Friday, February 23, 2007

Training for Bloomsday, Part I

Early in January, I looked in the mirror at my new love handles (I let my diet get sloppy when I moved to Spokane; dealing well with stress has never been my strong suit.) I hate it when I can pinch more than an inch.

(Well ... on my body anyway.)

So, in a moment of what I thought then was clarity, I registered for Bloomsday. I thought it would be June 16, which gave me half a year to train for the race, but silly me. For some reason, Bloomsday is May 6 in Spokane. There is probably an explanation somewhere on their website: Bloomsday Run.

No matter. I should be able to be ready, with a little self-discipline. I've been working on endurance on my elliptical trainer while cross-training on the recumbent bike. The Bloomsday Run is a 12K (or 7.4 miles), so I guesstimated I could do it in an hour and a half. I'm up to an hour, five minutes as my weekly "long run" on the elliptical, so I'm figuring if I get to the point I can do the elliptical comfortably for an hour and a half, I should then be ready to start speed work. My true goal would be to finish the race in under an hour and twelve minutes, because that would qualify me for one of the earlier waves in next year's race.

When the weather gets a little warmer, I'll take the training outside. It will be interesting to see whether fitness on the elliptical/bike will transfer well to pounding the pavement for real.

I've only done two other races in my life: San Francisco's Bridge-to-Bridge, which was another 12K, but perfectly flat except for one tiny hill. The other was the Skyline Ridge 10K, which kicked my butt (primarily because I trained for it for only about a month, and it was a trail run, in mostly mud and a headwind for the first half of it, plus it gained 800 feet of elevation). I did finish but my time was lousy (an hour and 28 mins to go six miles). Up top is a photo of my muddy feet afterwards!

More on this to come ...


Spokane Al said...

Bloomsday is always the first Sunday in May.

If you incorporate some hill training into your workouts you should do just fine.

Good luck.

Joyce said...

Thanks, Al, I will do that. I was thinking I should print out a map of the course and maybe even run parts of it beforehand. Somebody told me the other night that if you're way back in the pack at the start, you'll be zig-zagging ferociously the first several miles which can really wear you out. She finished in 1 hr, 21 mins. So now I'm thinking finishing in under an 1:12 is too tall an order for me. But that's okay.

Why the name Bloomsday, I wonder?
Clearly it's not from Joyce's Ulysses.

Good luck with your own training. Triathlons are way out of my league. :-)

Spokane Al said...

You are exactly on target with the name. Don Kardong, the founder of Bloomsday was a big Joyce fan and named the race from Joyce's book. It seems to have taken on a different connotation over the years and many people think it refers to spring.

As far as zig zagging goes, that has become slightly less of a problem when the race went to issuing chips to everyone for tracking time last year for the first time. This means that the starts are now in groups rather than one gigantic mass.

I have not had a major problem with the race and the crowds and finished virtually all in less than one hour.

If you are trained and ready for the hills you should do fine.

Many people talk about Doomsday Hill, and granted, it is a tough one, but I believe the combination of the three separate hills does many people in because they are not prepared and are wiped out by the time they get to the third hill which is Doomsday. If you can push yourself up to the top of that hill, the rest of the course is flat and hopefully you will still have some reserves left to begin to pick up the pace.

P.S. The zig zagging issue tends to mostly be a problem at the beginning of the race.

Joyce said...

That is really great advice, Al. I did print out a course map and elevation map today and Doomsday looks tough ... about a half mile at a 6.5% incline? Ouch! It might be faster for me to power walk that part. But I will remember to save energy for it. And then fall down at the top and roll two miles to the finish line. ;-)

I think the idea of Bloomsday being a harbinger of spring, all the new blooms waving in the breeze. :-)

Joyce said...

Oops! That is, I think I like the idea of Bloomsday, etc etc.