Given my history with previous Cherry Blossom races, my goal for this year’s race was simple: to finish! Finishing was going to be a PR at the ten mile distance regardless so I was laid back in terms of preparing for it. I wasn’t nervous or worried about finishing. I wasn’t injured and I’ve been training well so I knew I had a good race in me. Saturday I did some household chores (I was going to ride my bike, but seasonal allergies had too much of an impact so I stayed inside. I did manage an outing to The Home Depot with my family, but that was it) and just took it easy. That evening I started thinking about what I wanted to wear and how early I needed to leave to head into the city. Recently, I purchased a new running skirt from Lucy. I hadn’t tried it yet (Saturday night it still had the tags on it!), but I decided to wear it Sunday. For tops, I decided to go with a Fila tank top that I’ve owned for years. It is ridiculously comfortable when I wear it for long treadmill runs, but I’ve never worn it in a race or even outside. I keep saying that I’m going to wear it for a race and then I end up changing my mind. This time I decided that since I was already wearing a new skirt I should go ahead with the tank top as well. To this outfit I added my Zensah compression culfs, Feetures cycling socks (I have super sweaty feet!), my Asics Gel Kayano 20s and a race belt with a couple Gus. I was going to forgo running with a bottle and rely on course aid. After getting everything laid out, I spoke to a friend who mentioned how cold it was supposed to be Sunday morning. I hadn’t even bothered to check the weather. I get so hot quickly and easily that I figured I would be fine. I did decide to add a throw-away shirt and jacket as well as an ear cover since my ears tend to bother me easily.
This Sunday is the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, my third attempt at the race. The first year, 2012, I was selected via the lottery for the run. However, I injured myself a week before the race and did not start (my first DNS). Last year, I was battling crippling shin splints and hoped to make it to my goal race, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, which was taking place a couple weeks after the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, injury-free. But, because I was selected in the lottery and had that awful DNS from the previous year, I was determined to run. So, I started the race and immediately knew it was a bad idea. Each step nearly brought tears to my eyes; by mile 4.5 I did have tears in my eyes. For some reason, I wanted to “tough” it out and not quit. I realized though as I neared the entrance to Hains Point that I wouldn’t be able to continue running and to try to finish was ridiculous. Each step threatened the Nike Women’s Half Marathon which was my “A” race so when I hit mile marker 5, I stopped running and ducked into a port-o-potty to cry. I’ve never quit a race mid-run and wasn’t sure what to do so I took off my bib and threw it away. I hobbled to the car park and cried while I waited for my husband to finish. I was more upset about the DNF than the DNS. I told my husband that I just wasn’t mean to run the Cherry Blossom so I didn’t even plan to enter the lottery for this year’s race. However, the day before the deadline, a friend emailed to ask if I wanted to join her team registration for the lottery. I figured my odds of getting in for a third year were slim to none so I said yes. Imagine my surprise when we were selected in the lottery!
The third time is the charm. This is the year I crush the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!
Last year, I spent most of the year injured. First, there were shin issues that just didn’t want to resolve. Then, in July I fractured a couple bones in my left foot at the Colonial Beach Sprint Triathlon. Sometime in September, I fractured a bone in my right foot, which I didn’t discover until I was getting x-rays of my left foot because I had re-fractured those previously broken bones by running too soon. Once I was able to start running pain-free in early November, I vowed to run smartly, follow my training plan to a T, and listen to my body. I signed up for my goal spring race, the Anthem Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA. The three previous years I had ran the Townebank 8K, but I decided that since this training cycle was going to be my successful, triumphant return to racing that I would register for the half. The last half I did was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in April 2013 and I missed running 13.1. It is my favorite distance. I trained smart all winter; I followed my coach’s training plan religiously. Even if my legs felt great and I wanted to run longer (or faster), I held back. I was going to get the Anthem Half Marathon injury-free.
In late February, my local moms running club (MRTT) put out a call for ladies to run on the MRTT team for a local event, the Pacers St. Patrick’s Day 8K. I didn’t even give it a second thought – I wasn’t going to do any “racing” until the Half because I didn’t want to risk injury. However, the first week of March my daughter and husband had to travel overseas for a week due to a family emergency. Because I had so much time to myself, when another call came out for runners, I went ahead and signed up. My training plan for the race day called for an easy 8 mile run (I was in taper for the half marathon, which was the following weekend) so I decided that I would run the 8k and then finish up with an easy three mile run around the Mall since I would be in DC for the race.