Thursday, May 9, 2013

My First Bloomsday

I'd already handed off a jacket to my mom,
and it was warm enough that I took off the
armwarmers before going to line up, too.
Bloomsday is a huge event in Spokane, WA - about 50,000 participants! My dad is from Spokane, and I grew up about two hours south of it, so it was one of the first races I'd ever heard of (long before I imagined I'd ever run it myself). My dad ran it several times (before exchanging running for biking, for his knees' sake) and my aunt and uncle even met at Bloomsday about 30 years ago. Since I know I'm currently capable of running the 12k distance, I decided to do it this year to make sure I experienced it at least once. I flew over Saturday morning, and my mom and a family friend drove up to spectate.

In my brief running career, I started with big-ish 5k races in downtown Portland (20,000 - 30,000 people), and quickly learned that my preference is for smaller (500 - 5,000 people) races in the outskirts of the metro area - avoiding the crowds and parking hassles. Thus I was pleasantly surprised by how well-organized Bloomsday was. (It helped that we stayed at a motel about 2/3 of a mile from the start/finish line, so we didn't have to deal with traffic before the race.) You provide an estimate of your finish time when registering, to be placed in one of several color-coded starting waves, which are each given a specific block for lining up, and start times spread over about an hour. Even though the crowd never really thins out, at least if you're slowed down, it's by people that are still within a reasonable range of your desired pace.


I registered with my goal of 1:30 (12:04 pace) and started in the orange group. We were scheduled to start sometime between 9:15 to 9:45 (the very start of the race was 9:00), and actually crossed the start line about 9:35.
Apparently tossing warmup/throwaway clothes into the trees is a tradition.

My overall place of 16,676 is out of 47,165 finishers (top 36% - I'm usually in the bottom 36%! This event attracts a lot of walkers.). 

Doomsday is a hill that starts at about mile 4.5 - I've read in multiple places that it's about 3/4 of a mile long, but the distance being measured in the results (I remember crossing a timing mat near the bottom of the hill, but I don't recall where it was at the top) has to be shorter - I had a few spurts of running but walked up most of it, so given the time of 6:10 it must be less than half a mile being measured.

You have to finish to get the shirt.

Mile splits:
1: 12:20 (I wanted to go a touch faster, but it was too crowded.)
2: 11:36 
3: 12:37 (First, smaller hill.)
4: 12:15
5: 13:00 (Doomsday Hill)
6: 13:12 (Just tired by this point.)
7: 13:09
7.46: 11:51 pace (6:30 time for 0.55 mile per my garmin.)

I think next year I'll make Bloomsday my goal spring race (I need something planned for not too long after April 15, to keep me motivated to run during tax season), and try to break 1:30 total time and under 6 minutes for Doomsday Hill.


  1. Wow. Your placement among all of the females is great! Congratulations :)

    1. Thanks! I know it was cause there were a lot of walkers, but it's still a nice ego boost. :)


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