2015 Cherry Blossom 9.5 Miler Race Report

I ran my 5th Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run this year (here are my race reports from 2012 and 2014), except that this year the course was cut short. I also had some problems of my own. It’s a good thing that the cherry blossoms were in peak bloom and that it was a beautiful day. Otherwise, I’d be bitter. 

The 2015 t-shirt design and matching medal

The race experience started on Saturday when Scot and I went to the race expo at the National Building Museum. He wasn’t running, but he likes race expos and he also wanted to see some of the speakers. Dane Rauschenberg, a fellow Marathon Maniac was scheduled to speak, and Scot had met him a few times. Dane talked about some of the ambitious racing challenges he had set for himself, and accomplished, and he motivated others to set their own goals. We also got to listen to legendary marathoner Bill Rodgers speak. Bill was very low-key and a little humorous. After the expo, Scot and I spent a little time taking pictures of cherry blossoms by the river.

Bill Rodgers

Dane Rauschenberg

Look at all the people out to see the Cherry Blossoms

Sunday morning started off a little cool, but it was going to be a gorgeous day, and the cherry blossoms were at their peak. It should have been a great race. The weather doesn’t cooperate for race day every year, and neither do the blossoms. I recall my first Cherry Blossom in 2005 and how cold, rainy and windy it was. But this year, things were shaping up to be perfect…until I got off the Metro at the National Mall. As I made my way up the escalator, I could tell something was not quite right with my shorts. Then I found it: the inseam of my shorts had torn, exposing about 2 inches of my inner thigh. As far as modesty goes, I was fine, because the shorts were built into my SparkleSkirt. I had coverage. But I knew that I would have a major problem with chafing during the race. My options were to quit and go home or run anyway, and I chose the latter.

I made my way to the start area near the Washington Monument and checked my gear bag. I met up with Sapna, two different friends named Jen, and also saw former coworker Suzanne. A little less than an hour to start time, we heard an announcement by a race official that there had been an accident on the race course and that the course would be rerouted and cut short by about a half mile. That meant that it wouldn’t be a true 10 miler, and finish times would not be comparable to other 10 mile finish times. Still, I can’t say that I was upset that I’d have a half mile less for my leg to chafe. Sapna went into her corral and Jen from Shirlington Running Club and I fell into our corral as the runners moved closer to the start.

Pre-race with Annapolis Jen

Selfie with Sapna

With Shirlington Jen

I felt my leg rubbing from the very beginning, but it would take a little while for it to really hurt. From the start, I was looking forward to the unofficial beer stations that had been on Hains Point last year. In the meantime, I enjoyed the beautiful course, took pictures of the blossoms, and saw some more friends during the race.

Starting line as Purple Wave moved through

Barry juggled toy hockey sticks on the Memorial Bridge

Medical running staff ran the entire distance with the runners

Selfie with the Tidal Basin

The chafing was bothering me and I stopped at more than one medical tent for some Vaseline, which eased the friction for a while but never lasted. Then I needed a bathroom break, so I lost several minutes waiting in line. When I re-entered the course, the pack of runners had thinned out. I ended up passing a lot of folks when I got going again, so I felt pretty good, even with the chafing. The blossoms on Hains Point were beautiful but the beer stations were non-existent. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. But the biggest disappointment was yet to come.

A bride and groom taking wedding photos as we ran by on Hains Point

Beautiful blossoms on Hains Point with the river on our right 
Hard to tell because of the lighting, but we were running under a canopy of blossoms

I ran into Friends & Fitness friends Karin and Anne Marie

Always love to see this drum troupe on the course

When I had only about a half mile to go, I tripped on some uneven asphalt and fell. I’d fallen before on trails; that is to be expected with rocks and roots as impediments. But on asphalt? I was surprised and embarrassed. A few fellow runners helped me to the curb so I could sit there and recover for a couple minutes. I had skinned my knees and scraped my palms as my hands broke my fall. I also bruised my cheekbone; that may have been from my sunglasses, which now have a nice scratch on the lens. But otherwise, I was OK. I spotted the wrinkle in the asphalt that tripped me. It was under a bridge, so it was a little dark and that’s how I missed it. I got up, dusted myself off, and finished the race.

Getting my scraped up knees tended to in the medical tent
Finished, with bandaged knees

I visited the medical tent immediately after finishing and grabbing a bottle of water. They cleaned up my hands and knees and put bandages on my knees. Afterward, the post-race food was gone. That’s one thing I notice every time I do this race. The food does not last long enough for the slower finishers. It is out in the open where anyone, whether they are a race participant or not, can just take it. And I think some runners take extras for their friends and family. They really should control this so all of us who finish the race can have something to eat.

I took the Metro to my car and only then discovered how damaged my right hand was. It hurt to open the car door, turn the key in the ignition, use the gear shift and grip the wheel. Really hurt. And my thigh chafing was also very sensitive. The seam in the other leg had also split and I had a big raw spot on the first leg. I found out from Annapolis Jen that there was a defect in some of the Sparkle Skirts and that I should email them about a fix. I did that, and they offered to reinforce the seam for me if I send the skirt in. I also went for an x-ray of my hand the following day, as it felt no better. There was no fracture, and five days later it's much better, but it still hurts a little to grip things in that hand or to put much pressure on it. The doc said it just needs time to heal.

So, that was my experience at the 2015 Cherry Blossom Ten (er…9.5) Mile Run. It was a beautiful day, but painful for me in more ways than one. Oh, and of the five times I've run this race, it was my second slowest Cherry Blossom because of the bathroom break and the fall. If the course had been the full 10 miles, it would have been the slowest. Will I register for the lottery for next year’s race? Probably.

Bonus: check out my race review on BibRave.


  1. Missed you (and the beer)! Hope you're feeling better!

    1. Yeah...the beer. I was looking forward to it all morning! I'm feeling mostly better, but still a little bruised. See you soon!


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