Sunday's Cherry Blossom 10 Miler was the rewarding culmination of the past couple months of training with a stronger body and mind. Thanks to a realistic race plan ironed out with my coach, and executing said plan, my final time of 60:48, a 6:05 avg, fell into my "ecstatic" finish time range AND established the slog record for this distance.
I pulled the trigger in signing up for Cherry Blossom this year with my Georgetown Running Company teammates, who are always enthused to do this race as measured by the level of documentation for the event: a feature length film and hundreds upon hundreds of photos. Congrats to the guys for winning the team challenge and our ladies who raced really well: Beth, Laurel, Michelle, Ruthie, and Shannon. It's been lots of fun running around the track with the group under the watchful eye of Coach Jerry.
A week before Cherry Blossom I read a blog post about race pacing that had an enlightening final section, Racing with a Garmin - Things to understand, which explained why people tend to run longer than the actual race distance. WHATTT? It links to another post which details how race courses are measured--knowledge is power, people. The truly lazy swimmer in me was determined not to run more than I had to. As a result, I was a vigilant tangent runner--looking ahead to run a straight line and in CONSTANT disbelief when those around me would unnecessarily curve with the road (unless running into the wind where it's best to LATCH ON LIKE GLUE to the biggest guy).
Onto the race--I figured that the first-mile mayhem wasn't worth getting frustrated over, so I did not waste energy running around anyone quickly. I was too conservative, though, and came through the first mile in 6:22. For a split second, I thought "Oh no! 22 seconds is a lot to make up," but I squashed this thought immediately and adjusted my pace to get the next mile where it needed to be. This is my proudest moment from the race.
The next mile was right in line at 6:11, and then I started to get rolling. I focused on staying within myself and under control. I passed the half-way point in 30:39, smiling inside in knowing I would be under 61 minutes.
This chest-beating action explains why my arms were sore. Yikes.
With 2.5 miles to go, the course curves around Hains Point and you find yourself running into a headwind. As hinted previously, I found a friend and hung out on his non-windy shoulder. Once we hit the 8 mile mark, however, my windshield kicked it into another gear that I did not have. At that point, I was on schedule to finish near 60:30, but the wind and small hill at the end proved otherwise!
The last two miles were predictably hard. Klim (on a bike, no less) appeared 1/2 mile from the finish to remind me: THIS IS WHEN IT COUNTS. His repeated "Go Lindsey's" inspired the shirtless gentleman, also racing, to shout a GO LINDSEY, too. Again, I was smiling inside.Notice how efficiently I round the bend and that if I were any closer, I'd be wrangled in the barricade.
Thanks for the photos, Jarrin.
This race experience was so exciting and encouraging for me. I'm more motivated to prepare for the triathlons I have coming up and want to do some good things. It was especially nice to relay my happy news to my mom and dad (and my loyal cheerleader, LAHP). :)
Here's our team assembling for the group photo. I felt like I hit the jackpot when Emily placed her Lily, the youngest GRC member, in the center of our team photo (right by me!!!). The guy in the red top is jazzed, too.
p.s. - LAHP had words on my race photos: