On Sunday, April 2nd I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run in Washington, D.C. This was my first time running in D.C. so I was super excited to get the opportunity to run this race.
The Cherry Blossom 10 Mile and 5k are done via lottery so you register before the lottery close date and then find out a few weeks later if you get into the race (and they charge your credit card). I registered with a team that included some ladies from my running group and we found out in December that we were lucky enough to get in!
We drove into D.C. on Saturday morning, getting to our hotel around 1. We stayed in Capitol Hill, about 2 blocks from the Captiol building. We were able to check in (yay for our room being ready) and walk about 10 minutes to the National Building Museum for packet pick-up. We were directed upstairs to pick-up our bibs, which were color coded according to our assigned corral. From there we went downstairs to pick up our shirts. A purple cotton shirt was included in registration or you could pay a little bit more for a tech shirt. I opted to just get the cotton shirt because I do NOT need anymore tech shirts. haha. In addition, you could pay a little bit more to get a medal, which myself and my group all did (more on that later). I wrote down that the race cost me $60 (which I believe included the medal) so it is overall very affordable. We walked around the expo for a bit, and I purchased a Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Sweaty Band (can’t ever have too many headbands.. lol). There were vendors for anything you’d need but it was also pretty crowded so we didn’t spend a ton time there. We eventually left and roamed the city a bit before going to dinner at Dino’s Grotto.
The next morning I woke up around 5:30 to eat my cereal. We left the hotel a little bit before 7.
I was dressed perfectly in capris, a tank top and arm sleeves. I actually didn’t end up pulling the sleeves off during the race, but had I been without them I’d probably be fine too. The sunglasses were a must because it was pretty sunny. It was a little chilly on the walk to the start but I had a few old heat sheets we wrapped up in to stay warm. I hoped that being chilly before the start would mean pretty perfect running weather!
The race started at 7:30 but since we went to the last corral to run together, we wouldn’t be actually starting until closer to 8. We got to the race area right around 7:30 and had time to check a bag before getting in the purple corral. One cool thing about the bag check is that they gave me a wristband and a sticker (for my bib) that had the bag check tent information on it. I loved this idea since it’s sometimes hard to remember where you checked your bag after running a long race!
Our corral left right on time. We started by heading towards the memorial bridge and doing an out and back on it before mile 2. The beginning of this course has a number of out and backs so it gives you a pretty cool view of runners running in all different directions. The first three miles or so were also very congested since there were a lot of runners (17,000!) and a lot of turns. We were never alone during this race. If you plan to race this race you definitely need to make sure you are in the appropriate corral. We were all about having fun and enjoying the day though (I hardly looked at my watch), so we had a blast taking in the sites enjoying the perfect weather.
(Photos are mostly from my friend Loren.)
And those Cherry Blossoms!
Around mile 4.5 you head across a bridge over the Tidal Basin and we stopped on the other side for a group photo with the blossoms!
Many thanks to the random stranger who took this photo. 🙂 From there we headed out along the Potomac river (and away from the finish line) and the trees were just gorgeous.
This was probably the toughest portion of the race for me but really it all felt like it was going SO fast. I was enjoying it all.
At mile 7.5 we turned back towards the start. From there you head around the Tidal Basin before going up a little hill and down into the finish line.
We finished really strong – our first 5 miles were a little bit all over the place because of crowding and the photo stop, but our last 5 miles were negative splits. We all felt really good and finished in 2:02:36. I was just glad to be out running after being sick all week and since our goal was to enjoy ourselves we were happy with our time.
After finishing we grabbed our bag from the bag check and walked over to the tent to pick up our medals. They check your bib, which says if you purchased one or not.
The medals this year were pretty and pink and sparkly. 🙂
We also grabbed some photos by the Washington Monument, as you do when you’re in D.C. (and hey it was right there).
Overall, I really loved this race. It was a great tour of DC and had some gorgeous scenery and great spectators. We lucked out with amazing weather too! I definitely recommend this one for your running bucket list!