Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Race Recap

Since I started running, I’ve always wanted to run the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler. I love running races in D.C., and I especially like the 10-mile distance.

Back in the fall, some friends and I signed up for the lottery together as a team. We’d heard it was easier to get in that way, so we decided it worth a try…and we got in!

I’ve been a total fair-weather runner through this crappy winter, so I really haven’t run much. I definitely hadn’t run double digits since the marathon, so I had no idea what would happen today.

Yesterday, we took the Bolt Bus down and were starving upon getting off so immediately went to the Dubliner for lunch, since it was across from Union Station and I had many fond memories there. (Side note: I tried to bring my friends to Cap City Brewing Company, and it had CLOSED. I was sad.) I tried to eat as plainly as possible in anticipation of the race, having a chicken sandwich and a beer.

Photo 1

We went over to the expo at the National Building Museum, across from my old apartment, to pick up our bibs, and then I headed back to the hotel to charge my literal and figurative batteries.

After a bit, I headed out to see a former boss turned friend of mine and her precious daughter. Morgan is brilliant, and I learned a lot from her at a young age about both working hard and giving back. She always inspired me by example to work harder and be a better person.

I then hopped on the metro to go meet my friend Amy at Station 4 on the Southwest Waterfront. Amy was there for me when I had a slight meltdown on my 25th birthday, and I will forever be indebted to her for that. She’s working on building a corporate yoga program, which sounds amazing. At dinner, my stomach was already feeling kind of upset, so I had risotto, which seemed to be the most simple item on the menu. HA!


Totally winning photography awards for this one.

I slipped back to the hotel and into bed, to wake up around 6 for the race. I’m documenting everything I had in the 24 hours before the race in case looking back on this at another time helps me. (Foreshadowing!) I had a banana and a banana bread-flavored Larabar and hoped for the best with my stomach, which was still upset.

Photo 2

We walked down to the start on the mall. Those snazzy arm warmers? I totally forgot any kind of long sleeve action, and it was in the low 40s at the start, so I picked those babies up at the expo yesterday. They chafed me…but they looked good?

I was in the red corral, which was one of the first few, but we were walking up as the corrals were moving up, so I somehow ended back a corral. Whatever, I didn’t have any huge ambitions.

Photo 3

Except to not die, and maybe see a few cherry blossoms.

My 10-miler PR is from the Army-Ten Miler in 2012, and I remembered it being around 1:29 and the week before Marine Corps, so I hoped I’d be able to get pretty close, if not PR. (Just looked it up: 1:29:44, just under 9:00 miles.)

I thought I’d try to stay around 8:50-8:55 miles to be able to PR. I mean, I ran an entire marathon in 9:02 miles a few months ago and a half in 8:24 miles last year. For the first 3.5 miles, I did just that. But then, just as I came up on the mile 4 marker and the water stop, I needed a bathroom. Like immediately. So I got in the long bathroom line, and then had to spend a few minutes in the Port-a-Potty myself. I had no idea how much time I’d lost at this point, and decided to ignore my watch from here on out. I’d obviously lost a lot of time, and didn’t want to beat myself up about it since I couldn’t do anything about it.

I focused on just enjoying the weather and the crowds – and trying not to miss running with Tina and Anne too much.

The course was a little different than the Army Ten-Miler and the DC Half. It starts on the Mall – goes over the Memorial Bridge and back (like every other DC race), goes up Rock Creek Parkway a bit under the Kennedy Center (yay!), back down by the Tidal Basin and (booooooo) Hains Point, coming back to finish pretty close to the start. Hains Point is long and boring to me and reminds me of a rough patch during Marine Corps BUT I was happy to run into Kim and Allison here and have friends to finish the rest of the race with.

