A Blustery Cherry Blossom Race Recap

I bet the wind will make the headlines of a lot of 2016 Cherry Blossom race recaps, and it was no joke. When I heard it howling as I was getting out of bed, I wondered if the race would be canceled, but there was a reassuring post on the race’s Facebook page that the race was ON.

2016 Cherry Blossom Race Recap Monument

Still such a beautiful sight!

The seriousness of the windy forecast became clear on Saturday afternoon, when the race organizers announced “adjustments” to keep people safe during the race.

Cherry Blossom Wind WarningThey eliminated all race signage, overhead banners and tall structures (like speaker towers), eliminated all on-course signage and split time clocks (but volunteers were posted at each mile and let you know how far you’d run), eliminated all tents except for the bag check tent and the main medical tent, and eliminated the pre-race warm-up and post-race awards ceremony (and associated stages). They also canceled the kids fun run, which might seem drastic until you see just how windy it was. 

(Un-mute the sound to get the full effect)

The Cherry Blossom VIP Dinner

Before I tell you about my race, I have to share a few highlights from the VIP dinner. It was so great to see the members of the Cherry Blossom social media team in person. I hade not met Janelle “IRL” before, and I spent most of dinner chatting with Courtney.

2016 CUCB Social Runners

We clean up nice, eh?

And Meb was there! And he shook my hand! And let me take a picture!

Meb - CUCB 2016

I asked him to smile with his dessert!

Yes, Meb ate dessert, but I’m pretty sure his plate had more fruit and less bread pudding than mine did. 😉 

My Cherry Blossom Race Recap

On to race day. After I heard those howling winds, I made a last-minute decision to wear a warmer long-sleeved top than I had been planning–the same Athleta top I wore for the Reston 10 Miler. Actually, I think I wore the same gear I wore for Reston, plus a very lightweight windbreaker vest and my new Nike headband. 

Blustery 2016 CUCB

Before the race in my pretty volunteer t-shirt.

I made it to the monument grounds in time for the Moms Run This Town multi-chapter picture, and then tried to jog around the monument to warm-up, but it was so windy it was ridiculous. (That’s when I took the video above.) At about 7:15 I gave my volunteer shirt to my husband and got into my corral where I was happy for the body heat of the other runners. Still, I was chattering and shiverring in the cold.

The race started promptly at 7:30, and my wave was off by 7:33. Since the sun was out, I warmed up pretty quickly. There were a few moments when I felt warm, but they didn’t last long enough for me to regret wearing my thicker top. 

I know this course so well, I focused on pacing myself and saving something for Hains Point. Still, my mile splits are all over the place. Mile 2 included the winds on Memorial Bridge, and miles 9 and 10 were all into the wind. Mile 4 felt really good though!

2016 CUCB Splits

As I was heading out Hains Point (miles 6-7.5) I realized that if I saw a picture of this part of the course on someone else’s blog, I would think it was really pretty. Why do I hate it so much? I readjusted my attitude and tried to enjoy the blues skies and scenery (but no blossoms) while still holding onto my pace.

Once I reached the end of Hains Point and turned back, the wind was against me again. I held on for a while, but then it got really hard. I convinced myself to try to Finish Strong and kept giving it my all, even though my “all” was depleted. 

2016 CUCB Medal

I think this is my favorite medal ever!

When I crossed the finish line, I was pleased with my time. It wasn’t a PR (you can read about that one here), but I was proud of my 8:09 Garmin pace. (My official race results have me finishing in 1:21:57 at an 8:11 pace for 10 miles.)

After The Race

The race organizers wanted everyone to get home (or out of the cold) as quickly as possible. They handed out space blankets, water, bananas, and granola bars in the finish area, and then directed runners to the medal pick-up and/or bag check areas. After I picked up my medal, I found my husband and we made our way home. We stopped at Starbucks for my grande dark roast, and then I opted for a warm Epsom salt bath in our Jacuzzi tub. There’s no way I would have gotten into an ice bath today, but I still think ice baths work better. Even after a long soak I am moving very slowly ….

