In Which Moon Recaps The Cherry Blossom Ten 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!”
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 us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Recaps The Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

 So… that was not my favorite race.

Don’t get me wrong – the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler has a lot of things going for it. Mark one: from the moment I left my apartment to the moment I arrived at the race start, only an hour had passed. This includes about 15 minutes spent waiting around for the Metro train to show up, which is a matter of timing. Pretty good! Got to sleep until 5am and everything; it was awesome.

Unfortunately from there it was a slow downward slide – a study in gentle but real disorganization: nothing so awful as to completely ruin the experience, but a growing list of small frustration that compounded.

Finding my corral: there was very little in the way of directional signage. Labeling signage, sure, as in “this is what’s here at this spot,” but nothing saying “Go that way if you’re looking for this stuff.” As such, I did a fair bit of wandering before I figured out my corral.

Which was WAY crowded. I was sulkily in green when everyone else I knew was in orange – I think because my predicted time fell on the edge of each (note to self: exaggerate my speed more when giving time estimates). And this congestion never really let up, from start to finish, and I sincerely believe this impacted my final time. I felt like I was back on the 2013 Princess Half course. Only runDisney has largely fixed that problem. Cherry Blossom people, you need to increase the number of corrals because the congestion is insane.

Oh, and: before it started, it was announced that the course would be shortened by approximately half a mile. This was not the fault of the race organizers – there had been an accident on the course and the area had been declared a crime scene so we had to reroute – but it wasn’t exactly thrilling to hear. I came to run ten miles, y’know? And it messes with your splits to not know how much you have left. Ah well. My GPS watch wound up clocking 9.52 miles for me, but I understand the official recount came to 9.39.

So anyway. Back to the Cherry Blossom 9.39 Miler course. It was way crazy frustratingly crowded. This became a problem at the water stations. I never had a supply problem as some have reported, but I had other issues with the way hydration was handled. The tables were only on one side of the course, not both, which meant everyone was trying to veer off on the same side; it was tough to bounce in, get your drink, and bounce out without colliding into a million other people attempting the same thing.

Another thing that bugged the bejeezus out of me for some reason related to the problem of cups. There were plain paper cups for water and branded green Gatorade paper cups for Gatorade. Except for almost all the stations that meant NOTHING. Volunteers were pouring whatever beverage into whatever cup and it became a complete crapshoot what you were getting. For those who had a specific drink in mind and no time to dally, this was a problem. (No, but seriously, thank you, volunteers – I’m sure you were doing the best you could at the direction of someone else.)

Worst race sign ever.

And another thing! I never saw a SINGLE TRASH CAN at the water stops, which meant ALL cups wound up on the ground. SLIPPING HAZARD, GUYS.

And another thing! No food on the course? I guess I’m spoiled by runDisney handing out Clif gels all the time, but there was nothing available here. It IS only a ten miler, but that’s not exactly nothing either… I did see a spectator who had set up a table of Gatorade and cookies of his own accord, but there were too many people around me to get over to him so I missed it. Sigh. Thanks, though, guy – you’re awesome!

The scenery? Um… would you hate me if I responded to the scenery with a resounding “eh”? As I said on Twitter the day of: the cherry blossoms are to me as Lil Sebastian is to Ben Wyatt. So that was not motivating for me. There were a couple on-course music/entertainment spots but nothing earth shattering, with the possible exception of batala drummers.

All that being said, and even though I didn’t exactly feel full of energy, I actually didn’t have a terrible race. The congestion slowed me down but I did, in fact, clock quite a few negative splits toward the end there, hampered only by a biggish hill right before the finish. Sadly, as this did not come out to an actual ten miler in the end, any kind of PR is meaningless. It does however make me feel a little better about my performance outdoors. I think I have the capacity to improve!

Okay, so, the race ended and I found Moon and Christian who had been in the orange corral. On the way I located the end-of-race snacks, which consisted of… bananas. Nothing but bananas. I saw a bunch of cracker packets in the trash which indicated that at another point there may have been other options, but they were beyond my reach. And I wasn’t even that slow – my time placed me ahead of over 50% of the participants. What gives? And no bottled Gatorade? C’mon, guys, get it together.

Let’s cut to the chase: would I do this race again? Maybe. I mean, it could hardly be much more convenient for me geographically and it’s not too expensive if you forego the extras like tech shirts and medals. But I can’t say I’m feeling gung-ho.

