beerIt doesn’t get any better than this.  I ran the Boulder Marathon this morning in unbelievably beautiful weather.  I can’t say yet how I did but will likely have the results before I publish this.  I would guess close to 4 hours.  Definitely a little slower than the Denver Marathon 4 weeks ago.  But probably not too far off.  I ran fairly aggressive the first half, but feel like I slowed down in the second half more so than at Denver.  We’ll see soon enough.

It was still dark as I parked around 6:15am.  I walked around the place and took a wiz in one of the zero-wait port-a-potties.  The gear bag truck wasn’t setup yet so I walked back to the car and waited inside until 6:45.  I walked back out ready to go.  I didn’t need gloves and discovered that before leaving so wore a pair of shorts without pockets.  Actually, it has a rear pocket which I used for my car key.  I usually insist on pockets for all my running shorts but I didn’t really need them.  I didn’t need gloves and I could keep my wallet in the car since it was so close to everything.  I clipped a shuffle to my waist band and listened to my playlist for much of the middle 20 kilometers.

I started off a bit slow but felt like I picked it up to have run a decent 10K.  I’m not seeing any splits at this RaceRite results site.  I didn’t wear a watch and there were absolutely no splits displayed throughout the run.  I couldn’t even find the clock at the end.  I don’t need to know my time, if it were critical to me I’d wear a watch.  But I did expect splits to be timed for me.  The results site seems hosed.  I don’t trust it.  They show split 1 without saying where it is.  You’d guess 10K but it seems like maybe 7 miles.  And this shows I took 2nd in my age group but I’m fairly certain I didn’t.  So far I’m not very happy with Boulder-based RaceRite for timing.  I do trust my final chip time – 3:58.  Feels like what I ran.

The first 10K is uphill.  No heartbreak hills but consistently a slope up to Nelson Road by the Antennae towers.  It follows Nelson for about 2 miles – from 8 to 10.  I found my stride here and feel like I ran that second 10K at an 8 minute per mile pace.  That’s stupid of course because it’s too fast for me.  My legs began to feel heavy right after 13 miles for the second half.  I had it in my mind that I would qualify for Boston if I could hold an 8 minute pace.  I can’t.  Not at altitude.  I did however give it a shot.

The race info made a big deal out of this course being fast and relatively flat.  I would say that’s true for the half marathon course, but I discovered runners walking the hill at 10 miles.  Seems to me you have to make note of any hills that make a number of runners walk.  There were other significant hills in the second half – all the way to the end.  I found myself walking part of a couple of them in the last 10K.  This run has hills.

I did enjoy running too fast for myself the second 10K.  My core felt strong but my legs ultimately fatigued.  I didn’t really feel my core begin to give until around 20 miles.  My stomach might have felt strong until 22 miles, but my upper legs were hurting.  The pain made me think I stressed them with weights and leg raises this week. More likely the pain was from running too fast, too early.  After the turn-around at 17 miles on Oxford Road, I went from trying to maintain my speed to trying to maintain forward momentum.  I walked a couple of times to let my heart rest going up some hills.  And also because I noticed my running pace wasn’t catching runners ahead of me whom were walking.  Something to always consider when running up a hill.

I can tell you that Oxford Road is hands down one of the prettiest dirt-packed roads ever.  I kept expecting to see a covered wooden bridge around every corner.  Every road north of the Boulder Res was glorious in its display of vivid colors from the fall foliage.  And the little farms and ranches tucked away north of Boulder are idyllic.  I had to weed my way through some goats on the road at one point on Oxford.  While hillier than I expected, I thoroughly enjoyed this course.

My legs really slowed down the last 3 miles, but seeing the water at the Boulder Res was great inspiration for continuing my forward motion.  The hill at 26 miles, while long, is not as tough as I expected.  Possibly because I was running so slow.  The little hill right in front of the finish line felt tougher.  I didn’t run today quite like I had imagined I would but I’m happy with my overall time.  I did a great job of drinking electrolytes at the aid stations.  This event has outstanding aid stations stocked with both water and Gatorade.  And many served GU gels and fruit.  Still perplexed as to why they didn’t have pace clocks.

Linda and KathyI gorged on oranges and bananas immediately after crossing the finish line.  Not the smartest thing as I vomited a couple minutes later.  But that actually made my stomach feel much better so I proceeded to the beer line.  I sat with a couple of nice women who ran the 5 mile event – Linda and Kathy.  I took their pic and then Kathy took some pics of me.  I only had the energy for one beer so I went home soon after that beverage.

I scheduled myself a massage earlier in the week for 2:30pm.  Brilliant call.  Shannon Dunlap at Massage Envy took care of me by working out the lactic acid.  I could actually walk almost normal upon leaving.  No injuries from this run.  Apparently my right nipple chaffed a bit from the blood I see in the pic, but it didn’t hurt in the shower.  Feet and knees feel good.  This marks the end of my running season.  I finished big with the IPR, Denver Marathon, and now this.  My focus will turn to winter maintenance.