If you ran the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run or 5K today, you can link up your race recap on the Cherry Blossom blog here–the link up will be open through May 1.

That’s all I’ve got for the Weekly Wrap. Thanks to Holly and Tricia and all of you who have encouraged me as I trained for this race!

Oh, I almost forgot–my foot was FINE, but it’s a wee bit achy again now. Maybe it’s a lacing issue? I’ll have to figure that out before the GW Parkway Classic on April 23!

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50 Responses to A Blustery Cherry Blossom Race Recap

  1. Vicki Buash says:

    Great job!

  2. Congratulations on a strong run in tough conditions! It snowed here in Massachusetts today as I sadly wrote my race recaps from this weekend… Happy April?! The medal is awesome!
    Michelle @ Run4Life recently posted…A Two-Race Weekend and April Snowstorm in New EnglandMy Profile

  3. So sorry I couldn’t find you or the picture spot! It was crazy windy love the video it really captures it. I have never run in conditions like that before and it was tough going but ended up pulling out a decent time for me. So glad your foot held up for you and congrats! I will link up my post later in the week!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Ultimate Coffee Date-AprilMy Profile

  4. Great job, Coco! I ran NYC in 2014 in CRAZY wind. They did the same with the signs, etc. The bridges were terrifying. Glad your foot held up!
    Erica @ Erica Finds recently posted…April Ultimate Coffee DateMy Profile

  5. Congratulations and way to push through on a day with very less-than-ideal race conditions! I’ve run races in super-strong wind before and it is NO JOKE. It feels like you are running on a treadmill, right? Because you’re putting in so much effort yet you feel like you aren’t going anywhere. I am glad your foot is okay and YAY for meeting Meb! He is so cute with his plate of dessert – great picture. =)
    Emily @ Out and About recently posted…2016 Shamrock Shuffle race recapMy Profile

  6. Steena says:

    Wow! Impressive splits with those wind conditions! I fought 20mph wind for my long run today, there were moments where it felt like running in slow motion!
    I’m also really impressed with how well the race is organized! To make all those last minute safety adjustments says a lot about how well organized the race director is! Kudos!
    Steena recently posted…I quit.My Profile

  7. Glad your foot held out and that you were able to still run a great race despite the winds….burrrrr…
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…Joint Hypermobility SyndromeMy Profile

  8. I certainly did hear about how windy this race was but I didn’t realize they eliminated a lot of stuff. Probably a good call on their part. I raced this weekend along the ocean front and the wind was not as bad as usual but it rained the entire time!

  9. You did really well for those conditions, heck for perfect conditions! Nice job. We had those winds yesterday, but it was windy again today and I had a couple scary moments on the bike when the wind threatened to blow me over!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Big Sur Marathon Training Week 9My Profile

  10. Solid splits despite the wind! Congrats! I would say you earned that grande dark roast and a soak.
    Lisa @ Lisa Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…KT Tape Launches Products and Support for Rio 2016My Profile

  11. HoHo Runs says:

    The post race tents blew over at my race, and it wasn’t THAT windy. I can’t imagine the conditions you ran in. Your splits were incredibly fast Coco. You should be so proud! That medal is very pretty with the cherry blossoms on it. I’m glad to hear your foot didn’t bother you during the race. I often wonder if lacing causes my neuroma to act up too. Thanks for linking with us.
    HoHo Runs recently posted…Centerpoint Half (WW # 35)My Profile

  12. tamieka says:

    Wowsers that wind was something crazy! Way to get it done!!

    How cool to meet Meb…so awesome!!!

    I was talking to my sister about how people hate running Hains Point during races. Since I don’t run it often, I always love it. Last year’s CB the trees were at full bloom ant it was BEAUTIFUL along with the water view.

