01 April 2012

Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Miler Race Report

I will try not to waste a lot of time or space on this race report (didn’t actually happen so skip to the end for the briefs). This is the biggest (15,000 strong) 10-Miler that we have in the DC Metro; part of the Big 3 for 10 Mile races (Army Ten Miler, Credit Union Cherry Blossom, and Parkway Classic 10). I wanted to run this race just so that I can say that I did it; although I was duly warned about the crowds. I figured that I’d give myself a ‘gimme’ for the first mile and that after that it would surely clear up…

I ran with my Garmin but without the GPS because of battery issues, I can’t say that it really affected me much either way, except that I don’t have more reliable splits.

Mile 1:  I expect crowding and I’m not shocked. In all honesty, this was partially my fault and partially CB’s fault. They seeded runners based on their best 10-mile time so I was in the 8:30 (1:22.30) group of runners, although my goal for this race was 7:30 (1:15). I probably could have asked to be moved up, but I figured that I would be able to clear traffic by a mile in. 8:03.16

Mile 2: I realized that I can’t be upset with the runners around me (except for the ones that move laterally without looking first). It seems that everyone is truly running ~8:30s. Great for them, not so much for me. I was very cognizant of trying not to push too much to make up for lost time. I’d see little pockets of air that I would try to hit, but I didn’t want to surge forward; in some ways I question my wisdom of this decision. I moved up slowly, I thought, but the lap time didn’t show it. As I went past the 2 mile mark I started a decline and had to remember to hold back and not to let the clock and decline dictate my pace. 8:03.10

Mile 3&4 (didn’t press lap button): Still crowded (no seriously), but I am able to find a little air by pulling little surges. I did move up noticeably here. It is considerably crowded and these streets, 2 lane roads, don’t really give much space. Hi Jenn! I saw bingo_jenn in the middle of her run and near my turnaround point somewhere in mile 3. 15:10.82; significantly faster.

Mile 5: I can actually see that it is clearing up nicely but not much else going on. I realize that for a race of this size and for this amount of money it is silly that they don’t have timing mats on the course. I would assume that there would be mats (they have signs and clocks) at the 5k, 5Mile, 10K, and 15k. I meant to check my over all time but I was still miffed that there were no mats. Also, this was about the time that we passed the elite runners going into the last mile (women started 15 minutes ahead, I believe). 7:46.7

Mile 6: This mile was where I truly decided not to ever do this race again; although I was already on the fence. The timing clock was about 10-15 meters ahead of the mile marker. That may not seem like a lot, but it can be. This area was a two-lane road with two-way runner traffic and they decided to put a water stop here, then about 50 meters later, a hairpin turn. I mean really? RD, are you serious? Move the water stop up or back .25 mile. Put the clock next to the mile signage. Separate the turnaround from the water stop. Damn you!!! 7:38.68

Mile 7: We go into Hains Point. I truly hate running and racing here. A lot of people in this area don’t like to race here, but enjoy it for running. My personal hate aside (my second ever 10 mile training run was down here and it was an epic fail, I ended up in a cab; also, my first ever race here I DNF’d). This area basically comprises mile 6.5-9.25, that is almost three miles of nearly completely abandoned road. There was a non-sponsored band (some HS kids and their parents; which was cool), a DJ who was using obviously borrowed equipment, and a guy handing out beer. I appreciate all of them and their support; but that is all that was around for almost three miles. This part of the course goes along the water, but there were not even boats in the water! I would appreciate if CB used fewer volunteers to cheer on the course (where there are always friends and family) and use those same volunteers in Hains Point. Better yet, sponsor some bands. I’m sure many would play for free; Hell I feel like I need to set up there next year. 7:40.60

Mile 8: Not much of note here, more of Hains Point. A lady did come up and asked me to run strong because she had been keying off of me for the last few miles. She said that she got nervous when she didn’t see me and had to speed up… I looked for her at the end. I hope she finished well. (If you’re reading this: “Good Job out there”). 7:43.40

Mile 9: Ending of Hains Point. A guy went down here and was being tended to by medical personnel; I said a little prayer for him, but the rumor was that he didn’t make it and I truly hope that was incorrect. I saw another guy who seemed to have tripped over the sidewalk and fell. Medical folks were there super quick! I have to give two big thumbs up to the first responders!
Mile 10: Meh… They had little signs that read 1200/800/400 to go, which was neat. I was ready to be done. My watch was all wonky here so I don’t really know what split I have for the last mile. (1.50, 4.94, 7:22.46=7:28.9?)

All-in-all I had a good race and I know that this wasn’t the goal anyway. This race did make me very excited to run my goal race at Parkway in four weeks. I have a 5k series to race between now and then. Thanks for your attention. I’m still waiting on official results, but my Garmin said 1:17:14. I kinda hope that I was 15 seconds faster than that…

After the race I changed clothes and met up with some of the people from our Fun Run group. They all seemed to do well and laughed at me while I was complaining; we are really spoiled by our LRS’s races. They ran this race last year and knew what was up. Silly, me. This is where my Fun Run co-leader commented, “You are much faster than you act,” after asking me about my time. I took it as a compliment; I think that she means that I don’t always go out and do our fun runs at 8:30 pace…

ETA: They posted results. Gun time. That is it. I am still waiting for Chip time. The site shows that it is supposedly Net and Gun times, but all of the times are the same. I think that I need to go run now... The only people who care about gun time are the O/A placers, who would know where they are instantly, and the A/G folks. BTW, Net time is NOT Gun time, Credit Union Cherry Blossom! Oh and my 5 mile split is not my gun time (or net time) divided by 2. Ridiculous. This is seriously ridiculous.

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