Blooms to Brews Half Marathon Recap

Today I ran the 2014 Blooms to Brews Half Marathon in Woodland, WA. This was the second running of this event. At last year’s event I set a 23 minute half marathon PR. I had no such illusions for this year!

I’ve really only been back to full time training for about a month. And my goal race for this year is still 14 weeks away. My target time coming into this race was 1:45. With my current weight and the status of my training I felt an 8:00 mile pace would be a good goal. I finished in 1:46:28 for an 8:07 pace. For those that know me, yes, that 7 seconds per mile bugged me!

Right now I’m trying to focus on the positives of my races. The first 8+ miles I ran this exactly how I wanted. At mile 8 I was 36 seconds ahead of target time (translation: I should have been at 1:04:00 and was at 1:03:24. Yes, I did the math in my head. Something that dates back to when I swam long distance in high school…helps pass the time). I had also been gradually speeding up the previous few miles.

Mile 1: 8:22
Mile 2: 7:54
Mile 3: 7:54
Mile 4: 8:01
Mile 5: 8:05
Mile 6: 7:41
Mile 7: 7:49
Mile 8: 8:04

Don’t try to do the math from these splits. I took these from my Nike, which it seems NEVER matches up to the mile markers of races.

But then I ran into two variables that I was not prepared for, nor had any control over…a head wind that lasted for almost 4 miles and a stretch of dike road that was much rockier than last year.

Mile 9: 8:22
Mile 10: 8:28
Mile 11: 8:30
Mile 12: 8:35
Mile 13: 8:32

I talked to one of the race organizers I’m friends with who ran the course yesterday and she said the exact same thing happened to her over that same stretch. And to be honest, after looking at my actual splits, they weren’t as bad as I thought they were when I was checking them mid race.

Here I am coming into the final stretch. You can tell by the background what kind of course this was. Sunny, bright, lots of green and water.

2014 Blooms to Brews race

One thing that was within my control that I totally failed at was dressing appropriately. ALWAYS DRESS FOR THE END OF THE RACE NOT THE BEGINNING! At the start it was hovering around 40* with a little wind. I always bring options for clothing as you never know what the microclimate is going to be at the race location. I decided to go with my Headsweats Toaster Beanie as I was concerned my Hi-Vis Visor was going to leave me feeling too cool. Rookie mistake and I know better. Temp climbed almost 20 degrees during the race. I was dying by mile 5. I decided to take off my beanie and tuck it into my belt. Headsweats would not have been pleased with me today. But better than over heating.

Here I am post race in dry clothes getting ready to enjoy my banana and protein shake while sporting my medal.  Also a close up of the finishers medal.

2014 Blooms to Brews Medal 2014 Blooms to Brews post race

Overall I’m pleased with this race. I nailed my paces to start while also increasing pace where I wanted. This is a really good event if you’re looking for something in NW Oregon/SW Washington. This is definitely a PR friendly course. Flat and fast! It’s basically one big loop through the country where you spend about 75% of the time running along the Columbia and Lewis Rivers. Did I mention it was flat and fast?

Happy Running


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