We are building a tradition! After completing my first Bloomsday in a couple decades last year, we did it again this past weekend. I once again joined my brother and sister-in-law for Spokane’s signature road race.
As with last year, we all drove in one vehicle to Ferris High School where a Spokane Transit Authority (STA) shuttle took us downtown. On Sunday, our shuttle was pretty full so I was separated from Glen and Carrie. With no one to talk to, I took the 15-minute ride to gaze out the window and psych myself up for the race.
The four of us arrived on the streets of downtown about 90 minutes before our heat of the race started. Oh, did you catch how I mentioned the four of us? Glen’s friend, Grant, had met us at Ferris to do Bloomsday with us. Anyway, because of our incredible excitement, we arrived a bit earlier than necessary. No matter, we made the most out of the hour and a half by playing “Guess the Tune” to the pump up songs blaring from the Bloomsday speakers.
The long countdown eventually elapsed and the moment had arrived to run! I threw my long sleeve shirt on one of the Riverside trees, spiked a couple of the beach balls flying around, and approached the start line. The four of us crossed the threshold together and we were officially on the clock.
Although we crossed the starting line as a group, we would soon separate. I went off on my own, tackling a course that seemed more familiar to me this year compared to the previous year when I navigated it after a long absence. Despite the threat of rain that loomed over the race the week leading up to it, all precipitation held off and racing conditions were perfect. However, despite the ideal conditions, I found myself struggling more than last year. Perhaps I lacked the additional adrenaline boost I had last year from doing something for the first time in a long time OR perhaps it was just because I was a year older, but it felt like I was grinding a lot more in 2023.
Despite the increase in difficulty, I actually achieved something I didn’t expect at all—a PR! I beat my time from last year by two minutes, crossing the finish line at 1 hour, 9 minutes. I didn’t bring a watch or phone with me to downtown so I really had no idea how I was doing until I saw my time at the finish line.
I waited for Glen, Carrie, and Grant to finish the race. While I awaited their completion, I hung out on the Monroe Street Bridge and people watched. I observed as finishers celebrated with their friends, whipped out their phones to check their times on the app, and posed for photos. Watching my fellow Bloomies rejoice in their accomplishment made the time fly by and soon my crew was reunited with me.
From that point it was off to claim our finisher t-shirts. The four of us took a poll prior to the race with our t-shirt color prediction and none of us entertained the idea that it could possibly be black—not that we were disappointed! We approved of the surprise color (black is slimming, folks) and the abstract design.
I threw my t-shirt on over my sweat-drenched race shirt and we headed to Flat Stick Pub, another part of the Bloomsday experience that has become part of the tradition. A beer never tasted so good as I downed that mason jar of hops in a few minutes.
After the round of beers we hopped on the STA shuttle and headed back to Ferris High School. As I got off the bus, I could feel the soreness start to manifest itself throughout my body. But some aches and pains wouldn’t be enough to derail our victory lap. Still clad in our Bloomsday shirts, my brother and I waltzed into a watering hole close to our homes.
The rest of the afternoon was a bit of a struggle. I was pretty sore by this point and battled cramps. But it was a good sore and my wife helped me with my electrolyte intake by running to the store to get me plenty of Powerade. Also, sitting next to a certain 3-year-old made everything a bit better, too.
Will I be back on the Bloomsday course in 2024? You bet. Will I achieve another PR? Doubtful. But regardless, I love the Spokane community and our beloved Bloomsday race. Stay classy, Bloomies. Don’t Blink.
Well done! I thought about running a mile one time.
Next year, right?
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