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!
I hadn’t planned to enter the lottery, but a friend invited me to join as part of her team. So, I did. A part of me hoped that I would not get selected, but once I received the email this morning, I was elated. I guess I did care. That’s a lie. I KNOW that I care and that, deep down, I wanted the opportunity to run this race again. You see, I was selected via lottery to run the 10 miler in 2012 (or maybe 2011?), but couldn’t run due to injury. I didn’t even start! This year, I had some nagging shin issues going into the race, but I was confident that I would not only start, but finish. And, guess what? I had to stop at mile 6. The pain was simply too intense that even walking had become a problem. The 2013 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler was my first DNF. Boo. Hiss.
So. I have some unfinished business for next year’s race. I’ll start strong and healthy – and injury-free – and I’ll finish the same way.
Let’s do this!