Though I hated the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler last year (how can a race be soooo crowded and disorganized, when it’s been going for almost 40 years?), I had my guaranteed registration from volunteering last year (where I was treated worst than I’ve ever been in my life, when I first arrived), so I will make a point of running it this year, because I earned that stupid registration, damn it! But, if the organization doesn’t improve, I think I will never run it again.
When I ran in 2009, it was my very first long distance run. The most I had done was a 10k about six months earlier. It was a BIG deal for me to finish, as I signed up not knowing if I would have to walk (I didn’t), or if I would be picked up by the slow bus (I didn’t).
At that time, they had 12,000 people running it, and they ran out of water on mile 8 and the volunteer had the nerve to tell me “next time run faster.” I’m sorry, you have a 2:20 cut off time, I crossed the finish line before even the 2 hour mark, YOU HAVE TO HAVE WATER FOR THE VERY LAST PERSON CROSSING THE FINISH LINE. It’s not like you didn’t know how many people were coming!
Last year, they increased the field to 15,000 people (why do you increase when you couldn’t handle the crowds the year before?), and though they did have water at mile 8, they had run out of water at the finish line (there was a HUGE sign saying “WATER” and only empty boxes to be seen). Luckily, Karl had a water for me when I finished. You pay if you want a a medal, and since we already established that I’m a medal whore, I of course, paid for one. There were huge lines to claim your medal.
The course is beautiful, but the people were mean. I got bumped, pushed, elbowed even late in the miles, as the course was crowded even at mile 9. I started in my correct corral, and was running the pace I claimed to run when I registered, PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE PUSHING! There were bottlenecks the whole way, where you had to considerably slow down. It was really frustrating.
You can read my report from last year here. The course is beautiful, isn’t it? I had a great run, because I was just having a good day. I loved running with Lindsay as well (who hated it last year and will not be running this year). I think because she was feeling so miserable and wanted to walk as early as mile 1, I concentrated my energy on getting her not to give up and cross the finish line with me, instead of my own run. It worked! She never gave up, and I had a great time running with her!
I feel that despite having run two half marathons in the last couple of weeks, I’m in much worse shape than I was last year (specially after my half marathon fiasco last week). I didn’t get one run in this week, which sucks, but the weather was just cold and raining and miserable.
I know that unless I get injured (knock on wood!) I can finish before the cut off time, but I have no idea if I can even beat my time from last year. And to think 6 months ago, I was getting a HUGE PR when I ran the Army Ten Miler, cutting off 13 minutes off my time! I am also 10 lbs heavier, which is taking a toll on all my runs. I’m actually looking forward to getting some food poisoning in Manila to shed some weight. (Kidding! Ok, kind of.)
Wish me luck. I’m hoping to get at least 1:55 time. Can I make my body do it, even if it’s not up for it?