cherry blossom 10 milerHiii! Okay, I promise I’m still alive… it’s been awhile though. Between work, family life, and my little “side hustle”, things have been pretty crazy. Oh, not to mention that fact that our house has been a germ factory for over 3 weeks. The three of us have had some sort of cold or infection nonstop. There was a period of about 10 days where no one got much sleep. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone with non-sleeping kiddos does it. I was a MESS. Lindsey can attest to it. I practically broke down one day last week. There’s a reason sleep deprivation is a torture tactic, ya’ll. Anyway, we are all mostly (fingers crossed) healthy, and back to sleeping once again. Hallelujah! So, alas… time to finally recap my Cherry Blossom 10-miler…

So, I have to admit – I was pretty nervous going into the race weekend. I had been really sick the weekend before and hadn’t run my longest training run, which was supposed to be 8 miles. The furthest I ran was 7. It tooks hubs (and a few wise friends) telling me my health was more important than those miles to convince me to stay on my couch all weekend. In the end, they were right (of course), and I think sticking to my mileage over the course of the 10-week training program is what really got me through. Oh, side note: if you’re wondering what I use to train, Hal Higdon is my go-to. I’ve trained for every race – 5K, 10K, half marathon – with his program. I typically use the beginner one because I find it best for me.

Okay, so race day. My friend Katie (who also happens to be Supermom, and the sweetest friend) arranged for us to all meet at her house that morning. There were 6 of us in total, and her husband had graciously offered to drive us down to the mall since the Metro wasn’t yet running. So, we piled into her car – her 5 month old son and all! We discussed race goals and decided that Katie, her friend Jenna, and myself would run together.

cherry blossom 10-miler
Our goal was to finish. The other girls had some personal time goals, so off they went solo. Not only is the race route gorgeous, but you also happen to run a few switchbacks. It was fun to see and cheer on our other girls as they sped past us!

cherry blossom 10-miler

Katie has run most of my longer races alongside me. And can I tell you how thankful for that I am? She always keeps the conversation going, and keeps me distracted. Confession. I don’t run because I love it. I run because it allows me to have uninterrupted convos with friends, and I do happen to feel pretty darn good afterwards! Katie, Jenna and I took a slow, but steady pace and took turns chatting along the way. I hadn’t talked to Jenna one-on-one prior to this, so it was really fun getting to know her – and made those first 5 miles fly by! We had so much to talk about. Since none of us had a hard time goal, we would pace ourselves based on when it became too hard to talk…and honestly, it worked.

cherry blossom 10-miler

We hit Haines Point, which is infamous for being the hardest part of the race. It’s miles 7-9 and because of location, there isn’t much support or anything to see – except for the stunning blossoms this year! We hit the end of the point around mile 8 and noted how we felt pretty good! It was the longest I had run in over 3 years, and the last time I hit this point in the Cherry Blossom 10-miler, I was having some serious stomach issues. Katie and I laughed about that and cheered a little at the fact that I felt so much better this time around. I still wasn’t quite up for the beer and oreo station some AWESOME supporters set up every year, but nonetheless, I felt great.

cherry blossom 10-miler

Around mile 9 as we exited Haines Point, I could feel myself slowing a bit and felt a pain in my left big toe. Pretty sure it had been there for miles, but my adrenaline masked it. My right hip and knee were also starting to give me the “we’re done” signs… I slowed a bit, but continued on our steady pace. I hit the last little hill right before the finish line, and pushed through (after a quick walk break). I could finally see the finish line, and the crowd cheering. You guys… most amazing feeling in the world running through a finish line crowd. Especially one like this. Clearly, I wasn’t breaking records or winning any awards, but the cheers would’ve said otherwise. I had that last little burst of energy and sprinted through the finish. I finished in less than 2 hours, which was the goal I set for myself. It was slower than my 10-miler time 3 years ago…but that was pre-baby. So, I’m considering this a new PR for my post-baby self!

cherry blossom 10-miler

cherry blossom 10-miler

We found the other girls, picked up our medals, and chatted about brunch plans. Except, that’s when I felt my stomach give out and nausea hit out of no where. Like a ton of bricks. I decided to hang back from brunch and wait for Logan, H, and my mother-in-law to come meet me. They had planned to be at the finish, but DC traffic was worse than expected that morning. So, they parked and found me at the monument. I wasn’t feeling great, but seeing my little girl and how happy she was to see me made me ignore that. I wish she had seen me cross that finish line, but seeing her kicking her legs in her stroller and jump out to give me a hug made me feel like a superhero. Honestly, it was one of the best moments I can remember. I want nothing more than to be a strong, healthy role model for H, and I hope her growing up seeing me do things like this inspire her to step out of her comfort zone and do things of her own.

cherry blossom 10-miler

Looking back, I realize I signed up for this race to prove to myself that I can make that time for myself, train for something as big as a 10-miler, and yet still be a good wife, mother, and employee. Yea, there were times were it was stressful, but I have to say overall, it was do-able. And, I think I found that I can take time a few days a week and head to the gym after work or during the weekend. I also have to give major props to my hubs who has been telling me for months to make the time for myself. I just couldn’t let go of the reigns and ask for the help. I tend to want to do it ALL. Daycare dropoff, daycare pickup, dinner, etc. He stepped in and did pickup whenever I needed to get to the gym, and let me sleep in a little during the week when he was home teleworking. I don’t know what took so long for this to “click” for me, but I’m glad it has. It’s amazing how allowing him to do these things has given me that time to focus on my needs a bit. Whether I’m training for a race, or not, I think we’ve got a pretty awesome groove going, and I’m definitely hoping to keep up the workouts. Now the question – what next?

Lindsey and I are running a 10K next weekend (her longest race ever – she’s going to rock it!), and then I think I’ll decide where to focus my fitness energy going forward. I think I want to get into lifting a bit more. I always say that, but am so intimidated by the weights sometimes.

Any tips/programs/apps you could recommend for me? I’d love to hear what works for you!

Until next time…

xo,
Crystal

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