Bloomsday 2009: When I crossed the finish line, my stopwatch said 1:18. 12K at a 10:30 mile pace – better than I’d even hoped to do.

To put it in perspective, last year when I walked Bloomsday, I was 35 pounds heavier and 45 minutes slower. I probably couldn’t’ve run a half-mile on flat ground in less than six minutes; I know for sure I couldn’t’ve run for more than a couple minutes at an 11-minute mile pace. I remember thinking how cool it would be to train and run this year’s race, which makes it oh so much sweeter that I actually accomplished it.

Here’s the play-by-play:

Last night, I had a veggie wrap at around 9 PM, hummus, pepperjack cheese, spinach, broccoli slaw, red & yellow peppers, and granny smith apples on a garden herb tortilla. I also had a wasa cracker with almond butter for a little more fuel. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t lack for any fuel at race time! My houseguest Eleanor and I went to bed around 11 and I tossed and turned because I was so nervous!

This morning, I woke up around 7:15 and immediately made myself a small portion of oatmeal with milk and almonds and ate that with a little bit of coffee before getting dressed. We suited up, pinned our numbers on, and set out for downtown, meeting five of our friends along the way who were either running or there for support, which was really awesome.

One of the highlights of the walk to our waiting spots was getting to see the elite woman’s group run by right after they started. It was exhilirating and beautiful, maybe 20 or 30 women, mostly of African descent, whizzing by us at breakneck speed but still so graceful.

Angela and I waited at the front of our “corral” for maybe 15 minutes before we got to start walking towards the starting line, and I tried to keep warm by jumping around and looking at all the people. The weather wasn’t great – really chilly, but at least not raining – but it ended up being perfect once we started moving. When I picked up my registration packet I managed to talk them into allowing me into the faster group, since I’d originally estimated 1:40 finishing time – looks like it was a good decision!

The first mile or so was rough; I felt like I was pounding the pavement really hard. I think it was because we set a pretty quick pace for ourselves at first. I think my watch said 10:05 when we passed the first mile marker – which is pretty quick for me. And the next mile was mostly downhill, so we finished that just around 20 minutes. Yowch!

Then came the hills. Check out this elevation map that I (probably illegally) yanked from the Bloomsday website:
I am proud to say that I didn’t stop running on those hills – not even once! I was going to allow myself to stop and walk on Doomsday hill if I needed to, but it turned out to not feel that bad. Angela was motivated to keep going and that certainly helped a lot. Even so, the last couple miles were pretty rough. Around Mile 6 it hit me: this is longer than I’ve ever run before! I’m really doing it! We pretty much sprinted down the last stretch to the finish, as Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It” played over the loudspeakers, and I’m sure I was grinning ear-to-ear the whole way. (I didn’t cry like I thought I would.)

My legs are tired. Reeeeeeally tired. But my heart is happy.

(PS: Go congratulate Becca on her sub-1:00 race!)


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