Long Time Bloomie… First Time Runner

Yesterday, I participated in the Lilac Bloomsday Run – a 12km (7.46 mile) race through the downtown streets of Spokane, WA.  This is my 5th year in a row doing the race, however this was my first year “running” (if you’d call what I do running).  My husband, Jeff, who had a heart transplant in 2005, and myself have participated in the last 5 races as a way to celebrate life and organ donation.  My father has also walked with us for all but one year – the year he was recovering from chemo after a bout with throat cancer.  We usually walk, sport some awesome “Donate Life” t-shirts, and talk with people about Jeff’s story. 

I decided that this year was going to be a little different for me.  I set a goal in January to run Bloomsday.  Now when I say run, I mean alternating between a slow jog and a fast walk, but hopefully do more jogging than walking.  I wasn’t going to kid myself.  I knew that I would not be able to run the whole race.  But my goal was to really push myself – because it doesn’t feel like much of a challenge when I walk. 

So after months of jogging at the gym and mentally preparing, this is how the race went…

1st Mile – My goal for the first mile was a brisk walk.  I wanted to get a good warm up before I began jogging, and I knew how congested the first mile can get, so I wanted to take it easy and not risk any injury.  Surprisingly, the first mile wasn’t as packed as I thought it would be, so we ended up alternating between walking and jogging.  It felt good.  Not bad at all.  Yeah, I could do this for another 6-1/2 miles… Yeah…

2nd Mile – Jogged the entire mile, most of which was downhill.  Jeff and my Dad jogged for 3/4 of the mile, but then dropped back to a walk and I went on my way alone.  I kept an eye on them, however.  My husband is 6’6″ and built like a line-backer, so it wasn’t hard to spot them in a crowd.  As the mile progressed they began to get farther and farther away, which worried me slightly.  I’ve never done this by myself….

A small hill at the end of the mile took a little wind out of my sail, but I managed to keep a good pace.  I set a little goal to jog to the first water station which was just a little past the 2 mile marker.

3rd Mile – I managed to make it to the water station.  I slowed to a brisk walk as I downed a paper cup of the best tasting water I had ever experienced in my life.  AHHHHHHH….. I remained walking as I attempted to maneuver my long underwear top out from underneath my t-shirt.  This took longer than anticipated, and I didn’t begin jogging until halfway through mile 3.  I’d like to say that I took advantage of the rest, however taking off my undershirt while continuing forward progress, without flashing 40,000 strangers took more energy than I had to spare…. 

Once I managed my shirt trick, I took a look back and realized I could no longer see Jeff and my Dad.  A little panic set in….

4th Mile – Shortly into mile 4, there was a small, but steep hill, that took me back to a brisk walk.  Once I got past the hill, I began jogging again (which was accompanied by labored breathing).  It didn’t last that long…. I began this “walk up to the next group of people, jog around them” maneuver that carried me to the next water station.  I’m pretty sure they put something in the water because it was the best damn tasting water I have ever experienced.  Even better than the last one….. 

As I enjoyed my water, thoughts of worry about Jeff and my Dad began to surface.  I hope they are both okay.  I always worry about Jeff, due to his heart – but I began worrying about my 63 year old Father, who was just fighting cancer 2 years ago, who jogged the first few miles of the race….  jogged for the first time in… well… EVER…. 

I wished I would have brought my cell phone.

5th Mile – Downhill!  Glorious, glorious downhill!  I began a solid jog down the hill and across the TJ Meenach bridge.  I was feeling good again.  Could this be that “runners high” people are always talking about?  I could keep this up for another…. OH CRAP!!!!  Doomsday hill!!!  I am approaching Doomsday hill!  How could I forget about Doomsday?!?  Why didn’t I walk across the bridge and save a small amount of energy to push my extremely tired ass up the hill?  What was I thinking?!? 

At that point, I think I began to hallucinate.  I remember walking, pushing my strides to as long as my legs would allow… there were birds there – an Eagle and a Buzzard… and a blue dinosaur was there…… and then…. the remainder of Mile 5 was and is a complete blur….

