Wow! Can you believe that race day is almost here! If you’re anything like we are, you are in the final stages of race planning, stalking the weather, deciding what to wear, and figuring out your race day strategies.
Since most of us have participated in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run a few times before, we thought we would share our tips to help you run your best race.
As children we were taught that if we didn’t behave we might end up on Santa’s “naughty” list and get a lump of coal in our Christmas stockings instead of whatever was on our wish lists. Race directors have their own naughty lists, and take them quite seriously.
While most runners follow all the rules and regulations, there is growing concern about the unauthorized sale, transfer and use of bibs, particularly for popular races like the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. Continue reading Will You Be Naughty Or Nice?→
While there are still a few good weeks of running left in 2016, a lot of runners are starting to fill out their 2017 race calendars. I know I’ve already got April 2 filled in with the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. If you don’t have a guaranteed entry from volunteering last year, now is your chance to enter the lottery, which is open from December 1 through December 12.
You can find a full explanation of how the lottery works here.
If you don’t want to risk it with the lottery or you know you want to support Children’s Miracle Network, you can sign up to be a Charity Race Entry Participant. To qualify, you will need to raise $500 for the official race charity, Credit Unions for Kids. You will feel good knowing that every dollar raised for Credit Unions for Kids will be donated to Children’s Miracle Network, a network of 170 non-profit children’s hospitals located across North America. Please check out the official fundraising page for all the details.
We hope to see you at the
Washington Monument grounds on April 2!
Ok, folks, this is getting REAL! We are only a few days away from The Runner’s Rite of Spring! Today we are sharing five things you need to know BEFORE heading to the Washington Monument grounds on Sunday morning.
The most important thing that runners need to know before the race is that there is NO RACE DAY PACKET PICK UP. That means you need to get yourself to the expo on Friday or Saturday. The good news is that this is a great expo with tons of vendors and a full slate of clinic speakers on both days of the expo. For more information on the schedule and how to pick up a friend’s bib, check out the expo page here.
The next most important thing that runners need to know is that parking around the race venue is very limited, so you should plan to walk, bike, carpool, or Metroon Sunday morning. The Metro system will be opening at 5:00 am. The Smithsonian Station is about 1/4 mile from the start–not even far enough for a warm-up. Click here for more information on getting to the starting line. The 10 mile run lines up in front on the Washington Monument on 15th Street, parallel to 14th Street. The 5k lines up along the side of the Washington Monument, parallel to Independence Avenue.
Runners also will want to remember is that there is a wave start for the 10 mile run. The elite women’s start is at 7:20 am, with the first wave of the main race starting at 7:30 am, and the next waves going off every 3-5 minutes. Runners will be assigned to waves based on previous race times, and the color of your bib will match the color of your wave. (Expect six waves with about 2,500 runners each.) Read more about the wave start here.
If you run for bling, you will want to check your registration to confirm that you ordered a medal. If you did, you will be able to pick up your medal in the post-race staging area. If you didn’t but wish you did, watch your post-race emails and check the Cherry Blossom website to see if extra medals are for sale after the race–they usually are!
On race day, the most important thing to keep in mind is to RUN YOUR OWN RACE.Whether you trained for a PR or plan to take it easy and enjoy the scenery, YOU GOT THIS.
You’ve just run ten miles (or a 5k) and ROCKED the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Race – congrats! Now – you are hungry and a banana won’t cut it. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Whether you are down to walk to brunch or you’d rather take the metro, check out this list of ten places to eat and start planning!
Old Ebbitt Grill – It’s a classic. Plus, you might luck out with a celebrity (and by celebrity, I mean DC celebrity – a politician) sighting.
Founding Farmers – This place has literally almost anything you might want post race. PLUS a great bar – for a well deserved mimosa!
Teaisim – Lots of great, lighter food items and an incredibly interesting tea selection.
Le Pain Quotidien – Awesome French take on brunch at really reasonable prices. It’s a personal favorite of mine (and my husband!).
