I did it! Way back last fall I made a commitment to walk Blooms day, the giant 12K race/party we have every year here in Spokane. Despite the popularity of Bloomsday (over 47,000 participants this year), this was my first time. And I really wasn’t in shape. But I made the commitment to honor a beloved friend and I took it very seriously. So starting in February I got out walking in my neighborhood, pushing myself farther and faster as spring progressed.
Finally the big day arrived. Here I am in my Bloomsday for Mike McKeehan shirt!
I got to my starting group about an hour before my start time. They do a wave start and each person has a timing tag on their race number so you get an accurate time and the course doesn’t get bottlenecked with all those people. You can see the masses of people in front of me here, as well as the traditional thrift store sweatshirts people have stripped off and thrown up in the trees as they started the race. The sweatshirts are collected and given to charity.
The weather is chancy in Spokane in early May, but it was beautiful on this day. I had so much fun! The race is a big party with bands playing along the route, people in costume and lots of spectators cheering you on and waving signs. It never had a chance to get boring or tedious because there was so much going on. I think my favorite sign was “Chuck Norris never ran Bloomsday” closely followed by “Go Random Stranger!”
Plus, I had a great day physically! I felt so good and I got into a groove with a fast pace that I kept up the whole way.
This shot is looking back down Doomsday Hill, the famously long nasty hill that comes almost 5 miles into the race. I trained on hills and was thrilled to charge up Doomsday without breaking my pace. Two days before the race I walked up a massive, steep hill at the place where I was vacationing and honestly, Doomsday was a piece of cake after that!
Our Bloomsday for Mike group met up for a picture after the race before heading out to Cheney for beer and tacos. I was really sore but it felt so good to achieve my goal.
Here’s a much less official shot. This one is actually my favorite picture from the whole wonderful day.
One unexpected thing I learned from the whole experience is how good it feels to really push my limits physically. I came out of Bloomsday wanting to do more. Since I figured out the whole walking thing, I’m now challenging myself to run with the Ease into 5K app on my phone. Wish me luck!