Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Review-23 Weeks Pregnant
Post-race with my husband
I have not been writing much lately because my husband and I recently found out big news- we are expecting. My first trimester was rough both physically and mentally, but staying active helped me tremendously. I spoke with my doctor and I am allowed to continue training. I just have to be careful, self-aware, and take everything slowly. I was considering completely scrapping the race schedule I had planned for the year. Instead, I figured it was worth a try to at least register for the events I wanted to participate in and run on race day only if I felt up to it. I was feeling good on Saturday and my training had been going well so I gave the 10 Miler a shot. I am very happy to have had this experience.
Before I found out about the pregnancy, I had hoped to run this race at a 9m/mi pace or faster. I knew immediately that having a goal at this point was not wise, and even though I am still fairly small, running is MUCH HARDER. My hips are achy and I just don’t feel like I can move very fast, even when I am putting forth the effort.
This race was very different compared to my past experiences. I took restroom breaks and even walked periodically. I also tried my hardest to just take in my surroundings and remove my mind from focusing on time.
PROS: This was my second time running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and it is definitely an impressive and well organized event. It is friendly to all skill levels and I highly recommend it to any runner! There are so many good things about this race and I am only going to touch on a few of them. There is certainly a reason this event is a bucket list item for so many runners.
Course: The race course is beautiful and flat. In my opinion, this alone makes the Cherry Blossom run worthwhile. Last year the blossoms were at their peak during the race, so it was a bit disappointing that most of them had blown off from the storm. Even with this, the course was still very visually pleasing. I recommend running this event to all runners. It is well worth a trip to DC!
Volunteers: It was freezing on race day and the wind was extremely strong. I was so happy to be greeted with kindness at each water stop and at the finish line. The individuals who came out to volunteer on a day like that have hearts of gold!
Adaptability: The organizers of this race are ready for anything! In 2015 they had to deal with a last minute course change due to a traffic accident. This year they had awful weather to work around.
Environment: The race environment was very positive, much like last year. There were a lot more spectators last year, but there were still plenty of individuals cheering for the runners. Even though I was extremely slow, I still felt supported.
CONS: The only complaints I have about the race were related to the weather and the difficulty of running while pregnant. The race organizers warned us regarding many of the changes they would be making the night before so they did not come as a shock. Below are some more of the specifics I noticed.
Race signage: The race organizers informed the night before the race that signage would be removed for safety reasons. This was a pain in some aspects, but I was happy to know about it in advance. The removal of the split time clocks was actually a good thing for me. I am a pretty competitive person, so the lack of knowing how fast I was going was actually healthy for me since I am trying to take things easy. Had I been able to see my progress, I may have pushed myself.
Despite the positive situation for me surrounding the split time clock removal, the lack of signage produced some anarchy in the start corrals. I could not personally find where I was supposed to start, so I eyeballed the field and ended up just jumping in. I ended up around primarily people who were running at a similar pace, but there were some people who were much faster and I could tell they were frustrated. Some of these individuals tried to speed by and weave in and out of the slower runners. In many cases they were a bit frightening. I was afraid of being tripped or knocked down at times.
Water stops: I recall more water stops being available last year. I think there were only 2 or 3 this time around. I am assuming this was weather related, but I was extremely concerned about the fact that I felt extreme thirst at times and I was instructed to keep well hydrated. I am planning on running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May if things continue to go well for me. I now plan on wearing a hydration belt to prevent issues like this from reoccurring.
Restrooms-Let me start by saying that I have never used the bathroom midrace before, so I don’t really know what porta-potty situations are typically like. This time things were different. I had to stop, twice and felt a bit desperate at times. Despite my lack of mid-race bathroom break experience, I thought the restroom options seemed to be lacking in this race. This certainly could just be a complication coming from running 10 miles while pregnant, nevertheless, I thought the lines seemed unreasonably long. Another problem was a bit more disturbing: I saw several men stop to urinate behind trees. Not something anyone wants to see on the National Mall.
Sir Nigel proudly wearing my medal