Bloomsday 2008

If you get bored reading this, well tough. Today is my third bloomsday race in a row. Each year I have set myself some pretty aggressive goals to help push throughout the race. With a time of 56:29 last year, I really felt with all the training I have done, 52 minutes was a reachable goal. All I would have to do is average 7:00 minute miles. I really haven’t been running much lately with Wednesday’s run being my longest in over two weeks.

10 pm- Set alarm for 6:30 am. Plenty of time to get up, eat some breakfast and still be ready when Tim and Andy arrive at 7:15.

4:05 am- Roll over and look at clock. Nope not 6:30 yet.

5:00 am- Take another peak at the clock, still not time to get up. Start to wonder my I can’t seem to sleep through the night.

6:25 am- Well since I am not going to lie here for 5 minutes to wait for the alarm to go off, I decide to crawl out of bed.

6:30 am- Realize I don’t have to much to do to get ready for Bloomsday since it is only running and feel it is too early to eat breakfast, since the race doesn’t start til 9:00. I turn on the TV and sit at the computer to check my email. After the 1 minute it takes to see I have no new emails I flip through all my channels and watch nothing on TV for a few more minutes.

6:40 am- Decide it is time to jump in the shower. I always need a shower to really wake up in the morning.

6:50 am- Start making breakfast. Have a tough decision whether to eat two packets of oatmeal or just one. Grab two, put one back, grab two. I know the race is pretty short but I do not want to be hungry before the race. Make decision two is good.

6:55 am- Eat breakfast in front of the TV during one of the national morning shows. Since I had already flipped through my 7 channels 5 times, I watched a pretty awful Neil Diamond concert (sorry for you ND fans). Just what I need to get inspired for a race, right? At least I will have my I-Pod with some good run music to help me along.
7:19 am- Tim and Andy show up. I would like to thank them for hauling me downtown so I didn’t have to drive. It was like I had my own chauffer service. Maybe I should be up with the elite:)

7:28 am- We find great parking spot just south of the arena. You have to love a 10 minute car ride to a race. Here we get all geared up grab our trusty FRS and head down to the staging areas. 7:43 am- Arrive at Starbucks to meet up with Zach to give him is number. Spend a little bit of time getting warm and watching everyone get their pre-race caffeine fix. I am not sure how anyone would walk let alone run with one of those drinks in their stomachs.

7:48 am- Guy tells me my race chip can not be read unless it is in a vertical position on your ankle. Last year I placed it in my shoelaces and had no problem, but thank you for the advice.

7:52 am- Bathroom Break #1. And the nervousness starts even though I feel great and I don’t think I am nervous.

8:02 am- Arrive at the yellow staging area. Now the blood starts pumping and I am starting to feel the energy.

8:04 am- Realize I have forgot my Ipod. SH*T! How am I supposed to run this race without music? I spent an hour this week getting all the right songs loaded up for the big day. Make mental decision that I will not have music in any other races this year and it is time to toughen up.

8:07 am- Our group: Tim, Andy, Zack and I take up residents in our spot before the race. This is where we will spend the next 50 minutes standing until our group gets to go.

8:14 am- Bathroom Break #2. I take off into the STA plaza and make my way upstairs to the bathrooms. There is no line. SWEET! I am not sure why so many people stand in those long porta potty lines. Let’s keep those bathrooms as our little secret. And yes it has only been 20 minutes since I last went.

8:18 am- Arrive back and group. Eric joins us shortly after and now I have someone to pace off of. His plan was to run a sub 50 minute race so I was hoping to stick with him for the first few miles.

8:25 am- Need to go to the bathroom AGAIN. There has to be something wrong with me but the only time this happens is right before a race. I decide I better wait a bit longer to make sure this is my last.

8:26 am- My heart rate monitor will not work. I can not seem to figure out why it will not start picking up my heart rate. I get the sensors all wet and still nothing. I will probably not let my heart rate dictate my pace in such a short race but I still would like to have some readings. I spend the next few minutes trying to get it to work.

