Thursday, April 7, 2016

My DC Weekend - Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

This past weekend was the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in Washington, DC where I got to see Alyssa & Tracy and run an awesome race in a pretty rad city.

I missed the Tuesday Training linkup last week so there hasn't been much of an update on my progress for all the races I signed up for.  After finally running from my apartment to Cup a Joe the weekend before last (a 7 mile route I'd been determined to run since my first half marathon) I was worried that my insanely tight legs wouldn't be ready for this past weekend.  After lots of back and forth in my brain, I decided that I ultimately wanted to just enjoy the course and cross the line without dying.  Secretly, I was determined to do it in under 2 hours, but I kept that to myself because I didn't want to put any unnecessary pressure on myself. Here's your weekend recap:

Saturday:   Ungodly 6AM alarm.  Caffeine.

Driving ! Traffic. Anger. Wawa !

Six and a half hours after leaving Raleigh, we arrived at our hotel.  Which is probably one of the only things I DIDN'T take a picture of out of the over 200 pictures from this weekend.  But it was 1.2 miles from the start line and expo which was great because it meant we could leave the car in one spot and walk wherever we needed to go. 

After heading to the expo and grabbing everyone's bib's and shirts, Brian and I decided to be tourists and head to the Washington Monument/find our route to the starting line before we had to figure it out at 6AM before the race. Side note: The last time I had been in Washington DC and not just driving through it was in 8th grade aka 2001. I was young and dumb and my only solid memory from that trip was buying a Ramone's CD at a mall we stopped at.  Anyway, fun pictures of monuments:

We met up with Alyssa, Tracy & Ben at the White House and walked to grab pizza at &pizza.  Go there.  Go there now if you have the luck to be anywhere near one. I died and went to pizza heaven. We talked strategy and meetups for the morning.  Tracy would unfortunately not be running (super sad face) but she was still there to support us and that meant so much.

After some quick pre-race prep, it was off to bed EARLY in order to get up for the 5AM alarm I had set.

Sunday: If you've already read Alyssa's recap, you know about the wind.  And it was also 30*.  Cold is an understatement.  My hands were so legitimately cold that they had numbed and I couldn't twist the cap on my water.  Thankfully I had packed leggings and long sleeves and a rain jacket.  Even though we were freezing, we made sure to take our pre-start pictures !

FROZEN.  Anyway. Brian left to go run stupidly fast with Meb (and never saw him because he actually ran past him without knowing) and Alyssa and I shivered until it was time to go.  She hopped in my corral so we had a few moments together before she took off and got out of the pack.  

Mile 1-3: The wind was AWFUL ! I couldn't feel my extremities and at one point it got so windy over the bridge that I couldn't run forward. Since there was a lot of out and back the first 5 miles, I got to see Brian (he must have been on mile 4 or 5 at this point) and yell "GO SPIKE !" as he ran by.  Praise hands emoji's that I'm an Italian Jersey girl, so he heard me. After that, I tried to not blow away, and focused on putting one foot in front of the other until I could feel body parts again. 

Mile 4-8: Thankfully the wind let up a little and the sun came out and it was gorgeous for most of miles 3-8 so I was able to take off my jacket. My hands thawed out eventually and because my legs had been so frozen during the start, they were able to loosen up without me even noticing and I felt great for the first 7 miles. I was feeling great and since the course was mostly flat, my splits were coming out pretty consistent which only made me feel better.

In an effort to pay attention to my surroundings and not get lost in my audiobook (A Discovery of and/or listen to it ASAP !) or stare at the ground the whole time, I took pictures during my walk breaks:

My favorite out of all the ones I took.

Captured the halfway mark in case Tracy or Alyssa needed to know I didn't die.

And *insert hallelujah chorus here* I FINALLY GOT SOME GOOD DURING RACE PHOTOS !

Guys, I was LOVING this race.  Aaaannnnnd then it all kinda fell apart. The farthest I've run in training prep for this race was 7 miles. No big deal, but my legs were still tight and sore going into it which lead to the morning of decision to wear shoes that were a half size too small for me but gave me more energy return than cushion.  More on this in a second. 

