Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bloomsday PR

On a sunny first day of May (also practically the first sunny day of the year), I ran my first PR in a year! (The last one was Bloomsday 2010. 12K PRs are a little easier to come by since I only do one 12K a year.)It's a little embarrassing to admit, I only feel really good about a race if I do better than I expect to (i.e. PR). I am a strong proponent of the idea that you cannot PR in every race (especially if you race frequently), and I certainly have been happy with various non-PR finishes. But there is definitely a little extra measure of excitement and happiness that comes with a PR. I certainly didn't expect to PR today. I am less than two weeks out from Boston (though completely recovered). More significantly, my pace times, though significantly improved this spring from winter, have continued to be a little slower than last year. So my expectations were high for a good race, but not necessarily a great race.Actually I would call this one a very good would take a little more speed to make it great. (Still waiting for that one-hour 12K...maybe I should find an easier 12K course!)The Bloomsday course is rather similar to Boston in its ups and downs...the difference being that it's only about a quarter of the distance, no time to destroy your legs! It starts with a long downhill then goes into an uphill...and repeat a few times ( with some flatter stretches in between) until the final long hill (known as Doomsday Hill) which takes you past the five mile point. Then it's a combination of flat and downhill to the finish. My mother and I had flown over to Spokane on Friday. Somehow I convinced myself to make it an extra long weekend even though I just got back from Boston. We settled in to the lovely Davenport Hotel and I was able to make my trip to the "trade show" (expo) Friday afternoon. I tried to be quick and untempted by merchandise but I did walk away with two new NuuMuu running dresses (I thought of wearing one today but I couldn't get one with any purple/lilac in it, and it also seemed a little chilly for sleeveless this morning (though actually it wasn't). I also made numerous passes by the Franz Bakery booth, taking handfuls of iced circus animal cookies which I stashed in my bag for later treats. I managed to get out of the building before being banned. One benefit of arriving early is that we could have two carbo-load dinners at Cafe Europa! Pizza on Friday night and pasta on Saturday. Plus plenty of bread both nights. Those meals also yielded leftovers for lunch on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we walked down to Riverfront Park and across the river to look at the falls.

That was pretty much the extent of our activities. We spent a lot of time enjoying our lovely room. And I have a new iPad which has me quite enthralled!Sunday morning I got up a little after 6 and headed down to the lobby to get coffee. I also got us huckleberry scones for pre-race breakfast. They seemed more appealing than the English muffins I brought. I wasn't worried that they would be hard on my stomach, and they were not. Then I had plenty of time to go back to bed, eat and drink, and play with the iPad rest ip for the race. The sun was out at 6 am, but by 7 it was foggy and stayed that way till close to race time. It was also quite cool, in the 30s, so I forwent the new sleeveless outfits and the sleeveless top I'd brought, and stuck with my tried and true long-sleeve. In purple, for Lilac Bloomsday. I also had one of my throwaway sweatshirts from Goodwill (only one left--I'll need to go shopping or maybe clean my closet). I reluctantly left my iPad the hotel and headed out for a warm-up jog. I thought 1.5+ mile would be good to add to the 7.46 race distance. After a mile or so I popped into the hotel for a final bathroom stop, then finished 1.6 miles heading to my corral (I was in the yellow group as usual). Last year I had been frustrated with the range of paces in the yellow group, so I made my way as close to the front as I could without being pushy. Then I waited.
It didn't seem cold in the crowd, but I kept my jacket on till we started walking forward. Then I tossed it to the curb along with hundreds of other jackets lining the sidewalk and dangling from trees. I was able to start out at a good pace. It was crowded, but for the most part I didn't feel trapped by those around me. Maybe a little, but there's certainly no guarantee I could have gone faster.During the week I did that tempo run I wrote about, then on Friday I did a few miles of fartleks, alternating fast quarter miles with jogging. On both days my fast paces were around 8:15 for the short distances. Today I figure I was running around 8:30 on the flats, 7:45-8:15 on downhills, and then there the uphills to keep my average pace up. Mile 1 was all downhill but there were a number of bottlenecks that did slow me. That mile was 8:38. I continued my rolling pace in miles 2-4...8:28, 8:48, 8:29. Mile 4 was the devil's combo. The first half was downhill and fast. Good thing, because the second half was the longest, steepest hill of all, Doomsday Hill! My pace slowed to 10+, but thanks to averaging my final time for mile 5 was 8:40. Mile 6 was my most frustrating. The first quarter was the end of Doomsday, but even when it flattened out I was having trouble getting back to my now-target pace of 8:30. That one was 8:53. Then I got my mojo back! Plus some gentle downhills. Mile 8 - 8:24. Now it was just a push to the finish. I gathered up that final kick which was so absent in Boston (um, after 21 miles) and finished up .56 miles at an 8:13 pace. Yes, as usual I ran an extra tenth of a mile. As I was finishing up I wasn't sure if I could squeak in under 1:05....Final Garmin time 1:04:57. That's an average pace of 8:35, though it will be slower for the official distance. Twenty seconds faster than last year! Woo hoo!Then I trudged through the finish area, picked up my finisher shirt, and headed to Madeleine's to meet my mom for breakfast. Cinnamon roll and a giant Americano (really just a grande)!

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