Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cherry Pit Ten Miler Recap

On the last day of my spring break, after a week of barely being able to peel myself out of bed by 10am, I naturally set the alarm for 5:30 for a race. 

When it went off, I first laid in bed for a few minutes, wondering where the hell my damn tiger blood energy was. (That's actually what the whole 30 website calls the burst of energy their followers get, which for some reason I'm not experiencing. I'm supposed to be bounding out of bed with ease at 4am!).

After I got over my lack of tiger blood, I went to the bathroom and glared at my stupid face for a few minutes. No tiger blood, and once again, my skin is as terrible as ever. I've come to terms with it, since I first started using Oxy pads at age 10, but I just don't like being lied to. And yes, suggestions of "get pregnant" to fix it have been noted.

Every year, Washington DC hosts a race so that runners can admire the famed, beautiful cherry blossom trees. For those of you in other areas of the country that can't go see this amazing sight, I've included a picture that I printed out in 2006, scanned, uploaded to Facebook like 2 years ago, and copied and pasted tonight, because apparently that was easier than going to google images.

Sounds great, right? It probably is. But there's a lottery to get in, probably an exorbitant entrance fee, and it requires the masochist desire to lose hours of your life to complicated logistics, riding the metro uncomfortably close to really sweaty people, and standing in a porto - potty line. 

I've had some experiences both spectating and volunteering at large DC races, as well as running a few (Rock n Roll, Marine Corps, and Hot Chocolate, aka the worst day of everyone's lives), and there is only one word in the English language to describe them. Clusterf&*%. I have no idea why I couldn't get this idea through my thick skull and kept going back for more.

I'd like to say I've finally learned my lesson, but I'd probably be lying. Anyway, a local running club in Annapolis (which is about halfway between here and DC) puts on the $10 Cherry Pit Ten Miler for people who want to just show up and.... run. Imagine that! Sure, the views aren't quite as exciting, and there's no spectators. However, we arrived at 7:30 for an 8am race, and were able to park, get our bibs, pee, and still have plenty of time to run into friends, chit chat, and take awkward photos in a high school cafeteria.

No idea what the hell was going on here.
Trying to show off my coordination.
I ran in my Mizuno Wave Mushas, which are a racing flat with a little support. I'd only worn them once before, on the treadmill, and I loved them! Super comfortable, and I swear I felt a little faster. Sometimes the bottoms of my feet start to hurt in my Brooks PureFlows, but I didn't feel any of that in these shoes.

I ran this race last year, and it was one of those perfect days where the stars align, you feel great, and then the clock shocks you at the end with an unexpected PR (1:20:37). Runners only get a handful of those in their lives, so I didn't expect a repeat.

This year, I sort of wanted to run it as a extra fast tempo run for my Delaware Marathon training, but I also sort of wanted to try to PR again. Based on my splits, I guess I was committed to plan #1 during the first half, and then switched over to plan #2 after that. Garmin time 1:22:31.

Mile 7 was a hill.

I didn't think the hills were that bad last year, and I still don't, but my running buddies disagreed with me (of course, they were running like 6 minute miles, so maybe they felt those hills a little more).

Forcing them to put sweaty bodies together after races for blog pictures are why my friends love me.
Here's the elevation, it didn't seem as hilly as my neighborhood.

I wish I'd pushed it more in the first half instead of being conservative, but my legs felt great after and they still do, so maybe it was the right call. I guess I'll see when I hit the track on Tuesday. Overall though, it's a great race, I highly recommend it. Tiger blood or not, I had fun.

Ever done a race that you really, really regret? Tell me all the horror stories please!


  1. Holy 7:14 closing mile, Batman! Somebody's got closing speed. Can we credit Whole 30 for that? Or, maybe just your badass training? Or maybe both.

    I, too, love small races with uncomplicated logistics that are just about running. My favorite are the ones where it's just run by a guy standing near a chalk line, saying "ok...turn around at the cone. Ready, go!"

  2. Small races are the best. They run smoothly and you're in and out of there in no time flat.

    By the way, you are so freaken fast.

  3. A) I'm convinced no one has Tiger Blood at 4am, regardless of what they eat....except Charlie Sheen.

    B) HOLY FAST! I wish I could run just ONE mile at a 7:14 pace, let alone the closing mile in a group of 10. Nice work!!

    C) I pretty much regretted the GTIS half last year after I hurt myself, cried my face off, and walked my way to one of the slowest times ever. We call it a "learning less" and a "chance for redemption" but just sucked :)

  4. Tiger blood? WTF, is that website run by Charlie Sheen? Congrats on your race, I dream of running one mile that fast someday.

  5. So I am generally with you on the clusterf*$&-dness of DC races, but I ran CB this year and was very pleasantly surprised. The race fee is actually about $45 - cheap by any standards! - but doesn't include any amenities. I thought it was very cool of them to allow runners to opt out of the tech shirt and the medal (or you could pay extra for them). If no-frills races are your thing, CB could be no frills.

    We went to the expo on Sat at noon-ish. We got our stuff within 5-10min...and the expo was nice so we shopped for a bit.

    The race was crowded, yes, but well done. I was in the first corral, so maybe I'm biased, but we had a good group who were all running the right pace. There were lots of people but also enough room for us all. The race is limited by the National Park Service, so I think that helped.

    And getting to and from this race was super easy. After the RnR debacle - closed metros etc - I fully expected this could take a few hours. We walked to a nearby metro station, got on a train within 3min and were on our way home. I was amazed. Metro stopped all train work this weekend, and had a ridiculous number of trains running.

    So that's my rave about the CB 10 Miler...awesome, well-executed race. My only complaint was that the bag line took well over 15min after the race and I was FREEZING.

  6. Also, great job on your race!! You are killing this training program!

  7. Does it count if I didn't actually get to run? I mean Hot Chocolate really was the worst day of everyone's lives.

    That elevation really doesn't look like much of anything. Nice job on the race!!!

  8. So Whole30 is a cult? That's my takeaway here.

  9. Tiger Blood Energy reminds me of Deer Antler Velvet (don't call yourself a Ravens fan if you don't know what that is). Not sure why it reminds me of that... probably because it's a 3-word term involving an animal. That's how my mind works. Deer Antler Velvet actually works though...

  10. nice splits a miles 9 and 10!

    it was the right call -- you don't have a ton of time before DE so you can't afford extra "recovery" days. kill it at the track this week :)

  11. You completely forgot to include the explanation of how you found it really easily because someone emailed you fantastic directions.

  12. Very speedy race Alyssa! Sorry you didn't get your PR.


Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.