It feels really good to finally be writing about a race. It's even a running race! After quite a few DNS races this spring I was cautiously optimistic that Bloomsday would be my debut. It wasn't easy, but I finally made it to the starting line.
In the months leading up to this race I had sufferers numerous setbacks with my IT band and calf injuries. I made the decision in February that I would do no speed work this spring and would really take my time building the distance back up. This meant that I was coming into Bloomsday having two weeks over 15 miles while only exceeding the 7.47 mile distance of Bloomsday 3 times on pancake flat Centenial Trail runs. To say I was a little nervous about getting hurt again would be an understatement. I decided 2 weeks ago that I would do zero taper for this and not let myself get sucked into running it too hard. So the day before I did a pretty hard loop on the Ironman Coeur d Alene bike course with Derek Garcia (he was into his taper for Ironman St. George, but that didn't stop him from putting the hurt on me). We finished up an easy 4 miles brick run. The run felt surprisingly good.
I woke up on race morning without the typical butterflies I get on race day. (My life has changed a bit since last year so my morning race routines now include hanging out with Amelia and helping a little with her morning routines.). My legs felt a little dead after the Ride and run yesterday, but I figured would come around if I asked really nicely so I wasn't too worried about it. I got dressed had some breakfast and headed off to downtown Spokane.
Now, I'm not positive but I think this was my 18th Bloomsday. I have everything from where park, warm and make port a potty pit stops down to a science. Everything went well but my legs still felt dead in my warm ups. There was nothing I could do about it at that point so I went and lined up. I was racing second seed but my pre-race goal was to break 50 minutes. That would be 7:30 slower than my last years time. It also meant that I really didn't belong in 2nd seed. Oh well. I still lined up at the front out of habit and ran into fellow tri-fusion teammate Nate Duncan. We chatted for the few minutes before the gun went off and it sounded like we had a similar strategy and goal for the race. He was also coming off an injury and didn't want to aggravate it. He said he was just going to try and stay with me to keep himself from going out too fast. Well the gun went off and he was instantly about 10 seconds ahead of me. I was getting passed like crazy, and I'm actually proud of myself for not trying to stay with people. Pretty much to the college or about mile 4 I ran my own race and didn't worry about anyone around me. When I hit mile 4 I started to feel good and was actually passing quite a few people. That lasted until Doomsday hill. This hill has never been that bad to me before, but this year was a different story. Doomsday pretty much chewed me up and spit me out. I struggled all the way up the hill! In the past hills have always been a strength for me. I've never enjoyed them but I think I've always hated them less than everyone else. Like I said, this year this was not the case. As I crested the hill I could tell I was not going to recover well.
For those that don't the course it really flattens put for the last 2 miles and you should be able to pick up the pace and finish strong. It took me way too long this year to get back on track. As soon as I made the first turn into the neighborhoods I had to stop and adjust the IT band strap I have been wearing lately. It seemed to not like the water I was dumping over my head at the prior water station. I later found out my nipples didn't appreciate the water I had been dumping on my head either. Anyway.... The stop only cost me about ten seconds and it seemed to satisfy the need I had to walk. From that point on I was able to bring my pace back down to fairly descent run.
I wasn't doing a ton of passing, but I wasn't getting passed either. We then turned the corner onto Broadway. From there it's about 1.5 miles to the finish it's completely flat and you can see all the way to the corner you turn at to finish the race. This is a horrible way to finish. You run for a couple minutes and look up and the corner doesn't seem to get any closer until you're right on it. I turned the corner and made the downhill run to the finish. This year I knew I wasn't going to be in the 100 so I didn't really give much of a finishing kick. I think I passed one guy and got passed by one, but it really didn't matter. I was just happy to break 45 minutes.
Final finish time- 44:50.
In the end it's hard to get excited about running slower than I did last year, but it is encouraging to know that I can still turn the legs over with some speed after not having put the work I truly needed to into it. So...all in all I would rate this as a success.
Next up for me is Onion Man down in Walla Walla followed by Boise 70.3 on June 11th. Things are finally starting to come together. I'm hoping I can string together a couple of "long" runs around 10-12 miles in the coming weeks and be ready to hammer out the 13.1 in Boise.
Happy training everyone.
PS- I published a race report on this about a week ago but it disappeared into the interwebs. I think the previous one was better written but it seems to be gone forever.