Shake Shack – Excellent burgers, fries and shakes if you are willing to wait until 11am when they open.
Take the Orange Line to the Eastern Market Metro Stop and you will have plenty of great options:
Ted’s Bulletin – Diner style food, lots of fun and boozy milkshakes. Plus homemade pop tarts!
Matchbox – Amazing cinnamon buns plus some of the best pizza in the city!
Lavagna – Delicious brunch with a bottomless Mimosa option.
Or, take the Orange Line in the other direction to Clarendon (in Virginia) and check out one of these options:
Lyon Hall – A classic French brasserie vibe with a fantastic brunch menu that runs from muesli to steak tartare, and everything in between.
Fuego Cocina – Great Mexican food in a casual setting, offering a three-course brunch menu and margaritas. (Opens at 11:00)
You really can’t go wrong with this list — and, with the exception of Shake Shack and Fuego Cocina, they all open at 10am or earlier!
We are privileged to be able to use the Washington Monument Grounds during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, its busiest time of the year. Our permit agreement specifies all runners will be off the course by 10:30 am. To meet this agreement, runners not maintaining a 14-minute-per mile pace (calculated from the start of the final wave) will be required to leave the course and board our sweep vehicle (if you are unsure that you can maintain this pace, you can switch to the 5k by completing this form). One brave runner shares her 2015 sweep bus experience. Continue reading Jen’s Sweeping Finish→
We always seem to get a handful of requests for this post each year. There’s no creativity involved in writing it, but runners just love to have their Expo plan in place and ask about which vendors they can expect to see when they arrive at the Building Museum to pick up their packets.
So, without further ado, here’s who’ll be at the 2015 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Expo:
316 Athletic Wear
American Running Camp
Baltimore Running Festival
Beyond Body Pads
Cabot Creamery Cooperative
Charm City Run
Comfort One Shoes
Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run Merchandise
Credit Union Cherry Blossom T-Shirt Exchange
Credit Union Miracle Day/Children’s Miracle Network
Feet First Sports
Fleet Feet Sports Annapolis
HB Tune – Cell Phone Holders
Hudson Trail Outfitters
Mamma Chia, LLC
McAdam Financially Advanced
Muscular Dystrophy Association
National Cherry Blossom Festival
National Running Center
Navy Federal Credit Union
Navy-Air Force Half Marathon & Navy 5 Miler
New York Road Runners Team for Kids
Potomac River Running
Real Time Pain Relief
Real Time Pain Relief
RUseeN Reflective APParel
Small Planet Food
Sparkly Soul, Inc.
Suffolk County, Long Island Marathon
Sustainability Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run
Teens Run DC
The Lasik Vision Institute
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Ride to Conquer Cancer
Total Athletic Comfort, Inc.
USA Sport Eyewear
USA Track and Field
Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon
Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon & 6K
Wyndham at National Harbor
Zooma Women’s Race Series
For more information about the Expo, how to get there, and how to pick up someone else’s packet, please visit the Expo page on our website.
The Cherry Blossom Festival is under way, and in just a few days we will be lining up at the Washington Monument getting ready to enjoy The Runner’s Rite of Spring®! Whether this is your first race, your first time doing the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, or your first race of 2015, we’d like to share our tips to help you run your best race.
Now. Download the CUCB app from the iTunes App Store or Google Play (search for CUCB or Credit Union Cherry Blossom). The app will help you get the most out of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom experience, with a schedule and maps for all weekend events, live results, real-time tracking, bib-look-up, and Run Pix results.
If you haven’t already, set your goals for the race. It’s great to have three different goals: a time/pace goal (like finishing under 90:00), an achievement goal (like running the whole way) and an ego goal (like finally take a great finish line photo).
Consider making a donation to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. You can donate through my donations page here or look up the donation page for another runner here.
Thursday. Elite runners have been watching their diets for weeks, but the rest of us can at least try to make healthy choices in the days leading up to the race. Make sure you are drinking enough water every day so you are fully hydrated come Sunday.
