Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Recap: The Race

Racing Tips

I am sure you were too excited to sleep last night in anticipation of reading the second half of my recap, but as I care about you, I am going to put you out of your misery :p If you missed part one, you can learn all about how elite athletes are treated the day before, and morning of a race by clicking HERE.

So where were we?

There is me, to the right, in pink and purple jersey (below the right clock)

I was on the start line, eyes ahead, hand on my watch (even though we were told if we crossed the line reaching for watches, prize money would be cut 50%…..joking….I think?), and butterflies bouncing off the walls of my stomach, it was suddenly time to go!

The group of Kenyans and Ethopians took off at a pace I am not even sure I could run for one mile, followed by a group of speedy Americans, and a few other groups. I wanted to be conservative for my first race back, so I let them all go, and somehow found myself in no-mans land within 800m.

Like I said, I wanted to be conservative, and I was not going to let the others dictate my pace, but I went through the mile in 5:44, surpassing even my own estimations of conservative……I expected to be around 5:35. I set my eyes on the group ahead of me, and picked up the pace a little, mostly thinking about how numb my hands were.It was a beautiful morning, but still pretty chilly.

As I caught the next group, they were all breathing hard….already, and I did not want to disrupt my rhythm, so I just kept on going, taking a few with me for a while, but they too dropped off. I went through the second mile in 5:37 and decided that was good enough. I did not look at my Garmin the rest of the way for fear of panicking if I was either fast or slow, and besides, I had promised my coach I would run by feel. Turns out he was right, I ended up running 5:40 for a few miles, before settling in to 5:30 pace for the next 5.

Thanks for the photos Clay 🙂

I continued to pick groups off, setting my sight, reeling them in, and passing. Not one person passed me after the first 400m, and I continued to move through the field.
I was aware that I really was not pushing as hard as I usually do, nor did I go to the hurt locker I usually can. That is partly due to the marathon wound still being a little fresh, and partly because I eventually ran out of people to chase. I only really started to struggle the last 1.5 miles, which is way too late.

I finished in 18th place, with a time of 56:37, which is 5:39 pace….although my Garmin says I ran 10.16 miles (5:35 pace). I beat a lot of really high caliber, professional athletes, and I was really proud of that, but the next female in front of me was a minute ahead. I am not really sure what else I could have done without going out too fast, and I was not ready to do that. HERE is a link to watch the video of my finish (around 4:30), you can see I was almost a minute behind the next runner…..leaving me in no mans land for the last part of the race.

This was a great race to build my confidence, and although it angers me that I still had quite a bit left that I didn’t use, but I did not taper at all for this race, nor was I really going to gain anything from running well at it….who knows what a good 10 mile time is anyway!?

I am confident that I am moving in the right direction, and I think running a similar pace for my half marathon next month is definitely realistic if I keep being smart.

Okay, so what happened next? After the race, you talk to a lot of the athletes, I cooled down with a large group, and we talked about our version of the race. There was then an hour and a half before the awards ceremony (to allow for protests), where we could refuel, and catch up with other runners and important people in the running world.

So incredibly proud of her for her 6th place finish. Racing with one of your best friends is so special.

I watched some of my new friends go up for awards, and cheered extra loud when Frances was called up as 3rd American (and 6th overall!!!). We then got back on the bus, where one of the most famous runners I know sat next to me and talked to me about my race plans, and future. He gave some great advice, and I now have some new options to consider 🙂

We quickly showered, and then headed down to a fantastic brunch full of all kinds of glorious food.

Well earned I would say 🙂

We socialized a little more, and I caught up with an old friend….who I have not seen in 7 years, before we said our goodbyes, and headed back to Philly!

Last time we hung out was in California at SOKA, 8 years ago! Small world!

A wonderful weekend, and what an experience 🙂 Hopefully this will not be my last. I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity, and want to thank Saucony for allowing me to represent them as a Saucony Hurricane! #FindYourStrong

Have you ever finished a race feeling as though you did not push yourself hard enough? 
What is your favorite post race meal?

If you want to learn more about racing as an elite, check out my guest post on Jill Conyers blog “Being An Elite Athlete Is Not All Glamour” 🙂

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66 Comments. Leave new

  • Ahhh congrats!! I think that's awesome. Well, clearly, I'm impressed by all runners but YOU are amazing. I would probably want to eat 5 buffets after running that quickly for that long haha.

  • Wow lady just WOW!!! I am in serious awe of your running ability – right now and really always 🙂 You've made me want to really pick my game back up with running. Now my cast is off there's no excuses not to get back out there again.

    Did I say well done yet!?!?!? Awesome awesome work!

  • well i haven't, but my husband has. so yes, he can relate, and i can too, kinda? but you learn from each one. And you become a better “racer.”