8:32 am- Take 2 Ibuprofen and 2 Aleve to help with my sore shines and possibly keep any irritation down with my achilles.

8:33 am- Bathroom Break #3. Back into the STA plaza. I run past the long lines at the porta potty and have to wait all of 1 minute and I am good to go. I try to see if heart rate monitor will start working and it does. NICE! I decide now I would go for a quick warm-up just to get the blood pumping to the legs. I am excited that my foot is not bothering me and I feel pretty fresh.

8:40 am- Start heading back to the group. Section yellow is really starting to fill up and it takes a while to join back up with the group. I finally found them and everyone is ready to get going.

8:50 am- Would really like to make one last bathroom stop before we get out on the course. Last year I was able to run over to one of the outhouses just as yellow started and was still able to make it back in time. This year I was trying to run with a group and knew this wasn’t going to work.

8:54 am- Throw shirt into tree and it STAYS!! Victory #1 DONE!

8:55 am- Take my Powerbar gel and all I can think about is where I can pee.

9:00 am- Yellow begins to move forward. At this point I realize that there was going to be no bathroom break and I was just going to have to hold it. GREAT!!

9:05 am- Bloomsday 2008 begins. I still need to go but I am hoping after I start running my mind will switch to the race ahead. I start off following Eric as we dart in and out of people. I always feel like I am in the game of Pong for the first mile or so.

Mile ¾- I run up on Jessi. She was unable to find us at the race start but she was able to get a much better start position. It was great to wish her luck.

Mile 1- Time: 6:21. I knew the first time was going to be pretty fast with the adrenaline pumping but I feel good. I will shortly get set in a comfortable pace.

Mile 1.1- Porta potty off to the right. I start to think to myself this could be my chance. I make up my mind that I will stop and as I come around there is some other fool waiting in line. Looks like I am not the only one but there is no way I am going to wait for him to finish. I head off down the road.

Mile 1.9- Bathroom Break #4. See large group of porta potties. There is no way all of them are full so I run off course and jump in the first one I can see that is empty. 16 seconds later I am out and back on the course. Feeling like a million dollars I take off like a Kenyan and then realize that a full out sprint for the next 5.5 miles is not a good idea.

Mile 2- Time: 7:04- I know my pace is still under 7 minutes per mile because of the pee break and now all I have to think out is running. SIGHHHHH! At this point I see Tim running a few yards ahead of me. It was extremely easy to pick out the Tri-Fusion shirt and was nice to run with him for a bit.

Mile 2.85- Ask Tim if I missed mile three. I personally feel the mile between 2 and 3 had to be the most difficult. I know that Doomsday is pretty steep but this mile just keeps going up and up. Tim informs me that we are not there yet. Thanks buddy.

Mile 3- Time 7:02- I had a feeling that there would be at least one mile over 7 minutes and I am pretty stoked at this point to see that it was only over by 2 seconds.

Mile 4- Time 6:51- Running past the college. I realized that this goes way faster on the bike during BLT’s. My legs are feeling pretty strong and I am looking forward to seeing what Doomsday has in store for me this year.

Mile 5- Time 6:56- Still under my goal pace and at near the top of Doomsday. After talking with a few people about race strategy I decide to try and actually run down hill towards TJ Meinach. Normally I tend to just slow up a bit because you are running downhill. This time is was an all out run. The strategy worked pretty well. At this point I can now see Eric about 30 yards ahead and I am going to do my best to chase him down.

Mile 6- Time 6:49- I picked up the pace a bit and my legs are feeling pretty good. I have caught Eric and he informs me that Doomsday kicked his butt. I completely understand but I am feeling fast and it is time to kick it into go gear.