Friday. Visit the expo, which is open from 3:00 – 7:45 pm on Friday. Get your bib, your official race t-shirt, shop for more official Credit Union Cherry Blossom apparel, browse the other vendor booths and attend motivational and informational clinics. Take time to listen to the guest speakers, ask questions and get autographs. The energy of the event will get you excited for race day!
Saturday. If you didn’t go Friday, make sure you get to the expo, which is open from 9:00 am – 4:45 pm on Saturday. (There is no packet pick-up on Sunday.)
If you are from out of town, you probably will want to do some sightseeing, but don’t overdo it! You don’t want your legs to be too tired on Sunday.
Review the course maps with your spectators and decide where they should be. There are usually big crowds along Independence Avenue, but Hains Point can get pretty lonely. Make sure they know what you will be wearing so they can spot you easily to cheer you on.
Plan an early dinner. This is probably not the best time to try that new ethnic place you’ve been hearing about, but Elizabeth swears by steak with blueberry sauce from Aqua Al 2 in Eastern Market, while Natalie suggests dinner at the Georgetown waterfront.
Lay out all of your clothes and gear, from your hat and sunglasses to your socks and shoes. Make sure your GPS watch is charged, your water bottle is ready to go, and you’ve picked out any fuel you plan to carry. Remember, you don’t want to be trying anything new on race day. Even your underwear should be tried and true. Many runners go commando, but if you are more comfortable in underwear, you don’t want to find out the hard way which pair will give you a wedgie from mile 2 to mile 10. 😉
Get to bed early and make sure your alarm(s) are set correctly!
Sunday. Get up early enough to leave plenty of time to get ready and get to the race venue. Have breakfast or bring something to eat before the race.
At the race venue, take advantage of the pre-race warm-up, and scout out the finish area to plan where you will meet your family and friends. Check your bag early – it will be less stressful and give you time to relax before the race starts.
If you feel lost or confused, ask a volunteer for help! They will help point you in the right direction and ease your pre-race jitters.
Line up with your corral, and soak up the experience. There is something so moving about listening to the National Anthem at the base of the Washington Monument with 15,000 other runners.
Once the race starts, try to stay in the moment and enjoy the mile you are in! This is such a beautiful course–don’t be so focused on your pace that you forget to look around and enjoy it. It looks like the cherry blossoms could be in peak bloom this weekend, which would be spectacular!
As you approach the finish line, make sure you are smiling–no matter how hard you are pushing yourself! Pain is temporary, put race photos are forever. 😀
… and keep moving through the finish area, grab a water bottle and post for a post-race picture. If you ordered a medal, don’t forget to pick it up!
Celebrate your finish! You deserve it!
After The Race. We will be hosting a Race Recap Link-Up, so if you write about your race experience on your blog, be sure to come back here and link up your post!
~ The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Social Media Team
(Coco, Elizabeth, Kim, Malinda, Molly, Natalie)
This post isn’t for the runners. It’s for all of the parents, spouses, friends, loved ones and strangers who want to cheer on the 15,000 runners who will hit the streets on April 12 at 7:30 a.m. for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run – thank you.
Hilda and Denis DiBlasio are not runners. But they are the best parents I could ever ask for and they were up before the sun on the day of my first marathon, Rock ’n’ Roll USA, and came back down to Washington, D.C. to cheer me on at the Marine Corps Marathon this October. It doesn’t take a runner to make a fabulous supporter, all it takes is being there. For a runner, having your cheerleaders’ support means the world when you’re out on the race course.
It might seem daunting, but as you spectate, it gets easier. My parents have gone from struggling to decipher a race course map to showing up with what I think you’d agree are award-winning signs. “Toenails are overrated!” or “This seems like a lot of work for a free banana” and a pretty fabulous giant photo of my cat with the word RUN on it – just to name a few.
But if this is your first time spectating, here are some tips to make your day of cheerleading for your favorite runner at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run!