  13. Congrats on your race!! The wind was insane, but overall I was happy to not be too cold while we were running…it was before and after the race when I felt the worst! It was so great to finally meet you! The VIP dinner was so much fun 🙂
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Ultimate Coffee Date – April 2016My Profile

  14. Nicole Haber says:

    Congrats on the great race!! I think I get why you don’t like Haines Point. It’s sort of dull compares to the rest of the race. Especially sans Cherry Blossoms!

    I ran it too: http://cuckoolemon.com/2016/04/03/recap-cherry-blossom-ten-miler/
    Nicole Haber recently posted…Recap: Cherry Blossom Ten Miler 2016My Profile

  15. Carla says:

    You are so flipping hardcore intrepid bad ass.
    And now?
    I want a post detailing how your mental fortitude has facilitated your success both in and beyond!!
    Carla recently posted…The Power of Structured Procrastination.My Profile

  16. How awesome that you have met other friendly runners!
    I wish flying was not that expensive so that I could drop by to join you all sometime.
    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience!
    Debbie Rodrigues recently posted…How To Find Fitness After Brain TumorMy Profile

  17. Meagan says:

    Congratulations on a strong race in such crazy windy conditions! All of the American flags around the Washington Monument look good in that wind at least, haha. That medal is really pretty – I love the design! Glad to hear the foot didn’t bother you at all during the race!
    Meagan recently posted…TNF ECS 50K Training – Week 14My Profile

  18. Glad that you ran a good race despite the crazy wind and finished strong. Finishing strong always feels so good!

  19. Wow what a challenge to run in that Coco! I am so very glad to read though that you had a good race and your foot held up! That is awesome!
    Very neat you got to meet Janelle too! Thanks for your support as well! So what is next for you?
    Tricia@MissSippipiddlin recently posted…Weekly Wrap 35 April AlreadyMy Profile

  20. Darlene says:

    Love the medal. So cool that you got to meet Meb.

    It was windy in NY too. And today we are having a snowstorm UGH!!!
    Darlene recently posted…Monday Running UpdateMy Profile

  21. Sana says:

    You ran a fantastic and mentally strong race!

  22. I have never taken an ice bath. I took a cooler bath, but boy do I prefer I long, hot shower after a cold race ! And a very big cup of coffee and it is a perfect, post cold race combination !
    Karen – Fit in France recently posted…I am a finisher !My Profile

  23. Sherry says:

    Congrats! Way to go on such a windy day! Your time is awesome! So cool you met Meb!!
    Sherry recently posted…Hippie Chick Half Marathon Training Workouts Recap & Weekly Wrap (3/28-4/3)My Profile

  24. Kim says:

    Great race and great recap! I love that you posted the video showing how windy it truly was.

  25. Great recap! I had a fabulous mile 4 too…I was wondering if Garmin got confused, but I guess that mile must have had a huge tailwind! Glad you had a good race and fun with the VIPs!
    Alison @racingtales recently posted…#CUCB Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Wind TunnelMy Profile

  26. Way to gooooo! Sounds like such a challenging race! <3 You go girl!
    Charissa (@ColourfulPalate) recently posted…Fastest Butter Chicken Recipe in the WorldMy Profile

  27. Paul Silberman says:

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

  28. Esther says:

    Great recap! I ran the 5k 2 years ago and the weather was perfect! Sorry you guys had such windy weather but great work!!
    Esther recently posted…Weekly Wrap & Spring RollsMy Profile

  29. That’s an excellent finish time, especially for the windy conditions!! Congrats 😉 That medal is awesome (and so is your volunteer shirt). We had similar wind in Iowa, but our temps were in the high 70’s….for that ONE day LOL My 8-mile run was brutal in that wind, but I was happy with my pace.
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…It’s been a windy week….My Profile

  30. Jennifer says:

    Great job and nice footage of the flags. Really showed how windy it was that day! Glad I had the 5K that day 🙂
    Jennifer recently posted…2016 St. Pat’s Run 5K Race RecapMy Profile

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