Tuesday, April 9, 2013

No Cherry Blossoms but a New PR!

Yesterday I ran my second Cherry Blossom 10 Mile.  This was my second big road race ever and first 10 mile race when I fell in love with running and racing in 2010 so this race is special to me.  I remember being so excited and crying at the finish line when I finished it in 1:43 the first time and then being exhausted for the rest of the day.  What a difference a few years makes!  This year JD and I jogged down to the start line from GW where we had parked and got in a mile warm up.

 The sun was still coming up, and it was chilly.

Sunrise was gorgeous
We jumped around to stay warm and used the surprisingly uncrowded porta potties.
Look!  No lines at 6:45 am!

I met up with a bunch of the mother runners  from various Moms Run This Town chapters and we took some photos.   I ate some gummy bunnies and was feeling really relaxed and ready to load into the corrals.  I was also super excited about the National Women's 10 Mile Championships and geeking out that Janet Bawcom was there and running the same course that I was running.

Elite Women's Start (courtesy of CUCB)
 I step into the blue corral and someone taps me on the shoulder.  It was one of my friends from work.
Quick selfie before they launch us.

The gun went off for the elite men and then the next corral went.  Then it was time to launch the blue corral.  It was a mess in the beginning.  I hate running in crowds and was dying to get out of the group.  I started dodging and weaving and running faster to get away from people and get some free space to run.  I finally got some running room when we hit the Memorial Bridge.  I love this part of the run.  I run there a lot on my regular morning runs so it feels comfortable, and I love the views.  I was cruising along and feeling good while listening to people complain about the ?hill? on the bridge.  In the back of my head I was thinking that it would be nice if I broke 1:30, but I didn't really feel like pressuring myself in the race.  I just wanted to relax and enjoy the run and see what happened.  I vowed not to look at my watch once and run at a pace that felt comfortable but slightly challenging.  I had noted that I crossed the start line around 10:30ish so I could occupy myself calculating splits when I saw mile markers, and I knew that I was running pretty well early (mile 1-9:04; mile 2-8:43; mile 3-8:43).  So we head under the Kennedy Center and turn around (hate this part of the run-the turnaround and running under the Kennedy Center annoy me).  Then I get caught in some slow mess as someone drops a phone onto the street and has to stop to pick it up and causes a pile up (main reason that I totally support the no headphone rule in these huge races). There are also a lot of people stopping to walk which annoys me greatly.  If you are walking this early (and they clearly weren't using a run/walk strategy), then you don't need to be in the blue corral.  So at mile 4 I am elbowed, almost tripped, and kicked a few times until I hop up on the sidewalk and get out of the mess while still managing to run 8:48.  This whole time I am swearing that I am never running another big race in DC, and that I hate this race. 

Still was happy enough to ham for a photo (Marathonfoto)
Then comes mile 5 where we are done with the annoying turnarounds and ready to get out to the point (9:14) for a 5 mile split of 45:25 and average pace of 9:05 on the first half of the race.  At this point I feel like I'm passing more than I was getting passed so that put me in a really good mood.  I also blew by the 9:30 pace group somewhere around here which tells me that I started way too far back in my corral since I should never have been that far behind them based on my pace.

Finally we hit Haines Point so I am excited to see some of the A runners coming out.  I missed the elite men unfortunately.  I had been hoping to catch a glimpse of them.  As we turn onto the Point, the wind just hits me.  I feel like I'm exerting way more effort, and I feel like my pace is dropping.  I am not looking at my watch.  I am just going to keep going.  I know it gets better, and I need to prove to myself that I can tackle Haines Point after falling apart on it at Marine Corps.  9:06 mile 6 and 56:52 10K split.  It feels like 5 miles out to the end, but pretty soon I see the free beer and oreos sign and make the turn. Mile 7 is where I really drop off my pace and end with 9:26 for the mile.  I kept trying to tuck myself in behind larger groups of runners to draft a little, but it wasn't helping much.   As soon as I make the turn, the run starts to feel much easier.  I want to pick up the pace, but I can't seem to make myself push it much more than I already am.  To tell the truth, I wasn't trying all that hard because I was still in the enjoy the run mode.  I am disappointed this whole time that the cherry blossoms are not out, but I am still chugging right along with a horrifying 9:30 pace-post race analysis tells me that miles 7-8 are where I lose any chance at sub 1:30. 

I see the 9 mile sign with my time and realize that I can probably PR after doing some quick math (yes, I'm a geek, and this is how I occupy myself when I run). I had picked up the pace at mile 9 for a 9:11 mile.  Pretty soon we hit the tiny hill near the end.  I know that it's coming so I'm ready for it, and I push up it.  I feel like I'm passing quite a few people at this point, but my pace really was only 9:16.  My watch beeps for 10 miles (46:29 for the last 5 miles so a little over a minute slower), and I finally see the finish line and make a nice push for the end. 

I know that I'm going to easily PR now, and I am pretty much shocked when I see that I have PR'd by slightly over 1 minute for a final time of 1:32:13.  (I ran 8:02 for the last 0.15 miles because all of that weaving around really added some distance which adds 1:14  to my time so quit weaving and run the tangents better. This tells me that I had a lot left in the tank which I already knew.  )

 Then I'm instantly irritated because I know that I could have easily run harder and gotten sub 1:30.  Overall I was really happy with this run since it wasn't really a goal race.  I just enjoy this race (yes, I know that I said I hated it earlier, but I always love it again by the end).  As soon as I was done, I was walking quickly through the finishers' chute to find JD, grab my medal, and do our cool down run back to GW with a Starbucks pit stop.

 I really needed this run because it's been a long time that I enjoyed a race this much without completely stressing and freaking about paces.  I also love that this race attracts so many elite runners.  Sorry that I missed seeing the elite men's finish.
Kiprono or Salel??? (courtesy CUCB)

3061 out of 10,329 females-only 30% ahead of me so I'm in the top third
My fave part about Cherry Blossom are the RunPix results since I can do what I do best and analyze the data.  According to my results, during the second half I passed 235 runners and got passed by 644 (it didn't feel like that many people were passing me, but it was really crowded at the end).  I was also ahead of 41% of the males in the race so go me (they were probably all senior citizens but I'll take it)!
415/1581 in my age group-only 26% of finishers were ahead so almost made it into the top 25%
7309/17,545 overall so 42% of the finishers were ahead of me
Which translates to avg of 9:13 mile

1 comment:

  1. Great race and congrats on the PR! I wanted to draft behind other runners, too, but there just wasn't anyone who was running my pace. Everyone was going either faster or slower. And from the pictures it looks like there is a lot of empty space in front of me and a ton of runners behind, so maybe the were drafting off of little ol' me!

    Tangents and weaving make a huge difference. I found myself weaving a lot more this year than last year. This year, Gamin clocked 10.07 and last year, 10.05. So my Garmin average pace was the same, but it wasn't a PR because I ran "further" this year. It's also hard to tell where the tangents are with so many runners. That was the great thing about B&A, right!?

    Anyway, we'll have to meet up one day at a race. Congrats!