I knew this probably wasn’t going to be the breakthrough race it was for me two years ago and I was pretty confident it wouldn’t be as smooth as Chili Bowl and Boston this year. But I put on my racing flats and gave it a go :) You never know when you might get lucky!
It was hot on the warmup and I showed LJ and my boyfriend a bit of
the course as this was their first Blossom. Noted that a few fast local
women were there and made it the goal to stay as close to them as
possible. It was muggy and hot, but not nearly as hot as it has been
here the past few years. I figured best case scenario was probably 5:55 pace for this one and more likely between that and 6:15 pace.
The first two miles of Blossom are mostly uphill and LJ and I managed
to cruise through mile one easily in 6:05. I was pleasantly surprised
by this and we were sitting in 3rd and 4th after getting by 3 or 4 other
ladies who went out a bit faster. I pulled away from LJ in the second
mile at some point and did my best to hold the gap between myself and
2nd. A bit before mile two you finally crest the hill and I instructed
myself to pick up the turnover. I surprised myself with a 6:06 this mile
which was actually better than 2 years ago. It certainly didn’t feel
like I was flying, but it felt solid.
JS ran with me and helped me focus on 2nd place, at some point between 2 and
3 after catching a pack ahead of us he motioned that it was time to
close the gap on 2nd, but my legs had no response. I was sitting steady
in that 6-6:08 pace range and the legs weren’t going anywhere. I watched
as JS easily caught the 2nd and 1st girls before picking up speed to
get in a decent training day. I focused on trying to stay with the pack
that included my friend JK hitting mile 3 in 6:08.
Mile 4 is tough, a lot of sun and you have a nasty climb towards the
end of it. I focused on a few males this mile and hit 4 in 6:00 thanks
to BD helping me push that incline before the end of the mile. After
that it was mostly a survival to the finish. BD coached me to use my
arms and encouraged me to do a better job on the hills, I just had no
I let three guys pass me that I normally would have been competitive
with. I just didn’t have that extra “juice.” I knew I’d have to fight if
I wanted to sneak in a PR and hitting mile 5 in 6:06 I was sure it was
close but a little shy. That extra gear didn’t show up on the final kick
and I managed to get to the finish in 31:54, over a minute behind 1st
and 2nd! Ouch! But only 16 seconds slower than two years ago here.
Based on the way I felt I’m happy with it. It was a really even and
solid effort. I’m glad I was able to keep the effort high despite being
far out of contention and knowing a PR was not likely. I’d like to
think if 1st or 2nd had been closer I might have found some extra drive,
but truthfully I was working hard out there. It just wasn’t one of
those days where I felt “like a boss.” And both the gals that came in
1st and 2nd ran much faster than normal here. Kudos to them! I’ve got my
work cut out for me this year!