42nd Annual Blueberry Stomp. 

 After not racing for 36 days (who is counting?) Monday, September 7th was the 42nd annual Blueberry Stomp in Plymouth, IN. This was the 3rd time I have run the event and the second year in a row. The Blueberry Stomp offers 3 race distances; a 5k, 15k, and kids 1 mile run.  After a awful race at the Parade 5000, I really wanted to run a good race. 
First of all, it was just a very warm morning. While driving to Plymouth before the race, my car thermometer was already reading 73 degrees about an hour before the race began and the sun was beating down. Plus it was humid (83%). Obviously this is out of anyone’s hands, but combine that with a tough course with lots of rolling hills, I knew it would be a tough morning. 
The kids fun run started at 8:30. The great thing about the Blueberry Stomp is the crowd support at the beginning and the end. The course runs along a potion of theBlueberry Festival parade route.  

Chloe ran the kids 1 mile which was roughly a half mile out and a half mile back (Tina says it was a bit long as she ran with Chloe). Chloe did not have her fastest time. We had been camping all weekend close to Plymouth so I think she was a little tired and her heart just wasn’t in it. She finished with a 12:47.      
The 15k race started at 9:00 and just felt like the temperatures kept on climbing. The idea was to start off easy and gradually build up the speed. If you have read my race reports enough, you know this didn’t happen. The goal going into the race was to run under 1 hour. Last year, my time was 1:00:06.  

The race started with a firing of a cannon and we were off. The pace I needed was right around 6:25 a mile. Some guys who started next to me who I have ran races with before, wanted to run the first mile in 6:50 and work their way to faster miles. Looking back, I should have done the same. The first mile is mainly flat with a little down hill towards the mile mark. First mile was run in 6:19, a little faster than goal pace but not too fast (I thought at the time….). Mile 2 was mostly up hill with a down hill section right before the second mile mark. For the most part I was feeling good except for one thing, my feet were going numb. I had tied my shoes to tight. This was just a stupid rookie mistake. 2nd mile was run in 6:20. After the second mile through mile 7, the race was mainly in the country and was where all the rolling hills are.  

 The hills are not huge, just constant up and down. This is not a PR course. 
This is a tough course, and early on, it was starting to take a toll on my body as was the heat. The mile splits were starting to slow.
3. 6:31
4. 6:32
5. 6:40
6. 6:37
7. 6:41
Obviouly by this point, as we are heading back into town, I am not feeling it and know that the 1 hour goal is slipping away. Now it’s just time to hold on and hope for a good age group result. Mile 8, which was down hill, then back up, was a 7:01 (ouch). At the start of mile 9 was the last of the water stops. At this point, the heat had really got to me and asked the girls at the aid station just to throw water on me as I ran by. They seemed way too eager to do so. I am guessing somewhere between 10-12 cups of water were dumped on me but it felt good.  
As I mentioned before, the course ran along part of the parade route, which is nice for some crowd support but there are drawl backs. When running along the route, the parade was stopped for the national anthem. This is the second year in a row that I have ran by as the anthem was played and I feel like I should stop, but I keep on going. Also with everything being stopped in the parade, that also means the large fire trucks at the front are spewing out exhaust. The moment I started passing the fire trucks, I got light headed real bad. At the most it cost me one position, but I might have been caught from behind anyways (to make matters worse, he was in my age division). Mile 9 was ran in 6:50. Finishing time was 1:02:08 (my Garmin read 1:02:03). Finished in 13th place. 

Race organization
The Blueberry stomp never fails in this category. They always have a well organized race that starts on time. 
The one thing I would say is, start the awards sooner. I think we waited over an hour after I finished for awards. I know that you want to wait for everyone to finish, and I do believe that seeing the firemen finish in full gear (I give a lot of credit to those guys for doing a 15k in that heat) but there are a lot of other things are going on. 

Most of you know by now that I am not a fan of cotton shirts.  I just don’t wear them, ever. So I am not a big fan. I did pay $25 (early registration fee) and I know the money goes to a good cause, but… 


Last year, the awards were original and I thought they did a good job. This year, I can not say the same:  
  2014 award on right (coaster), 2015 on the left.
When looking at age group results, I noticed I was 4th. Thought that we should just go home. My wife then pointed out, age group awards went to the top 5 in the 5k. So we stuck around. Turns out, it really wasn’t worth staying. I don’t really run races for awards, but the can koozie seemed like something that should just be given to everyone in their participation bag.  I don’t drink beer, I don’t drink pop, not sure what I would use it for.  I am not sure if they went a cheaper route to give age group awards 5 deep or if that’s how it was done last year as well. 
I really do like this race.  A lot of good local and non local runners come out to it and it is a tough challenging race.  I will probably be back next year. Just maybe improve the shirt and awards. 


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