Cherry Blossom 5k Race Recap 4/29/18

cblogoMy original plan for this year was to actually train for a 5k for a change. Outside of my first (and my slowest), I’ve never specifically trained for one — I just run one every now and again.

Well, being sick on and off for January and February and some of March, too — that never happened.

The Cherry Blossom 5k was a new-to-me race. I’ve been away some years when friends ran it, and other years I think I was just too deep into half marathon training. One of my husband’s aunts passed away from ALS, though, so we have a connection to the disease (the charity for the race).

Just don’t ask us to show you any cherry blossoms!


They’re no cherry blossoms

Packet Pickup
There was Packet Pickup at the local Fleet Feet on Friday — no thank you: it was in the late afternoon and that road gets bogged down with traffic. I considered going to the race location the day before, as you could also pick it up then, but my friends assured me there was no need and that worked for me.

Packet pickup was easy, as we got there nice and early, except for the one person in our group who, as it turned out, had actually never signed up for the race. The tee is a nice soft tee, but not a tech tee; it runs true to size. I got a medium, because so often race shirts run small, and if they don’t, I’d rather have a shirt that’s larger than too small.

We had snagged a parking space close to the start — there is basically no parking for the race; some people park in bank parking lots; the rest park on the street. Thank you, Chris, for agreeing to pick me up!

Post race — arms crossed cause I’m so cold!

My Race Plan
I actually looked up my 5k PR, looked at my splits, and made a simple plan to try to shave a few seconds off of each mile: 10:13, 10:13, and 10:04 (which Coach Rachel @ Runningonhappy approved).

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 10:03. Of course I was very happy with this mile — that’s almost the fastest mile I have ever run in a race. There’s a nice down hill in this “flat and fast” race in the first mile.
  2. Mile 2: 10:45. Well, maybe that first mile was too fast. But there was the water stop in this mile and yeah, I walked more than I probably should have. I was thirsty!
  3. Mile 3: 10:26. At least I picked up the pace. More likely less walking.
  4. Last .1: 11:06. I am not sure why that last little bit was slow; probably because I’d given it my all.

32:14 — Official Time
10:22 — Average Pace
23 our of 41 in my AG
287 out of 424 runners

I won’t lie — I was kind of disappointed. The cool weather was in my favor. I knew trying to PR was a reach, but if you don’t reach for the stars, how will you ever find out what you can do?

It is what it is, though. Not my best 5k, not a bad 5k time for me, and nowhere near my worst 5k time. Even before I ran this race, I was considering another 5k in a few weeks — another good cause and another flattish course. I think all my 5k PRs have come in the fall, though, after months of training for halfs, so redemption is questionable. Maybe with Coach Rachel’s guidance . . .

I still wonder about my 5k PR. It didn’t even feel hard! This race definitely felt hard.

The weather & dressing
The weather was not nice. Not nice at all. Rainy, 40s, windy so felt colder. On the plus side, it wasn’t pouring.

I wore with my Triple Pocket Leggings in Charmed, Wonder Wool Long Tee, and Double Take Reversible Jacket from Skirt Sports. It was the perfect outfit for me. Don’t forget to use code 522CRJ for 15% off of non sale items at Skirt Sports.

I knew I’d get warm during the race, and I did, but that’s what zippers are for. I was so cold both before and afterwards. A lot of people complained about having trouble breathing — allergies, I suppose — I was huffing and puffing simply because I was running hard!

Was the race well run?
I would say the race was pretty well run. Some people did some to have issues with their bibs, but none of us did (well, not once our friend realized she really never did sign up for the race).

No real bathrooms, but there really weren’t lines for the portapotties until shortly before the race. Most of us had already used them by that point and just walked in and out of them. Parking is an issue, but you’re warned about that — we stayed warm in the car until race time. There was ample volunteer support and the course was well marked.

There was water, chocolate milk, bagels, bananas, oranges — maybe some more stuff — post race. I had brought my own protein bar so I didn’t really look over the offerings. There were some vendors selling some stuff, too — more food, at least — but again, we were all cold and wet and not interested in looking them over.

Would I run this race again? Most likely only if there were a group of us going again. Although well run and a good cause, it’s not scenic and apparently the weather is almost always this bad.

