I woke up early this morning, excited about getting a chance to visit an old friend - the Blueberry Stomp 15K race in Plymouth, IN.
The Blueberry Stomp is part of the Blueberry Festival which is a HUGE deal in this small, Northern Indiana town. 500,000 people descend on the town each Labor Day weekend to play Softball and Baseball, sample treats from countless food vendors, and shop in the arts and crafts areas. There is a parade with area high school bands, politicians, and area groups. It's all great fun.
This was the Stomp's 30th anniversary. I ran it a half dozen times back in the 80's. My last Stomp was in 1992. It has always been my favorite race. They actually spread blueberries across the starting line before the race, although I usually line up so far back in the pack that there are few traces of them by the time I cross the starting line. As I looked through my collection of running shirts, looking for the perfect one to wear, I spied one from the 1983 Blueberry Stomp. It was emblazoned "10th Anniversary." Perfect!
The course takes you south through downtown Plymouth, jogs to the west, and then heads back south along wooded country roads, makes a big loop south of town, and then heads back north through downtown in the middle of the parade festivities! There are some hills to deal with, but no real gut busters. The last mile and a half through downtown and along the parade route is mostly downhill and FAST. With the beat from marching bands and the cheering crowds, you can't help but get wrapped up in the festivities AND have a great finish.
I remember this as always being a hot race. Today though, it was barely 60 and drizzly. Not very good parade or festival weather, but great for a run.
I didn't have any real firm goals, other than to try to keep a good pace throughout the race and at least make the race a good tempo run in preparation for my Marathon debut in October in Chicago. Here's how I did:
Mi. - Lap -- Split
1 - 08:46 - 08:46
2 - 08:20 - 17:06
3 - 08:13 - 25:19
4 - 08:17 - 33:36
5 - 08:20 - 41:56
6 - 08:15 - 50:11
7 - 08:19 - 58:29
8 - 08:10 - 1:06:39
9 - 07:49 - 1:14:28
Last .3 - 02:20 - 1:16:48
I'm real happy about managing to not go out too fast, yet still get going at a decent, consistent pace for the race. The last 2 miles were my fastest - that makes me real happy :-)
The race organizers do a great job with the Blueberry Stomp. It will always be my favorite race. If you ever get a chance to run it, you won't be disappointed!
Tom . . . South Bend, IN