Mile 8:  Oh Mile 8, how I loathed you.  I had noticed my right hip flexor getting a little sore, but that seemed normal since it wasn't used to running over 7 miles and I wanted to just push through for another 2 miles. Until my right foot got caught in a dip where the road meets the curb and I heard (and felt) the pop that usually precedes pain.  (No, my hip flexor doesn't actually pop, but whatever nasty thing aggravates it, makes a sound like a pop).

Ow. Thankfully I'm not in as much pain during my walk breaks so I slow my pace while running and try and pick up the pace while walking.  Then the wind starts again.  Like seriously ?! I'm in pain, I'm trying not to cry, and now I'm cold again and being blown about ?

But what do you do ? I've already run 8.5 miles and the only way back to everyone is to finish and I don't want to be out here longer than I need to be.  So I suck it up, and keep going...until my left knee decides it doesn't want to overcompensate for my right leg and starts hurting as well. My watch beeps 9 miles.  The sobs I'd been holding back start coming out and at this point I text Brian (who had finished about an hour ago) with the words "Everything hurts. Crying." Thank whoever for the spectators.  They were out in full force from mile 9 to the finish, yelling, cheering, with signs and puppies and encouraging words to help me get to the next encouraging spectator. 

The Finish: After the longest 0.8 miles of my life, there was a hill...the only hill on the almost flat course. Since it had been so windy, the race couldn't have any mile markers or START/FINISH sign so I didn't actually know how close I was to being done outside that 0.2 miles.  I limped up the hill and found every last ounce of energy I had and somehow managed to cross the finish line, find Alyssa, Tracy & Brian, and finally stop moving.

No PR for me this time, but I have a chance for one in 3 weeks at the Tar Heel 10 Miler. I did finish in under 2 hours regardless so I'm calling that a win. I honestly can't wait to go back and run that race again.  Crossing my fingers that we can all get picked for the lottery again next year !

Remember the too small shoes ? When we got back and I took my shoes off, I couldn't move my big toe on my right foot and both little toes were more blister than toe. Fantastic.  At this point I was so sore, I didn't even care and resigned to deal with it later.  After a shower and some stretching and a lot of not moving for a little bit, Brian and I (very slowly) made our way back to &pizza and then to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. We figured it was the best thing we could have done before jumping in the car for another 4-5 hours.  I didn't care how much I hurt, I was going to have a good time at the museum !! And it was AWESOME.

The Hope Diamond - 45.52 Carats

My total step count for Sunday.

What a weekend ! Thank you to Tracy and Alyssa for putting up with me at the finish line - I swear I'll run a race with you where I'm not sick or injured ! And congrats to Alyssa and Brian for their EPIC PR's !

With Rock N Roll Raleigh on Sunday, and 4 days of no physical activity, my legs are starting to be where I want them and my feet don't feel like falling off.  I have no major goals for the half, except to finish if I start.  Ideally I'd like to do it around 2:30:00 but it's an ungodly hilly course and if past predicts future, my hip will give me problems after miles 10.  My goal is to be cautiously optimistic.  Brian will be running the full to qualify for the first wave/first corral for Boston on Sunday as well so it will be a runtastic day regardless.  

Looking ahead I have the Tar Heel 10 Miler on 4/23 and then Brian and I will head to Asheboro to run the Run Wild 5K at the NC Zoo ! 


  1. I'm so proud of you for sticking it out and doing what it took to get yourself to the finish line. I wish it hadn't been such a trial for you to do so but I'm glad recovery is underway. Was great seeing you this weekend <3

  2. You didn't die! At one point Find My Friebds said you were in the middle of the river and I was like umm...? So extra points for not drowning! I'm sorry the end was so rough but you pulled it out! So happy you got to do so many DC things, and special shout out for finding and choosing &pizza! All my fingers and toes crossed that we get in again next year (and that my foot works properly).

  3. oh my goodness, you are a star!! seriously that weather, i would have been like, nope. seriously though, kudos for sticking to it and crossing the finish line. high five!


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