I have always wanted to run Blooms to Brews half marathon. I had seen pictures from past events, and knew this was a race I wanted to be a part of. There is just something about running near the tulip fields, and running on a fast and scenic course, that is very enticing.
For those who have never heard of Blooms to Brews, it is an event offering a marathon, marathon relay, half marathon, 10K and 5K in Woodland, Washington. This was its 5th year anniversary, where they celebrated royally – everything was decked out in royal purple, and participants were handed tiaras at the finish (along with medals, of course). The course is flat and runs through the Woodland Bottoms. The tulips and lilacs full in bloom. It offers breath-taking views of the Columbia and Lewis Rivers, and hosts a lively post party at Horseshoe Lake.
Even though weather can be a little dicey this time of year, we really lucked out with amazing weather. It was nothing but clear sunny skies! Perfect race day weather.
Being that I live in Portland, I knew there was no chance of me getting up to Woodland, for packet pickup prior to race day. I made sure to leave in plenty of time on race day, to ensure I had enough time before the race started to check in and get my packet. There was plenty of parking available, and it really was a quick trip from Portland (don’t be scared away by a “Washington” race!). Once I arrived at the venue, I made my way to check in. There were already many people starting to get ready for their races. Thankfully, I had given myself an extra half hour prior to my race start. Once I got to the tent, I was surprised that there was no line for the half marathon. I checked in, received my bib and adorable tank top. I then went to find the gear check, to drop off my belongings.
I was very surprised how fast the start time came! All the half marathon participants (159 in total) were off exactly at 7:30am. The course was everything they said it would be and more. It offered some pretty amazing views, and had just the right amount of aid stations – 6 stations, around every 2 miles or so for the half. The volunteers were so friendly, and offered a lot of cheers whenever runners passed. I am sure this made me have a faster time! There is also something to be said about hearing “great job” when running. The mile markers were also very inspirational. The one that really hit home was “Good job Mom”, especially because I knew my boys were waiting for me at the finish line. The mile markers were also very accurate, that, or my running watch was having a good day!
Even though it was a flat course, there is a section of gravel (around mile 10), that was very difficult for me. I never thought I would be so excited to see asphalt again!
Once the gravel section was completed, the tulip fields were up next. Unfortunately, this part of the race went by so fast! I had so much anticipation to view the tulips the whole race, that when I finally arrived, it was over, in what seemed like a blink of the eye.
The race finish line ended at Horseshoe Lake Park and it was here, when I turned the final corner, that I noticed my sweet boys playing on the side of the race course. Once they saw me, they were so excited. My 5 year old raced over to me and we crossed the finish line together. Shortly thereafter, I was handed my medal and tiara. They also had plenty of water for participants to drink. We then made our way to the post party. Blooms to Brews is a very friendly event, the vendors, and everyone there were so great. I definitely recommend this event for anyone looking for a spring race. The course, the views, and the tiaras, made for a great race.