In Which Moon Recaps The Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

Let me preface with: for the past three years I’ve been going to the Cherry Blossom Festival in hopes of seeing some BOSS cherry blossoms. Because we’ve had long and stupid winters, however, I’ve been coming out of the experience seeing bare trees. A week before the race I hear news that the cherry blossoms should be in their peak blossoming stage (is that a thing?), so I was pretty pumped!

And then: The sore throat.

I think I posted about it in the weekly review. At first, I thought it was a cold. Two days pass by and the throat still hurts, but I’ve got no other big symptoms, so I think, “Yes! Maybe it’s just allergies!” Wednesday: goodbye voice. Thursday and Friday: ears clogged, headache, and chest congestion. Saturday: It’s a cold. And, it’s a pretty bad one.

I had plans to meet up with Jenn and Pat at the National Building Museum (creative name, huh?). When I get there, I’m first struck by how many people are actually inside. I really didn’t think this was going to be a huge expo. Upon entering, we’re greeted by volunteers shouting directions to pick-up location. Why not use signs, I think.

Pick-up and expo go smoothly. It wasn’t terribly exciting and there were a lot of people, so we all parted ways and went home.

At home: I pretty much fret over the cold and try my best to kill it as fast as possible. Christian and I discuss whether or not I should run the race (I prepared sooo well, I really didn’t want to sit it out). I decide I want to do it and Christian says, “Well, it will make a good blog entry post for Jenn, right?” I don’t know, but mostly my review is: I’m running sick. This is what happened. Annnnyway… I go to sleep, wake up at 4AM and decide I might as well start purging all the nastiness that a cold brings in the morning. I also decide that I should eat as many cough drops as possible.

This resulted in a stomach ache of the ages during the race and for long after. But, hey… If I’m running miserable I might as well take it out for a full-blown test drive, right?

We left at 5:25AM for DC and had plenty of time and arrive on Smithsonian grounds. We see people going both left and right. To our left is a sign that reads, “5k this way!” So, because there’s no sign to the right, I figure that must be the way to the ten-miler start. We follow the crowds heading that direction and eventually run into a giant gathering around the Monument and see a huge sign that reads, “Welcome Runners!”

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
This is the only picture I had the energy to take…

Okay, so that’s ambiguous. There was also some signs for medical tent, pictures, etc., but they were all gathered together and underneath only said “this way.” Also ambiguous. Where are yesterday’s volunteer shouters when you need them? I need to check my bag and meet back up with Christian. We have about seven minutes before the start of the Orange Wave. The original plan was to meet Jenn and have her sneak into the back of this corral with us, but it was extremely crowded and there were no defined places to really meet. I also ran out of time looking for things I needed to do before heading to the corral.

After reaching what we thought was our corral, we realize that we’re not in fact in the race lane. A white fence blocks us off from the runners, so we squeeze though and as soon as make it to the back of the corral, we briefly look for Jenn at the beginning of the Green Wave, but no luck. While this is all going on, our wave is actually moving to the start line, so we basically made it to the corral just in time for the start. As we’re starting I also hear something about the race being changed due to a personal injury, so part of the race was to be shortened, but they were unsure by how much [Jenn’s note: turned out to be 9.39 miles]. A hurried and confusing experience, but okay. Off we go.

The run itself was probably the most miserable run I’ve ever done. And I forgot my gloves, so my hands swelled and froze. The pacing of the waves wasn’t the best. The wave never really smoothed itself out. I was constantly getting hit by other runners and ironically (even with a cold) getting stuck behind packs of slower runners. Around mile four I landed on my right foot wrong and hurt my ankle, but at this point my feelings towards everything was, “please just finish as soon as possible so I can go homeeeee.” It definitely slowed me down a little, but I’m glad I have enough resolve to keep running.

But, on the bright side: Christian and I stayed together until about mile 7 (he picked up his pace and finished about 5 minutes ahead of me) and it was sunny. The Cherry Blossoms were actually in bloom (yay!). I also didn’t have as bad a finish time as I thought I would. 1:31 is pretty okay with me for a sick run.

The course itself was a lot of back-and-forth running. I think at one point we ran through a parking lot? Yes, the trees were pretty, but I’m not sure it was a positive enough experience for me to want to definitely make this a yearly run (I just asked Christian and he replied with a monotone and short, “no”). If you’re trying for a new PR, I wouldn’t suggest this run. It’s packed on the course and water isn’t found terribly often. I only took Gatorade once because every time I hit a water station I wasn’t sure which side the water would be on and it got backed up because a lot of runners stopped. With a narrow running track, this made finding water a bit inconvenient.

The other question is: Would I run with a cold this bad again? Probably not. Unless it was my first marathon or something. Breathing good. Congestion bad.

Post-race it took about a half hour to find Christian and Jenn. I parked myself near a trash station and continued my feast of cough drops. I found some water, but didn’t care to go looking for other snacks I saw runners with. Although, I was pretty jealous of the plastic blankets some runners happened to find.

This is a pretty accurate display of how I felt. Also, my hair was nuts.
(Photo courtesy of Christian’s phone!)

Well, that about wraps it up. I’m sitting here regretting writing this post because I imagined myself two weeks ago writing something to the effect of, “IT WAS AMAZING!! YAY RUNNING AND CHERRY BLOSSOMS!” Instead, I’m sitting here still with a cold and making myself write a review that isn’t cringe-worthy (read: booooring)… I think I’ve moped sufficiently for one post. Here’s to our next run that’s full of health and organization!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!


  1. Aww, I'm sorry about your cold. I think you still got a pretty awesome time with being sick. I can totally relate: I just ran the Hershey 10k with what I thought was a really bad cold. Went to the dr. a few days later and it turned out to be pneumonia, so yeah, I was running with pneumonia. Fun times.

  2. Yikes!! Your lungs must have been on fire after that run. When I was weighing whether or not to do the race, the consensus on the internet seemed to be "ok if symptoms are above neck. below neck, don't run" (And of course, I decided ehh, I'll run anyway). But, there were also a lot of warnings about having pneumonia and not knowing it. Consider yourself a pneumonia-runner inductee 😉

    The one thing I did feel bad about: spreading the germ. It was pretty obvious I wasn't 100% and I noticed several glares coming my way…

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