I leave you with this thought from Nicole and I:

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 4/15

JENN: So how was your week? I know you did some pre-Cherry Blossom Ten Miler training runs.

MOON: I did! I think, all in all, I did three trial runs. Each trial was better than the last, but Saturday and Sunday is another story. How was your week?

JENN: Eh. My practice runs weren’t very good but what’re ya gonna do. It’s been that weird in-between inching-toward-spring weather and I think every time it swings back to rainy and chilly my body freaks out a little.

MOON: My morale definitely suffers from stupid weather. :/

JENN: We’ll talk more about the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler itself in our recaps, but you wanna review the expo real quick? You saw more of it than I did.

MOON: Hmm, I was actually surprised there was an expo? I’m not exactly sure why… There was a certain amount of gear available for purchase, but I didn’t find anything particularly striking…  >_> annnnd the expo was much more organized than the actual run, but I suppose I’ll hold it for now.

JENN: Haha, yeah…You find any calf sleeves?

MOON: I did, but without a discount, I decided to just stick with the pair I have

JENN: Indeed – I’ve never really found many impressive expo discounts, although admittedly I don’t search too hard since I tend to get overwhelmed. I feel like the internet is a better bet.

MOON: Definitely.

JENN: I’d brought Pat along with me because he loves the National Building Museum, but it was SO crowded and insane that we were both just like LET’S GET OUT OF HERE AHHH.

This, FULL OF PEOPLE.

Packet pickup was smooth, I will say that, although the quarters they held it in were quite crowded.

MOON: Yeah, I couldn’t really understand all the vocal directions in lieu of signs? It kind of made it feel more panicky. I felt sorry for the few people I saw attempting to peruse the museum.

JENN: Ah well. At least it was close to the Metro!

MOON: It was! Very easy to find. 🙂

JENN: I look forward to your race recap!

MOON: Same to you!

JENN: We’ll have more ten miler coverage on the blog this week. In the meantime: roundup!

– Can’t wait? Try Cherry Blossom race recaps from Pink Elephant on Parade and Elbowglitter.
Why I runDisney offers advice for runners just starting out.
Running Through the Castle understands the importance of recovery days.
At Mom’s Magical Miles, it’s all about that butt. Holla!
And more body image power can be found at Sparkly Runner.
My Disney Addiction sets her sights on Disneyland.
– Headed to the Wine & Dine Half with me? easyWDW has the November operating schedule.
– And for those who were at the last WDW Marathon Weekend, Disney Every Day has your stats.
Inside the Magic has some interesting FastPass+ strategies.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn & Moon Are Ready For The Cherry Blossom Ten Miler


JENN: So: you ready for the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler on Sunday?

MOON: Actually, I think so. But so help me…. IF IT RAINS… >_<

JENN: Right now we’re looking good: high of about 70, no rain in the forecast. Mind you, it’s still a couple days out, but if that holds we’ll be in really good shape.

MOON: Yes. My worry, however, is the forecast up until race day. Rain every day. So… if rain slows down, it’ll delay itself into Sunday.

JENN:Hopefully it rains itself out!

MOON: You’re right, I should be positive. No rain! (Hopefully…)

JENN: Do you have any goals set? I mean, besides waving goodbye to me as you and Christian go shooting on ahead.

MOON: I have one goal. Beat my current 10-mile PR. And don’t worry about my speeding ahead. I’ve been slow these past two weeks. I’m actually planning on staying with you, girl!

JENN: Haha, you may regret those words. But! I do have a plan in place. I’m going to cruise for the first 5 miles, then try to slowly increase my speed incrementally over the remaining 5 miles. Basically: the ELUSIVE NEGATIVE SPLITS. Can I make them happen? WE SHALL SEE!

MOON: Oh man, that would be niiiiiice. I’ve been trying that, but I don’t think I’ve got enough practice in me to make it happen by Sunday.

JENN: I’m pretty good at Even Splits, at least on the treadmill… we’ll try together!

Do you want to share with the class the PR you’re trying to beat, or is it a secret? 😉

MOON: Haha, I guess I can… It’s not GREAT (I’ve never even kept 10 mile PR until this past week), but I want to finish in under 1:35.

JENN: Yowza. Well, you may power past me at the finish – I’m looking at more of an under-1:45 goal time – but either way it’ll be awesome!

Did you buy a medal?

MOON: I did not.

JENN: Me neither. I’m a little sad but I just couldn’t justify the added expense.

MOON: Yeah, same… I figured we would have our bibs as souvenirs.

