Cherry Blossom 10 miler Race Recap

Did you even run a race if there’s no photographic evidence? I kinda feel like that right now. It’s taken me so long to write this race recap because I’ve been waiting for an email from marathonfoto to say “Your Race Photos are Ready!” Well over a week later, I decided to check the website and alas it’s like I played Where’s Waldo with the photographers. After skimming through hundreds of unclaimed pictures, I FINALLY found one of me at the finish line. So proof. I ran that race lol.

Other than the lack of evidence of my race, I have to say that this is a race I would definitely do again. From the beginning it was well organized, news letters from the race were constantly being sent out with tips on how to get to the course, how things were set up, changes to the route etc. Bib pick up was easy and I was well guided to the right area.

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Got a picture in before we rushed off to the start line! 

The morning of the race did not start off without a hitch though. I will say, it’s my own fault. I should have planned on getting a Lyft a lot earlier, because while I scheduled it out in time, of course so was everyone else and the demand was HIGH. I started to freak out a bit when it was going to take them a half hour to get to me, but thankfully we had two phones going and one of them finally worked. We arrived to the race, hurried and searched for a bag drop off, (which I don’t normally do but it was unusually chilly in DC that morning and we knew we needed extra clothes) and got into our corrals just in time.

The first few miles were kinda tough, not because it was a hard race, actually it’s a really flat course, but it is super crowded. Some of the roads were pretty narrow, and there were a lot of walkers in my wave. I know I’m not a faster runner, but I’m not a walker. I am solidly middle of the pack. So this is my only gripe about the race, I was not seeded properly and it made my time much slower in the beginning than what I would have liked. I honestly felt like I was walking the first few miles, but I didn’t want to waste energy weaving in and out of people. One of the things I’ve started doing while running and biking is listening to audio books instead of music. This helped keep my mind off the actual race and just focus on my book and my environment. (If you need a good book, I just finish “The Wife Between Us” and it was SUPERB!)

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Soooo pretty

After awhile, it cleared up a little bit, still a very crowded race overall, but more manageable. Like I said it was a flat course, so nothing challenging, but I will say it isGORGEOUS. This is absolutely the prettiest course I have ever been on. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom, the city was clean and water sparkling. As I ran under the arches of the trees that hung over the roads, I was in awe. It made the first frustrating miles kind of disappear and made me just enjoy running for the first time in awhile. Last year, as you know was full of heart breakingly bad races, injuries and tears. While, I’m still working on getting back to where I once was, this race gave me the confidence that I needed to keep working and make my come back in 2018.  So Thank you Cherry Blossom 10 miler for a great kick off to my 2018 race year! Up next is the Portsmouth Half Marathon this weekend!

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My one and only race picture! So happy to finish!
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Pretty Medal! Thank you Rachel Rakoff for letting me steal this one!
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C Joy hits the sea!

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated here, mostly because things in life have taken a turn. All good, but I needed some time to get adjusted back into life and my new routine. I’ve been back in Boston for about 3 weeks now after being out to sea for 5 days, with nothing but water and sun surrounding me. Before, I left I decided to make a change in my career, but that’s another story for another day. Today, while I stare out the cafe window at snow falling I’d rather reminisce about my trip out to sea. While I am about fitness and health, that’s not my whole life. I want to start sharing experiences that help my balance my life and keep me sane. Traveling is one of those things and 2018 is my year for it!

On February 20th, I set out for my first time on a cruise! I’ve been on a ferry before to go to the Harbor Islands of Boston and I went whale watching once, but a CRUISE is a whole different story. When I got on board, my definition of rest and relaxation hit a whole new level. I spent this trip with my boyfriend, Patrick, it was a present for my 30th birthday (not sure how he’s ever going to top that one!) we set sail from Miami on the Royal Caribbean ship Navigator of the Seas, and this what our itinerary looked like:

Day 1: Miami

Day 2: Sea

Day 3: Costa Maya

Day 4: Cozumel

Day 5: Sea

Day 6: Miami

Embarkment

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Getting on to the ship was extremely organized, we got to the dock super early so we were some of the first people on board which was nice for this first time cruiser. I was so excited to check out the ship and explore which is basically a floating mini city. Our stateroom was on deck 8 stateroom 8616 and it was awesome. I honestly, often forgot I was on a boat sometimes, until I walked out on to our balcony and could only see ocean for days. If you go on a cruise, I really suggest you get a balcony, we used it a lot of pictures and relaxing with a drink.

