Race Recap - Boulder Backroads Marathon

So you know how I said I was waiting to post this recap until the event posted their photos (cuz what good is a blog post if there are only 3 crummy iPhone photos to accompany it?), well I got an email today from the photographer that was listed for the event saying that they didn't shoot the event this year, and the event organizers just failed to update the website. [insert straight face emoji here]

Ugh. It's already been a week and a half since the race at this point. And with no photos in sight, I have to post before it's just not relevant anymore. I mean, I'm already past my recovery period and back to hard training for NYC. 

I'll add the good photos to this post if/when they ever post them. 

Alright, well let's just get to it.

Race Recap

I was super nervous about this race. I hadn't run a full marathon since 2010, and that race was brutal for me. I hurt my knee leading up to it by training stupidly and ended up getting a stress fracture during the race. I walked the last 4-6 miles and finished with a time of 4:56. After the race, I skipped all of my West Campus classes because that was just too far to walk. I couldn't even do the elliptical machine after the race for a good while. I was basically out of commission for a month or more. 

Thinking back on all of that made me nervous, and then I was also nervous because my training runs hadn't gone longer than 14 miles before that day. Adding 12.2 miles is a lot! That's almost doubling my longest run.

I went into the race thinking that if I needed to bail, I could. I definitely didn't want to hurt myself before NYC, because that's what I've been doing all of this training for. 

As people were lining up at the start, I made my way to the back of the pack. This was an effort to deter myself from running my first mile at like a 7min pace (I'm too competitive for my own good). I wanted to stick to an easy, comfortable pace around the pace I normally do my long runs (9ish minute miles). 

A man standing next to me and I bonded over how chilly it was because the sun was not quite up yet (7am start time). He mentioned that his wife was doing NYC in a couple weeks and that it would be much colder there with much longer wait time. I got really excited and told him that I was doing NYC too. I didn't realize his wife was right next to him. She turned around and we bonded over the fact that we were both doing this race as a training run. As she and I were talking, two guys behind us joined in, saying that they were doing the marathon as a training run for ultra races. One guy was doing a 30-mile race and the other was doing a 50-mile race. This bonding felt really encouraging to me. 

The course was tough, so I was happy to be running it slowly. It was a "backroads" race, meaning most of it was not on concrete. It was gravel. Around the reservoir, the gravel was pretty worn down and firm, but at other parts of the course, it was loose and soft. That soft gravel felt like running in sand. 

I would like to take a moment to thank Mindy Kaling for a moment for keeping me company during this race. I listened to her entire audio book (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me) during this race. Thanks, Mindy!

For several miles, a heavy breather latched onto me. I think she must have seen that I had a Garmin on and was keeping a steady pace. Normally, I probably wouldn't even notice this, but since it was such a small race, her being 5 feet behind me for miles felt really claustrophobic. Also, she was breathing louder than Mindy was talking. 

As I approached mile 12 or so, there was a guy dressed in chrome with a unicorn mask standing next to a speaker that was blaring music that sounded like victory. I suppose this was for the people who were just doing the half. For me, it was a little bit of a taunt -- you haven't even made it to the halfway point yet. Mwahaha. 

I'm sure unicorn man had good intentions. I'm sorry for being mad at you, dude. 

After the half, about 80% or so of people dropped out. And then there was silence. There were moments in the second half of the race where I couldn't see a human in any direction. At one point, I was following behind a girl for a mile or so and almost followed her the wrong direction (she wasn't running the race, she was just going for a run). I luckily saw someone with a bib off in the distance going the other way, so I turned in that direction.

My good friend Ashely's husband Brian rode his bike over to the course to keep me company during some of the hardest miles -- in the 20s. Since it was such a small race, and they didn't even close streets to traffic, he was easily able to just ride next to me and talk for a couple miles. It was so so nice. 

After he turned off course, I only had 3 or so miles left and I just dug in. I honestly felt really good until like mile 23 or 24. At that point, I was thinking hmm... I'd rather be sleeping than running right now. But I'm close. Just gotta finish.

I finished in 3:58 (an hour faster than my last marathon). And was greeted by my husband Matt at the finish. Since he works at our church and the race was on a Sunday morning, I wasn't expecting for him to be able to make it out, but he did! And I was so happy. He also brought me a camping chair to sit and drink my Gatorade - A little taste of heaven.

Honestly, I felt pretty good after the race. I was achy and tired, but was in no actual pain, didn't chafe at all, and had perfectly intact toenails after the race. I spent time in the hot tub and did a lot of foam rolling the days following the race, and felt basically normal just 2-3 days later. It was so great. I'm feeling fit and ready to go for NYC!

What I Consumed

  • At 3am - Two pieces of whole wheat toast with butter and jelly
  • At 6:50am - A Honey Stinger waffle
  • Mile 2 - 2oz water
  • Mile 4 - 2oz electrolytes
  • Mile 5 - 2 gummies
  • Mile 6 - 2oz water
  • Mile 8 - 2oz electrolytes
  • Mile 10 - 2oz water, 2 gummies
  • Mile 12 - 2oz electrolytes
  • Mile 14 - 2oz water
  • Mile 15 - 2 gummies
  • Mile 16 - 2oz electrolytes
  • Mile 18 - 2oz water
  • Mile 20 - 2oz electrolytes, 1 gu
  • Mile 22 - 2oz water
  • Mile 24 - 2oz electrolytes
  • Immediately after - Gatorade + 1/2 apple
  • A couple hours later - vegetarian burrito bowl from Chipotle

What I Wore

  • Long sleeved Brooks dri-fit shirt
  • Nike crop leggings
  • Under Armour sports bra -- super compression
  • Feetures socks
  • Newton Motion IV shoes
  • Garmin Forerunner 220
  • Nathan Mirage Belt (for storing my phone & nutrition)
  • Body glide, lots and lots of Body Glide
  • Hair: french braid with a headband

Race Review

Pros

  • I didn't have to arrive super early and stand around for hours. I stood there for maybe 15minutes.
  • The organizers provided water & electrolytes every two miles, and there were plenty of people holding the cups for an easy grab and go.
  • One of the post-race booths gave away free, nice socks to all finishers.
  • I really like the bright green Brooks race shirts they made. I needed a neon shirt for night/early morning running.
  • The race logo is really cool - looks good on the shirts and the medals. Yay mountains!
  • The mountain views along the course were quite scenic.
  • Everyone who was organizing/volunteering was very nice.

Cons

  • I should have lowered my expectations since this was a local race. There were maybe 10 people cheering and one person with a sign for the whole race. 
  • The full marathon course was just the half marathon course x2 (I'm sure they did this so that they could have less aid stations to set up, which makes sense).
  • The swag bag was a joke - literally 2 small paper advertisements and an electrolyte formula sample.
  • It just wasn't well communicated/organized outside of the actual race. Before the race, I reached out to the organizers several times asking for them to update the website with current information. And now, I find that even after the race, there were portions of the site that still weren't accurate/updated from last year. I'm too type A to be able to handle that kinda stuff. 

Would I run it again? No, probably not. Partially because I was annoyed too many times by the lack of attention to detail from the race organizers, and partially because running a marathon on hilly gravel trails at altitude is just tough. I'm also not generally a race repeater, though I do plan to do BolderBoulder every year. We'll see. 

As I said, I'm already back to the grind for NYC. I have this week and next week of hard training and then I start tapering again for my Nov 6 race. 

Hugs,
Bridget