Back in the swing of things and ready to tell you about the adventures in DC this weekend for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 miler. A few years ago I ran the Rock and Roll half marathon in Washington DC. I loved it. I loved, loved, loved running through DC, near the monuments, etc. I had heard about the Cherry Blossom run and had wanted to possibly go back at some point and run that. However, I knew it was a popular race, knew it was a lottery, but never really looked into how to enter the lottery. Until this year. This year I marked my calendar and made a point of entering the lottery along with my boyfriend, Ben, and a really good old friend, Sully, who I hadn’t seen in forever that recently started running. Low and behold we got in! And this race has a great lottery where you can enter together so it’s all or nothing. Either you all get in or none of you get in. This is great.
Anyway, fast forward from December to April and you have race weekend. We drove down to DC on Friday night. This made for a long drive after work, but we figured it made more sense to head all of the way in rather than drive part way and have to get up early on Saturday to continue driving. We made it into our hotel in Bethesda, MD around midnight.
Long Lost Friends!
On Saturday, we met up with Sully and headed out for a five-mile run on the Capital Crescent Trail. It was literally two blocks from our hotel room. It was a beautiful day, all be it slightly windy. And it was sooooooooooooo nice to run outdoors in shorts and see the sunshine. It certainly has been a long winter. The trail was very busy but everyone was friendly. We took it easy and just used it as a sort of shake out run for the day. After showering and changing we hopped on the metro to head in to DC.
Packet Pick Up Location
Our first stop was packet pick up at the National Building Museum. The place was gorgeous. The entire expo was fairly well run so it was easy to go get our packets and t-shirts without much confusion. We wandered around the expo for a few minutes, but quickly decided we were starving so we headed out. After some wandering about we decided upon an Irish pub for lunch where we all promptly consumed a bacon cheeseburger… (please don’t tell my coach!) After that we headed down to see some monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Memorial, etc. Again, it was nice to be outdoors and enjoying the day. Maybe we should have been resting somewhere, but really the “race” was just being used as a nice long run so we covered a lot of ground sight-seeing on Saturday. Oh well.
After walking way too many miles we headed back to our hotel to rest for a bit before dinner. We decided to do dinner somewhere near by the hotel. It just made sense since there were a number of good restaurants there. We settled on an Italian joint that was really quite good. We had a very relaxing dinner filled with stories and laughter. It was great to catch up with a very good friend as our lives have changed a lot over the years. It was an early bed time as we had gotten in so late the night before and were going to have an early wake up call for the race. I think I was in bed by 8:30 and fast asleep by 9:30. Sweet sleep!
Race morning came with a wake up call at 5:00 AM. Fortunately, that’s not all that early when you’re training for an Ironman. I’m used to getting up and stupid early hours and prepping lots of things to go and train. Frankly, going to a running race feels relatively easy as there isn’t much to bring of prepare. We met down in the hotel lobby just before 6:00 AM for the metro ride into the city. With such a large race (15,000 for the 10 mile) the Sunday metro lines opened early to transport racers to the start. We were able to make it in and check our bags (we needed a coat for after the race) with no issues at all. We then had about an hour to kill taking photos and making jokes before lining up in our corral.
Photo bombing Sully! Ha…
And being silly
The whole start was relatively low-key, especially considering that there were 15,000 runners. The sunrise was beautiful over the Nations Capitol and that was touched off with the singing of the National Anthem. Not a bad way to start the day.
We were the third wave to go off. It took a bit for us to get to the start line, but we made our way there eventually. Once the race took off it was really clear that it was going to be crowded for most of the run. Fortunately, I had no intention of going out overly fast. I really just wanted to enjoy the run. Within minutes we had somehow lost Sully. Ben & I ran the whole race together, but honestly we didn’t talk much. Between dodging the people and just enjoying the scenery we were fairly occupied. Around mile one I repeated a few times how very lucky we are to have opportunities like these. We get to run in awesome places and see things in a way that maybe we wouldn’t have otherwise. It was a truly gorgeous morning and beautiful run.
Nothing really eventful happened throughout. We were able to finish up and then quickly find Sully, collect our medals and grab the tiny bit of race finish food they provided. The finish food was truly the only thing that I had to complain about. There were bananas and small bags of granola. That’s it. So we hopped on the metro back toward the hotel and some food! We needed to prep for the long drive home… which was made especially long with accidents etc along the way.
All in all, it was a really well run race, a beautiful course (I love DC) and I had a fantastic weekend catching up with an old friend. I would do it again in heartbeat!
So, how was your weekend? Any fun races to report?