Now, if we actually had cherry blossoms like you do down in DC . . .


This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


34 thoughts on “Cherry Blossom 5k Race Recap 4/29/18

  1. Congrats on your race. Running a 5K is HARD! I agree that you should give yourself lofty goals. We won’t always reach them, but it gives us something to try for. Any race that ends with chocolate milk is a plus in my book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely agree 5ks are hard! There was a lot of self talk going on about how bad do you want it — I think most likely it’s more mental than physical — and I had the same problems with halfs for a long time. Or maybe not . . .

      I also know that usually those PRs come in the fall, with months of training behind them.


  2. Definitely more fun in nicer weather. Maybe next year.

    A 5k is hard because there’s no wiggle room. One slow mile and it’s over.

    Does Rachel recommend intervals even for a 5k? Though if I stop and walk or don’t, it’s often the same.

    I think you will eventually get your PR. but as long as you are having fun, that’s ok too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rachel doesn’t recommend (or not recommend) intervals at all. But I always run that way. Except with the training group, since they’re now up to solid running. But it’s also very slow running, so it’s fine.

      I’m really not sure I’ll ever get my 5k time down. I KNEW I would do it someday in the half. I don’t have that same conviction about the 5k, but I’ll keep trying. And yes, having fun along the way, too.


      1. I find half marathons way more unpredictable. So many more miles. My times can vary as much as 20 minutes. My 5k times are pretty consistent 27:xx but having a PR is a challenge. A half PR is much harder.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s a local race. Apparently there are cherry trees there, but they are never in bloom for the race.

      I am pleased with the race, don’t get me wrong. I’m not sure I’d have met my goal even if I had run a smarter race (which I wish I had), but you always learn something!


  3. Your time looks pretty darn good considering the conditions! Rain and cold and wind ALWAYS slows everyone down. And, personally, I think 5ks are so hard anyway. I think that’s why I like the longer distances – I don’t want to all out race. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry to hear about the weather! Trust me I am an expert about how much cold and wet and wind can wreck havoc on you after Boston haha. I think you rocked it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The more “experienced” I become with racing (and running, in general), I have realized the shorter the distance, the tougher the race because, ideally, you’ll be in the mind set to run it faster and harder than what usually feel comfortable. It took me a long time to grasp that notion! I always believed the longer the distance = more endurance required..thus a tougher experience (well, the longer races have their own pros/cons as well). Those 5K PR’s do not come easy, especially when you’ve done a lot of them. Chin up!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually don’t run a lot of 5ks. And yes, they are hard! I knew that going in. I thought I was prepared. I think I was just a little overly ambitious, but oh well. Live & learn.

      Still really happy with the first mile. Even if a lot of it was downhill. 🙂


  6. Don’t feel too bummed about your 5K. It sounds like the conditions were miserable, yet you still did a great job! I think sometimes thinking about a PR can create too much pressure and get in your head – or I may be speaking for myself, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny. I do train for PRs, but I never take it for granted that it will happen. And I knew that I hadn’t actually trained for this race — but running has actually been pretty strong with minimal training (or maybe because of minimal training, LOL!).

      If I do end up doing the next 5k, I will definitely shoot for a slower first mile & see what happens from there.

      They are saying the course for the 5k will be flat and if it’s at the bike path there, it’s relatively flat. If it’s where we train, there’s a big ole hill there!

      Anyway, waiting on the weather, too. Thanks, Janelle.


  7. I have never specifically trained for a 5k either. I often go out too fast (like you) and then have to slow down. I especially do this in a tri race which is the total opposite of what I’d like to do. I wonder what would happen if I actually trained for one? Congrats on your race and good news-there are so many 5Ks in the summer if you want to try to train for one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, now I’m into half training. If the weather’s nice I’ll do a 5k in a few weeks, and definitely try to take the first mile much slower — I did run it faster than I’d intended to. Not so good for the race, but nice to know I can do that.

      So I’ve readjusted my expectations and we’ll see. The irony is that I often naturally run negative splits on runs!


    1. Well, if I ever ran a 5k under 30 minutes I’d probably keep over from the shock. 🙂 I would’ve been happier if it had been under 32 minutes! Doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. 🙂


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