Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cherry Blossom Ten Miler [Spectator Report]

Anyone else getting semi-depressed by this blog? I just scrolled through my past four posts and there's not much running to discuss. I guess I didn't expect to be so sick during the 10k, or for my hip to bother me for so long. I'm doing my best to stay upbeat and not turn this into a bitch-sesh. The last good run I had was the Shamrock Half Marathon on March 21st. Ironically, I've never felt so good on a long run in my life. Talk about going out with a bang.

Obviously, even though I'm not doing much of it currently, I still love running!!! I'm also doing my best to keep up with other running blogs while taking a break from training because people are doing great things! I have to give a shout out/plug for her blog to Allyson for completing her first half! I've been following her blog since she started training and she did awesome in the Go! St. Louis half this past weekend!

Although I missed the formal race registration, [before my hip started bothering me] I was considering running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler if my friend Craig could hook me up with a race bib. I haven't spectated a long race since I started running them, so I figured what better opportunity than this weekend. Side Note: I doubt I'll be ready to run the Marine Corp Historic Half in May...and if I can't do the Zooma Half in June... I may spectate both of those because... spectating is actually a great way to check out a race for the future. In addition to cheering on strangers, I'm secretly "shopping around" ;)

Now that I've seen it, I've decided I want to run the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler at some point.Shocked? I'm not. It would probably take a lot for me to not want to do a race at least once. But, the more fun the atmosphere, the more apt I am to pick it over a different race. DC is pretty good at offering 10 mile races... with the Army 10 in the fall and Cherry Blossom 10 in the spring. I wish that DC had a Rock n' Roll Half/Full...maybe this will eventually happen. It seems like the races here have slightly more serious themes... but good crowd support.

The race was in conjunction with the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC. Something I still really haven't been to, but if I'm being honest, the race is probably the only part of the festival I cared about. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Not humid. And around 60 at race start. That's a huge appeal that this race has, besides seeing the blossoms in bloom, the weather is more than likely going to be comfortable. All finishers received a medal! I spoke with one runner after it was over and she said there was less crowd support than in the fall at the Army 10. This may be because part of this race goes through a park that is not metro accessible.

My friend, Meghan (who also ran the Shamrock) and I decided to go all out in terms of spectating. We had hoped to stand around the Mile 8 or Mile 9 mark, but it was kind of hard to walk around with the posters and boom box we were carrying...and we both had to leave as soon as the race ended... so we settled on standing at the bottom of the final hill around mile 9.5

I was in Richmond Saturday night for my friends birthday. I left Richmond at 5AM to get back to DC around 7AM. Traffic was great (obviously)...and the lack of sleep was totally worth it! I made two posters for us. If Meghan and I were ridiculous enough to hold signs like this, of course we took pictures on our metro ride to the race! Besides the poster I'm holding changing...let's play a little game of one of these photos is not like the other.

First person to comment on what changes gets a Cliff Bar! Seriously. I'm beyond excited that I have documented proof of how early it was.

So, I was really rushed in making a CD...
but the songs I put on it were:

1) I Gotta Feeling--Black Eyed Peas
2) Low-- Flo Rida
3) Don't Stop Believing -- gLee version
4) Down-- Jay Sean
5) Baby-- Justin Bieber ft. Luda
6) TikTok-- Ke$ha
7) Bad Romance-- Lady Gaga
8) Glory Days-- Bruce Springsteen
9) Party in the USA-- Miley [duh!]
10) Sweet Caroline-- Neil Diamond
11) Kokomo-- Beach Boys
12) All Star-- Smash Mouth
13) Hey, Soul Sister-- Train
14) This is Our Moment-- Kenny Chesney

We played it through once...until we got to Kokomo and decided it wasn't upbeat enough of a song. We then did a 7x repeat of Don't Stop Believing. Which was AWESOME. And then I think the lack of sleep hit me and I was just like OMG I have to listen to something else... so we played songs #4-7 and Party in the USA. We repeated Baby, TikTok, and Party in the USA more than once.

I have to say it was actually kind of weird/nerve wracking spectating at the beginning. Since those were the most "hard core" runners the majority of them weren't super amused by us have a boom box playing pop songs or our silly posters. A few laughed. But most were in "the zone." Some people standing on the other side of the street were staring at us funny. Not that we really cared. But, Meghan and I both realized we were cheering on people who run faster than we can dream of. The Kenyans were already done...they had a special start time...but some of these people probably ran track in college, have won smaller races, etc.

