Another 10-miler done!  This one wasn’t as happy as the Cherry Blossom 10-miler two weeks prior, mostly because of my bad attitude and poor choices.

Cliff’s Notes Version:  Weather held and it was great to run with my best friend, but I ended up needing to walk a lot.

Long, boring detailed Version:

Packet pickup was a breeze!  The race was sponsored by a local running store, so I was able to run over to the store and pick up my packet during my lunch break the Tuesday before the race.

The shirt is cute!  I like the sign with the 10.0 on it – it looks just like the signs they have on the GW Parkway for the tourists.

I really liked that they had different shirts for the girls. I love flattering cuts 🙂

The bib had my name on it!

So, as I said, I had a bad attitude about this race 😦  I’m usually a very upbeat person (annoyingly so, if you ask some), but the logistics of race morning just seemed like a pain. It’s a point-to-point race, so we are supposed to find street parking near the finish line and jump on a shuttle to the starting line. The race started at 8am, but the shuttles stop running at 7am. The website said to expect a ½ hour wait for the shuttle. So when you factor in driving ½ hour to get there, finding parking, walking over to the shuttle, taking the shuttle…. You end up needing to wake up HOURS earlier than for a normal race.  I also had a bad attitude because the weather forecast was dismal – 70% chance of rain and thunderstorms.

My good friend Jenny stayed overnight at my place because she lives far away in MD, and it wouldn’t been crazy for her to get up early enough to make the drive. We both set our alarms for 5:15…. And I woke up with a start at 6am. EEK!  We were 45 minutes behind schedule!  We got ready in a hurry and ran through the rain to the car. On the drive over, I realized I had forgotten my timing chip – shoot! I knew we’d have a slim chance of catching the last shuttle, and I was secretly hoping we didn’t make it.

But we made it! We luckily found a parking spot pretty easily and ran to the shuttle just in time!  Plus it had stopped raining. All of my excuses were disappearing, shoot! The race start area is right at the entrance to Mount Vernon, Geo Wash’s home!  I’ve never been inside, and I need to add it to my list of things to do while I live in DC!  I was really surprised how many people there were. I thought this race had less than 2,000 runners (compared the Cherry Blossom’s 12,000), but it seemed like a lot more!  But then who knows, I have zero guesstimation skills.  As a kid, I was always hundreds off in the “guess how many jelly beans” contests.  My fall 10-miler is supposed to have 30,000 – I can’t even imagine!

The race course was all along a pretty tree-lined commuter road. It was weird to have so many less spectators cheering us on (as very few parts of the course were residential or even accessible), but that made me appreciate them that much more near the finish line!

My friend Jenny ran with me the whole time!  We had really pushed ourselves in the Cherry Blossom race, and decided to take this one easier. Besides, this one had hills, and we weren’t really sure what to expect.

We made great time for the first 3 miles!  Then I started needing frequent walk breaks because I ate an absurd amount of food the night before. I felt so nauseous that I was afraid to take my gu, even when I felt like I needed it. I had a few sips of the race-provided powerade instead. I survived my longest gu-less run!

We finished in 2:07 – only 4 minutes slower than my Cherry Blossom time!  (Though I had a quick potty break in the CB but none here.)  Here are our splits:

Mile 1 – 11:19
Mile 2 – 11:55
Mile 3 – 12:04
Mile 4 – 12:48
Mile 5 – 12:06
Mile 6 – 12:35
Mile 7 – 13:59
Mile 8 – 14:07
Mile 9 – 13:34
Mile 10 – 12:27
10 – 10.07 – 9:12

After the race, we got some bagels & our bags, and hung out until Jenny’s fiancé got there. I briefly met a friend from SparkPeople for the first time too!

This race was a wake-up call for my half marathon in 2.5 weeks!

Lessons learned:

1.)    Eat lightly & healthfully the day before!

2.)    Even if it’s rainy and you’re cranky, you will be SO GLAD that you got up and ran!

3.)    Running with other people is fun and I need to stop being so scared of it 🙂

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My second Cherry Blossom 10-mile Run was a success!

Cliff’s Notes: Great race, gorgeous day, got to meet up with great friends. Beat last year’s time, but that may be because I didn’t wait in a port-a-potty line like last year.

Long, overly-detailed Version: Packet pick-up went well on Saturday. The process was efficient, and I love exploring running expos. I bought a super-cute headband (and paid way too much) from the sweatybands table. The free race t-shirts are much cuter this year, and I regret the decision to upgrade to a technical shirt. (I picked up a blue free shirt because I’m switching with a friend who got the technical shirt – long story). Saturday night I prepared by laying out all of my race clothes and accessories, attaching my bib to my shirt and my timing chip to my shoes, charging up my iPod and Garmin, and having a light pasta dinner. Maybe it’s not necessary to “carb up” for only 10 miles, but I’ll take any excuse to eat pasta J I was in bed by 10:30, as I am a giant dork.

