Cherry Blossom 5K Recap

For runners, springtime in Washington DC means one thing: the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler.

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While I was ready to run the 10-miler, I decided to change to the 5K late last week due to having to be at work no later than 12pm on the day of the race. I knew 10 miles was doable, but then I started thinking about recovery….er, lack thereof. Standing/walking around on a concrete floor all afternoon is pretty much the opposite of recovery after running 10 miles, so that alone made the decision simple: drop to the 5K and race the hell out of it.

Tyler and I decided to make a little mini getaway out of it and booked a hotel right near the start line. We hit the expo on Saturday afternoon then had a late lunch date at District Taco.

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National Building Museum, a gorgeous place to have an expo
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shoe donation pile 🙂
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mmmm tacos!

Dark and early on race morning, we woke up and walked around the corner to get coffee then walked to the race start. Tyler headed back to the hotel to work (instead of hanging out in the cold) since I was meeting up with my Coeur teammates.

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I headed up to the Washington Monument where we all met up for a team photo pre-race. I gotta say, I

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photo credit: Carolyn

Just as I was going to wander off to find the 5K start line, I heard the race announcer say the women’s race is close to the eight mile marker and would be finishing soon. Since my race didn’t start for another 30 minutes or so, I hung out at the start to watch the first few females cross the finish line. What an amazing experience. I’ve seen elite runners before, but there’s just something so incredible about watching them run that has me in awe every single time.

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Okay, now it was time to head to the 5K start. Along the way, Caitlin and a couple other Oiselle gals spotted me and called me over. They were also running the 5K so we headed to the start together. Then I met up with another Coeur teammate, Ashley right before the race started. I loved that there were so many teammates at this race-I usually don’t get to have this experience!

The race:

One negative: the start of the race. I appreciate the 5K was not the main event and it was considerably smaller in size, so corrals organized by a bunch of different paces with different color bibs wasn’t necessary. However….maybe a couple more pace groups (the one sign I saw ranged from 9:00-12:00 min miles, I assume the first pace group was 9:00 and under-don’t quote me on this) would have made for better runner flow through the start line. Just my two cents.

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The course was awesome-a fast and flat out-and-back. Running along the tree-lined streets, seeing monuments…DC you are a beautiful city to run through.  Oh and weather was perfect-the wind had calmed down and the sun was shining.

Once I made it though the crowd I was able to significantly pick up my pace and settle into a mid-8 minute mile range. It was comfortable, but 5K’s aren’t supposed to be comfortable…so I picked it up and saw my pace in the 7’s/low 8’s. Woohoo! Such progress! I kept it up and before I knew it was headed back to the finish.

With less than a half mile to go, my super-speedy Coeur teammate Ellen (she ran the 10-miler) was out on the course cheering the runners on-I swear her cheers gave me the extra oomph to push myself to an unofficial sub-25 minute 5K.

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My Garmin splits:
Mile 1  8:08
Mile 2  8:11
Mile 3  7:54
Last .18  1:20 (equates to a 7:25 pace)

I watched my watch tick to 3.1 in 24 minutes, 55 seconds. I crossed the finish line at 3.18 miles in 25 minutes, 34 seconds with a HUGE smile on my face.

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Official 5K time: 25 minutes 34 seconds, 8:13 pace

I ended up 80th overall (men and women) and 24th woman in.

Would I run the Cherry Blossom 5K again? 100% yes (even with the crappy start)

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until next year, Cherry Blossom 5K

The thing about the 5K is that it HURTS but it’s a really good kind of hurt. It’s fast and you push yourself to another level…I love it. That’s why I signed up for another one in June 😉

Linking up today with the Cherry Blossom race recap link up and the gals at Tuesdays on the Run.

Did you run Cherry Blossom this year?
What is THE spring race to do where you live?

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14 comments

  1. Congrats on a strong race! Way to negative split that sucker! The only DC race I’ve run was MCM, not at cherry blossom time of course, but still one of my faves. Love your team pic!

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  2. Good looking out for yourself and your recovery time – just as important as training and racing. I’m glad that you were able to run the 5K! And AWESOME time! I ran the 10 miler, and it’s my favorite spring race – I’m glad to live in the area so I can do it again next year!

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  3. Congratulations! Your running has been fantastic this winter; so happy for you.
    I wish 5ks for a bit more respect, too. They deserve as much attention as the longer distances.

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    • Thanks, Laura! This race totally renewed my respect for the 5K, it pushed my running into another level-I forgot how short races can do that 🙂 And now I’m hungry for a faster 5K (will definitely be a fall goal of mine!)

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