Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bloomsday 2011

I have to share.   I haven't felt this great after a run in quite some time.   My last race was a 10k qualifier in March to get the yellow bib at Bloomsday, and it wrecked me.   I had been running off and on throughout January and February while I refereed basketball and had barely been back on my three day a week running habit for three weeks when I tackled the St. Patrick's Day Foot Race, my first attempt at the 10k distance (the great thing about being a first year runner, every race is a PR!).  But I ran myself flat in that race, I was exhausted afterwards.   But I hit my qualifying time for getting a yellow bib for Bloomsday (1:12 finish time).

My build up last week was great!   I have been running a hill down the street from my house in preparation for Doomsday Hill.   I crushed the hill in my short 4 mile tempo run last week, knocking out the run at an 8:20/mile pace, about 10 seconds faster than my normal tempo runs.   Normally I run speed workouts Tuesday (replaced with the tempo run on the hill) and then the tempo runs on Thursdays  I decided that the speed wasn't as important as the hill, so Thursday became a run how you want day.   So I set out with the goal of getting in 4.5 miles in to close out April at 50 miles total, but once I stopped, I realized I had miss calculated my last loop and finished with a 4.2 mile run.   No biggie, as I ran at a 7:58/mile pace.   I considered myself officially ready for the big run.  

Friday was a day off for me, woohoo every other Friday off, so we headed up to Spokane early for some fine dining (Italian Friday and Five Guys Saturday), some shopping. A mini-vacation if you will.   But, as has been the case on my recent trips to Spokane, the weather was not cooperating.   All week I had watched the weather with a forecast of Sunny and about 50F for race time.  So rain on Friday and Saturday was a bit disheartening, especially since I brought only light weight running gear.  Saturday night, I got ready for the run, attached my timing chip to my shoe, bib to my shirt, and just said, "I hope the weather guy is right" .". 
I was up at six Sunday morning to get ready for the race, went down to the hotel lobby for breakfast and saw fog.  Great, fog, maybe this will burn off before we get started this morning.  And thankfully, by the time we got to the mall to catch the shuttle, the sun had broken free and the haze was burning off to reveal an absolutely gorgeous day.  A short ride later I was at the Yellow starting gate ready to run with several thousand other people. 

Bloomsday Start

I have never started a race with this many people, really have never been in a race that involved as many people as were in the yellow starting group.  Needless to say, it took almost two miles for me to fall into a comfortable pace.  My split at mile 1 was 9:45, way slower than I was hoping to get started at.  Next time I checked my pace around mile 4 I was all the way down to an 8:24 pace.  There we go, pretty much right where I wanted to be. 

Doomsday hill is located between miles 4-5 of this race.  And I have to say, my first though upon seeing the hill was that it was terrifying.  I say this because as you run down the hill, you can look up and see the throng of people climbing the hill, which is probably what is so intimidating.  The climb up the hill isn't so bad, though I really had to push myself to keep up the running, and not let myself walk, the hardest part of the race for me.

Me on Doomsday Hill

After the hill I felt like I was home free.  And really I was, the finish of this race rolls through some of the local neighborhoods in downtown Spokane, and all the people are out cheering on the runners, playing music, cooking, it was really a great atmosphere and a great place to have a race.  The race finishes on the Monroe St. Bridge overlooking Spokane Falls.  It is quite remarkable to look out over the Spokane River after you cross the finish line and walk to get your finisher shirt.

The Finish Line

As I have said the whole event is quite remarkable, from the trees (see below), to the course, to the hill, to the finishers shirts.  The whole city gets behind this event.

 The T-Shirt Lines

When we got off the bus back at the mall the hostess at one of the restaurants asked where my shirt was, which I proudly stated my wife was holding on to for me.  (I have pictures of me with my shirt but I need to shrink the photos to fit, they will be up in a couple of days).

Bloomsday Trees

The results:  I rocked this run! Running it in 1:03:48, of course being the first time is a PR  Now I have a goal, to get under an hour.  I felt great all week, so I knew I was going to have a great day.  So now on to my next goal, which is completing the Half-marathon in Vancouver, WA next month.  Hoping I can do that one in under 2 hours.  Looking forward to running Bloomsday again next year!

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