom season in DC! The last ten weeks of training have brought me to this 10-mile race. Which, if you’ve read any other recaps or followed along this weekend, was shortened because of an unfortunate accident on the course. I am wholly impressed by the race directors and what they were able to accomplish given the timing of the accident and the start of the race.

Doing a Sunday race was WAY better than last month’s Saturday race, where we had to rush into DC on a Friday after work, and someone else had to grab my packet/bib. That said, it was nice to stay an extra day last month and enjoy many mimosas after crossing that finish line. This time, however, it was more in-and-out then sticking around to enjoy the city, but the little we did enjoy was enhanced by some beautiful weather and spring-like surroundings.

Lining up, I was excited to run into some fellow SCRR peeps in my corral and to start the first part of the race with, given that my friends were running late because of the metro (they ended up finishing at a 9:30/pace, so I wouldn’t have run with them for long anyway).

Steel City Road Runners represent! (I'm on the right.)

Steel City Road Runners represent! (I’m on the right showing off my neck muscles again.)

Registration and Cost: Entry to this race was on a lottery system (spoiler alert: I got in!) and my registration was about $80; I upgraded to a tech shirt and purchased a medal.

Expo and Packet Pick-Up: Orderly, for sure, and a beautiful space in the National Buildings Museum, but nothing about the expo itself provoked me to stay around and hang out (or buy anything). I mean, how many times do I have to see the same lotion lady and stim machines? To be honest, I really was interested in new shoes, but the expo wasn’t screaming out any brands. Also, it was kind of annoying to pick up bibs and t-shirts in different places (and on different floors). Even the sign that read “Pick up all shirts here” wasn’t even where I picked up my upgraded shirt (it was at the end of the row of tables).

Oh, and because the swag bag was virtual, I didn’t have any safety pins. Nobody reminded me about the safety pins. This should be programmed in the volunteers heads when handing over those bibs. But I did find one of the coolest Walgreens I’ve ever seen (in a search for said safety pins).

Bag check: Didn’t use. My hotel was about a mile from the start line, so I walked with all the gear I needed. Speaking of which…

Weather: B.E.A-UTIFUL. All that spring and none of the allergies either! The start line was a little chilly, but I had a thin pair of gloves which were easily stuffed in my pants when I warmed up.

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Course: Because of the earlier mentioned incident, the first four miles were re-routed, making the course run short. I really was looking forward to that path around the basin too. Oh well, next year Lottery Gods. Those back miles down-around Hains Point though… WOOF. If it weren’t pretty and bloomy, it would be incredibly boring. Also, it was crowded.

Fans and Experience: I laughed and smiled and high-fived throughout the course — these race fans were PROS. I chuckled at many of the signs; there were several about brunch, which TORTURE ARTISTS. My favorite though was one that read “You’ve done dumber things when you were drunk.” #truth

I found myself pausing or pulling out my earbuds at various points of the course to take everything in. The miles kind of blend in together, but I think it was Mile 3 where there was a DJ; there was also an amazing drum band near the end of the course. I always get a thrill when runners start screaming in tunnels and underpasses.

Random Bullshit: My Songza shit the bed before I even hit the 5K mark and I had to restart the app… which told me at the most convenient time that I wasn’t logged in. It was at that point I realized that I also hadn’t synced my songs from the cloud to my phone since upgrading my device. So I was that lady trying to remember my password and log into my account WHILE I WAS RUNNING. Nailed it.

Finish Line: WHERE IS THE WATER?! WHERE ARE THE BANANAS? OH GOD HELP ME.

This may sound hyperbolic but a horrifying reality after you’ve run for an hour-and-forty minutes. That finish line chute took forever. And why the hell do you put photo booths before the water stations?!

AND WHERE THE HELL ARE THE BANANAS?! (I never did find them.)

AND WHERE THE HELL ARE THE BANANAS?! (I never did find them.)

Medals and Swag: “I’m not winning any money, so you best believe I paid for the medal.” Truer words were never spoken. Fun fact, at the Cherry Blossom race, they don’t put medals on you at the finish line — you have to pick them up at another location. Which would have been helpful had I remembered THREE BLOCKS EARLIER. (Yes, I had to walk back when I saw someone else wearing one.) I am wholly incapable of any thought but food after running. Why was this so complicated?! Did I mention crowded?

Worth it.

Worth it.

Bonus: FUN RACE DAY PICTURES!

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Notable 30-somethings: Heck yeah, 32-year-old Serena Burla placed 1st in the U.S. Women’s Division; there were several 30-something women in the top 25 in the Open Division. So inspiring! Fist bump.

Found my friends and former derby teammates after the race -- that one on the left just ran her 10th Cherry Blossom (along with her mom!) and now has legacy status.

Found my friends after the race — that one on the left just ran her 10th Cherry Blossom (along with her mom!) and now has legacy status.

After party: that would be a three pigs omelet at City Tap House, and then a four hour-drive back home to Pittsburgh.

Overall: I really loved this race, and I really hoped to run faster. But I felt SO GOOD while doing it and had some kind of peaceful journey over those miles.

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I mean, that picture says it all, doesn’t it?

Immediately after I finished, however, my left knee felt like it locked up (yes, the same knee that was giving me trouble last month). And on the same side, my foot was SCREAMING. I was hobbling back to the hotel (and, ack! had to wear flip-flops to brunch because of my swollen feet). I have no idea what is happening on my left side, but an emergency massage was in order this week.

Chocolate Milk! (brought my own)

Chocolate Milk! (brought my own)

Results:
Net time: 1:39:57
Estimate 10 Mile finish: 1:47:35
Pace: 10:38.8

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  • I’m glad you had a good race and hope your knee is better! I agree that the medals were hard to find!

  • Great recap and you had some nice course photos! I am with Kim, smart to bring your own chocolate milk.

  • Great recap! I love that you brought your own chocolate milk – that was smart 😉