Cherry Blossom 5K Recap

Yes, you read that correctly. I ran a race. Also, it was not the race I originally signed up for (that would be the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, not the “5K Run/Walk”). But after 5 months of no racing (time has flown! and yet gone so slowly), it felt great to race again.

It was free to switch to the 5K ahead of time, but my bib from the 10 Miler remained the same. I  would have been in the light blue corral because I was planning to go for a (high) 1:20something time back when I entered the lottery in December. I had foolishly assumed that regular physical therapy in addition to a grueling ClassPass schedule and gym time could help me shave a minute per mile off my Bronx 10 Mile time or keep my 10K pace for an additional 4. We may never know! I deferred my Broad Street Run entry to 2017 and am no longer planning on a spring half, so the 10 mile distance will have to wait until I am marathon training this summer and fall (or not).

Back to the recap. I went with two teammates from NYC and we hopped to the expo late morning. One was also running the 5K with me and the other was completing the 10.

The National Building Museum was beautiful and I need to come back to see the regular exhibits.

Meb was speaking, so we watched him then picked up our bibs, sadly missing the cutoff to get in the line for his autograph. We had paid extra for the tech tshirt and they’re so nice! A well-fitting maroon New Balance v-neck (for ladies) with a Capitol building visually constructed out of cherry blossoms. We had also paid extra for race medals, assuming we would be running the 10 Miler. Oh well.



 Hi Meb!

Then there was shopping. This race expo, held at the National Building Museum, had over a dozen vendors of the usual performance wear, shoes, and accessories. I made a stop at The Stick’s booth for some muscle relief, then we bought coordinating long-sleeve New Balance tech shirts with the logo. I’m still reasonably well stocked with the basics for spring running and didn’t end up needing a vest or down-filled jacket for winter training since I wasn’t really running. I do have a cool new running backpack for run commuting and bringing essentials to the gym, but that’s been my only 2016 gear purchase so far.

Running backpack picture not in action on Saturday at the National Portrait Gallery.

women_heathered_lsurchin_lgBought this and wore it on the cold bus ride home.

Morning of the race, the winds were whipping. I wore a tech long-sleeve with a windbreaker (Lululemon Go the Distance)  over it, and  longer Nike crops. I brought and wore my Brooks Ravennas because I usually run shorter distances (4 miles and under) in my Brooks Pure Cadences, but figured I could use the extra support of the Ravennas for my first race back. I found myself really wishing I had purchased a pair of running gloves this winter. Or just some throwaway gloves. I had my bare hands jammed in my jacket pockets during most of the walk to the start and pre-race time, but it wasn’t enough.

 “Corral” selfie (there were no corrals). They let people have heat sheets before the race but then they had to give them back. Also, dude to the left was in 4th as of the bridge, so I guess we weren’t too, too far back.

We waited until the 10 mile runners were off the 5K part of the course and the gun went off right at 8:40am. The 5K was a short and simple out-and-back from the staging area, over the bridge, a small loop then return. My teammate Tanya lined up not too far from the start and apparently had an 18 second delay from the gun to our start. We’re both coming back from injuries and kept the pace slow for the first mile how our respective knees and butt/hamstring felt. Once on the bridge, we were feeling pretty good (there was only a tiny slope to get on it). We saw the leaders pass us after the turnaround with huge lead times (the Belgian guy was flying and won the race). I had been “drafting” a couple for about half a mile, but finally decided to pass. We pressed the pace pretty easily from 10:00 to 9:25 for the second mile.

Once off the bridge and after our second mile, we knew we could pick up the pace safely. And we did. I was breathing a bit more heavily but held steady close to 8:30 then figured 8:00 for the last half mile should be fine, reasoning to myself that all my spin classes were at least this long and I always have something left in the tank for the final sprints there. Tanya suggested I go on ahead in the last quarter mile, then I flagged a bit before sprinting in the finish. I ended up with a 28:16 which is a couple minutes off from my PR, but still pretty amazing considering my injury status.

There were many other folks in this race who also had 10 mile bibs as well, but I assume we were a fun mix of injured and untrained. I was the 70th female and 159th total out of 1,770. RunPix has no photos of me from the race, but they have a fun little infographic showing me way toward the front of the pack. Top 5% of women in a race? I’ll take it. Now to actually recover and get faster.

We walked back to our hotel as a cooldown and I was honestly thinking about running it in, as my energy was still pretty high and I wasn’t sore yet. We’d had Nando’s for lunch Saturday and I’d stuffed myself with pretzel bread at District Commons the night before, so a huge plate of Roti at Union Station ended up being my main meal after. It felt good to eat something lighter and full of veggies after a race. I also partook in my recent favorite DC-area Starbucks tradition of getting Sweet Potato Loaf with my iced coffee before getting on the bus home. I wish we had this stuff in NYC Starbucks, but I usually content myself with cinnamon swirl coffee cake.

Desserts and snacks posts to come along with ClassPass updates.

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