Race Recap: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I LOVE this race! It is an awesome course, an extremely well organized race and this year the we even got to take in the cherry blossoms at peak bloom!


After work Friday I took the metro in to D.C. to the National Building Museum to pick up my packet. I was able to zip in and out without waiting in any lines for my bib or my t-shirt. I went with the regular cotton shirt instead of paying for the upgrade and thought this year’s was a pretty cool design.

Saturday, I kept the race weekend fun going by meeting up with fellow Oiselle teammates for a day before lunch at Vapiano. I seriously love being a member of this team – such an incredible group of women!

I was up at 5:15 Sunday, had a quick breakfast and headed out the door to drive to Rosslyn where I could metro in to the starting line. With 50-degree temps and no wind on tap I wore my Oiselle rogas, singlet and arm warmers.


I got in to D.C. well before the race started and made my way to the bathroom lines which were a whole lot shorter and easier to access than at Rock ‘n Roll a month ago. Bag drop was a breeze and then I got in a solid warm-up before getting into my corral. I probably got in a bit early and ended up having to stand around for 15 or 20 minutes before we started.

Shortly before the race there was an accident on the course that forced them to change the course at the last minute. Race management did an incredible job of communicating this change and the race still went off on time completely seamlessly. Between miles four and six they ended up cutting out about a half of a mile.


We set off down Independence Ave and out and back over Memorial Bridge. I promised myself I wouldn’t start out too fast for once and made myself stay behind the 8-minute pacer for the first mile. I felt really good and strong. The miles ticked by as we ran out on Rock Creek Parkway and back toward Hains Point. Miles four through six especially flew by!

By mile seven my legs were definitely starting to feel the fact that although I’ve been doing a great job working on speed, I haven’t been running much more than three or four miles at a time. I felt like I was crashing hard. I tried to pump my arms hoping my legs would follow, but around mile eight the 8-minute pace crew caught up to me. I did my best to keep them in my sights and tried to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossom trees lining the road.

I was really relieved to hit mile nine and leave Hains Point behind and head to the finish line. I always think of the last mile in terms of just having to run four laps around the track, so I loved that they had signs signifying the last 1200, 800 and 400 meters! I also love that the final sprint to the finish line is a slight downhill!

I crossed the line in an unofficial time of 1:16:28 for roughly 9.5 miles averaging just over an 8-minute pace. They are still re-measuring the course to come up with an official distance and will give us projected finish times, but I’m fairly confident I would have made it under 1:20.

I was so pleased with this time. It’s still a little bit off my PR on this course, but so much better than I’ve been doing and I really feel like my speed is coming back. I’m so close to getting back to where I want to be and seeing where I can take it from there!


The mile-by-mile breakdown:
Mile 1 – 7:50
Mile 2 – 7:44
Mile 3 – 7:50

Mile 4 – 7:55
Mile 5 – 8:03
Mile 6 – 8:04
Mile 7 – 8:11
Mile 8 – 8:37
Mile 9 – 8:28
Mile 10 (.5 miles) – 7:44 pace

After I crossed the line I grabbed a water and made my way back to bag check. They were so well organized that they spotted my bib number as I was walking up and had my bag ready by the time I was at the table. I changed into a dry shirt and a hoodie and headed back to the finish line to see friends cross, but there were just so many people there I finally gave up and headed home.


Instead of dealing with the metro I took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked back down the Mall, over Memorial Bridge and into Rosslyn where my car was parked. I went straight to my favorite bagel place in Courthouse – Brooklyn Bagel Bakery where I enjoyed an everything bagel with egg and cheese and a hot chocolate! Pretty good way to start off a Sunday!

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

This week got off to a slow start, but ended strong. I am really close to being back to where I want to be and feel like my speed work is paying off. Now I just need to keep turning it up a notch in the speed department and slowly build up my endurance as well.

Here’s the day by day breakdown:

Monday: Travel day – took a complete rest day.

Tuesday: I taught early morning boot camp followed by my own strength workout and my p90x core workout. I also put in three easy miles along the W&OD trail.

Wednesday: Today was supposed to be a speed workout and turned into a full rest day.

Thursday: I taught morning boot camp and got in a few miles taking them off site on a run. I had good intentions of getting another run in on my own but that didn’t happen. I did get in most of my p90x core workout though.