Tip: even though I often forgot I was on a boat, I did get motion sick so remember to bring proper medicine.

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Everyday there were different activities that you can do on the cruise, and every night we were provided with the next days schedule. There is SO much going on, but honestly, we didn’t experience much of it because we were there to relax. We did work out one day in the very small over crowded gym, but decided that fitness was something we could take a break from for a short week. The pool, bars and food were our main focus of this trip.

Land Excursions

Cruising isn’t just about the ship though, we did get off the ship when we docked at different destinations. Our first stop was Costa Maya. I was super excited to stop here because we had planned months before to go snorkeling. This is a trip of firsts, and I had never gone snorkeling before and couldn’t wait to see ocean creatures that weren’t just at an aquarium. Sadly though, as soon as we got to shore we learned that the waters were too rough and snorkeling was cancelled. This was probably the most disappointing part of my trip, I got up early on vacation (6am) to get off the ship only to be told that we couldn’t do the one thing I was looking forward to. I was determined to still have fun though, so instead we signed up to swim with the dolphins. Not exactly seeing wild life out in the wild, but I have never done it before so it was a first!!!

The dolphins were really well trained to all the hand signals we were taught and we got got a TON of pictures of us kissing and holding them. Before we got in the water though, we had a safety talk as well as a lesson on how we can do our parts to help dolphins in the water, by not using so many plastic bags etc. It was nice that there was a little educational part even though I was sweating in my life jacket. There were two parts to the swimming. The first we would swim out to the middle of the huge pool we were in on a boogie board and two dolphins would swim up behind and push your feet so you went flying across the pool! The second one was you would swim back out and hold one arm out and a dolphin would swim up next to you so it was belly up, you grab its fins and it pulls you across the water. If you can’t tell from the pictures, I was ecstatic!!

Even though I was happy to still have fun in Costa Maya, I still wanted to snorkel! The staff on the ship was extremely accommodating to this. We originally had signed up to see the Mayan ruins in Cozumel, but after not being able to snorkel and learning that it was about a 6 hour round trip to the ruins, we decided to see if we could snorkel in Cozumel instead. Thankfully, we were able to make that change and went snorkeling in Turtle Cove and in the Cenotes.

Turtle cove was amazing, we saw several sea turtles up close, different fish and the reef that is out there. I was kind of disappointed we didn’t stay out there longer because I was having a blast. But some of the people in our group were slow pokes and we moved slowly to get in the water. Sadly, I am not high tech enough and we didn’t get any pictures, but I really enjoyed it.

After the cove, we went to the Cenotes which is an underwater cave. This was beautiful and I am so glad I got to experience this. The water was so clear and clean you could see straight down to the bottom. There were places you could touch and then there were places that dropped hundreds of feet. Surrounding us were so many stalagmites and stalactites that have been developing for hundreds of years. We learned the history of these caves and how there are hundreds of them connected by an underground river.

Food and drinks

Back on the ship there are several different places to eat. Some are included and some you have to pay extra. The Windjammer was the buffet style dining area that is included but we really only had a few meals here because I am not a fan of buffets. There was a lot of different choices and cuisines that catered to pretty much everyone here and it was good for a quick snack.

IMG_0090Aside from the buffet, there was the Sapphire dining room which was more formal, also included but with limited hours. This is where we mostly ate, the food was more limited in choices but in my opinion, so much better. In the evenings, this is where the three course formal and semi formal dinners were held and we definitely ate there every night. Everyone is assigned to a table and a dinner time for this dining area. At first when Patrick told me our dinner time was 8pm I was appalled because it was so late! But it really ended up being for the better because it gave us time to relax, get ready and have a pre-dinner cocktail without rushing. These meals were a pre-fixe menu that changed nightly so we got to try a lot of different meals that we normally wouldn’t eat. One the second night of the cruise it was the formal captain’s dinner which everyone got dressed up for, which I was super excited for because we never get to get that dressed up.

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Tip: While there is food included, drinks are not. We got the unlimited drink package, and it was definitely worth it, I can confidently say we got our money’s worth!

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Would I do it again? YES! I had a good time except for when I got a little motion sick, and I got to go snorkeling even though it didn’t quite go as planned. We actually have already booked a second cruise for February 2019 to the Eastern Caribbean (Tip: you get a sweet discount if you do it on the ship.)

 

Where do I plan on going next? We hit DC in a couple weeks and I’m off to the Philippines in May!