I was so excited when I got accepted for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC again this year. To be able to run in this event, you need to put your name into a lottery. Then names are randomly selected out of the thousands and thousands of people who apply. I applied the last 3 years and was accepted the last 2. Last year I ended up dropping down to the 5K due to not feeling well and my sweet cat Willow passed away a few days before….I can NOT believe it’s been a year without my snuggle buddy.
Anyway, I was excited to be chosen again for this run – and the course did NOT disappoint. I believe the peak bloom day was a few days before the run, so when I arrived a few blossoms were falling, but the trees were still all in bloom and it was breathtaking! After heading to the expo, getting my packet, and bringing it back to the hotel I headed out to see the sights – along with like a million-bazillion other people. We were all headed to one place – the tidal basin. Although I have been to DC a few times, I am not completely sure where everything else is – turns out following the sea of people led me right to where I wanted to be.
There were literally THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people walking around taking in the sights. Despite all the people – it was still beautiful and for the most part people were very respectful and patient of the crowds and everyone wanting pictures. There was one guy who drove by and yelled out his window, “It’s just a bunch of FREAKING TREES PEOPLE!!!”
After getting my fill of nature for the day, I headed back to the hotel to rest up for the run. According to my watch I ended up walking 9 miles all around DC – so much for taking it easy!
After a restless nights sleep I got up and headed to the start. It was about a 2 mile walk just to get to the start. I was going to rent a bike share bike, but I was a little worried I would not have a place to park it like last year’s fiasco. I ended up walking and met some really nice people along the way. I made my way to my corral and waited for the start. I was having a lot of pre-race jitters. 10 miles is no problem, but could I do it in the time limit? I knew I would have to keep track of my time (I am a slow runner) – and Disney was the SLOWEST I have ever run (if u can call it running- due to the heat.) I also hadn’t really been running a lot since the Princess runs. sooo… yikes…
But I figured, what’s the WORST that could happen? I get swept? Big deal – I was lucky enough to wake up to a perfect day so I better at least try. Kevin and I looked at my corral start time and the time the race officially finished and figured out I SHOULD have plenty of time – I needed to keep a 15 and a half minute mile.
I lined up with the rest of my corral and ended up running into Melissa (@osunicorn_running_ninja) who I follow on instagram. It was nice chatting with her until we were off.
Every step of this course was so beautiful. I know I just walked around the same area the day before, but there was something extra special about it with all the runners and people cheering. I started out wayyy to fast. I was embarrassed to do the run/walk method because I felt like unless you are at a Disney race people don’t know what you are doing. I finally had to reason with myself; “Dana, u are gonna be out here awhile – SLOW DOWN! Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing!!” After my lungs started screaming, I gave in and started to transition into run/walk. (Exercise induced asthma sucks). I took my own advice and ran the way I was used to. I reached the 1/2 way point with plenty of time. I started to relax and take in the awesome views. WHAT A DAY! I kept checking my time and realized I had plenty of it for the last 5 miles. One mile I just straight up walked because it was so pretty!
I crossed the finish line at 10:19 – and you needed to cross before 10:20 to be considered an official finisher! WAHOO! I DID IT! I got my medal and sat in the grass near the Washington Monument to relax, proud of my accomplishment. Eventually after the post race snacks, I headed back to my hotel to relax.
I kept checking the finishers roster and my name wasn’t showing up – there was a link to click that if you didn’t see your name you could report it, so I clicked and was brought to a screen that said if I didn’t cross the finish line before 10:20 AND keep a 14 min mile pace for the whole race I wasn’t considered an official finisher. I think my pace was a 15 min mile (plus that mile walk break I decided to do.) WHOOPS! I didn’t realize this or I would have pushed harder at the end. I am still happy with the run – it couldn’t have been a better day!
So no matter if I am considered an official finisher of the Cherry Blossom 10 miler – I still COMPLETED it!