LOCATION: Washington Monument Grounds, Washington DC
COURSE: Flat and Fast
DISTANCE: 10 Miles
PRICE: (Lottery Only) – $40 if chosen
GOAL: To Finish With My Husband!
The Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run is PERFECT! Yes. Perfect. It’s one of the most scenic, peaceful, energy filled runs you could imagine running. Plus its flat and I don’t know about you but I like FLAT runs! I train on hills 95% of the times so running something flat seems like a breath of fresh air no matter where it is! My goal for this race was to finish with my husband. This was his first run longer than 6 miles and only his 8th time EVER running. I have complete faith in him, but for this, I was really concerned he wouldn’t know what hit him come mile 8-10. We also met up with a great friend of ours and it was her first run longer than 6 miles too. I made a decision to stick it out with both of them instead of pursuing a new PR.
The course started at the monument. The corals were set and there was a sea of people. 15,000+ of them! When we finally made our way to the start line I think I hear the Elite Runners had already approached their 3 mile marker. Talk about fast. I can’t imagine running 430-5 min miles. INSANE! From there, we headed over the Memorial Bridge, under the Kennedy Center, and back towards the Tidal Basin. This entire section is pretty quick and filled with happy cheerful individuals. We felt great and was pacing at a 10 min mile for the most part. I didn’t want to pace them too quickly through this section because I knew what was in store for them the rest of the way. So we stuck to a 10 min. mile. This wasn’t too bad for me either since the day before I had run 16 miles! Everyone was doing great as we headed into miles 6-9.
It was beautiful through this area and “IF” the blossoms were out, this would have been the place to be. We saw a few here and there but not much this year! I could feel the pace slowing and I knew we were moving into the MENTAL part of the race. Here is where you find out what a runner is made of. My husband decided he just wanted it over with so he took off and started plowing through his last 4 miles. I had no idea what he was thinking but knew he was a mentally tough guy so I knew he’d figure it out. My girlfriend was in the groove and stayed at a comfortable 10 min pace but you could tell it was wearing on her. This is where my coaching instincts kick in. My voice needed to be louder than the one in her head so I talked to her the rest of the way. The only thing I could think about was what she said in the beginning, “All I want to do is finish it running. I don’t want to stop to walk.” So, it was my job to make sure she didn’t stop!!
She did great. She stayed in the pocket of 10-1030 pace and just kept her feet moving. I knew the last mile was going to be a little tougher for her so I didn’t push her too much. I stayed in front and continued to talk to her. Of course, I’m sure she wanted me to shut up at some point but I knew it was what she needed. We headed into mile 9-10 and having the 400m markers was GENIUS! I just kept telling her she only had a few more 1/4 miles to go until the last one and she finally believed me. She saw the finish line and took off. It was awesome to see. She crushed her goal and NEVER STOPPED!
Meanwhile, as I crossed the finish line I was thinking where did my husband go and POOF! there he was standing with his water and looking great! He pushed through and finished at a 9:45 pace! For someone who hadn’t trained AT.ALL. beforehand… that is pretty darn impressive.
All in all, this is and will always be one of my FAVORITE races. 15,000+runners and all!