Let’s talk about Bloomsday while I still remember it. Two and a half weeks is a long time so events are hazy at best in my mind.
Just kidding. It was pretty much the best Bloomsday ever (sort of like every Bloomsday before it) so nobody panic. I remember the whole thing.
If you’ll recall, after a second urgent care visit I was informed by the doctor that I had a case of “the shingles” and even though it’s a strain of the herpes virus it is not in fact an STD like I’d originally thought. I might not be super educated in the medical disciplines, mostly because I avoid all things hospital and doctor related like I avoid the steam room at the YMCA. Apparently, if you’ve ever had chicken pox, even after it’s gone the virus lays dormant in your spine until something (usually stress) brings it back in the form of shingles that attack a specific nerve. I hear for most people that shingles is incredibly painful but thankfully my experience was limited to one day out of work laying on the couch feeling like death and a lot of itching. Friday before Bloomsday I slept for 18 hours, occasionally waking to think about how much I hate shingles, then would fall back asleep.
Saturday morning I woke up with a sore back and a general feeling of weakness. My home-nurse Julia came over to pick me up and we drove downtown to the convention center for race packet pick-up. At the second seed table the volunteer who handed me my packet asked if I remembered when he asked me to marry him. It was at Titanium Man last year and I’d had to decline on account of he’s 50 and I’m more of a cougar-type lady anyway. I said, “I do!” and immediately regretted my poor choice of words. He wished me luck and with my caretaker’s assistance (thanks, Julia) we briefly browsed the trade show and left to go find lunch.
The rest of the day I spent being lazy and trying not to think too hard about how lazy I was being. The thing about training for a triathlon, or any large-scale athletic event I’d imagine, is that when you take breaks from training it’s hard to not worry that you’re somehow cheating yourself or missing out on opportunities to be better. There is a sense of urgency that comes with training. I don’t think it’s the same thing as being addicted (which quite a few people seem willing to label us Ironman-wannabes with!). If you have a goal, then there are necessary steps to take to achieve that goal, and if you miss the steps then it seems at the time that the goal won’t be reached and that is disappointing. BUT, it’s also important to know when your body is telling you “enough is enough!” and I think shingles might be my body’s way of saying, “f#$& you, Rochelle!”
Sunday, the morning of the race, I got up at 5:30 to make coffee and walk around enough to get the intestines moving. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to accurately (or appropriately) describe the immense satisfaction and assurance it affords my brain when I successfully expel all matter of waste from my body before a race. There is peace in knowing you won’t explode on a critical uphill or final stretch in front of hoards of people. More importantly, you won’t lose any time off the clock due to a last minute crap attack.
At 8:15 I headed out the door for the starting line, making the run there (and then some) my warm up. Running to the start line hurt my back. Not enough to make me walk, but enough to be of concern. “Is it worth running Bloomsday, potentially injuring myself forever and not being about to do Ironman?!?” The answer to that is obviously “no” but I mean I had a pretty cool outfit on so, come on! In Brown group waiting for the race to start I found lots of Team Blaze friends to visit and estimate finish times with. It was such a beautiful day out and standing there at Riverside and Wall and I absolutely love that half hour of anticipation before Bloomsday starts.
The race started at 9:00 and that first mile was too fast as always. I don’t even care. It’s BLOOMSDAY, bitches!!! All the friendlies were standing at mile one to cheer (which actually felt earned since my time was 6:15). Maybe I’ve lived a sheltered life (well, there’s no “maybe” about it) but I don’t think there is anything better than people you know cheering for you during a race. It’s the best. The rest of the race I averaged a 7:01/mile pace except up Doomsday, that cost me an extra 24 seconds, but was able to bring it back down to a 7 again at the top of the hill.
There were lots of cheers from spectators along the course due to my new race outfit, and I even found another runner dressed similarly (turns out she was the same pace, too!). We crossed the finish line together and were immediately approached by the Spokesman review for permission to have our picture printed in the paper. Final race time was 52:32, just over two minutes faster than 2011’s race and a new course PR.
The rest of the day I just laid around getting a sun burn and eating tacos so it was pretty excellent. Bloomsday is always the best.