Friday: Another unplanned rest day, but I did make it in to D.C. to get my packet for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!


Saturday: I got up early and finally got that speed workout in planned for Wednesday and it felt great. It was a windy, but beautiful morning for 200s along the W&OD. I did eight repeats with a 200 recovery jog – the first four were in to the wind and the last four I had a tailwind. I ran the repeats in: 49, 48, 49, 49, 43, 46, 43, 43.

Sunday: I ran one of my absolute favorite races on a perfect day in D.C. and had a great Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!! Well, it was actually a 9.5 miler, but I’ll explain that in tomorrow’s race recap. I ran just over an 8-minute pace and felt great!

Race Recap: Cherry Blossom 5k

OK, final overdue race recap is here! I’ve frequently talked about my love for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on the blog, and this year was no different except that I opted for the 5k instead of the 10 miler.

It took me until Saturday night to make the final decision to switch to the 5k. Could I run 10 miles? Of course. Would it be a lot slower than my previous two years of finish times? Absolutely. Now I know that’s a dumb reason not to do a race, but I knew it would bug me and I just wouldn’t enjoy the race as much. It turned out to be a great decision. I loved the 5k course and I even showed a little speed compared to my runs of late this year giving me a good push to getting back into things and picking up the pace in my training runs going forward. It also didn’t hurt that the start time was about an hour and a half later than the 10 miler – yay for sleep!

Things kicked off on Saturday with a Oiselle meet up at Vapiano in D.C. It’s always so fun to get together with these girls!

Oiselle Team & Friends

Oiselle Team & Friends

On Sunday morning, Ian and I were up early and off to the metro. We ended up running into my Oiselle teammate Prianka at the Smithsonian stop, which was pretty amusing since I also ran into her randomly on the metro before the Marine Corps Marathon last fall. Almost as if we planned it, we walked by the start/finish area for the 10 Miler just as the lead women ran by. Boy can they fly, and yet make it look so easy.


We made our way to the 5k start area. I headed off for a quick warm-up and Prianka went to meet a friend she was going to pace for the race. I again sported my Oiselle shimmel tank and fresh green shorts for the race. Somehow I greatly underestimated how chilly it was going to be out. Luckily I had arm warmers and calf sleeves on as well to give me a little extra warmth.


Waiting at the start line was brutal. I was absolutely freezing. As you can tell by the picture below I appear to be the only one who didn’t get the memo about the temperature. Fortunately I warmed up really quickly and felt fine by about half mile in.

Missed the memo on how chilly it would be!

Missed the memo on how chilly it would be!

I loved this 5k course. I busted out my Newton flats for the first time in a longtime and they felt so light on my feet. Love that feeling! We started off heading down Independence Ave. on a slight decline before a quick right and left turn taking us over Memorial Bridge.


I really felt good and started to get into a groove. After crossing over the bridge, through the traffic circle and a bit closer to the entrance to Arlington Cemetery we made the turnaround to retrace our steps back to the finish. Even with the slight incline back to the finish line where we started I still ran each mile increasingly faster.


My 25:20 finish time was no where near my PR, but I was really happy with it and am excited to start getting my speed back over the next few months here as I get running more and start integrating speed workouts back into my training. It was also good enough to put me in 74th place overall out of 2,067, 25th out of 1,519 women and 6th out of 364 in my age group.

This little guy was cheering on runners from the sideline. I think Ian really needs to follow through on his idea of starting a Tumblr site featuring race dogs!

IMG_3914I was able to really quickly navigate through the finish area and make it back to where Ian was watching from in time to see Prianka run to the finish as well!

IMG_3931Then we decided to take a shot at heading up to the 10 Miler finish to see if my brother’s fiancee and her sister had finished yet. With so many people in that race we didn’t think we’d have a great shot, especially since we didn’t even know what corral they had started in. As we walked near the finish line I somehow spotted my brother waiting on the sidelines, and we were able to grab a spot and catch Adrienne and Courtney on their way to the finish line!


We wrapped up a great morning with breakfast at Bob & Edith’s Diner on Columbia Pike in Arlington. If you live around here and haven’t been there yet, you should go! Yet another successful Cherry Blossom in the books!


Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

I only ran 20 total miles last week, but it was a great week of training. I put in short interval and tempo runs along with my cross training before running in the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on Sunday. Here’s the day by day training breakdown…

Monday: Spin Class

Tuesday: 3 miles easy – run home from work.

