This race is one of Washington’s most popular races with thousands entering the lottery each year. This year, thanks to Anne and the team at Cabot Cheese, I was able to run as part of their race team. Since they are one of the race’s sponsors they were able to provide Anne with 10 bibs for her friends, readers and fellow bloggers. I had a wonderful time getting to meet these women and spend time with them on Saturday and Sunday.
After enjoying a delicious dinner with the rest of Team Cabot at the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Pre-Race dinner, I woke up at 6 AM Sunday morning excited to run. Room service came to the rescue with pre-race breakfast of coffee and a banana which I paired with a KIND bar from our Cabot friends.
Sunday’s race weather wasn’t exactly ideal with wind chills of 25 degrees and 40 mile per hour wind gusts forcing the race organizers to remove all course signage. They sent an email to all participants on Saturday evening, warning them of the changes.
Based on this note and the weather forecast, I decided to wear every layer of running gear I brought with my to Washington, DC resulting in an unusual, unfashionable look that luckily kept me warm. When we arrived at the start area around 7 AM, just 30 minutes before the race start, the area was still eerily quiet due to the cancellation of all pre-race activities. You could tell that people were either hiding in coffee shops, their cars or decided not to run. After using the bathroom, Theodora and I headed over to the corrals where we proceeded to hug each other for warmth and laugh about the conditions. The prior day it was sunny and 70 degrees while suddenly on race morning it was frigid. Don’t mind my tired eyes or our very odd race attire. Theodora was lucky enough to have fleece lined attire since her amazing friend, Meg, brought all the athleisure gear for spectating. Me, on the other hand, I opted to wear purple Pro Compression socks paired with my Lululemon crops as well as my new Brooks running jacket, the Drift Shell.
Right around 7:30 the corrals started to move forward and we prepared to run. After my half marathon disaster two weeks ago, I went into this race with two goals: treat it like a long run and have fun. It’d been more than two years since Theodora and I ran a race together so I figured I’d tag along with her for as long as possible since her pace goals were pretty close to my half marathon goal pace. I don’t have any pictures from the actual race as I decided to keep my phone tucked safely inside my Spibelt after cracking the screen during the NYC half marathon.
The first mile was packed with people who were jogging or walking, forcing us to weave a bit before we found our groove in the middle of the pack. Theodora, who used to live in DC, served as my tour guide during the race pointing out bridges, monuments and other important sites. Most of the cherry blossoms were long gone after Friday’s rain and Sunday’s wind, but the few that remained were gorgeous! I let Theodora set the pace for the race, since she hasn’t been training or running long distances during the frigid, Winter months. In fact, Sunday’s race was her first double digit race since the marathon! The pace felt great the entire race, and was comfortable enough that I could make conversation without feeling winded or tired. I even had the opportunity to high five a few friends and readers who shouted hello as we passed each other. I couldn’t believe what a beautiful day it was, sans the wind chills and lack of appropriate clothing. Miles three through six were the most enjoyable, as we were warm and relaxed during these sunshine miles, before we were met with the horrid wind gusts of Hains Point. Our only focus during the Hains Point miles were to keep moving and not let the wind deter us. It was definitely blustery and I felt every mile of the 40 mph gusts during this waterfront section in Potomac Park.
The paces below are from my GPS watch and include any water or walking breaks we took during the race.
Mile 1: 9:33 Mile 2: 9:13 Mile 3: 9:15 Mile 4: 8:57 Mile 5: 9:13 Mile 6: 9:27 Mile 7: 9:19 Mile 8: 9:36 Mile 9: 9:20 Mile 10: 9:16
Overall, I loved this race and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a flat, fast, scenic course. Even with all the crazy weather, the race experience was wonderful and the volunteers and race organizers were responsive and supportive. They even had volunteers standing at the mile marker spots calling out the miles as you ran by them! If I lived in DC this would definitely be an annual race and I’m tempted to come back again next year, when the weather will hopefully be a little less breezy or I’ll just pack more clothes!
Thank you again to Anne and Cabot Cheese for making this race possible and to the spectators who cheered along the course, the volunteers who made it all possible and our friend Meg who cheered for us at the finish line!