Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Recap: Racing As An Elite

I thought this would be a great post for you to see what life is like as an elite athlete. This was my first real experience as an expenses-paid-for “pro” athlete, and although it is in no way as glamorous as other sports, for me, it was one incredible experience that I would love to experience again in the future.

Last weekend I competed in my first race since the marathon; the Cherry Blossom 10 mile, incorporating the USA 10 Mile Championships. To say I was a little nervous was a huge understatement. This was the longest period I had gone in a very long time (if ever in my running career) without racing, and I was terrified that I still was not ready. It was a big ask to have my first race back as such a high quality race, but it was good to dive in at the deep end, and it would be the perfect opportunity to blend in, and enjoy the experience.

I traveled down with one of my close friends (Frances), which was fun, and the race director put us in a room together, which was great! After checking in, we were directed to the elite athlete lounge to collect our numbers.

This was where my nerves shot through the roof; Olympians, runners I have idolized for years, and 2:21 (female) marathoners hung out in the same room. To them I was just another runner, but inside I was completely starstruck. I think I did a pretty good job at holding in my crazy 😛

There was also an abundance of food from Corner Bakery Cafe, masseurs, and lots of staff walking around asking if we needed anything.

All the elites signed this, I think it was won in a giveaway after the race
The elite athlete lounge
My selection of snacks 🙂

I started to feel as though I did not belong here… was I good enough to be here with these people? Luckily, I talked to my mum for a few minutes, and she made me feel a lot better. (Aren’t mums amazing? 🙂 I had earned this, and I was good enough to be here.

We had an elite athlete mandatory meeting where they went over rules, plans for the rest of the day, how race day would be organized, and what would happen if we were selected for drug testing. I tried to just suck it all in, and enjoy the moment. I went on a short 3 mile run down the mall (we were only a few blocks away), with Frances and a Canadian lady named Megan Wright, which was good fun.

At 6pm, we had a reception, followed by a VIP dinner at 7pm. I sat and chatted with Frances, Megan, Jen Rhines, and Sara Slattery, who are all lovely people. It was great to learn from them….and enjoy the good food of course! We listened to talks from a few speakers and VIPs from the race, before we headed to our rooms to toss and turn all night sleep.

Race morning, we set our alarm for 4:20am (3 hours before the race), and had our pre-race breakfast in the athlete lounge. I noticed that most people had a similar breakfast of a bagel with peanut butter/cream cheese, and a banana.

The bus picked us all up at 6am, and we were transported to the course. We nervously paced around the elite athlete tent….and waited in line for the bathrooms (inside the tent thankfully), until it was time to warm up.

Usually the hour before the race feels like it takes forever, but with a view of the white house on the first half of the warm-up, and a view of the Washington Monument on the second half, followed by a mad rush to the bathroom, it seemed like minutes later we were being called to the start line. The elite women’s race started twelve minutes before the rest of the field in the hopes that the lead men would not catch us.

After a few strides, and the national anthem, it was time to stand behind the start line, and get ready to go……To be continued…….HERE 🙂

What is the biggest race you have ever done? How do you combat feelings of doubt?

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  • I can't wait to hear the rest of your experience! Hmm, biggest race I have done? I don't know if the Long Island Half is bigger than the Fitness Mag half I am doing this weekend but the one thing I notice is that the Fitness Mag race is all women which gives a totally different feel! I can't fully explain it but it has something to do with the men acting all macho as they start out…and I laugh while I pass most of them lol….I don't really know how I deal with doubt to be honest; I never put much pressure on myself but I do notice that as I wait in the corral, I get kinda sleepy all of a sudden which is never a good thing! I have to wake myself up and remember that I know how to run.

  • Love this insiders peek! Your texts from Mom are so sweet 🙂 They always know just the right thing to say!

  • This is so, so cool! The biggest race I have ever done was the Marine Corps Marathon. I did it in kind of an elite way–with Runner's World Challenge, so we did enjoy some VIP treatment, and it was absolutely the way to go.

  • Cherry Blossom did a nice job with this… my girlfriend got a few pictures of you racing (we're both Saucony Hurricanes)… I'll send them to you later today.

  • I am so dying to do this race. I've always wondered if all the things elites have to do make them feel worn down or energized before the race

  • How exciting! Can't wait to hear how it turned out.

  • What a cliff-hanger! 🙂 This insider's look is cool; thanks for sharing it with us! I can't wait to read about the race itself.

