Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday, 5/25/09 Bolder Boulder

I checked my e-mail one final time before bed on Sunday night at 10:13, got an e-mail from Tim mentioning that he had a free BB entry. I blew off the idea since a). I don't really run on roads and have not put in any flat/fast or paved training this year or really ever for that matter b). was not tapered, having run ~8,300 vertical in the past 2 days and c). it was a bit last minute and I like to plan/prepare for races.

I awoke a few minutes before 6am and felt well rested. I wanted to head into Boulder and cheer on Dave and George regardless and then go run Green after, so I just threw on some running clothes and put together some food. I called Tim and he did not answer, so I just went about my usual pre-run preparations, having no idea what I might be getting into that morning. He called me back at 6:05 and he filled me in on the details, that he had an extra entry and he was just going to run casual, as he is just 2 days beyond running a 50k. I ran with him in one of the much slower waves, which is a bit far back in the crowd, but this actually seemed more appealing to me than an A or AA wave entry, as it would take a lot of pressure off and I would not feel as strong of a desire to beat myself up competing. This way I could just run a comfortable pace and see what all the Bolder Boulder hype was all about.

We toed the line and I was quite calm, unlike most races where I am feeling self pressure to perform. The gun went off and I took off fairly quick just to stay ahead of the masses. Tim yelled something like WTF Jeff! But I was busy trying to catch and pass the guy with the long silly hat and the gangly 6'1" 13 year old with size 14 bright yellow boats. I soon put away goofy hat guy and was running neck and neck with yellow shoes, as we quickly caught the next wave. I knew running a decent time was out of the question, but I had no idea really how much of an additional challenge it would be to weave and bob through so many thousands of people, young, old, costumes, the whole gamut of silly stuff.

Though I was laid back about it, I wanted to push a little, just for kicks as I felt halfway decent and it is easy to get caught up in all the excitement and festivity. I eventually ditched the 13 year old, now proud of myself to be leading the my wave ;). There were sections I could run an OK pace, but I was mostly cutting back and forth across the road, seeking out small gaps, hopping curbs, medians, running sidewalks, front lawns. Getting through the clogged water zones was a bit of a challenge as well and cutting an apex was pretty much out of the question.

By mile 4, I was starting to wish I was in the A or AA wave, as my legs were feeling somewhat better with each mile and I think just being ahead of the crowds would have saved me a few minutes for sure. I stayed well within myself, running a fairly comfortable pace that I felt I could run almost indefinitely (not necessarily self imposed pacing though). I checked my watch a few times toward the end and realized I would be close to 40 minutes, which I was starting to shoot for. The final "hill" was nothing and I was easily passing people in chunks of 100, but as I got into the stadium, I could see the finish on the far side and knew I was hosed, as the crowds were quite dense, it was kind of like getting out of a Rockies game and I had to settle for a few seconds over 40. Bummer.

Either way, it was fun getting out and seeing what the race is all about. If I can score another free entry next year (by opening a 1st Bank checking account like several friends did this year), I may head back and try to go a little faster. I think it would help a lot to run with a faster wave (either the A or the AA) and have people pushing me at similar speeds and not getting blockaded. A few fast/flat miles leading up to the race with a bit of taper may help some as well. Thanks Tim, good times! Now off to the BBQ circuit.