Once they all passed got more fun. More people started standing around us. And I guess were either amused by our boom box or went somewhere that they wouldn't have to hear us. Meghan screamed a lot of "No Lie, Your Almost Done" "George Washington wouldn't lie to you!" "You're almost there!" and I screamed a lot of "Finish Strong! One Last Hill! You've Got This." and "Go Fast! Go Fast!"... with a couple "Make Ricky Bobbyy Proud's" mixed in for good measure.

We sang and danced some too! One funny moment was when I meant to say "You're so close!" but it came out "You're so cute!" and I wasn't really screaming at anyone in particular. Oops. Haha.

Some things I could have speculated, but didn't know for sure until I SPECTATED include:
  • If you wear a piece of clothing that has something specific people can yell... you're going to get more cheers. (These race bibs didn't have names on them.) But it's easier to say "Yeah Yankees!" to someone in a Yankee's t-shirt then just scream a color shirt.
  • The people who are really energetic when they are running are the most fun to cheer for. I realize everyone has moments when they get tired. If you have too much energy, you probably aren't running hard enough. When I run I tend to turn into a general goof...and get really hyper the farther the distance. I love high fiving people and will scream back if someone is really into it. The people who ran through cheering not only pumped up the people around them...they also seemed to pump up the spectators. Variety is the spice of life ;)
  • Music really, really does help if you aren't using an iPod. Some people started clapping or singing with us. We got a few thanks yous for the music.
  • Sometimes a little distraction is all you need to push yourself harder/to the finish. We saw people noticeably pick up their pace when I said "Go Fast! Go Fast!" or after laughing at the George Washington poster get a little more bounce in their step.
I wish we had been able to stay for the very last runner...but we had to leave around 10 because I had to baby-sit. We did get one shot with the Washington Monument/race in the background. Somehow I feel much more legit as a DC resident now that I have a photo like this. I really DON'T go to this area of DC all that often. But it's pretty cool to say I can.

Oh, and if anyone's wondering, I did save the posters. Ricky Bobby WILL be used again. The George Washington one is kind of specific to the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. But, maybe I'll keep it an entire year. The only thing I actually wrote with a Sharpie was "No Lie, Almost DONE!" the rest was done by printing things off of the computer and gluing them onto poster board (including letters). I'd say using a colored piece of poster board/computer printer is the way to go if you are pressed for time!


Lauren said...

Soooo awesome I wish you could be at the Chicago marathon in October to cheer ME on. I definitely plan on putting my name (or a fun nickname) on my shirt. I neeeed to hear people scream it! :D

Julie said...

Wow, it sounds like you had a blast as a spectator:) I love those signs...thats the spirit! Great pictures! I hope that you have a fantastic week!

Adam said...

This looked like a LOT of fun

I can't believe that you put a beach boys song on your CD! :) Too funny. Although, i'm with you that it was probably not fast enough.

The two pictures: did you mean that the dude was asleep in the one?

inspiREDtorun13 said...

Yeah... I've decided if I can't run, I love spectating! Although it's a totally different experience.

@Lauren-- I have a friend in Chicago whose been trying to get me to come visit... Hmm.. haha. She's quite spirited as well. No promises. The timing would be a long shot, but you never know.

@Adam-- Correct! Ha. You've won a cliff bar. I was going to send chocolate chip, but do you have a favorite?

NewbieRunner said...

Thanks for the shout out! :)
I looked into the Rock and Roll Half Marathon at Virginia Beach over Labor Day weekend! I would LOVE to participate in a Rock and Roll half and thought this one would be great because it's over a 3 day weekend. However, I had no idea the closest airport was DC! Geesh! Getting a rental car, etc. adds up! We shall see...some day I'd like to travel and run in a half somewhere I've never been. Gotta love it! :) Hope your hip feels better soon!

inspiREDtorun13 said...

@Newbie...Yeah I know what you mean. I'm lucky in that I wouldn't have to stay in a hotel (I have friends that live there), but from what I've heard some of the hotel prices are jacked up, the traffic is bad, etc. since it is a holiday weekend at the beach.

Anyway...(fyi) there are a couple smaller airports near VB.

Norfolk International Airport (ORF),
Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF)

then Richmond International Airport (RIC) also closer than DC. Since all of these are smaller, I'd guess the cheapest flights ARE to DC.

Doing a race that ends on the beach IS really cool...I've only done halves at the beach so far ;) but if you're going to pay for a flight/hotel/rental car... I would probably pick a major US city. Just my two cents. If you end up signing up for the race OF COURSE-- LEMME KNOW!