Saturday, November 15, 2014

Kickoff Party for 2015 Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run

Last night was the kickoff party for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile Run (CUCB). It was a fun night filled with prizes, reveals and excitement! Read on for the highlights.

My Big News
Before I get into the party details, I have two big pieces of news that I've had to keep a secret until last night. I'm thrilled to finally be able to share them...

  1. I will be part of the 2015 CUCB Race Blog Team! I am looking forward to blogging about all things Cherry Blossom, from training to logistics, with an eye towards motivation and inspiration. I was selected for the team based on my social runner application snippet: New @PRRunning coach shares @CUCB training journeys for her whole crew. Cheering, motivating, inspiring, & instilling enthusiasm for THE quintessential DC race!
  2. And that reveals my second piece of news - I will be Assistant Coach for the Potomac River Running Cherry Blossom Training Program in Reston! I was a runner in this incredible program last year and I don't have to words to describe how excited I am to share the training journey with this year's runners. 

Kickoff Party Swag
Party attendees last night got some great treats. Not only did we get a first look at the race t-shirt art, vote on the t-shirt color, and meet the social runners, but we got some great gifts - a milestone pod mileage tracker in our choice of colors (pink, blue, black), a $10 gift card to Potomac River Running, and a t-shirt in our preferred color with the race art. We knew about the first two, but taking home the t-shirt was an awesome surprise. I even got my shirt signed by the artist, Abby Matousek.

Jessica presents the signature party cocktail, the Cherry-tini

T-Shirt Art & Voting
One of the focal points of the evening was the big reveal of the t-shirt art. I think the design is incredible and photos just don't do it justice. It is exquisite in person. The art was printed on t-shirts of three different colors: light gray, heather gray, and cream. We got to vote for our preferred color by choosing a t-shirt in that color. 

Color fight with Social Runner Megan (aka @elbowglitter)
I have cream, Megan has light gray. Alas we both lost.

Artist Abby Matousek (@AbbyMato) displays my signed shirt

The voting wasn't even close - heather gray won by a landslide. So the official race t-shirt will be heather gray. Remember you can always upgrade to the technical tee when you register for the race if you don't like heather gray. I'm definitely getting the technical heather gray for me!

The Social Runners
A second focal point of the evening was meeting the two Social Runners! Megan (@elbowglitter) will be training for CUCB through the virtual race program. Lauren (@heyricecake) will be training with the PR in-person training program (I hope she chooses PR Reston as her training site). I got to spend some time with both of them last night and I can see why they were selected. They are inspirational!

Megan is down-to-earth and is a voice for us back-of-the-pack slow runners. Lauren carries around a real camera and her CUCB instagram picture video is incredible. I look forward to following and learning from both of these awesome ladies over the next six months!

Megan, me, Lauren

Lottery Exemption Raffle
Another big draw to the party is the raffle for CUCB lottery exemptions. Race organizers raffled off 25 exemptions throughout the night last night. There were some really excited winners, including my friend Lynn, who deserved some good fortune after pulling a muscle in her calf last weekend at the Across the Bay 10k.

Lynn receives her lottery exemption code!

The race lottery opens on December 1 - sign up for notifications so you don't miss it!

Mixing & Mingling
I met a couple of people last night that I've been looking forward to meeting for a while...

Jummy Olabanji (@JummyTV) - we run a lot of the same races
and are twitter race buddies. We finally met in person!

Kevin McHale, DC/MD/VA New Balance Rep
I subscribed to the CUCB virtual training program last year,
which always had helpful "tips from Kevin" - this is Kevin!

Fellow race blog team member Malinda (@MalindaAnnHill)
with me & Megan. Malinda was one of my first twitter followers!
She has an identical twin (@TwinsRun) & they raise money
through running to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation

Children's Miracle Network
CUCB raises funds for Children's Miracle Network. There were some nice opportunities to support them last night, including a wine pull and a silent auction with three packages up for bid - a VIP "Date Night Package" including two race entries (with medals & tech tee upgrades) and hotel accommodations at the Renaissance Hotel; a men's "swag bag" with official CUCB gear; and a women's "swag bag" with official CUCB gear. All three items were very popular and I lost track of the final bids, but have no doubt a generous amount was raised for this worthy cause.

Megan with her "wine pull" bottle. A $20 donation got you
a bottle of wine, some worth up to $40

Heading Home
Lynn, Susan, and I had a great time at the kickoff party. Lynn and I are officially in the race, and Susan will be entering the lottery on December 1, along with many of our running buddies. I wish everyone lottery luck! It's going to be an exciting six months as we head towards the big race on April 12, 2015!

Back in Reston, after our fun night out in the city!


  1. Congrats!! So glad you will be a member of the race boo team AND part of the PRR coaching staff.

  2. Great recap! So fun to meet you in person! :-)

    1. Thank you Malinda! It was so fun to meet you, too!

  3. Congrats! Have fun with it! Blog for some good weather mojo too. ;)

    1. Will do on the good weather mojo. Maybe your t-shirt will win next year. I'm sure it came in second, LOL. Thanks for the congrats :)

  4. Congratulations! Sorry I missed the kick-off, it was so much fun last year. I love my Milestone Pod. and I LOVE the shirt!

    1. Thank you Coco! I'm looking forward to checking out the Milestone Pod. What a cool idea.

  5. Glad you had fun and BIG CONGRATS on being on the social media team AND being a PR running coach! Fantastic! PS - your hair looks super cute in these pics!

    1. Thank you Gina! (guess I should break out the flat iron more often!)

  6. I was so close to winning a guaranteed entry. I had '156', they called out '157'! Yikes! Hope I get through the lottery :) Nice recap..

    1. Oh, Jay, so close! I will keep my fingers crossed for you in the lottery. Thanks for reading :)