Running the Bolder Boulder 10K, CO (2011)


It is Monday afternoon on May 30th, and I just got home from the SPECTACLE of 56,000 runners sprinting, trotting, jogging, walking, gasping and sometimes crawling through downtown Boulder and into the football stadium to finish the 2011 Bolder Boulder 10K. It blew my mind seeing the nearly endless procession of wall-to-wall runners and walkers extending from curb to curb for several continuous HOURS this morning (as we backtracked on the course to get a brunch at a restaurant, then see the Bolder Boulder pics 2011 (2).jpgelite runners SPRINT by as if they are running 100 meters, rather than 10,000 meters).


I’m exhausted and dehydrated, but exhilarated by the sense of achievement. And the endorphins coursing through my body. The Bolder Boulder is one of the great events in the US each year.


In some ways, I dislike running. My body type is more suited to short, explosive bursts rather than endurance activity. However, I run Bolder Boulder because it is such an incredibly entertaining, invigorating spectacle of an event, and training for it keeps me in better shape (I lost 15 pounds as a result of my training since December to prepare for this event—largely to achieve my goal of running a time lower than my age).


My pre-race goal of maintaining a 5-minute-per-kilometer pace was nearly perfectly executed. At kilometer one, my time was 4:59! And I passed my neighborhood grocery store (about 6 km from the start) precisely when I expected to: about 30 minutes into the run (I had suggested a few friends watching the event at the grocery store to look for me about 30 minutes after my 7:19 a.m. start). My overall time was 50:23, which is 60 seconds faster than my target of running a time less than my age, and over 6 MINUTES faster than my time in 2010.


Overall, I finished at 4,502, which means I beat over 50,000 runners to the finish line. In my age cohort, I placed 48th out of 386.


Next year’s goal: sub-50 minutes…


Another interesting factoid: My finish in the 2011 Bolder Boulder meant that I was the 984,523rd person to finish the Bolder Boulder since it started in 1979. If I had slowed down and run 8 minutes slower, I would have been the millionth runner to cross the finish line in Bolder Boulder history – that runner was awarded running shoes, a mountain bike, free season football tickets and running gear.


Unfortunately, I seemed to have peaked too early in my training, which started in December of last year. A few weeks ago, in a training run, I ran a time of 48 minutes…


As I waited for the starting gun this year, I had a disconcerting thought as my wave of runners was about to start: There are hundreds of people in my wave, and they all ran about my 56-minute time last year. Since I planned to run a time under 51 minutes this year, I realized that to do that, I'd have to beat all of these hundreds of runners in my wave by several minutes! (if they run the same time this year, that is)


Something shocking and completely unacceptable that Ann and I witnessed while watching the elite runners later in the day: We are watching the elite women running, and the goofy press truck (which looks like a giant wedge of red cheese made out of plywood) full of photographers and driving just ahead of the lead runners took a turn too slowly and actually GOT IN THE WAY AND SLOWED DOWN THE LEADERS!! If I were one of the lead runners, I'd pitch a royal fit with the Bolder Boulder organizers. Sheesh!


With the exception of that event blemish, however, the Bolder Boulder is, as touted by many (including Runners World, I believe), the best 10-kilometer road race in America. I suggest you add it to your bucket list…


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