Wednesday: I’ve been trying to do all of my interval workouts outside this training cycle, but just couldn’t work it in today. I did find a quick time slot to get down to the treadmill though, and put in 4 miles total including a 1/2 mile warm-up followed by five 1/2 mile intervals at a sub-7 minute pace with 90-second recovery jogs before cooling down.

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: I put in a short 3-mile tempo run Friday morning on the treadmill starting at a 7:30 pace and working down to a 7:18 pace.

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: Race Day! I had a great day at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler setting a new PR for the distance with a finish time of 1:15:54. I’ll have a full recap out tomorrow, but I was thrilled with the PR and only 54 seconds behind my goal for this race leaving me very optimistic that I’m on the right track for the Nike Half Marathon at the end of the month.


Beautiful Day for a PR!

The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler was a blast this morning! The weather was a bit chilly when I first got out there, but was perfect to run in and the sun was shining all morning. I set a new 10-mile time PR with a 1:15:54 finish for an average 7:35 pace! Full recap to come this week, but here are a few pics courtesy of Ian. Congrats to everyone who raced today!








Final Prep: The Day Before Race Day

The day before a race I like to get everything ready, so I have nothing to stress me out or worry about on race day. It also keeps me from forgetting things. The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler expo opened on Friday so I was able to take care of that and pick up my race bib yesterday.

I took it easy today and didn’t work out. I’m used to rest days, but it felt very strange on a Saturday. I checked out the course map one last time to remind myself where the water stops would be and plan out spots for Ian to see me along the course and meet up after.

I pinned my number onto my race shirt. I always do this while I’m wearing the shirt becuase of an incident during a triathlon where I tried to slip into my shirt after the swim only to realize I’d put the saftey pins through both sides of the shirt! I check the weather forecast one last time and decide what to wear then lay out all my clothes from head to toe to make sure I’ve got everything I need. I also pack a post-race bag with a change of clothes and different sneaks to put on after the race.

Ready to Run!

Ready to Run!

I also charge my Garmin even if I’ve recently charged it because I might actually panic if it died on me during a race. I make sure I have my Road ID ready and my Gu or other fuels I plan to take during the race too.

Gu, Garmin and Road ID

Gu, Garmin and Road ID

I plan out my breakfast too. I’ve got the bread maker running so I can have a slice of toast to go with my banana and yogurt. I have a Clif Bar too that I’ll eat if I still feel hungry. Usually for races of this distance I won’t need it, but like to have it ready just in case.



I’d like to say I’m planning on a lowkey early night, but my Syracuse Orange have made the Final Four, so I’ll be rooting them on with fellow Syracuse friends tonight! Go Orange!

Good luck to everyone running Cherry Blossom tomorrow morning! Say hi if you see me out there!



Race Prep – Taking on the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler This Weekend

I’ve already mentioned it a million times (what can I say, I like to talk about races!), but for those that don’t know, I’m running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on Sunday. I’ve done this race twice before and it’s one of my favorites. It’s a crowded race, but also a fast and flat course. It travels by so many of the great Monuments and sights throughout D.C. that I get to take in on so many of my daily runs, so it’s not surprise I love it.

Cherry Blossom Race

Cherry Blossom Race

I technically don’t have plans to race this as it is supposed to be a training run along the way to my goal race – the Nike Women’s D.C. Half Marathon coming up at the end of the month. However, I’d like to run it at my half marathon goal race pace, which is 7:30, and that would actually be a 10-miler PR for me. I set my current 10-miler PR at last year’s Cherry Blossom race with a 7:40 pace. Seeing as this course is very similar to the half I’m preparing for, it will be a great test to see where I’m at.

I’m planning to pick my packet up Friday afternoon around lunch time. I know it’ll be busy then, but they did a good job of handling the rush at this time last year and it keeps me from having to get out to the Expo on Saturday when I’d rather be relaxing and getting my legs ready for race day. Before I even get to that though I’m treating my legs to a deep tissue massage after work today. They might hurt during the massage, but it sure makes a difference and leaves my legs feeling so much better after.

Race Shirt and Bib

Race Shirt and Bib

On Saturday I will get all my clothes and gear out and ready, and map out a plan with Ian for where he can see me along the course and how we’ll meet up after. I try to get some good carbs and protein in at dinner the night before a race too. I also like to go over the course map one last time and make sure I know where the water stops are. I drink a ton of water all the time, but I try to pay special attention to it on pre-race days.

