I mean, how could I not do a recap of this race, which is the reason I joined this linkup after Coco organized a race linkup when she was an Ambassador. Happy four years to knowing all of you <3
Linking up with Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Mile by Mile, Runs with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running for the #RunnersRoundup to share my thoughts on running Washington DC for the second time. Also, bonus link to Deborah’s race recap.
What I like about this race logistics:
- Lotto, selection (December in normal years, January in these COVID times) give you plenty of time to train if you’re not already at the ten mile level. It also provides plenty of time to not be making last minute travel arrangements.
- Official bib swap platform so there’s little risk if you find you can’t run the race as planned. It’s also fairly easy to get a bib if you didn’t enter the lottery.
- Unbundled swag. While DC can be an an expensive city and especially so during Cherry Blossom season as it’s peak tourist time, the race is fairly cheap for the distance. For the entry fee ($50?) you get a cotton tee and have the opportunity to add on a plain or enhanced medal, tech tee and carbon offset. I bought the tech tee and enhanced medal in 2018. The shirt became part of my quilt and I have no idea where the medal is, so you can guess what my options were in 2022. I appreciate the choice as it leads to less waste.
- Easy city to get to from almost anywhere given flight/train volume to DC and plentiful accommodation options. I personally went with the Motto, a Hilton hotel closer to the museums than the start, but that’s the culture vulture in me. Last time I was at the Westin DC Center and that was also fine.
As far as races with lotteries go, I’ve had good luck with this one. I entered and ran in 2018 and would have run in 2020, but we all know what happened. I opted to take the refund and I didn’t enter in 2021 because September in DC could be way too humid and let’s be honest-the appeal for this particular race is the trees, not the course.
I decided to make a long long weekend of it since I absolutely love DC and arrived Friday morning on Amtrak. After a marathon run around the Mall to hit all the museums, I headed to the expo. Masks were not required, but it was what I felt most comfortable doing indoors. The main reason I went shortly after it opened on Friday was that I had dinner plans, but it also had the benefit of being significantly less crowded given folks hadn’t gotten off work yet. I appreciated this not only for COVID reasons, but also because it was much easier to navigate with fewer people. I went back on Saturday morning to meet Deborah before brunch and while it was definitely busier, it wasn’t overwhelming at all.
I love this year’s design, but I need another cotton tee shirt like I need a hole in the head. Am I building for my next Project Repat Quilt? I only have one bed so we’ll see. In addition to the usual vendors, CUCB had merchandise from past races. I was happy to get a long sleeve Asics shirt. While I don’t know if it will be good for running, it’s super soft and perfect for playing tourist and being a total dork. And yes, I finally got a pair of Cherry Blossom Race Dots. While I have no attachment to shirts that I’m worried about pin holes, the dots are so much fun.
Last time I ran this, I was in all the layers. This year? Game time decision to run in a skirt and long sleeves. Nice to be able to, and glad I brought both options with me. And yes, that is a mid-weight winter coat that I had on. Spring!
I’d planned to walk to the start (~ mile ish from my hotel) but when I was walking through the lobby, a fellow runner asked if I wanted to share an Uber and why not save my legs.
Race day is where I feel CUCB struggles to manage the large volume of runners and the percentage of which are out of town. My suggestion for their start area map: no bags, go to the Capitol side of Washington Monument; bags: go toward World War II. After checking my bag I quickly found Deborah and we navigated the port o potty lines which may or may not have been ten miles on their own! Was happy with the decision to go before because the lines during the race were crazy.
I was all excited when I saw the new/old course went back over Memorial Bridge as I thought I’d be running in Virginia for the first time. I am so insanely easy to please at times. Unfortunately I forgot about the double bridge to Arlington until we ran around the circle. Oh well, I’ll need to find a Virginia race. Not actually trying to run in every state, but it’s a fun idea. Overall, I have no issues with the course. The cherry blossoms are a nice distraction on the long out and back that is the last four miles or so, but I also had fun watching the planes take off and land at National. And of course the oreo & beer stand at the turnaround was fun.
I enjoyed the piece up to the Kennedy Center and back as I had a better context of where I was thanks to brunch in Georgetown the day before where we could see the Kennedy Center. I love DC, and this was the fourth time back since 2012, but have a bad habit of staying on and around the Mall so don’t really have the best sense of the city’s layout. Given that the race, by design to take advantage of all the views, loops back on itself a few times, I don’t think I’m alone in being disoriented. Sometimes it’s fun not to know what’s coming.
I couldn’t get my Aftershokz to pair with my iPod for some bizarre reason, so I ran it without music. I can definitely only do that on race day when there’s other things to see/hear. Nice to be more easily able to engage with other runners.
I could talk about how I felt at each mile, but I have no idea. I just know I had fun, it was still super scenic despite being post-peak. And no, it being post-peak did not remotely lead to my putting my phone away and running o:) Why choose a destination race if you’re not going to enjoy the views?! Before the race I said to Deborah that I wanted to finish in under two hours and she knew that was ~11:30. Clearly she should buy a lottery ticket!
I just realized the screen shot cuts off the time: 1:56:46. 2018? 1:57:11. I didn’t know that until I looked up my recap later, so it was a pleasant surprise. I don’t think the race was long despite some folks on social thinking it was. I was weaving and taking pics, plus I’m almost positive I’ve never run a tangent in my life. I’m not winning so I’d rather have the memories. This is also why this course will never be my 10M PR. That honor currently goes to the Bronx, which I’ve done once and isn’t scenic at all. That’s OK, not every race has to be. Funny, I was so cranky about my performance and it’s still a distance PR. Oh what we learn with a little hindsight.
Nope. No fun at all. Would not recommend this race at all 😀
I actually don’t have a single bad thing to say about it. Even my map logistics are a .0001 on a 1-10 scale of an issue. The race was just as nice as 2018 when I also had no issues. This is a race I’d 100% recommend. Only improvements?
- so nice to have friends running and otherwise local. In addition to Deborah and Jess, my friend Sean ran it. Got to enjoy additional weekend mischief with other friends, including Coco, and Jen who came up all the way from North Carolina. So grateful for easy travel and friends in so many places.
- Staying until Monday was so much better in terms of more time to sightsee, legs not stiffening on the train after running ten miles, and no rush to check out so I had brunch time
- Mother Nature. Thanks for being a little milder.
What’s your favorite spring race?
Have you run Cherry Blossom in DC or any other city? There’s apparently one not too far from me in NJ that I might have to try one year if the stars don’t align for a DC trip.