I'm back from Spokane, and it was a great weekend all around. The race turned out all right, and I'm happy with the result, even if it wasn't quite the result I had hoped for. My finish time (1:05:17) was a PR by almost two minutes (over 2008) and substantially faster than last year's time, so that was great! I had hoped to be a couple of minutes (or more) faster, but it was not to be...this year.
Last week, before I ever left for Spokane, I had a great "Yasso 800" session at the track on Wednesday. I don't think I managed to get in a post about that run. After about three miles of warm-up, I arrived at the track to tackle eight 800's (on the way to ten before the marathon). My goal for 800's (which are actually half miles by my measurements) is to be under four minutes. My first was 3:59--acceptable! The others fluctuated in the 3:58 to 3:50 range (paces of 7:42 to 7:57, and 7:59 for the first one). I was quite pleased with that result.
Even better, I felt like I did it without killing myself. I don't think my legs could have gone faster, but my lungs felt okay. They were working, for sure, but didn't feel like they were on fire or anything. I felt very encouraged about Bloomsday after that workout! (Nine miles total that day.)
The next day I did my usual Friday medium long run on Thursday instead, so I could have both Friday and Saturday off from running in hopes of having fresh legs for Sunday. Unfortunately, Thursday's run was pretty much the opposite of great. My legs were so heavy and slow and I just couldn't work the lead out. I did about seven miles at significantly slower than ten-minute pace. Then, after a bathroom stop at Starbucks, my legs suddenly lightened up and I did two more miles at about 9:45, just like that. I know that isn't too much faster, but the difference in the way I felt was phenomenal!
On Friday I did an easy stint on the elliptical instead of running, and began the weekend festival of food by going to Duke's for dinner with my mom (she had a coupon for a free side salad, which I ate with a large bowl of seafood stew). I also began enthusiastically carb loading by attacking the bread basket (warm sourdough bread), and asking for a refill to dip in my soup.
We (my mother and I) flew to Spokane on Saturday and arrived at the Davenport Hotel in the early afternoon. Oh, how I love the Davenport. Old-style glamour and the most comfortable beds ever! After eating the lunch I brought along and resting for just a bit, I headed over to the Convention Center to pick up my race packet and check out the expo. The Convention Center is about a half mile or so away from the Davenport.
The Bloomsday Expo is huge, possibly the biggest one I've been to. Which isn't surprising, considering that Bloomsday is one of the ten biggest races in the U.S.! I made my way through the rows of stalls, pretty much impervious to the shopping bug, I think because there was so much stuff that I became anesthetized to the impulse to buy! I did succumb to some free samples...particularly the Franz bakery table where I resisted the donut holes...but took a handful of Mother's iced animal cookies (oh how I love these). (In fact, I came back a few times and took more handfuls which I stashed in a zipper baggy for snacking later.) I also took one beef sample on a toothpick--yes they were grilling up pieces of meat! That was a very popular area. I actually picked a piece that looked small because I was worried about getting too full before we went to dinner later. I also took away a Clif bar and a tube of herb mixture (for cooking purposes).
I did end up buying a couple of things. I was attracted to the Nathan shadow pak because it was purple, and would match my race shirt nicely. I bought it even though I had several other waist packs with me, any one of which would have sufficed. Then I was drawn like a magnet to the Nuu-Muu display—the cutest imaginable running dresses, and on special for Bloomsday! I bought this one. I resisted the temptation to buy two (even though the price was even more special for two), because who knows how much I will end up wearing it.
After that I figured I'd better get out of there before I got too crazy, so I headed back to the hotel. We had a dinner reservation at Europa, a sweet Italian restaurant and bakery only a few blocks from the hotel. We walked over a little before 7:00. Even though it seems little and charming, it's actually quite a large restaurant in terms of space, and we got seated promptly. Amazingly, considering that not only was it the night before a big race, it was also prom night!
We saw a number of teenage couples in their fancy-wear dining at Europa. The star of the restaurant was without doubt "the princess" (as we dubbed her), a beautiful girl wearing a glamorous white dress that looked like a ballerina's costume—strapless, beaded bodice, and a very short tulle skirt. We were fascinated and watched her every move! She ordered pasta with a white sauce, by the way.
My mother and I each had a sampler plate with two kinds of pasta. I chose spaghetti with meat sauce and rigatoni stuffed with cheese. They were very good, but lots of food! I ate all the spaghetti and about half the rigatoni (which we took back to the hotel and my mother ate for breakfast the next day while I was running). I also ate lots of their special bread! And we shared a piece of chocolate cookie pie for dessert. Clearly I was carb loading like I was running a marathon instead of a 12K!
Since this is so long already, I'll save the story of the race and after for a new post, with pictures. Don't worry, it's not a story about all the food I ate making me sick! I managed to digest just fine.