  • Congrats on a great race! I know you're frustrated that you left some gas in the tank, but picking off people had to feel good! I love hearing from your perspective as an elite. I've definitely had races where I knew I could have pushed harder, but they're few and far between.

  • Well done!! Congrats!

  • good job! Very impressive race. I love running by feel, although sometimes it's tempting to check pace.

  • It kind of gave me chills to read this!! Congrats, you should be proud of such an awesome time running by feel!!

    I ran a half in the fall that I hadn't tapered for, signed up for two days in advance, and definitely had stuff left in the tank afterwards. A little disappointing.

  • What a seriously awesome day! I love working out hard and then enjoying company at a delicious brunch afterwards!! 🙂

  • Wow, Tina!! What an awesome race, and it sounds like you executed your plan perfectly!

  • Congrats on a great race!!! What a great feeling to have carried out the strategy and beat out some elites! You are flipping' FAST!

  • Congratulations, you are so amazing! WELL DONE and a great recap 🙂

  • You are so inspiring! That's my one mile race pace. 🙂 I love it- huge congrats on being 18th!! I do know that feeling of having a little more to give- it happened to me in the Houston marathon (my 2nd) after dying in my first, I was determined to hold back a bit but could have pushed a little harder. But like you said, this is an awesome confidence boosting race!!

  • So amazing!!! Great job Tina!

    Not giving my all is one of my really big problems. After every cross country race this year I was barely tired at the end.. that's what I'm going to work on next year! My favorite post race meal is probably stuffed french toast.. mmmm 🙂

  • Way to go Tina! I have had a few races where I've felt like I didn't give it my all. I sometimes play it too safe. One day I just need to let it all go and see what happens!

  • What a fun race recap to read and a great location for a race! Congrats on your fast finishing time!

  • you are so totally cool! That race sounds like a great scenic one. I would get lost in my run and find myself running in circles instead of the finish line.

    Also it was cool that you got to sit and talk to someone you look up to! very neat lady! (:

    PS: I love reading about your running journey! (:

  • You are so amazing!!! I know you are disappointed that you had some gas left but you are seriously so inspiring and SO FAST! When I went biking the other day I realized partway through my ride that you run faster than I bike (yes I was actually thinking that!). So amazing. Congratulations girl <3

  • A 5:39 pace? I don't even know what that looks like. I'm just at hte point of getting into the sub-10 minute mile. LOL! You are awesome!

  • Great job Tina! Especially gutting it out in no man's land.

  • You are a running rock star, girlie! Great job and conservative isn't always a bad thing 😉
    Absolutely awesome!

  • Congrats on an awesome race!!! I can't even imagine running in the 5's!

  • So amazing! The whole journey, and your pace! Congrats

  • You are so ridiculously fast! I'm so glad you had a good day, even if you felt you had something left in the tank–especially non-tapered! I love how you ran the race, too, w/o looking at your Garmin. I'm a big fan of going by feel. Congrats!

  • Hello Tina! Congratulations on your race. The blog was an interesting read. Also, I happened to drive Frances to the airport several years ago (2010 or 2011). Small world! I'm glad to hear that she's doing well; she was wonderfully kind and a delight to talk to.

  • Thanks Erin, you are so sweet! I did not eat 5 buffets, but by the time I got home 3 hours later I was hungry again, so it was time for round two….and then round 3 was dinner 😛

  • 🙂 Thank you my friend! You are so wonderful, I love that we are connected, and we can inspire one another to be better people….cause I learn so much from you! Yes, you must get out there! THANK YOU for everything 🙂

  • Yes, that is exactly it….I went too far one way in my marathon, and now I was too conservative…so hopefully just like Goldilocks, the next one will be juuuuusssttt right 🙂

  • Thanks Karla, that just means I will have to leave it all out there at Brooklyn 🙂 Picking people off does feel good! Good confidence boost too! WHen are you next racing?

  • Thanks Michelle 🙂

  • Thanks Ursula, yes, as much as it frustrates me trying not to look at my garmin, I am always glad I did afterwards as you learn to listen to your body!

  • Awwww thats so nice! I did not think it was that exciting, but you are right, I should be proud, and I am getting there!

    Yeah, it is always frustrating, but I guess then you know next time that you do not want to feel that way. If you only signed up 2 days in advance….I am not surprised your body wasnt ready to go!

  • Thanks pretty lady! Yes, brunch is the best meal by far if you have raced….mmmm pancakes!

  • Thank you lovely, I did the best I could….next time I am not leaving anything left!

  • Thanks Laura 🙂 I do my best, hopefully next time I can be extra flippin fast 🙂

  • Thank you Linna, I am glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Your support is so wonderful!

  • Thank you Laura!!! I was pretty excited, especially in a field that elite! Yeah, sounds pretty similar to my experience, and yes, will hopefully make me more willing to leave it all out there in my upcoming half! Thank you for your continued support!

