Blossoms, Blossoms, Where are the Blossoms?

The Washington DC cherry blossoms, that is.  Well, they bloomed early this year due to wacky weather patterns and and a pre-mature Spring.  So what was left for the annual Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run on April 1, 2012 were fun crowds, beautiful sights, and pretty trees, but no major blossoms to speak of.

This was my third time running the coveted Cherry Blossom.  My first two were in 2005 and 2006 when you had to get online FAST to register before sell-out.  Nowadays, there is a lottery, and I lucked out by winning a spot.
2005 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler - my first time was cold and rainy with whipping winds!
The weather for the 2012 race was pretty optimal for running: cool temperatures and overcast skies.  That meant that with the right clothes, I was perfectly dressed for the weather.  No sun meant it didn't get too hot and I didn't get sunburned.  
2012 Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run - the Purple Wave is about to start
This year's Cherry Blossom was different than the ones I ran a few years back.  For one, the course was better.  Instead of running up and down Rock Creek Parkway, the course is more focused on the Tidal Basin area, the prime blossom viewing spots (that is, when the trees are in bloom).  I was happy for this course change as I have never found running the Rock Creek Parkway fun nor interesting.  On the new course, there were a few random trees that still had blossoms.  I jumped off the course for a quick self portrait in front of one such tree, which might not even be a cherry tree...maybe a dogwood?  I'm not good at knowing these things!
Cherry blossoms or not?  I don't know, but they were pretty...
Running through Hains Point did get a little windy and chilly, but it wasn't too bad.  Hains Point was the home of mile markers 7, 8, and 9, and in my opinion it is often a long boring stretch.  Once I realized I would be able to break 2 hours for this race, I picked up the pace a little bit during these last few miles.  While my 10 miler time isn't as good as it once was, by breaking 2 hours I knew I was getting closer to where I should be.  The last half mile of the race was uphill to the Washington Monument grounds.  I noticed many people walking this stretch, but I found a second wind and ran it in!
Post race pic at the Washington Monument
Another thing that was different than in years past: the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler now has finisher medals.  Interestingly, they don't include the medal in the base registration fee.  It was necessary to request a medal (and pay a little more) during the registration process.  Of course I did it, and I was not disappointed.
2012 finisher medal - my first time earning a medal for this race
  2012 Cherry Blossom poster, t-shirt, and my bib

I love the special Cherry Blossom water bottles, sponsored by my credit union!
This was a good day!  Unfortunately, while I knew several people running the race, I wasn't able to find them...until later in the day on Facebook!  And now, I have another race to prepare for just 6 days after the Cherry Blossom.  Yes, folks, I'm headed to Hollywood!


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