Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bolder Boulder Report 2010

Monday was a beautiful Colorado day for the 32nd Bolder Boulder. I believe this was the 20th time I've participate since 1983. The sky was sunny and clear and the temperature was in the high 50's at 7AM. Like it is for so many of the 48,405 finishers, the Bolder Boulder is a Memorial Day tradition for Alex and I. As one can imagine, getting to the starting line with 50,000 people converging at one point and wanting to use a port-a-potty, although spread out over a couple of hours, can be a challenge, but Alex and I have it down. We drive to a little-known side street half way between the start and the finish and jog about a mile to the start leaving ourselves a handful of minutes to make sure bladders are empty and find our respective start waves. Alex started in the fifth wave and I began in the seventh wave so the starting pistol fired for us shortly after 7AM.

The Bolder Boulder is a good excuse for a morning party for anyone who lives along the race route. Runners are entertained by multiple amplified live bands along the course as well as belly dancers, bacon fryers, folks offering free beer, and even medical marijuana bong hits. I just took advantage of cups of water to dump on my head to keep refreshed.

My first two miles were right on target for pace but I let the third mile go 14 seconds over the goal somehow. The fourth mile was on target and they last two were a combined 45 seconds slower than anticipated although I thought I was cruising nicely. I ended up crossing the stadium finish line at 49:11 which was 37th out of 313 for 52 year old males. With so many runners in the Bolder Boulder, each age is an age group. Alex (bib # BB133 as pictured) finish in 45:36 and was happy with his time and reported that he had an enjoyable run.

We sat for a few minutes in the Folsom Field stadium taking in the scene and then headed down on foot to Le Peep for our traditional post-race breakfast although neither of us had the appetite we usually have. After omelets, buckwheat pancakes, and sausage we ran back to the car to reapply sunblock and then decide to drive home to check in to see if we were needed; Valerie had been at a sleepover and we didn't know whether she would need a ride.

We returned to the race about 10:45 and watched some of the final walkers head up to the stadium. We decided to watch the female and male elite races from the street and then run up to the stadium to observe the finale activities from inside. An Ethiopian woman was about two minutes ahead of the next closest runner at kilometer nine and most of the other runners were even farther back than that. In the men's race, three Ethiopian runners passed by shoulder to shoulder with only one other runner (from the Colorado team) in sight. As a team, the Colorado runners finished second, nicely beating out the Kenyan team.

Some people criticize participation in the Bolder Boulder as a self-indulgent Boulder-type diversion on Memorial Day, but it is when I feel most patriotic. Along the way I say many runners run with the names of fallen veterans pinned to their backs. Once in the stadium, most people are much more connected to their emotions after forty-five minutes or in some cases two hours of exertion. They are primed then to hear the song "I'm Proud to be an America" and of course The National Anthem, as well as listen to an elderly Congressional Medal of Honor recipient speak. Skydivers also paraglide into the stadium, each with a banner of a branch of the military with the last one trailing the American flag (as pictured). Air Force jets fly over timed to the end of the National Anthem performed powerfully by a selected local.

I did not feel as spent as I have in past years after the race. I think all the miles I put in this year helped in that regard. I think a little more goal-oriented training would have helped me run another ninety seconds faster, but I am content.

my split times

mile 1 7:30
mile 2 8:00
mile 3 8:14
mile 4 8:02
mile 5 7:52
mile 6 8:00
last .2 1:33

I was 3354 out of 22554 males and 4149 out of 48,405 finishers
Alex was 1811 out of 22554 males and 2098 overall

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