Posts Tagged ‘race’

My First 12K Race (Bloomsday Spokane)

Friday, May 6th, 2011

bloomsday-spokaneI am not a runner. The only reason I signed up for a 12K race was to make sure I stayed in shape for my husband. To prepare for the race, I did Zumba. I started with once a week, then twice a week, and now I do it three times a week. Unfortunately I found out too late that Zumba uses different muscles than running. I was about two miles into the race when I realized my legs were so stiff that I thought they had rigor mortis (Latin words meaning “stiffness of death”).

bloomsday-spokane-2The day began like any other day, except that it was foggy, foreshadowing things to come. It had snowed two days prior to this race, so I was surprised when I saw my husband wearing shorts. I toyed with the idea of bringing snow gloves, since my fingers were frozen. My 10-year-old son also came with us, not complaining one bit.

bloomsday-spokane-3I suppose I should tell you that the Bloomsday race happens each year here in Spokane, Washington, during the first weekend of May. (Yes, it was snowing at the end of April, much to the chagrin of the deluded people who believe in global warming.) Over 60,000 people were supporting our city by running this race.

bloomsday-spokane-4Okay, now picture 60,000 people running all in the same direction, like a slow-flowing river of molasses, inexorably pushing everyone forward. You’d better not stop, or you’ll get trampled. I saw this first hand when someone dropped her sunglasses, and the person behind her crushed them in less than two seconds. Everyone around her (including me) laughed, because what could be done? She couldn’t turn around to try to pick them up, or her hand (at least) would surely get squashed. No, she must proceed forward, like everyone else…

bloomsday-spokane-5Oh, I forgot to tell you about the beginning of the race. As we were waiting, people bumped beach balls around. There were also flying tortillas; I kid you not. (Hopefully the birds ate those…) When the beach ball came to my husband, he gave it to a little girl beside us. Well, the girl threw it really hard onto my head, and it bounced off, much to the hilarious laughter of my husband. The little girl felt so bad that she hid behind her dad. I told her, “That didn’t hurt. It was funny. Thanks for a good laugh.”

bloomsday-spokane-6Then people started stripping. They threw their sweatshirts into the nearby trees. It looked like laundry day. The sun came out, and it was actually quite pleasant. Maybe these people weren’t insane for throwing off their sweatshirts. (They had tank tops underneath, of course…)

So there was the starting line. We heard the pistol shot that indicated the beginning of the race, and people clapped, but we continued to stand still. It was like heavy traffic, when the light turns green. You have to wait until the car in front of you moves forward. Music was blaring, and it happened to be one of my Zumba songs. I started doing Zumba, much to the delight of my husband, who said, “This is not Zumba, you know.” No one else saw me; the crowd was too thick. Besides, I don’t care. There were people who looked much crazier, with costumes on and caps with twirly propellers. Apparently people really get into this…

Then the crowd bloomsday-spokane-7flowed forward like a slow-moving river. After about two miles, my legs were so stiff I couldn’t force them to move one in front of the other. But you have to keep moving, or people will bump into you. My husband kept saying, “Push through it. Pain is just weakness leaving the body.” Thanks, dear. I’ll tell that to my sore legs, my sore bum, and my weary body…

We reached Doomsday Hill. Needless to say I did not run up that hill. Nope. Just walked.

Many side shows and bands were playing along the edge of the road. Five bands were Christian, and I cheered as I passed by. Other people played on recycled drums. There was a man dressed up as a big turkey vulture right in the middle of the path, and people were having pictures taken with him. Even Star Wars dudes were dancing the Macarena.

bloomsday-spokane-8At regular intervals, there would be people lined up along the side of the road with water in paper cups. You could grab the water as you were running, drink it, and throw it away. Some people (like my crazy husband) dumped the water over their heads before they continued running. Well, later my dad reminded me of an old Seinfeld episode where Kramer was standing on the edge of a race, holding his hot cup of coffee over the rail. Suddenly one of the runners grabbed the hot coffee and poured it over his head, screaming Owww at being scalded. My son Bryan laughed so hard at this joke…

At long last, I made it ovbloomsday-spokane-9er the finish line. Hobbling. You see, I had blisters on the backs of my feet where the running shoes cut into me. My legs felt like jelly. “Keep moving,” said the traffic controllers to make sure everyone got their “I finished Bloomsday” T-shirt. I earned it.