On Sunday morning the plan is to get there early since I know it’ll be crowded and I want to get a good spot in my corral. My mantra for this race will be to START SLOW, FINISH FAST. I am the absolute worst at this and have never executed it successfully in a longer race. I know I need to get better at this so I don’t ruin my entire race in the first couple miles. I’ve always had a tough time with knowing my pace, but getting the Garmin has helped out a lot with that. I’m trying to decide whether to line up with the 7:30 pacer or not. Last year I did and we went out so much faster than that pace that I lost him at mile 2 and it really hurt me down the stretch. This is going to be a game-time decision for me. I might even try to find the pacer beforehand and ask him/her what the plan is for the first couple miles.

The Hains Point portion of the course definitely got the best of me last year, but I’ve practiced running on it so many times since then that I am SO ready to take it on. My biggest fear for that section of the course is a windy day. I really struggle running into the wind there. How do you all feel about drafting? If it is super windy and I tuck in behind someone bigger than me is this wrong since realistically there are not too many others I could return the favor for since I’m only 5 feet 4 inches tall!

Regardless of how I do I plan to have fun. I love running, but these are the days that I put in all the hard work for and I don’t want to let it go by without enjoying it!

Are you racing this weekend? Let me know where and hope to see you if you’re doing Cherry Blossom too!

Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC: Here I Come!

My first goal race of 2013 is the Nike Women’s half marathon in Washington D.C., and I cannot wait! Monday marked the start of my official training plan. I kicked things off with a cross training and strength training day before hitting the hills this morning. I’ve decided to follow the Hal Higdon advanced half marathon plan, but am switching the Monday and Wednesday runs to cross training days. As much as I want to get back to running six days a week, I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet and don’t want to overdo things again this year only to end up re-injured.

I’m a bit annoyed at myself for paying 100 bucks more for this race than my last full marathon (this was $160), but sometimes the experience is worth the cost and I’m hoping that’s the case with this one. It’s the inaugural race in D.C., so I’m excited to be a part of it. I love that Nike partners with Team in Training – an awesome organization that supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and also the group I ran my first marathon with. Another bonus…instead of a medal when you cross the finish line, you’re given a little blue box with a Tiffany’s necklace in it!

I ran the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco way back in 2005. I’m not sure why, but I remember less about this race than any other marathon I’ve done, but I do recall it being pretty well organized and a fun event. It was marathon number two for me and I’ve come a long ways since then. I had so much energy in college that I could go out and run a marathon without really training (just very slowly), and I also didn’t really know the right ways to train for a race. I had a basic 3-day-a-week and one long weekend run plan that I kind of, sort of followed as the semester got busier. Unfortunately, it was usually the long runs that I didn’t always fit in.

Race nutrition wasn’t something I’d even heard about. I thought people eating along the course needed to suck it up. I mean going 4 to 5 hours without food shouldn’t be that difficult, right? Oh, I had so much to learn. I’m fairly certain my pre-race meal the night before was at a bar where I had a grilled cheese sandwich and a Miller Lite. OK, it was two Miller Lites. What was I thinking?!

Needless to say, I will be A LOT more prepared for the Nike Half. I learn more with each race I do and can’t wait to put my latest knowledge into action as I take on this course. I love racing in my own backyard and that’s what this course feels like. I know and have repeatedly run every inch of it, which I think will be a huge benefit come race day. We’ll get some awesome views of the monuments along the Mall, do an over and back on Memorial Bridge, pass by the Kennedy Center, brave Hains Point and finish up on Pennsylvania Ave not too far from the White House. I’ll also get to do a dress rehearsal a few weeks earlier at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler which follows a similar course.

My goal for the race is 1:38:15, which would be a 5-minute PR and a 7:30 pace. I’m going to have to really kick it up a notch in my training to get back to running at that pace and be able to sustain it for that long. My fastest pace for a longer distance race to date is 7:40, but that was also “only” a 10 miler, so it’s an ambitious goal, but one I think I can reach if I prep right. I also know a whole bunch of people who are also running this race, which makes it even more fun.

Let me know if you’re running the DC Nike Half as well and what your goal is for the race – can’t wait to see everyone out there on April 28!