  • Thanks Leigha, I love that you are such a foodie like me, and the food parts of posts are what jump out at you 😛 I am the same way, and your food always looks amazing! Speaking of amazing…stuffed french toast, yes please!

  • Thanks Angela, yes you do! Especially after all you have been through, you should have an extra grit that can allow you to give it your all 🙂

  • Thanks Tina! I am glad you liked it, hopefully next 10 mile can impress you even more 🙂

  • Thanks lovely! It was beautiful, I should have taken it in more though, was too focused on what I was doing haha!

    Thank you so much, I love reading about all your journeys…..especially crossfit….in awe!

  • Thank you Kim 🙂 That is such a lovely comment, I love that we are connected, and I look forward to the continued journey of friendship 🙂 I am so honored you thought of me on your ride! I feel so special now 🙂

  • Thank you….it has taken a lot of time and hours to get there, but if you continue to commit, you will reach some paces you never thought you could too! Stick with it 🙂

  • Thank you so much, it is the toughest place to be, really tests your mental strength!

  • Thanks Michelle, I appreciate your support! You are right, sometimes we all need to be careful, and makes us appreciate it when we do go all out!

  • Thank you Mindy 🙂 Its taken a long time, but every year you get stronger!

  • Thank you Cyanne! Your kind words are really appreciated!

  • Thank you my friend! Yes, I am excited for the half marathon….just as I am excited to see how your next race goes after these track workouts 🙂

  • Thanks Johnathan! Long time no speak, and that is so crazy!!! Very small world! Where were you taking her? She is absolutely one of the best people on this earth! How are you doing?

  • Fantastic! As a very non-elite runner who also did this race, it is great to see your perspective!

  • WOW!!! you rock.

    I love going with the flow…and how I feel. I've never worn a watch while racing..

  • Woah! I'm so impressed. I can't imagine running that pace for more than, like, 30 seconds. Nice work!

  • Right on Tina! I like how you put it,

    “I only really started to struggle the last 1.5 miles, which is way too late.”

    I always wonder what some of the best feel like in their races. It seems guys at the highest levels (lagat and farah on the elite, chez in the NCAA), just relax the race away and then race the last half mile or so. Man wouldn't that be pleasant.

    -Demetri

  • You're welcome! I was taking her to the airport in Traverse City. She was in my hometown of Charlevoix for the weekend to race the Ryan Shay mile as part of the Venetian Festival. I'm doing well! I graduate in just a few weeks and then I'll be looking for a job.

  • Congrats, Tina! Awesome race. Even if you felt as if you didn't push yourself hard enough, I think it's still smart for your first race back to err on the side of conservatism rather than overexerting and crashing. You'll be back to “normal” in no time!

  • AWESOME job. Awesome time. I'm still working on sub 6 miles. You are amazing! Looking strong and confident.

    I ran the Cherry Blossom 5K here in Philly this weekend. Not quite the same, but fun!

    (Did you ever see my twitter messages from long ago? If not, no worries).

  • Thanks so much Coco! Did you enjoy the race? Will have to check out your blog to see 🙂

  • Thank you lovely! I am not surprised one bit to hear that! It is good! I just love to reflect after and see how fast I ran at the end 🙂

  • Thanks Amy 🙂 It has taken a lot of time to get there, but well worth it!

  • That is such a good point Demetri, I have never really thought about that, but the elites in this race with me were definitely not taking it that way….well the Americans anyway. When we cooled down some of them told me how they puked, and others were dry heaving as they were at their limits. Guess it depends on who you are! Interesting though!

  • Thanks Megan, that is exactly right. I know I made the right choice that day…..I did overexert and crash in the marathon, and that was dangerous for my body. Thanks so much for your support!

  • Thank you so much! That is so nice to hear! Where was that race? I actually did my run on Sunday along MLK and saw two races going on! I wonder if you were there?

    Yes, sorry I need to get back to you….my apologies! Will explain I promise!!!

  • I told her about you the other day, she said to say hello! She remembered how lovely you are! Good luck with finding a job, I am sure you will have no problem 🙂

  • Finally had a chance to properly read this (I think I didn't comment before haha)… It's so hard with distance sometimes to figure out how hard to push yourself in the beginning so you aren't dead with five miles left to go… I enjoyed reading this, I can't wait to see more recaps! And impressed with your amaze time!!

  • Thanks Cassie 🙂 You are so right, usually I push myself too hard, but this time I left too much behind! Thanks so much for your support 🙂 I love seeing how you do too!

  • I know I am super late with this as I am just now going through your blog but congrats! I ran that race like 3 or 4 years ago and I just loved it! It's such a competative crowd and well organized race. Running by feel can be so beneficial and I need to do it more often. Again congrats 🙂

  • I’m running Cherry Blossom this year and remembered your recap today! I’m using it as a tune-up before my half in May and like how you approached running by feel so that you could run a similar pace in your half. Thanks for the boost!

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