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Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run - Run

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Washington, D.C., District of Columbia
United States
Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run
40F / 4C
Total Time = 59m 35s
Overall Rank = 146/17738
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 6/725
Pre-race routine:

Well, I didn't plan to go and run a 10-mile PR one week before my goal marathon. But that's just kind of how things turned out. And I was holding some in reserve. I guess I passed the fitness test. Perhaps not the sanity test. The Cherry Blossom 10 miler is one of the biggest events in the local running calendar, and a classic spring race. I had wanted to do it for some time, but never got a chance. I managed to get a lottery place a couple of years ago, but then had to DNS because of injury. This year I didn't even enter the lottery, but after my HM PR a couple of months back I found to my surprise that I was able to grab a seeded entry spot, so that was hard to pass up. I figured that I would do it as a fast training run in the middle of my taper, to gauge my fitness. I had no intention of going for broke in this one. Went downtown on Friday evening to pick up my number at the race expo. Andrea came along too, and in the process signed up for her first 10k. So proud of her - she hadn't run a step before January, like ever, and she is now mapping out a race calendar. Last week we signed up for the first race that we'll do together, later in the summer.
Event warmup:

Up at 4. First part of the warm-up involved watching Kenenisa Bekele's debut marathon in Paris. That and the coffee got me woken up. Bike to metro -- ouch it's cold -- then ride the train downtown. So nice to be able to get to a race in this way. They open the metro a couple of hours early for this race, so everybody on the train was a runner. Met up with a couple of ladies from my 'hood. They had a team of 30 taking part. Nice! Jogged around a bit to warm up, and to help along the potty stops. Avoided the big lines at the 10 miler potties by using the 5k potties on the other side of the Washington Monument (shh, don't tell everybody). Dropped my stuff at bag check and did a bit of faster running to get the HR up. Then off to the start corral. With a seeded spot, I got to hang out in a special corral between the super-elites (= Kenyans + US championship contenders) and the masses (= young guns hoping for 55:00 who would crush me at the start). I must have looked like a pathetic old guy to those kids. Pretty accurate, I guess.
  • 59m 35s
  • 10 miles
  • 05m 58s  min/mile

Aim was to run at a fast pace but not redlining it, aiming for around or just below my HM target HR of 170-175. I was a little on the high side in the first mile, so eased back a little. And at 5:55 I didn't really want to be that fast anyway. Past the Lincoln Memorial, across the Potomac to Arlington National Cemetery and back, I was running fast but controlled. Let a few people pass me, including a guy wearing a full business suit. I didn't take kindly to that, but let him go. Passed 3 miles after running under the Kennedy Center - lost the GPS track, but the race clock at 5k suggested that I was right on 6:00 pace. Ok, that was good. Perhaps I could hold it together to get 61:00, which would qualify for a seeded entry next year. Back past the Lincoln Memorial and around the Tidal Basin, I seemed to be holding ok at 6:00 pace, passing 5 miles right around 30:00. That was good, faster than expected.

I was checking my HR, and it was never above the range that I was targeting, and sometimes below. So I didn't feel too bad about accelerating very slightly. The next 2.5 miles were going to be good, as we headed past the Jefferson Memorial and along Hains Point, as the breeze was behind us. I was pleasantly surprised to pass 10k in 37:10, which is my best 10k time since around 1990. My mental math was still focused on what I'd need to do to get 61;00. But then mile 7 came in at 5:46, and so I was getting to be a chunk under 6:00 pace. I thought about 60:00, but not too seriously. Right around the bottom of Hains Point I re-passed Suit Guy. Phew. The wind turned against us as we started north back towards the Washington Monument. I expected to slow a bunch, but I was actually feeling pretty good, and was picking off runners one by one. By 8 miles I realized that sub-60 was really in the cards, and by 9 miles I knew I had it in the bag. I knew that I wasn't flat out, as wasn't desperately counting down the miles and fractions of a mile. I was fairly comfortable running as I was. The last half mile went back past the Tidal Basin and climbed a slight rise - the uphill and the stiffest wind of the race made it harder than the rest, but by then I knew that the time would be good, and I didn't care about the details.

