Monday, May 3, 2010

Bloomsday 2010

Saturday dawned cool, cloudy and rainy. I packed a running cap just in case it rained on race day. I kissed my kiddos and hubby goodbye and met up with 5 other friends to load up and hit the road. There were six of us, five runners and one cheerleader and we all rode in my friend Deanna's van, which was awesome. We were able to chat and laugh all the way there. It was perfect. The roads were great too, no snow, which I found miraculous considering the weather all around us.

Waiting in the drive-thru line at Starbucks. We all got something, and paid separately, it was kind of funny. This is my friends Amber & Sonja.

Still in line at Starbucks. Deanna, the awesome driver, and Becca. This would be her first "big" race.

Opal, Amber's Mother-in-law and our sole cheerleader, and Me. Still at Starbucks.

Okay, so we made it safely to Spokane and realized once we turned off the Interstate into downtown that the traffic was CRAZY. So we found the first available parking spot and hoofed it the rest of the way to the Convention Center where we had to pick up our packets. It wasn't that far and it wasn't raining at the time, and after driving it felt good to walk. We got to the Convention Center and it too was CRAZY. People everywhere. But we all got our packets without too much trouble and walked around checking out all the booths a little bit. There was so much to see.
At the Convention Center

After that we decided we were hungry, even though it was only 4pm Spokane time, we were on Montana time, which made it 5 pm. It also made it easy to get into eat at Chili's which was right across the road from the Convention Center. One cool thing we noticed as soon as pulling into town was the trees--they were all blooming and looked so beautiful. I had commented earlier that I thought the race got its name because the trees are all blooming, but it was just a guess. I guess I was right!
Here we are outside Chili's, under a bloomin' tree.

We got to our hotel with only minimal trouble. Sometimes its tough to get back to the Interstate from Downtown Spokane, stinkin' one way streets. But we got there and checked in and decided to go for a swim and sit in the hot tub, which was very relaxing. After that we were all tired and ended up going to bed by probably 10pm Montana time, which was only 9pm Spokane. Several of us ended up waking up early, probably as a result of going to bed so early as well as pre-race nerves. But I actually liked having time to eat, have coffee and digest before heading downtown.

Now, I must confess, I had some major anxiety the morning of the race. Not necessarily about the race, but more about getting there and being where we needed to be in time. I felt my tummy in knots until we were actually in our color location, and then I felt fine.

We parked several blocks away from where we started, basically in the first empty spot we found, and hoofed it, again. It felt good to walk and warm up a bit cuz it was kind of cool and breezy. But the sun was shining and we were so excited about that.
Before leaving the van, Race morning.

We got to our color, which is a story in itself. You see when you register for a race of this magnitude (we're talking 50,000 runners) you enter how long you think it will take you to finish the race and then they start you with like-speeded people. So when we all got our packets, it turned out that one of us was in green, three in orange and one in blue. Well, you can't move up to a faster group, but you can move back to start and so we decided we'd all start with blue so that we could at least start together, because we know we wouldn't finish all together. So, here we are stretching near the blue start...

Waiting in line to go potty at the blue start...

Waiting for our group to start at the blue start and seeing all the cast-off clothing in the trees...

There was tons of clothes in the trees--people just toss it aside once they're warm enough and then it gets donated to a local charity. Pretty cool. So the race actually started at 9am, but our group didn't get to the start line til probably 9:30. So we waited with tons of other people and then walked with tons of other people and even once we hit the start line, very few of those tons of people actually started to run. It was the slowest start EVER. It was painful, all that ducking and dodging and passing people. We did that for about 3 miles before there was a bit more room enough to not have to do it so much, but seriously, we did it the whole race. I found myself getting irritated that the walkers weren't walking on the right side, like they were suppose to, until I realized they were, the problem was that there were so many of them that they spilled over into the left. We all decided that next year we'll all start in the faster group so we don't have to do so much ducking and weaving.

So, we're running, and four of us, Sonja, Amber, Becca and I are mostly together. Deanna does a run/walk thing, so she was behind us a bit. And for the most part we're staying together, that is until the HILL.  It's called Doomsday hill and its about a mile long 6% grade that you see coming for a while. It was actually really cool to see all the people crawling up that hill. Once we made the turn to actually start going up the hill there was this band playing some great music and I just felt goosebumps. I knew we could do the hill, we were strong from all our training, and it was just amazing to see all those people.

Well, we did that hill without stopping and without walking and passing quite a few people on the way, but Amber and I ended up "losing" Sonja and Becca in the process, which is fine. I have had to mentally come to terms that sometimes the things you do in races that in real live seem rude, are necessary. Like leaving your friends and bumping people as you pass them, its just the nature of the sport and there is nothing personal. I was just grateful to have Amber to run with, it really helps me to have someone to talk to. So I was determined to stay with her, even when I felt like slowing down and she wasn't I just kept pushing. And amazingly enough, even though I sorta felt like puking after the hill, I didn't and my legs felt strong. The whole race felt really good, actually. And before we knew it, we were done. Literally. We turned this corner and suddenly there was the finish line and to get there we had to go downhill, it was surprising and beautiful. So we sped up. And we finished with smiles on our faces. It was awesome.

Since we'd all broken up during the race, it made things interesting afterwards, particularly trying to find each other again. We found our cheerleader thanks to the cell phone I'd carried in my pocket and also Deanna, who had brought her cell phone. Three of us were standing near the Kettle Korn when Becca just walked up, pure luck that she'd found us. And after standing there for quite a while looking for Sonja, her hubby (who was in Missoula) finally called Deanna and told her that Sonja had called him from a borrowed cell phone and would meet us at the van because she had no idea where we were.

This is us, at the finish before we found Sonja. You only get the Bloomsday t-shirt when you finish the race. It's a worthy prize I think.
And here, we are, all five of us, after finding Sonja waiting at the van.

It was a great run and our trip home was safe and uneventful. The cool thing? The whole race was sunny and dry, as soon as it was over, the clouds rolled in. I didn't realize how sunny it was til I got home and showered and found myself sunburned! I was sure tired last night, but thankfully I'm not super sore today like I thought I would be. Probably thanks to all the hill training we did in preparation and to the fact that I'm just in better shape now than I was last year at this time. All the girls enjoyed the race and felt great about how they did--we all conquered that hill and are proud of it!

Will I do it again? I don't know. I could seriously do without all the people. And what's with a race not providing some sort of Gatorade and free after-race food? Super lame in my opinion. I loved the time with my friends, there is nothing like getting away, even for a night. And the race itself was challenging and fun. I am glad I did it.

So, here's my official results, I am super stoked about the fact that we did such a fast pace, just under 11 minute mile, with hills like that and all that ducking/dodging, is great:

Finish Time: 1:21:24
Overall Place: 12,530 out of 49,674
Ran with a pace of 10:54 per mile
The average pace for 33-year-olds was 14:31
Placed 295th among 867 people the same age
Placed 216th among 461 people from Missoula, MT (wow there were almost 500 folks from Missoula!?)
Placed 798th among 2,024 people from Montana (and 2000 from Mt!?)
Placed 4th among 12 people with the same last name
Placed 5,268th among 29,854 females

Placed 159th out of 573 among 33-year-old females (not shabby!)

Placed 744th out of 2,885 people in your age group


  1. Woo hoo! Good for you! It was a perfect day!

  2. Hey, I used to do Bloomsday all the time in the 90's (I did my undergraduate education in Idaho) and it was an awesome race then. It sounds like perhaps it hasn't aged well, though. :( I know this comment is late but I just found this post. Yes, Bloomsday was our favorite - well, that and the WSU 100K relay! I still have photos of running both races!


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