JENN: Good news is, the experts say that peak cherry blossom blooming should be happening during the race. They’re saying April 11 – 14, so that oughta do us. If nothing else, it’ll be pretty!

MOON: Wow!! Every year that I go to the festival, it seems that the cherry blossoms didn’t feel like coming out. I’m sure it will be a beautiful run. 😀 Which is why we need to stay together! Who will I Steve Holt otherwise?

JENN: Exactly.

Will we see you at the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 3/31

JENN: How was your week? Did you run at all?

MOON: Ja! I had two pretty good runs and yesterday I experienced a slow, excruciating run.

JENN: Oh, those are always good times. Outside or on the treadmill?

MOON: Ha, treadmill. The weather still plays with us.

JENN: So it does. I demand 60 degrees morning minimum or nice outdoor dice.

MOON: If the weather is still stupid by Cherry Blossom Run, I will be the saddest runner there. I mean, it SNOWED on Saturday.

JENN: Did it? Missed that. But it was certainly cold. It can’t possibly be worse than the WDW 5K – it was 37 degrees.

MOON: You’re more south than me, I was in Baltimore. I’ve begun the moving process once again…

JENN: Oh, right right!

MOON: I’ll be moving (the cat and I) the week leading up to the race. I must admit I’m a bit worried about training and stress.

JENN: It’s only ten miles, though – you’ve got this!

MOON: Yes, but my first outdoor run is always bllleeehhh. Andddddd, I have no access to a treadmill for a week.

JENN: Ah, yes. So hopefully it’ll be mild enough for outdoor running!

MOON: I hope so. I also hope my cat doesn’t kill me in my sleep. She’s a nervous lady and I think living with Christian permanently is going to be quite a change for her. Her version of adjusting last time was crying all morning and not pooping for four days >_>… Cats. Am I right?

JENN: You are indeed correct.

Yup.

MOON: You ready for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler?! Team Tigerz, wot!

JENN: I am! I actually got my full 30 miles in last week AND I got new sneakers! (More on the latter later.) I’m going to do a slightly taper just so my legs are fresher but since ten miles is a standard distance for me I’m not too worried.

MOON: Standard distance for me is 5, so I’m working my way up there. Tonight or tomorrow I’m going to do a 10-mile run to see how it goes. Yesterday I’m going to blame my terrible run on tiredness.

JENN: Makes sense to me. Shake it out!

Roundup takes us home.

We Run Disney is philosophical.
RAD Living has exciting news!
Through Heather’s Looking Glass ponders the causes of injuries.
Just Me & My Running Shoes shares secrets for running a sub-2 hour half.
A Pinch of Pixie Dust enjoys the Kitchen Sink.
Main Street Gazette splurges on a Beachcomber shack.
Sparkly Ever After makes the cutest WDW countdown board.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 12/16

JENN: Did you run at all last week?

MOON: Only a little bit. Last week was very much like the week before…Did you start back up?

JENN: Nope. Just did more boring elliptical. But by God THIS WEEK I am RUNNING. I know I’ve said that before but this time I MEAN IT. I’ll go slow and not too far and if things start to hurt I’ll walk. But I’ve simply GOT to try again!

MOON: I’m going today. After work. Running. Going!

JENN: Yay! I’m a little worried about all the races I’m running in January, but I think I can still do it. I just have to be careful.

MOON: Yes. I am running today. Stoicism will win the day.

JENN: Oh, that reminds me! We actually made a lottery for once! We’re running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!

MOON: How about: Go Team Tigers!

Please apprehend GO TEAM TIGERS.

JENN: Yes! I assume you and Christian will go whooshing off without me but we’ll have a triumphant party at the finish line. 🙂 Oh, and packet pickup will be at the National Building Museum so I’m going to drag my architect boyfriend to the expo. It’ll be fun!

MOON: We should arrange to meet together!

JENN: Definitely!

Also definite: that it’s roundup time.

Elbowglitter warns against the formal cleanse.
Darlin’ Rae perfectly encapsulates the doldrums – and eventual resolve – that come with injury.
Will Run for Ears describes the involved spectator’s experience.
My Disney Addiction sums up a first-timer’s go at Busch Gardens Tampa.
Inside the Magic explains how the Doctor nearly came to Disney.
The Disney Tourist Blog offers an awesome description of Trader Sam’s at Christmas.
The Disney Food Blog has a recipe for one of my favorite Food & Wine items, sweet corn cheesecake from Mexico.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!