Monday, May 7, 2012

Bloomsday 2012

Yesterday I ran Bloomsday for the third time.  As always, it was a good experience - challenging, rewarding, beautiful... the list goes on.

This year I didn't train for the race, so admittedly I was a little nervous.  My first Bloomsday I ran a 1:26:06, and my second I ran a 1:24:25.  The River Run last weekend put my expectations in check (to not expect the same time when I don't train for events), but I know myself and my desire for improvement and PRs, so I guess I didn't know what to expect from myself this year.

The morning was absolutely gorgeous.  The sun was shining, and 47,000+ people from all over the country (and some elites from outside the country) filled the streets of Spokane.  Just like I remembered, the energy and volume was amped up, and everyone was excited to run, roll, walk, or jog that 7.46-mile course.

A few minutes before my corral (the green group) started, I threw my long-sleeved second layer up on the stop light (which is tradition at Bloomsday), snapped a few photos, double-checked my laces, and said a little prayer.

My shirt is the light blue wad below the green light.

Lots of people under a blue sky.
I started the race feeling good.  My first couple of miles were relatively easy, and I had a great time listening to "Billie Jean" (and quietly singing along) on my first descent.  For a few minutes there, I thought I might surprise myself and others.

But that hope passed relatively quickly as Doomsday Hill came into view.  Of course, I knew that it was coming and I knew how long and steep it was, but that made no difference as I came around the corner and felt all the wind get sucked from my sails.  I breifly attempted to run the hill as I had only one year before, but I slowed to a walk after a few steps, and I didn't really start running again until I hit the sign for Mile 5. 

Mile 6 wasn't easy.  I was tired, and I knew my overall pace had slowed quite a bit.  I jogged when I could, but miles 5 and 6 averaged to a 13-minute pace.  My self-talk was pretty negative too, which is never a good sign.  "It seems like I have been running forever!  This course is long, and I haven't even made it through the neighborhoods yet."  And I found myself annoyed at - not motivated or entertained by - the bands/singers. "She sucks!  I should be over there singing, and SHE should be running this race," I thought to myself.

I don't know what happened to me, but I transformed into a different runner in the last 1.5 miles.  I sped up and ran all the way to the finish with a half-grin on my face.  I felt my overall pace improving, and I enjoyed the sun on my shoulders, the funny messages on the shirts of other runners, and I started to feel proud of myself for running a longer distance than I have in a while.  I'm not really sure what happened; I guess I just hit a temporary low point mid-race.

I crossed the finish line in 1:32:34, which is a 12:24 pace overall.  It isn't fast or impressive or a PR, but I gave everything I had on the course, and it is representative of what I can do and who I am as a runner right now.  I'm more than okay with that.

Remembering previous Bloomsdays; happy finisher this year.
Pretty day to hang out by the fountain post-race.

P.S. I am working on a creative piece about Bloomsday that I wrote in my head as I was running...


  1. When you've been running long enough PRs will become exceptions, not expectations. You did great out there. :)

  2. Glad to read you're out there running again.

  3. Can't wait to read your creative piece when it's finished ;). Love ya!