Mile 7- Time 6:43- I begin to wonder if I can break 50 minutes for the race. I set my goal of 52 knowing that would be a solid improvement from last year but deep down I really wanted to be sub 50. At this point I am wondering if my damn bathroom break is going to screw me over and I am going to come in with a time like 50:14 or something like that.

Mile 7.46- Time 2:52. The last half mile was run at a 6:13 pace. Gotta like that. Finishing time was 50:43 so I guess the bathroom break didn’t completely ruin my day. You get to play the game "Where's Steve".
I was pretty pleased with my time. Jessi was giving me a hard time afterwards for not being really excited about beating my goal of 52 minutes. I have a hard time showing tons of emotion when it comes to racing but I was definitely pleased.

Some people look at me and think I am crazy for not being so happy but I know that I CAN and WILL do better. I am relatively new to running and triathlons but I keep going back to the word, Potential. I should celebrate the small victories like today but being such a competitive person I know my potential is much greater. I finished this race knowing that if I would have trained harder or was a bit more dedicated I could have set a time that even shocked myself. When that day comes, I promise you I will show some emotion.

A few of us stuck around and tried to congratulate all the people we knew as they crossed the finish line. It was great to see so many familiar faces and share in their excitement. I need to give a special shout out to Jessi for her 6 minute PR and especially for Tiff’s 11 minute PR. Way to go girls.
Afterwards Tim had made a crazy commitment of doing a second loop so we headed up to the car. Tim joined Crazy Joe (Tim’s nickname) and they took off. Maybe next year during Ironman training I will be that crazy:)
I had to make it a point to Tim that Andy and I were going to treat ourselves to some Maggie Moos. There is not better thing then some cold ice cream after a long hot run.

I finished off the day relaxing in the sun and then joining the Swanson’s and Gallagher’s for some great BBQ and recapping of the day’s events. Another Bloomsday down and next years goal is already set. Sub 48!!


jessithompson said...

Great job, buddy! I love all the pics too. You are a true blogger! Loved the race play by play and the bathroom stop dilemma was hilarious! You had a great day and my whole point was even though you think about potential and what's to come, just take a moment to celebrate the small victories. We work and train way too hard not to. Thanks for the support - I loved being able to share the excitement afterwards with some of my training buddies!

You are smokin' fast and hard core. I'm impressed with how you push yourself and go for it! Next weekend will be a blast. :)

Tiffany said...

I love to see that you are becoming a true blogger and making sure that you (or someone around you) has a camera at all times! Nice!

You had an awesome run yesterday! I understand that you want to reach your "potential" but be sure to celebrate your victories along the way. Otherwise, what's the point, right?

Way to go! You are faster than I can even dream of being!

Tiffany said...

By the way, Jessi's comment was not up yet when I wrote mine. So although it looks like I copied her post, I didn't! Kind of scary, huh? Great minds think alike! :)

Trish said...

You are a freakin' animal! Way to go on your time! It sounds like you had an amazing race and I can not BELIEVE that you took a bathroom break and your time was still sub 51! You have some mad running skills friend :) You earned that shake for sure!

Andy said...

Nice job on achieving your goal. Next year sub 48!

I enjoyed our "second loop" much more than Tim and Joe enjoyed theirs.

Matt Cusack said...

man thats a smoking fast time, great work!

Cant have a better finish to the day than Maggie Moo's!

Phaedra Cote said...

Wow Steve! That is awesome. I totally understand the feeling that you want to surprise even yourself with your results. I love when that happens.....but it's rare. Cherish the moments you surprise yourself but also embrace the times that you give a good solid effort and get a good, solid result. And, I'd say that's what you did at Bloomsday.

Nice work, Superstahhhhh! You make me proud!


Michael W. Bergquist said...

Congrats on your PR. Stopping for 16 seconds costs you more than 16 seconds. It will only make next year's time an even bigger improvement. You've got a ton of potential, which you're going to realize more an more. The limits you may see for yourself will be in your rear view mirror in a couple years. You're an animal an my bet to be one of the really fast guys.