Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

Once again, my Goldfish-Poodledom is rearing its head and I'm all distracted and interrupting my Iraq post series to tell you about my race last weekend. Because races are fun and you know there's usually something random that happens to me.

Ahem, Exhibit A:
I call my friend during a race years ago to find her in the crowd for ONE SECOND and THAT'S the photo the race people captured....

Anyway, I thought I'd share about my latest race, even though I fear all my race stories are starting to sound the same because people are getting more and more comfortable with letting their freak flag fly during any race and no longer just relegating strange costumes and behavior to theme races.

So, this past Sunday, I ran the Cherry Blossom 10-miler for I believe the first time, although the Goldfish side of my brain may just be pulling another Italian Job on me and I likely have run the race and just thought I was running it for the first time. Either way --it was fun.

Per usual, I hadn't really trained for it (bad! I have to stop doing that!) and I had been travelling and sick so I really expected to have to take a lot of walk breaks and barely end before the race closed. I ended up surprising myself and jogging the whole thing, only walking very briefly around mile 8 during a water stop. I'm not sure what exactly was spurring me on, since it sure wasn't these guys:

As they wouldn't come out and bloom until the next day, the day after I needed them to keep me distracted while my legs were cursing me.

Thanks Cherry Blossoms.

Anyway, perhaps what kept me going was the entertainment. Here's the recap:

Around mile 2, we hit an out-and-back stretch which meant we passed the runners behind us as we headed back into downtown and they were still heading towards Virginia. It was around that point where I saw:

-A man dressed like Santa
-A man juggling
-a man jump-roping

and- the clean up crew. As in, I was so close to the back of the race that I felt like I was literally being chased by the van that picks up runners too slow to finish the course before they open the roads back up.

That'll make you speed up.

Around mile 3 - I caused an accident.

Ok, it wasn't just me but we assume the driver was watching the race when he drove into the car in front of him and we all heard it. Ouch.

After that, we continued on and enjoyed the people on the sidelines cheering, ringing cow bells, playing in drum circles (yes), and holding signs like "Worst. Parade. Ever" and "Smile if you aren't wearing underwear...."

At some point I passed two Statues of Liberty running with a man wearing a colorful pancho, who I could only deduce was representing...immigration-? Later I saw another Statue of Liberty running with -

A giant banana.

I got nothin' for that.

But it was fun to run near the banana just to hear all the cheers from the sidelines. "Oh yay, go banana!" "There's a banana!" "Look at the banana!" I nearly sarcastically told a guy running next to me "hey, you think there's a banana behind us?" but I wasn't sure he'd enjoy that so I just kept running in silence, amusing myself with thoughts like "I want a banana. You should be offering me a banana, I'm the one running this thing...."

You think of strange things while you're running for long periods of time. When I talked to a friend later who also ran the race, she admitted that at one point, she found herself thinking -- "you know, having a Kenyan friend would be the best brunch partner for these things because they'd finish so much faster than me and they could go hold a table...."
If you run at all, you know everyone jokes about Kenyans always winning races. It's like the whole country is predisposed to be superior in speed to the rest of the world. I ran behind a white guy wearing a shirt that said "Run like a Kenyan" during another out-and-back stretch and on the other side of the road -- the side filled with the runners who were beating us -- was a girl who saw the shirt and happily yelled she was Kenyan. Ha! Races bring people together...

Anyway, at some point I overheard two females runners behind me and it sounded like one said "well do you think you're over it?" and the other one saying "....well, you know, when you've shared a life with someone...." and for a second I thought her voice was cracking.

That'll make you speed up too. Yeesh, I don't need an Oprah episode during my run, thanks. I think I'll go find that banana again...

Around mile 9, I couldn't take the heat anymore and decided I had to take off my outer layer. But I feel stupid with a jacket tied around my waist so I tied it diagonally across my chest so it fit more like the strap of a side satchel, because that's acceptable, right? A couple days later I got an email with the official race photos and realized in horror that in tying it that way, and being in forward motion, it just looked like --

a cape


Whatever -- I survived! After I picked up my medal, I got a more official photo:

and was walking back to the metro when a man stopped me and asked "did you have to pay extra for the medal?"

And I was like "Pshaw - no! You earn the medal by running the race, silly...."


I later talked to the friend who also ran it and she confirmed that yes, you actually do have to pay extra for the medal in this particular race. Which meant that man wasn't crazy. Or joking. And it also meant...I had chosen that option willingly when I signed up several months before.

Which means my brain is still just as Goldfishy as ever and that I'll likely forget I ran this race. Next year, I'll probably go through this whole experience again ...for the first time....

I'll be sure to let you know about it.