6th Mile – As I began to come out of my Doomsday Hill “fog”, realizing I was still upright, I came to terms with the fact that my legs had gone on strike and would no longer be able to hold a consistent jog.  I walked the majority of mile 6, only jogging as needed to go around other people. 

I continued to worry about the “boys”.

7th Mile – As I walked and began to realize how close to the end I was, I began to build up some more energy.  I continued to “wog”, a term coined by a lady I spoke to before the race (She said she doesn’t walk or jog, but “wogs” the race – a mixture of walking and jogging, alternating of which is only determined on how she feels at the moment).  I didn’t want to push anymore than that because I wanted to finish the last 1/2 mile strong, jogging to the finish line.

.46 of a mile remaining (Yay!) – Once I saw that last mile marker, I began my last “go” at jogging.  I felt good, but I didn’t push it too hard.  I didn’t want to get 100 yards away and collapse from exhaustion, so I tried to contain my excitement and my wanting to sprint to the finish.  (HA, HA!   Sprint!  I crack myself up!)

Once I turned the corner and saw the finish line just ahead, I almost began to cry.  Was it because I was so proud of myself?  Was it because I did more than I ever imagined I could?  Was it because I set a personal best?  Yeah, let’s go with that…  It sure wasn’t because my body was shot and I still had to walk a mile back to the car….

So, I crossed the finish line in 1 hour and 42 minutes.  Not an elite runner by any means.  In fact, I don’t know if I could even classify myself as a runner, but I ran nearly 3/4 of the race – and that is good enough for me.  My Dad finished just under 2 hours – jogging the last mile to ensure he would make his goal.  Jeff was just behind him at 2 hours and 3 minutes.  I didn’t need to worry about any of us, and I am so proud of us all!

Now that I have “ran” a Bloomsday, I no longer feel the need to EVER do it again.  Besides the fact that I am hurting pretty bad today (I feel like I have the hips of an 80 year old woman, and the knees of her 90 year old sister), I really enjoy walking the race with my husband and talking to other people about our story.  I don’t care if it takes me 2 hours or 10 hours… I like being with him and my Dad, and I like crossing that finish line holding his hand.  Sappy, I know…

I can now say that I ran Bloomsday once, but choose to walk it now instead. 

I’m a long time Bloomie, first (and last) time runner!


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Malerie {postscripted}
    May 04, 2010 @ 21:02:12

    Love this! I was there too, and loved hearing your take on it! It’s nice to not feel so alone in my soreness, in fact I actually referred to myself as an 80 year woman in my blog about it too! How funny is that!?


  2. Malerie {postscripted}
    May 04, 2010 @ 21:12:13

    ooops I guess I was referring to myself as an 80 year old woman on facebook, not my blog, but I definitely understood your sentiments there! 🙂


  3. creativityismessy
    May 04, 2010 @ 21:38:11

    LOL Malerie! I’m sure there are a lot of us feeling the aches and pains today. I enjoyed your “Moonsday” story as well!


  4. gingeraleshop
    May 05, 2010 @ 05:24:09

    I understand not wanting to do it again! I ran just a bit of the St. John Hog Jog last year and realized that I will, alas, never be athletic. Biggest wimp ever = me.


  5. Laura
    May 05, 2010 @ 06:15:50

    I enjoyed reading this version of Bloomsday very much. You have affirmed my feelings that I don’t need to jog this race. LOL!


  6. Ziggy
    May 08, 2010 @ 17:12:16

    You are too funny, girl! I loved reading this. This was the first year since my first year in Spokane that I didn’t participate. It was cool seeing you jog by my apartment, but then I went to the top of Doomsday Hill and saw you again!!! I yelled your name a couple times, but you didn’t hear me. We were handing out free beer! Thought that might have at least numbed whatever pain you were feeling for a while.

    Oh well… I’m proud of you. I think I’ll do it again next year.


  7. creativityismessy
    May 10, 2010 @ 15:02:51

    LOL Sandra! I wasn’t kidding when I said I was in a complete fog going up that hill!!


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