All spring I had been anxiously awaiting running the Bloomsday 12K with sister #3. The anxiety built as life got extra busy and I did not stick to my intended training plan. With the exception of a few runs and a hike up Ramo Flats, I was not doing a whole lot of running and consequently my blog posts dropped off as well.
Nonetheless, my sister kept on encouraging me and letting me know it would all be okay, that Bloomsday was an ideal course for my entry back into fun runs. As we were driving over it hit me that though she had talked about the size of the race, I had no concept of what 50,000+ participants would be like. I had asked my sister if we were going to drive the route the evening before to which she laughed and said with so many people around, I would always know which direction to go.
As I boarded the bus some anxiety was washing away, and noticing the light hearted atmosphere at the starting line continued to ease my fears. And then it all started. Our color group was given the go ahead to start walking toward the starting line. I caught myself close to tearing up over the emotion that I was actually there - ready or not, the time had come and it was exhilarating.
We were sticking together for the first part, but with so many people around we could not always run side by side and we spread out a little bit. Cheered on by a range of entertainment and spectators along the way, I tried to focus on my breathing, staying relaxed and knowing when I needed to walk a bit. I hovered in the center, easily transitioning from the left (for runners) and the right (for walkers). As time went on, I realized that I could jog the majority, with the exception of the water stations.
Sister #3 and I met up again on the Doomsday Hill and walked together before getting back into our jogging pace. By the time I reached mile 6 I decided that I would not do any more walking. I even passed up the last water station knowing that I was not as successful with trying to drink while still jogging at water station #1 and did not want to shift to walking.
During the last mile I thought back to the start of the year when #3 had to give us an assignment to go out and run that first mile, to just jump right back in. Considering that I was thrilled with my accomplishment for the day, my longest run ever in my adult life, despite not sticking to my training plan.
As I rounded the corner to the finish line and heard the announcer saying he was proud of the finishers, I thought "prouder" in my mind and finished with a smile.
*While in Spokane I got some fun running gear that I will post about later, and now I am looking forward to the Ben Does Life Seattle and Portland 5Ks in July and will also sign up for the See Jane Run 5K if I end up not needing to teach a summer school class on the same date. As for longer runs, Bloomsday gave me the confidence to potentially set my sights on a half, but I do not want to sign up until I get myself into a consistent running schedule. Until then I think the comfortable 5Ks of my cross country days will be my typical distance. We are going to make Bloomsday an annual sister tradition as well.