Monday, April 12, 2010

The 2010 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

I woke up at 3:00 AM on April 11 to realize I still had a little under 2 more hours to sleep. I tossed and turned. I was hyped up. But I remained calm and knew to relax and just lie in bed and concentrate on resting...I knew that sleeping no longer mattered at this point...I just needed to rest a little bit before preparing for the big day.

I have always wanted to run this race. I have heard so many great things about Cherry Blossom. I was excited about finally doing it this year and wanted to make it count. Me, Beth, and Beth's Mom took metro(the obvious way to get to the race). I immediately went to the portopotties to relieve myself since I had to go to the bathroom really bad. I then proceeded to do a solo warm-up since I was already running late on time(it was 7:10ish) and I was not able to find my GRC teamates. Go figure, this was a huge event with 15,000 runners. Trying to find Jake and the guys was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I did some drills, I had already stretched plenty before(while waiting in line at the portopotties mostly), and did 10 minutes of running. I then proceeded to the start line and found my GRC buddies.

The horn blasted and about 15-20 super elites surged to the front. I kept eye contact with my GRC teamates around and in front of me. I saw Klim and Reaves move up ahead as well as Murphy. I kind of drafted off of them and came through the first mile in 5:05?! Too fast, but the hell with it...I think to a certain point you can go out too fast in a race...but at the same time it trains you to get stronger and to dig furthur..dig into a faster realm..take a taste of running a Jake Klim pace. But I got more realistic and went through the 2nd mile in 5:25. After that, I started to not feel so good. I also got a side stitch that started to bug me and I was trying to shake it off. I saw Charlie Ban pass me who was moving pretty darn good. Mile 3 was 5:20 and my 5K split was: 16:25. Very soon after Billy Askey passed me. Besides Billy and Charlie, I was being passed by several runners. I also had lost site of Murphy, who I was at first keying off of. I really wasn't feeling great, I felt out of breath and almost like my body was going to give in...but somehow, it held on. Mile 4 was 21:20(5:30 split), and mile 5 was 26:54(5:34 split). So I was really struggling mile 4 and splits were slow. But after 5, something awakened me.

I started to feel a rush of energy to return to my body. An electric current jolted me to life. I got hungry. I felt like I had awoken from a coma.

I began to PUSH.

I started to focus on the guy ahead of me, and then the next guy. I latched onto a pack of 3 or 4 guys and worked with them. Mile 6 was a 5:25 split so I was back on pace. I saw Andy cheering for me on his bike. I pushed with the pack and I began to see Billy just ahead. The pack started to break up and it was me and one other guy who caught Billy around mile 7. Mile 7 was a 5:35 split but I was catching people. Billy hung on a few steps behind me as I kept catching runners. One guy I recognized the blue jersey who was Kyle Smits I caught around Mile 8 which was 43:15(5:20). I saw Dirk cheering somewhere around mile 8 as well. (Thanks Dirk and Andy for all the great support!) Mile 9 seemed really slow. I came through in just around 49:00(a 5:45)...which had to have been off-especially since I was really moving at this point. I was just a few steps behind Charlie and passed him in the last mile. He seemed to respond and passed me back moments after, and I drafted off him for a bit. I also saw Murphy about 10-15 seconds ahead. The last mile is all a blur, but I ran my ass off. I surged harder and harder, and passed Charlie and yelled "COME ON!!" to hopefully help him as well as give myself an extra adrenaline rush-not that it wasn't already pumping...I could hear the crowd moments away from finishing. Sometimes I like to yell outloud. It gets me going. I saw the uphill before the finish and it burned my legs. I yelled at the hill and sprinted up the damn thing. People cheered for me as they saw me push through the pain. I heard Beth and her Mom cheering for me. I also saw Nate cheering for me. As I got over the hill I kept charging, and charged right through the finish line in 47th place and in a new PR of 54:16.



My splits are all over the place. I feel like a lot of the mile splits were off..but honestly, who cares. I ended up running 54:16 and that's an average pace of 5:25. I got close to the 54 barrier. It would have been nice to have dipped into the 53's, but I feel like I did my best. I can only look ahead to the next one. I feel like this race toughened me up. I hung in there through the rough part and succeeded in the end. I know I am coming off stronger after having run this race, and am looking foward to the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon next Saturday-which will be my last long distance race(anything above 10K) for a while-at least until August.

The remaining Spring Racing Schedule:

4/17: Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon
4/25: Pikes Peak 10K

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