59:35 is easily a lifetime PR. I think I may have run 60:30 in '88 or '89, but I'm not sure. Apart from that, my recent PR was a 61:00 split during my recent HM. So I was quite happy with that. And incidentally it's ahead of the 59:57 PR of by brother Robin, who's my main rival in next week's marathon in London. Nice!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I'll be able to tell you next week whether I should have slowed down.
Post race
Warm down:

I felt good right after finishing, and was able to jog through the finishing area and back towards the gear check area. Then after wrapping up warm, I jogged much of the way back to the metro station, enjoying the chilly but beautiful spring morning. The cherry blossoms were making a valiant effort to bloom, though they're a little behind, due to the cold winter. Feeling a little stiff, but not at all like I had run a full-out 10-13 mile race. Generally optimistic about next week. Now it's all about resting up. One moral of this experience: yet again, there's nothing like marathon training for getting faster times at shorter distances.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Very little.

Event comments:

Very nice organization for this classic event. I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.

One thing that I like about the race: the entry fee is kept lower by making various swag-features optional. No medal, no tech t-shirt, lower cost. And even the flyers etc in the typical race packet are now electronic. That plus the easy metro accessibility make it a nice low-impact race.

Last updated: 2014-04-06 12:00 AM
00:59:35 | 10 miles | 05m 58s  min/mile
Age Group: 6/725
Overall: 146/17738
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2014-04-06 10:07 AM

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University Park, MD
Subject: Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

2014-04-06 12:56 PM
in reply to: #4977260

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Washington, DC
Subject: RE: Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run
Amazing job!! Wow. Wasn't the weather perfect today?
2014-04-06 1:18 PM
in reply to: meggfishy

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University Park, MD
Subject: RE: Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run
Originally posted by meggfishy

Amazing job!! Wow. Wasn't the weather perfect today?

Yes, it was spectacular. Thought it was going to be too cold. And it probably was for the hundreds of volunteers. But for running it was just great.
2014-04-06 3:43 PM
in reply to: colinphillips

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: RE: Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run
Great race, Colin!
I loved reading how you were able to just notch it down a bit more and then you knew you had it 'in the bag'.
What a fabulous feeling when you still have a mile or two to go and you know you feel GOOD and are going to PR.

I highly doubt that you'll have any real issues with the M as long as you are smart this week and keep it easy, easy, easy.
Do you ever bike to help you in recovery? Non-impact for old(er) farts like me works pretty well.

You should be very proud of your training regimen and the terrific results.
Congratulations to you and GL in London!
2014-04-06 6:49 PM
in reply to: dtoce

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Overland Park, KS
Subject: RE: Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run
Sub 6's for ten miles and you were holding back? Nice! Good luck next week.
2014-04-06 7:50 PM
in reply to: reecealan

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Middle River, Maryland
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

Great race, Colin.  Good luck next weekend in London!

2014-04-07 11:59 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

Duuuuuuudddeeeeeeee! I am so excited for you.

Just know I'll be watching three people in London. You, Mo and Ryan Vail. Consider yourself in good company Oh and you had better kick your brother's azz this time 

Edited by Asalzwed 2014-04-07 11:59 AM
2014-04-07 1:47 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Crab Cake City
Subject: RE: Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run
Great race Colin!
2014-04-07 2:00 PM
in reply to: #4977260

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Apex, NC
Subject: RE: Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run
Excellent job. I was in DC with my family visiting, and decided to get in a long run along the Mt. Vernon Trail. Ran from Alexandria up to the Jefferson Mem. and back, and saw all the preparations readied for your race. It looks like a lot of fun, so I signed up for 2015 lottery notification.

Again, awesome job on that race.
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