We chatted and enjoyed the end of the race, and I finished in 1:45:22. My PR for a half, so, you know, 3 miles more, is 1:50:22. That bathroom break added a ton of time to my race. Sure, it would have been fun to PR, but I wasn’t trying to and am not focusing on that this year after driving myself hard for PRs all of last year. I didn’t even look up my results until this afternoon, because I didn’t care/want to know. But bathroom break aside, I had a great weekend a fun long run in the nation’s capital. But I do need to work some on the fueling, because I never want to have to stop for a bathroom during a race again.



Did you race this weekend? What’s your favorite race distance?

13 comments on “Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Race Recap

  1. Coco

    I ran the Cherry Blossom today too! Sorry about your tummy troubles. I have struggled with post-race GI issues, but don’t usually have any issues during a race (knock-on-wood).

  2. Lisa

    Ran the Cherry Blossom too. I managed to PR so I was happy about that but I totally agree about Hains Point. Could they have picked a worse spot for the toughest miles (which to me are between miles 7 and 9)? It felt like it took FOREVER to get to the turnaround on Hains Point. Oh well, at least the weather was beautiful if a tad chilly.

  3. Shannon

    Wow this race looks so great! I really would love to see the cherry blossoms in DC one year, AND do this race! Looks like you had a lot of fun!

    I did my first half marathon of the season on Saturday 🙂 Wisconsin weather didn’t let us down, and we had nice 45 degrees and sunny for the race! Great day 🙂

  4. Giselle

    Ugh! I feel you’re pain on trying to figure out how to fuel for long runs. I am training for my first marathon and am having the HARDEST time figuring out what to eat for my long runs. Typically I don’t fuel for anything under 10, but as I have increased to my longest run of 18, I think my body needs something to run on. For my 16 miler, I had egg white veggie wrap and some greek yogurt with pb and banana (staples in my diet), and around mile 3 I had to use the bathroom… twice. Then last weekend for my 18 miler, I had scrambled eggs, greek yogurt, and almond butter with apple and again around mile 2-4 I had to use the bathroom and literally all the fuel went right out of me. I had to stop at a starbucks around mile 13 and take a long break just to get some energy back. I have 6 weeks left until my full and I am getting anxiety from trying to figure out what to eat that will not hurt my stomach / give me good fuel to run. Anyone please have any recommendations?

  5. Nicole

    I totally feel you on this race. I too have had an issue of getting in consistent runs with the terrible weather we had (I live in northern NJ). I ran the newark cherry blossom 10K yesterday, after barely running more than 3-4 miles at a time 3-4 times a week. Great job though just going and doing it, rather than stressing about your time. I had the same approach with my race and did much better than I thought I would given the circumstances and my less than stellar prep for the race.

    Great work! Sometimes its better to stop thinking and planning (aka stressing) about a race and just enjoy the run and try as best as you can at the present moment. My favorite distance is a half marathon, but a good 5K is always rewarding!

  6. Liz @ ourbusybee(s)

    Good job finishing strong despite less-than-ideal circumstances. I think, after the year you had last year, not going for PRs is totally fine. Pushing for PRs can get so exhausting, so I am doing the same this year – just seeing how it goes!

  7. rosario

    thanks for posting your recap! I ran this race too, for the first time. I didn’t PR by about 2 minutes 45 seconds but I gave it my all so I am happy with the effort. I also had some stomach issues starting at mile 7 (when I had my second GU) but thankfully I felt I could still wait to use the facilities after finishing, so it was just an incentive to finish faster 🙂

  8. Chelsea @ Chelsea Eats Treats

    I can understand your frustration- that happened to me during my very first half after months and months of training. Gahh!! It’s the worst. Anyway great job!! I’m bummed I didn’t see you and get to take a creepy picture haha. Also I missed Anne too 🙁 I’ve run with her twice and she’s a great running buddy!!

  9. Diana

    All the lines I saw for the porta-potties on the course yesterday were surprisingly long. I guess a lot of people had similar issues. For sure it’s not a fun thing to have to do! I hope you get your fueling issues worked out!


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