Last Monday, I ran my first [hopefully of many many] BolderBOULDER 10k. I'm generally a kinda weepy/sappy person, but this race made me almost actually shed some tears. And it's only a 10k, it's not like I was dealing with marathon or ultra exhaustion brain. I just think it is so cool how all of Boulder comes together for this race.
BolderBOULDER - A Race for Everyone
No matter what your running background or interest is, this is a race for you. There's something for everyone here. It has HUNDREDS of waves. The first waves are for faster individuals who are likely trying to get a PR. Although, there were some in Wave A that I saw wearing pirate costumes, presumably CU track athletes who are fast but not taking the race seriously. You have to qualify for the first half of waves, but the second half contains mostly walkers and you don't have to qualify for them.
Along the way, there are all sorts of fun and festivities that you can participate in. There are slip and slides, basketball goals, people handing out bacon, keg stands, jello shots, and more! I think a lot of people view the race as a 6 mile block party. They wear costumes and partake in all of the fun.
I smiled as I passed so many supportive Boulderites, but I didn't partake. I really wanted to finish with a good time, so I was keeping my head in the game. At one point, I ran past a guy handing out bacon who yelled at those of us in Wave C, "You're not THAT fast. You can stop for bacon." It made me laugh out loud. Because it's true; we weren't in Wave A. BUT we were trying really hard. So nobody around me took him up on it.
After I finished my run, we went to get brunch at Snooze (So good. You should go there if you're ever in town). While we waited for a table, we watched people run. I really enjoyed how many parents I saw running or walking with their kids. Some of the late elementary/middle school aged kids were surprisingly fast. It was a little humbling to have a 12-year-old pass you in a 10k. Only in Boulder. I hope that when Matt and I have kids, we bring them along for this race -- carrying them when they're little, walking with them when they're more mobile, and running with them as they mature. I think that's so cool.
The Elite Race
After brunch, we headed back toward the finish line to watch the elite runners. This race is unique in that they have the elites run at the end so that participants can actually cheer them on. We got a spot in the shade about .25 miles from the finish, and watched as these incredible athletes casually flew by. It was definitely worth it to hang around to witness them perform.
My Race Experience
BolderBOULDER is not an easy course. For one, it's at 5,000+ ft elevation. For those of us that live and train here, that's a challenge. For people who flew in for the race, it's a shocker. I saw multiple people vomit on the course, presumably from altitude sickness. In addition to the altitude, the course is net uphill. Only mile 4 is net downhill. Several of the climbs are pretty steep, including the last quarter mile up to CU's stadium. The hills were brutal. I now know that I need to spend more time training hills because I know the bridges at the NYC Marathon will be pretty steep. I plan to be more prepared for those!
I love racing. Something about doing something that I typically do solo with thousands of other runners makes my heart happy. The sound of people's Garmin's beeping next to me makes me smile -- we're in it together. I love imagining what people's stories are. There was a young boy in front of me who was running with his dad. It was so sweet to see his dad encourage and push him to finish (in front of me) with a really great pace.
My coach told me to run conservatively at the beginning, with mile 3 being the slowest due to the hills and mile 4 being the fastest due to the downhills. I struggle with holding myself back at the beginning of a race. I get doped up on excitement and adrenaline to the point that I get teary-eyed and then my Garmin beeps and tells me that I ran the first mile at a 7:01 pace. Oops. My goal pace was around 7:35.
I pulled back quite a bit on the second and especially third mile. But I wasn't able to get back to a 7:00min pace in mile 4.
I finished in 46:19, nailing my goal and qualifying me for a faster wave for next year's race, which I definitely plan to participate in. I finished in the stadium like a champ, feeling really proud of myself for maintaining a sub 7:30 pace!
After the Race [FREE STUFF]
After finishing, we were funneled into a gymnasium, where we received water, Nuun, diet coke, and a cute little lunchbox full of goodies.
From there, I met up with Matt and went to the fair thing behind the stadium. There were probably a hundred booths set up back there, and everyone was giving stuff away. We packed a reusable tote full of snacks.
I ran into my coach Neely at the fair, which was surprising because it's not a small race. She finally got to meet Matt and she encouraged me for my strong finish. She also said that now she knows she can push me harder in my training moving forward haha.
Next Race: Boulder Backroads Marathon in September.