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.
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.
They 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.
We clean up nice, eh?
And Meb was there! And he shook my hand! And let me take a picture!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!