Make a plan. Take a look at the course and talk to your runner about when they could use some support. Pick key locations or mile markers that don’t involve crossing the race course to move between. If you’re positioning yourself near a mile marker, pick a spot 100-200 yards after the actual marker. This gives your runner a chance to register that you’re located nearby and they can start looking for you.
Tell your runner what you’ll be wearing. Chances are, they will see you first. It’s a lot easier for them to spot you in a crowd if they know where to expect you. Meanwhile, you’ll be scouring a constant stream of thousands of runners who all look the same. Let’s face it – we are all opting for in-season neon.
Pick your spots. So where should you go? Study the race map. Looking to stay close to the start and finish? Hang around the Tidal Basin. You can catch runners on their way out, as they come back during mile 5 and still have time to get to the finish. Want the most bang for your buck? The Lincoln Memorial should be your go-to. You’ll see runners come past at mile 1, shortly after mile 2 and looping back after mile 3 giving you plenty of time to head to the finish to try to snag a photo. If you’re up for a hike – head on down to Hains Point on East Potomac Park. This three mile stretch that falls between miles 6 and 9 is a rough one and every cheerleader makes a differences as runners come through the windy turn and push it on home. You can plan to see your runner shortly after the 6 and 9 mile markers if you plan it right.
Take public transportation. Take an awesome 10 mile race, add in Cherry Blossom season and top it off with D.C. traffic and parking and you have a transportation-tastrophe waiting to happen. Just stick with the metro. It opens at 5 a.m. on race day and the Smithsonian metro stop (on the Orange and Blue lines) is only about a quarter mile from the race start and finish. Other possible stops include L’Enfant Plaza (Blue, Orange, Green and Yellow Lines), about .8 of a mile from the start; Metro Center (Red, Orange and Blue lines), about .9 of a mile from the start; or Archives (Green and Yellow lines), about .9 of a mile from the start. There is also bicycle parking available.
Bring snacks for yourself. Runners have aid stations to rely on for fuel along the way – but you’ll be standing and walking for a good chunk of time. Take care of yourself! Keep an eye on the weather, charge your phone and bring some snacks and water – you’ll need it after all that cheering.
Download the Cherry Blossom Race Day app – but have a back up plan. Unfortunately, in large crowds, cell phones can lose service. That means runner tracking might not work. Even the best race planners can’t account for service carriers being overwhelmed. I had no issue with cell reception last year – but still, know your runner’s expected pace so if service is poor you still have an idea of where he or she will be.
Cheer loudly, but don’t say “you’re almost there!” I know it sounds nice, but closing in on the finish, runners do an insane amount on math in their heads. Even though being 11/13ths through the last mile might sound close to being finished to you, for a runner, the hardest part might still be ahead. Don’t mess with the mental system. Unless you’re at a mile marker, steer clear of announcing any remaining distances.
Have a finish line plan. Runners who just pushed themselves to the limit for 10 miles aren’t always the best at improvising on the spot (but they are great at waddling around in circles or laying on the ground) – so it’s best to make a plan ahead of time. Pick and landmark that’s not too close to the finish and meet there.
Lastly, know what a difference you make. Running is hard work, but putting up with a runner can be just as hard. We know our smelly laundry, grumpy tapers and ravenous I-must-eat-everything-in-the-house-because-today-was-long-run-day stints take a toll on our loved ones, but that fact that you still come out to cheer us on means the world. So from all CUCB runners to you – thank you! And enjoy the cherry blossoms.
Natalie started running in the second grade and hasn’t stopped since. In her day job, she is a reporter on the breaking news team at USA TODAY. In the way-too-early mornings and shouldn’t-you-be-exhausted-by-now evenings she’s busy running, practicing yoga at her favorite studio, acting as President of the American News Women’s Club or writing for Run Washington, HalfMarathons.net and Runner’s Breakfast. Natalie is a chronically starving marathoner, loud laugher and wannabe triathlete in training for her first half Ironman in June.