  • Such a cool experience–Jen Rhines?! You are a stud and well deserving of that company. I love Cherry Blossom and I'm glad you had a great experience there–ready for part two!

  • Oh – I can't wait to read the rest!! The lead up sounds awesome!!
    You definitely deserve to be in that room – you are an incredible runner!!!

  • Thanks Meri 🙂 I did an all women race last year, it was so much fun! I definitely agree about the different feel….men doing that to me is one of my biggest pet peeves! So glad someone else goes through the same frustration.

    Haha, as if you could forget 😉 I know what you mean though, I find I feel like that a few hours before the race.

  • Thanks Erica 🙂 Yeah, shes a sweetheart 🙂 Good luck with your race this weekend 🙂

  • Thanks Suzy, it was a pretty awesome weekend! I have heard marine corps is pretty big! I have never heard of the runners world challenge, but sounds like it would be a lot of fun as they put on great events!

  • They definitely did! Thanks Jake, that would be great, I really dont have many of me from that race at all….and I am not going to pay for the marathon foto ones….waaaay too expensive! That was so nice of your girlfriend, and congrats on your race! I think i ran past you on my cooldown….maybe?

  • It is an awesome race, and so well organized. You should put it on your racing bucket list for sure!

    Uhhh, I dunno, I mean it was a little frustrating that we could not really go relax in our room until about 8:45, when we had to get up so early, I would have liked to be in there sooner, but otherwise it wasnt too bad. I feel like there are so many perks of it, you have to do a few things that arent as fun….but that dinner definitely was 🙂

  • Thanks Melanie 🙂 Check back tomorrow 🙂

  • hehe, think I should write stories? 🙂 Thanks so much for your support friend!

  • Thank you so much Amanda, you are so sweet! Tomorrow you will get to read the race 🙂 I am glad people want to read, and do not think I am stretching it out too much!

  • Thanks Kim 🙂 You are so supportive! Thanks for all your kind words 🙂

  • I can't believe you're making us wait to hear more!! 🙂 it sounds great so far! It's so cool how you got to be an elite runner. What did you have at the VIP dinner!?

  • How neat! Like everyone else, I'm curious to read more.

  • Ahh such a cliffhanger! Sounds like such a great experience to start. You're a celebrity!

  • Very cool. I think I would be awestruck and a nervous wreck!

  • This is so cool!! I would feel so out of place (obvi because I would be)… reading part 2 now!

  • Love the behind the scenes look! Such a cool post, thanks for sharing!

  • you are so awesome! You definitely deserve to be there lady! (:
    I remember when I went to my first Healthy Living Summit I was starstruck by the 'bigger' bloggers. hahaha!

  • This is SO cool!!! I'm so glad you have your mum to reassure you when you started to doubt yourself. I cannot believe you ate dinner with Jen Rhines. That is bragging rights for life! Can't wait to read how it all turned out!!

  • Hehe, well, I am sure you have read it by now Leigha 🙂 They had so much food; pasta, salad, chicken, potatoes, beef, bread,…..and of course lots of desserts….I still indulged in cheesecake and this chocolate bread pudding! Yum!

  • Thank you so much! Hope you liked the second half 🙂

  • Hehe, hope you liked the final part. I dunno about celebrity….I was the starstruck one…..but I just had to pretend I was one of the crowd 😛

  • Thanks Heather, I kind of was….that is why my mum was the superhero who made me feel like I did belong 🙂

  • Oooooh I hope you liked it 🙂

  • Thanks Alex, glad you enjoyed it! I thought it would be something that you would never know about otherwise 🙂

  • Awww thank you Danielle 🙂 I think I would be the same way, I remember when Angela from Oh She Glows followed me…..I think I screamed in excitement hahaha!

  • Thanks so much Allie 🙂 Yes, my mum was there just at the right time, they always know what to say! Hahahaha true, but she was so lovely, you would never know if you didnt see her beautifully cut arms….I was in awe 🙂

  • So glad I found your blog (from Jill's). I got to go to the VIP dinner as a CUCB volunteer and I was too awed to even approach the elites like you. 😉

  • What an amazing experience! Mums are the best, I agree 🙂

  • That is amazing Coco! How very exciting! I wish we could have met in person. It was a wonderful event, and I enjoyed every second! Look forward to connecting in the future!

  • Thanks Kristy! It really was 🙂 I miss my mum, but yes, they always know what to say!

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