Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bolder Boulder

What can I say about the Bolder Boulder other than "Awesome!" I came within 17 seconds of my sub-40 goal, which I thought going in was a little out of reach. Once again I have nothing to complain about as my pacing was pretty much right on, and I even had a bit of a kick at the end. The hills/altitude make this a challenging 10k, and the field is outstanding so this is a great race to really see how you stack up against the best runners. A humbling experience to say the least.

My Platte River Half race qualified me for the AA wave this year, which is the second wave to depart the start, right after the "citizen elite." Lining up at the start was already an experience as I felt totally outgunned standing next to collegiate runners and other rail-thin harriers. There was very little time to soak in the sights and sounds before the gun was fired and we were off. My goal was to time my kilometer splits, and hit the first kilometer in 4 minutes. This would be right on pace for a 40 minute finish, and more importantly not too fast for the downhill start. Checked my watch and I was at 3:54, but it felt so fast I was not sure I could hold on for the whole race. Cruising around the turn onto Pearl street I was greeted by the cheers of my family, and it was great to see them while I was still fresh. In the Bolder Boulder the miles roll by as the hills greet you seemingly at every turn. The strategy is always to try to hold onto the pace over the hills and come bombing down the backside. My kilometer splits kept hovering in the low 4s and I struggled mentally to convince my body that it could keep up. Finally I was up and over the final hill at 4 miles and I knew it was time to push hard for the finish. My legs felt weak and my breathing was labored but once I rounded the corner back onto Folsom I knew I was in the home stretch. The last push into the stadium arrived and I felt so slow, but I focused on reeling in runners ahead of me as I sprinted to the finish line. I thought for sure I was going to puke all over some other runner's shoes, but the feeling passed as I walked through the finish chutes.

I really like this race, and my only regret each year is that it is over too quickly. The spectators are great and the wacky people that line the course are something that must be experienced. What is even more amazing, though, is the steady stream of people that flow into the stadium for the next 4 hours. Seeing 50,000+ people all participating in such an event is pretty amazing really.

Well, what's next? My upcoming races sidebar is rather barren at this point as a little rest will do me good. I am looking to get some more trail running in now during the summer to prepare for my Team Gangels pacing duties at the Leadville 100. I'm also eyeing a September race, maybe a half-marathon or some other middle-distance race. No more marathons for the time being.

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