I got up bright and early (well, DARK and early) at 5:30 am. I got dressed quickly and had my new standard pre-long-run breakfast: 1 slice wheat toast with almond butter and a small banana. I was trying to be quiet and not use much light so that I didn’t wake up my husband (we were still living in a hotel because of a freak electrical explosion at our apartment).

I caught the 6:18 metro train, exactly like last year!  I love that the train is full of nothing but runners. (The DC Metro system opens 2 hours early for the race.)  After a few stops, my childhood neighbor and friend happened to get on the same train as me. Random! We knew we were both running and had planned on meeting up, but had not planned on metro-ing together. She and her mother had bought me a magnet that says “I know. I’m slow. Get over it.”  I was kind of insulted, but I need to take the magnet’s advice and “get over it” because I’m the one always telling people how slow I am!  And the magnet has a John Bingham penguin on it, so I like it.

We got to the bag-check area and met up with a few girlfriends, including a new friend from sparkpeople.com!  It was about 55 degrees, and I hemmed & hawed about whether to wear my long sleeve shirt or leave it at the bag check tent. I ended up leaving it behind, and I’m glad because things really warmed up in the sunshine as soon as we started running.

The run went well! It was cool to run a race with the Garmin, because seeing my pace was motivational, especially when I was faster than I anticipated early on. Check out my Garmin stats! The race flew by! Last year I remember it dragging on, but this year I kind of spaced out and before I knew it, it was mile 7.5!  That’s around when my tummy started to cramp a bit (but nowhere near as bad as last year). I took a few walk breaks after that (but before that I had only walked while eating some gu).

Just like last year, my husband was there to cheer me on around mile 9.5! He’s so good 🙂 Then I ran to the finish line, woohoo!  Two of my good friends from college were there to cheer me (and some of our friends) on right after the finish line. They snapped this photo of me. Look at that silly smile. Like last year, I was deliriously happy running this race, and sometimes I even realized that I was smiling like a fool. I think the only times I’ve ever experienced a “runner’s high” is while racing.

My official race time was 2:04:09 (12:25 pace), which beat last year’s time of 2:14!  However, last year I probably spent about 10 minutes or race time in a port-a-potty line, and this year there was no line, so my performance was probably about the same. But I’m counting it as a success, because at least I was smarter about timing a potty break!  And it the race felt easier and quicker than last year.

Here were my splits:
Mile 1: 11:47
Mile 2: 11:48
Mile 3: 11:19
Mile 4: 11:13
Mile 5: 11:44
Mile 6: 12:05
Mile 7: 12:23
Mile 8: 12:33
Mile 9: 14:53 (includes port-a-potty stop)
Mile 10: 12:42
Overall: 12:13 (Not sure why this is different than my pace per the official race results. Maybe the Garmin didn’t count my port-a-potty time?)

After the race, I met up again with my racer friends Jenny, Deirdre, Mackenzie, Emy, and Rebecca, and our cheerleader friends Mike (my husband), Jeni, Katie, Todd and Kurt. We wanted to grab brunch together, so we wandered around DC until we found a restaurant that could accommodate our ginormous party. We found a place with a great (if pricey) brunch with bottomless mimosas!  mmm.

So where do I go from here?  I am registered for another 10-mile race (The GW Parkway Memorial Classic) in two weeks. That race is much hillier and I’ve never run the course, so I am not going to shoot for a specific time (my goal is to finish). Then for my 5/16 half marathon, my goal is to beat last year’s half time (2:58). Then for my fall 10 miler (The Army 10-miler), my goal is to beat 2 hours (so 12:00 pace).

Here are some interesting race tidbits:

Favorite signs:Encouraging sign,” “Free Oreos & Beer” (he was actually handing them out!), “Free Lap Dance at Finish Line” (not sure if she was actually handing those out), “Go Mommy Go!” with cute chanting kiddies, “Trample the weak hurdle the dead,” and “Don’t stop. People are watching.”

Favorite Runners: Santa (I think he might’ve been the real one), a juggler and a rope jumper

Favorite T-shirts: “Beat the bus,” and “I’m only doing this to post the photos on Facebook.”

In conclusion, it was a beautiful race and a great day.

I am going to stop saying “shoot, I haven’t updated in a while,” and just declare: “I am only a sporadic blogger!”  This is OK 🙂

Some life updates:

  • Our apartment building had a freak electrical explosion, and we won’t have power for at least a MONTH!  The county has declared our building “uninhabitable” and our renter’s insurance is paying for us to stay in a Residence Inn (thank God!).  It was on the news and everything!

  • Sunday I’m running the Cherry Blossom 10-mile race in Washington DC!  So pumped 🙂

  • I was accepted to my top choice of grad schools! I’ll be starting a Speech Pathology program at Loyola University Maryland this coming Fall. I also received the blessing from my boss to continue working while attending school for as long as possible. It’s a long story for another post, but I’m making a big career change (CPA/Accountant to Speech Pathologist) and I was really worried about being laid-off if my employer knew about my plans.

  • My best friend decided to move her wedding date up, and now it’s in September!  More motivation to get myself into the best shape possible 🙂

That’s all for now, have a great day!