Monday, May 11, 2015

Bloomsday 2015

After two years of doing Bloomsday (2013 and 2014), it's become one of my favorite traditions, so I told Abe he had to do it at least once since he married into the family.

We flew up midday on Saturday; my parents picked us up and we went into downtown for an easy lunch at Olive Garden and then walked over to the convention center to pick up our bibs. (And ran into my cousin going to pick up his bib as we were leaving.) Abe, of course, wanted to check out new disc golf courses, so we dropped him off at and then did some shopping.

We met up with my cousin, aunt, and uncle for dinner at Laguna Cafe. It's a really cute eclectic place; I would definitely recommend making a reservation for a weekend - it's a fairly small venue, and though they had availability calling for a reservation just a few hours ahead, had we just shown up I suspect there would have been a wait. Not a ton of veg options, but what they did have was great! I had the black bean veggie burger and key lime pie. Everything was plated beautifully, and the owner was friendly (bordering on too-friendly, in my opinion - even the employees at a place I go for lunch once a week, where I don't even have to give my name when I call in my regular order to pick-up, aren't as chatty - but I suppose that's better than the opposite).

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, as we have the last two years. It's just across the river from Riverfront Park, about 3/4 of a mile from the race start and finish. There's a free breakfast, with a few hot items (scrambled eggs, and I think sausages or something), breads, yogurt, fruit, etc. (the bananas were going quickly that morning). 

We walked over to the start with plenty of time to spare, hopped in a porty potty line, then got in our corral. We were both in the same wave, even though Abe expected to (and did) finish significantly faster - but to move up from the green corral you have to have a previous Bloomsday time or submit proof of a time from another race showing a faster pace. It was really nice day, and we actually ditched our warm-up layers with my parents shortly after stepping foot out of the hotel. 

My goals for the race this year:
A: 11:19 pace (equivalent per McMillan based on half PR)
B: 11:48 pace (same pace as half PR)
C: <12:41 pace (Bloomsday/12k PR)

I was really only on track for the A goal for mile 1 (11:15). Miles 2 and 3 had some uphill, so slowed down (12:10, 11:50). Miles 4 and 5 kind of maintained there, even including Doomsday Hill (0.40 measured stretch of hill, per my Garmin from 4.77 to 5.14) (11:50, 11:47). From there it mostly evens out for 6 and 7, but it was starting to get pretty warm, so didn't pick it up a ton (11:43, 11:25). Then there's a final downhill to the finish line (10:33 pace or 0.59), where you go through a huge purple balloon arch onto a bridge. 

Just barely hit the B goal - matched exactly my half PR pace of 11:48! I'm really not unhappy with it! More importantly than the actual pace, minus walking literally just a few seconds at a time at water stops, I ran the entire thing - up Doomsday Hill and the two smaller preceding hills! For me, and especially for this race right after tax season, that's huge. 

Here's the elevation profile for the Hop Hop Half I did in April: total elevation gain of 253 feet; net elevation change of 61 feet.

And here's what it was for Bloomsday: total elevation gain of 361 feet; net elevation change of 156 feet. Doomsday hill is about 100 feet of elevation gain in 0.40 mile.

I picked the Hop Hop half specifically thinking I could PR with the help of a really flat course - there are tiny ups and downs throughout, but nothing big. Bloomsday is definitely not flat! There's the big hill (which doesn't look as relatively big on the above chart, but trust me it is!) that starts in mile 4, plus smaller hills before it.

I also always forget that Spokane is at a much higher altitude - I know 2,000 feet isn't ridiculously high, but I truly think it's enough to make a difference for me, though maybe for more experienced runners it wouldn't be noticeable, when I'm used to running at 200 - 500 feet above sea level. 

Instead of a finisher's medal, there's a finisher's shirt, and though the previous two I have are ok, I love this year's! I don't wear them much, guess they're just plain t-shirts, and I don't love the other designs, but this year's I think I will make sure to actually wear.

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