Monday, April 4, 2011

Cherry Blossom Recap

Oh Cherry Blossom. You are not my favorite. Let me preface by saying I had a weird eating day on Saturday (expo day), including lentil soup for lunch and a TON of oily pasta for dinner. Oops. Could have fueled better. Anyways, here's some of the highlights.

This was not the best. The weather on Saturday was alternately 55 degrees and sunny and 55 degrees and torrential downpour. I took Andrew and my Dad and we got to the National Building Museum around 1pm. The line to get in to pick up packets went 75% of the way around the block. Luckily, we were there during one of the sunny periods of the day. The line went pretty quickly (30 minutes?) and everyone was nice and jovial about being in line forever. Once inside the building, it became sort of apparent why the line was moving so slowly. The packet pickup was on the second floor, around lots of corners. However, the actual packet pickup took 2 seconds! They were so organized! Maybe not enough people came during the earlier hours of the day, or were trying to avoid the rainy times, but whatever the case, that sort of wait is ludicrous.

The expo itself was.. expo-y. Andrew and I both won a free Noodle Bowl from Noodles and Company! Awesome! And they had a handout about the different combos you can have and keep them under 400 calories. Pretty smart. There was not a lot of free stuff, and really no food vendors other than Firehook Bakery, selling pastries and pre-prepared salads and sandwiches. No thanks. The expo area was pretty well-organized and spacious.

The Race itself:
Not. Enough. Portapotties. I got off the Metro at 7:10, for a 7:40 race start, and immediately went to stand in line for the bathrooms. It looked like there were plenty of Portapotties, but judging from the sea of people standing in line, there were not enough. I stood.. and stood... and waited... the other lines looked like they were moving WAY faster, so maybe I just had a realllllly slow line. In the end, I didn't end up starting with my wave, and instead rushed to the start line, whipped off my pants and sweatshirt and started with the wave behind mine. The course was way too narrow in some spots, and it doubled back on itself over and over, which meant it got narrow, then wide, then narrow. There was good volunteer support, and decent crowd support. One major qualm is that the water and Gatorade stops switched sides... not always on the right, and there were not always people announcing which side it was on. This led to people assuming they could pass people who were stopping for water on the right, and instead running smack dab into the water stop. Arg. The finish line seemed lackluster. I did not wander much, so it might just have been me, but all I saw were bananas, water and muffins. The muffins were super delicious, so I couldn't be mad about that.

Also, they made a big deal about recycling the D-tags, but I saw tons of people who still had theirs on. I did not encounter any volunteers asking for D-tags, I just ran into a collection bin randomly. Maybe it was my post race tunnel vision, who knows.

My race:
Ugh. My stomach was in knots, I'm blaming oily pasta dinner, so that didn't help matters. And the whole hurry up and wait issue with needing the bathroom and not starting with my wave meant I was starting with slower folks. I am going to blame that for everything. We never seemed to thin out, I felt crowded except for the last mile, when all of a sudden the course was 5x wider. The crowds caused lots of jostling and elbowing, and I got tripped up and rolled my ankle several times. One woman also tripped over some cones, and as I was right behind her, I fell on her. I just felt out of sorts the whole race. As soon as I would get space to pass, there would be people blocking me again. There were a lot of folks passing on medians and that sort of thing, but that's not super safe so I avoided it. I wasn't feeling fast, so I'm not going to say I could have gone a lot faster than I did, but I definitely could have felt more comfortable if it wasn't so crowded, and maybe taken advantage my the few bursts of 'fastness' to pass some people.

When I finished I did not feel spent. I felt like I had plenty more speed in me. Oh well. I wandered with Andrew and got my legs back, then we hopped on Metro. I had a muffin at the post-race, and drank some coffee in the car, but my tummy was just not about to get back to normal. I took a long bath when I got home and ate some triscuits and then slept. SO MUCH SLEEP. When I woke up I felt way better. Andrew and I went on a nice bike ride (leisurely was the key word!) and then my Hunger finally came back. I ate a ton of veggie lo-mein, then a salad, then ice cream. And then I felt like a normal person again. It was great.

All in all, I'm unimpressed with how the race went, and how I performed, but I can't complain, the weekend was really great overall. Today I'm getting work done on my car and resting my legs, tomorrow I will be back to low-key workouts. Happy Monday!

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