Today was the big day – the Bolder Boulder 10K! I woke up at 4:30 a.m. in order to leave Denver by 5 and get to Boulder by 6 at the latest. I only had a vague idea of where I was planning on parking, so I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to park, warm-up, and get to the starting line. Finding parking ended up being really easy, probably because I got there so dang early, but I was glad that I didn’t feel stressed out before the race. About five to ten minutes before 7:00 people started lining up and finding their correct wave start positions. My wave was close to the front, and we started promptly at 7:06 a.m. Rick Reilly was the guest starter, which was kind of cool. Apparently he started his career out in Colorado!
How was the wave start? A little bizarre! I have experienced that kind of a start one other time when I ran in the Chicago Half-Marathon a few years ago. In Chicago though, because the race was a half-marathon, everyone started out at an extremely reasonable pace and it wasn’t very noticeable. The wave start in the Bolder Boulder was weird to me because everyone started out at the exact same pace. I guess I am still just used to college races and having crazy international runners sprint out at the beginning! I ran the first mile faster than I had planned, at 7:11, but I felt really good so I just tried to keep the momentum going. I ended up catching up to the wave ahead of me after the first mile, but I tried to moderate my pace for the first few miles, since the first two miles in a 10K can be very deceiving.
The third and the sixth miles were the roughest for me, but all along the course there were tons of bands and supporters so the race actually went by fairly quickly. And of course it is crazy, hippie Boulder so there were lots of random things, like belly dancers on the side of the road. The course finishes into the football stadium on the track, and I made a brief cameo on the jumbrotron during my finish. I kind of wimped out on my finish because I think I was mad that they were making me run around a track, but I wished that I had finished stronger at the end since I was close to breaking 47 minutes. Oh well, next year I am going to rock it.
Overall I ended up finishing in 47:05 (7:35 mile pace), which I was happy with considering that I have done absolutely no speed work or tempo runs since probably oh sometime in 2009. I placed 463 out of 25,851 Females and 17 out of 501 in the 22-Female Division. In the whole race I placed 2,842. The race is huge, and at the starting line they told us that there were 54,000 people. All I know is that two hours after I had finished my race waves were still starting. The fact that 54,000 people can run a road race in one day is somewhat of an organizational miracle.
After the race, I enjoyed the awesome refreshments at the expo! I joked about how being in the earlier wave would allow me to better take advantage of the free food, but seriously, it did. Right after I finished I went to the expo and proceeded to have samples of Bear Naked granola, trail mix, a breakfast burrito, and a popsicle. Also my free Michelob Ultra. It was 8 a.m. in the morning, don’t worry. Hey I had worked hard during my race! There was also lots of good race schwag. I picked up a free lunch bag, a hat, a cowbell (I had been needing one), chapstick, a water bottle, a reusable shopping bag, and lots of free drinks and healthy food samples. I walked by the expo again a few hours later, and not only was it packed, but they had run out of breakfast burritos! It’s all about running in the early waves.
The race itself was such a cool experience. I think everyone should do that Bolder Boulder! It is the second largest 10K road race in the U.S. and the fifth largest in the world. Runner’s World also seems to think that it is the best 10K in the country. It’s a pretty big deal. Just saying. And okay, in the earlier waves, the runners are super serious, but in the later waves the runners are fun! There were so many awesome costumes. I think my favorites were definitely these guys that dressed up as cars and had horns that they honked while running.