Friday, April 11, 2014

'C'-ing Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

5 years into this racing thing and I'm finally beginning to understand how to prioritize races and be ok with not setting a PR every time I toe the line.  In previous years I've labeled my races as A, B, and C but every race received pretty much the same taper progression.  A, B, and C were merely labels I used to denote which ones I wanted to really train for and others that I'd race on my way to the goal race.  No matter what race the goal involved be faster (set a PR), make the podium (if realistic), beat Adam.  I was quite successful in PR-ing almost every distance that I competed in last year.

With this year's Cherry Blossom 10-miler a "C" race and smack dab in the middle of a training cycle I was focusing on the process and enjoying the race.  The weather was pretty much perfect and the crazy winds of Saturday luckily subsided for race morning.

12 ounces of Osmo Preload and an easy bike over to race start.  This easy bike let me know my legs were feeling Thursday and Friday's workouts and I was going to have to fight for everything during the run.  Once at our meet up corner I took some layers off, checked my gear bag, and had myself a short warm up.  Warm up felt good and I stripped the rest of my extra layers and headed to my corral.  Oh yeah, I took a Claritan in the morning right after I woke up.

Race Start
The 2nd start corral (red corral) at this race spans a 12 minute predicted finish time.  I figured I'd want to be somewhat near the front in order to finish in the top 2-3 minutes of the predicted finish time.  I squeezed through gates and slipped past people to get a decent spot in the corral.  The first mile in this race is crowded, well really the entire race is crowded but the first tight right hand turn is super crowded as is the next one about 1 mile later to get up to Memorial Bridge.

My race plan was created based on HR as my training up to this point has been HR and not pace based.  This training model was a struggle at first, but I'm already really seeing the benefits.  Mile 1 - HR was perfect and I was looking to bring it up each mile from there.  Enter mile 2 - holy smokes when did my HR jump almost 15 beats? Yikes, what do I do, what if I can't control it, coach is going to have my butt if I crash and burn.  I was able to calm down, use some reasoning skills and remember all my HR goals correlated to RPE goals.  Thanks HR monitor but you're not going to be too much help today.  I monitored my HR every now and then and I was continuously able to bring it up - to levels that would probably make most people's hearts beat out of there chest, or at least allow them to set world records running 10 miles at that intensity.

The 'U' turns on this course resulted in the ultimate bottle neck and the tight, almost U turns, had a similar effect.  The thing I like most about this course is that I know it like the back of my hand.  I know exactly where I'm headed and what the terrain will be like.  Nothing can change the fact that I love Hains Point.  It was, yet again, my favorite part of this course.   Coming off of Hains Point and making the right turn up Raul Wallenberg Drive I saw some DC Tri friends spinning it out with cheers and motivation for the last 800 meters.  Super awesome.

This race wasn't a PR for the distance, but it was a PR for the course - almost a 3 minute PR for the course.  Coming off of a decently big training week my legs felt ok for the race.  I felt like I pushed it but didn't fall apart.  I was able to bring my HR up 1 beat every mile - even though it was ridiculously high I was still able to increase my effort level throughout the race, so I was pleased with that.
Finish Time : 1:17:00 (:34 seconds off of a PR and a 2:52 course PR, I'll take it for a 'C' race!)

It's tri time from here on out - as far as I have planned.  There may be another 10 miler and/or 1/2 marathon toward the end of the year but the schedule for the next few months goes something like - sprint tri, 70.3, 70.3, olympic....and Ironman Lake Placid :)  Don't worry it doesn't stop there!  Thank you Osmo Nutrition for great pre and post race beverages and of course DC Tri Club and Snapple Tri Team for your awesome support.


  1. Nice. Good job Finn! Why not hyperlink to those races and clubs you mention? ;-)

    1. I see where you're headed with that. :)