Cherry Blossom - Virtual Ten-miler
“It reminded me how important it is to have people cheering you on in this world.” - George Couros
When I heard this quote on an education podcast recently, I immediately knew that’s what makes the Striders so great - people to cheer you on.
Before the pandemic I was running inconsistently. I would get out a few days a week if I was lucky, but more often than not, runs were being missed because there was just too much going on. When the world shut down, there were no more excuses! I had the time, and I made the time to run. Since then I’ve signed up for and completed several virtual races - the Parkway Classic 10k, a relay race across Virginia with 4 friends, and the mini-Oregon Trail challenge. While my weekly miles were consistent, I had no “long run” to speak of, and that was disappointing.
When club member, Alli, mentioned she was thinking about running the virtual Cherry Blossom race I knew that was the perfect reason to increase my Sunday run!
Training was just ok. I managed to increase the length of my weekend run but found myself having to miss mid-week runs because of other commitments. Being back at work meant less time at home and just made things complicated. But I was still excited about the upcoming 10-mile race.
Race day was beautiful! The rain ended before dawn, and the sun was peeking out through the clouds. Valerie, club president, has created an event that would start and end at District Taco and arranged for an “aid station” along the course. We had a great group of runners set out at 8am (and some who started earlier!) to run along the Mount Vernon Trail.
The run was challenging. With mediocre training and slightly warmer than usual weather, my legs were tired sooner than they should have been. There were several walk breaks taken, but I kept going.
The true MVP on the course was Ron, later joined by Alex, who manned the aid station at miles 2.8 and 7.2. Set up along the river they had water, Gatorade, orange slices, and most importantly, encouragement! They were there to cheer us on. Any of us could have woken up that Sunday and struggled through a virtual 10 mile race alone, but having like-minded people to run with, support us, and cheer us on, made the experience that much more special.
We all earned our breakfast that morning. Sitting outside District Taco, laughing, smiling, and of course eating, it was a pleasant reminder of why we do this. To feel the camaraderie when our feet hit the pavement. To feel our hearts beating as sweat streams down our foreheads. And to eat well-earned tacos, knowing that all along the way, someone was cheering us on.