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Race Result

Racer: Cynthia Couture
Race: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
Date: Sunday, April 2, 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Race Type: Run - 10 mile
Age Group: Female 30 - 34
Time: 1:52:44
Overall Place: 9487 / 10661
Age Group Place: 917 / 1058
Comment: 10 mile PR

Race Report:

Started off with the usual first mile argument with my body over running..
Me: Alright, lets go!
Body: Bite me.
Me: It's race day, this is what we do - run, remember?
Body: You stole an hour from me and if you cleaned house more often, the dog wouldn't start sneezing at 3:30 in the morning.
Me: I'll vacuum more. Please?
Body: Fine. But I won't enjoy it.
Me: Sure you won't, we'll talk at mile 2.

Actually only took about the first 1/2 mile to get into a groove. This was already a "no pressure" race, I know I can do 10 miles, I really want to try and see the cherry blossoms (first time in 20 years I have been at the tidal basin at the peak) and just enjoy the day. In the first two miles, I accomplished that quite nicely - wow, they really are pretty!

First water station is at 2.5 - while they're well staffed and none of them ran out of water, it's a little wonky. With the sheer number of runners, you really can't see how many tables they've got, so everyone just hits the first one, which quickly gets to the point of fill/handout/fill/handout, which slows me down a fair amount, but it's all good, I have water. Learned from this one to try and hit the middle for water, or just wait til the end tables for gatorade. The cups all seem to be way overfilled, too, so each water stop is a nice river of water/gatorade in the street.

I know I did the first 2 miles too fast, so I don't worry about actually trying to keep up that pace, just keep cruising at a comfortable level. For some reason, and maybe it's just me, there is something fun about getting to run across the Memorial Bridge. Maybe cause you'd normally get in trouble for doing it in the middle of the street. Back across it again and on to Rock Creek Parkway. Hit mile 4 at 44:28 - I still am going too fast, but oh well, it's not like I am going to go back and re-run that mile slower. :)

Along the Potomac, past the Kennedy Center - I make a mental note of the 9 mile mark on the return route. I know I am going to be happy to see that. Lots of spectators, even along this route, which is somewhat harder to get to. Tons of volunteers cheering people on. Mile 5 in under an hour - the 2 hour goal is looking good.

Into Rock Creek Park - very pretty area. Lots of trees and shade and we're not getting the wind off the river anymore. (Probably wasn't noticeable to most people. Again, I need coldproofing.) For whatever reason, I decide to start playing around. I pick someone in front of me that I'm approaching and decide to pass them. Get up behind, then a couple long strides to get around, and settle back into pace. My legs seemed to like the variation, and this turns into my best split for the whole course. Still feeling good, but looking forward to getting to the turnaround. We're over halfway there, but there is something about actually hitting the "back" part of the out & back that is nice.

Hit the turnaround, another water stop there, this one even messier it seems - the volunteers are telling people to be careful at the turnaround - guessing a few folks slipped and wiped out ahead of us. This is less of a problem when you walk the water stations. I walked a little longer on this one, I'm starting to feel it. Keep on cruising to the mile 7 mark, hey it's just a 5K left! (Except that every time I think that, the other voice in my head points out I've never done a 5K race...) I start leaning very heavily into my run and just let gravity do it's thing and notice a BIG difference from when I just lean in a little bit. Make a mental note to try this more.

Hit mile 8 and walk for a bit - not cause of my legs, but of all things, my *hands* - I still tend to keep my hands way too high when I run, and they were complaining about lack of decent circulation. So, I walked and stretched my hands/arms and shook them out, and off again. Hit the water stop, and as we exited, I can't help but notice my shoes are kind of sticking to the pavement (all the spilled gatorade) - as is everyone else's - let me tell you, that is an odd noise to hear several hundred pairs of sticky shoes squeaking along.

Hit the blessed mile 9 mark. The same thing always rings through my head - it's just a mile, you can totally do a mile! It doesn't hurt that I can also take over 18 minutes and still be under 2 hours - that just puts a smile on my face. More spectators here, too and lots of volunteers. A local gym has a bootcamp thing going and all their trainers are there too. As we come back down Ohio Drive, they tell us "Just past this curve and you can SEE the finish!"

Seeing the finish is always the best. I keep on trotting along, smile on my face, song in my heart, and squeaky shoes. I do manage one last good burst and finish with what I think is a PR, except that I can't do the math in my head, even if dividing by 10 should be simple... :) Once I'm done and have a minute to corral a couple brain cells, I realize I've done my best 10 mile time. Not too bad for a "no pressure" race.