6 a.m. and I hand a volunteer my $20 parking permit to scan for entry into a CU parking lot on Regent Ave. This positions me 1.5 miles from the 6:57 a.m. wave AB start of the 2016 Bolder Boulder, and very close to the Folsom Field finish line to facilitate a quick exit. Always have an exit strategy. I generally stick around to join my neighbors in the stands and watch the complete race and Memorial Day events, but I want to return home to catch Brittany perform with her band, False Summit, at a concert in the park at noon. I jog to the start for an initial warmup and join the dawn of what will soon be a moving street party.
My wave feels a bit intimidating, chock full of high school cross country teams. This photo is from my starting wave. We launch at 6:57 am and I feel like my pace is good. Faster than what I’m used to but doable. I surge per plan as I round the corner from Valmont to 28th Street. Visually, the street looks flat, but it drops 5 feet or so over a quarter mile. That counts at altitude. I don’t hold my surge as long as I hoped to, not quite to the corner of Pine. It helps me though to record a 6:54 first mile. Climbing Folsom on the second mile is brutal. I use the small dip part way up to recover my breathing, about where the Elvis impersonator is singing. I run mile two in 7:13, 19 seconds slower. A handful of the speedier runners from the wave after mine pass by me here, apparently running a half minute faster per mile.
Because of how the waves consolidate along the course, their starts separated by one minute, the crowd never thins out running through the neighborhoods west of Folsom. I do my best to hold my pace, waiting for my next planned surge after cresting Vista Hill. The down slope is noticeable after turning onto 19th Street and I’m able to gain some momentum. I start passing other runners, good feedback that I’m running faster myself. Hard to tell sometimes when I’m so out of breath. Like my first surge though in mile one, I can’t hold it as long as I’d like. Man this is a tough course. I’m not used to running beyond my lactate threshold. I run the third mile in 7:22. Not surprising for the third mile to be my slowest, but a bit disappointing that I’ve added another 9 seconds onto my pace.
The next mile is a rollercoaster with two 25 foot hills, the first up Cedar Avenue, the second up 13th Street. I do my best to surge on the short downhills to improve my pace, and I tap it back down to a 7:15 for mile four. I know I need to push myself for this fifth mile, it’s either time to race or time to coast. I actually start to feel stronger running through the s-curve around Pearl Street through downtown Boulder. The positive effects of some downhill running, no doubt. The clock supports my senses wth a 7:05 for mile five. I endeavor to hold my stride to Folsom, then to Canyon, then Arapaho. I’m trying to run mile six strong, but I can only take it one block at a time. I run out of gas on the hill leading into Folsom Field. Did they make it longer somehow with the recent construction?
I complete mile six in 7:17, I think I was running much better than that but the last quarter mile uphill stopped me in my tracks. I’m able to unwind my legs a bit inside the stadium but don’t kick very hard. I’ve had enough racing for one day. I finish in 44:44 for a 7:12 pace and 4th in my age division. This is funny considering I finished 6th last year after running 90 seconds faster. I look at last year’s results and consider correlating them with the obituaries to see how many of the men who beat me last year have since passed. I didn’t do that but do note that only one guy (Thomas Lund) who beat me last year, did again with a very similar time. And the two men who took 7th (Jim Moy) and 8th (Chris Muzny) last year, behind my 6th place, took 3rd and 2nd respectively this year. I’ll have to watch for them next year. Today’s race was hard but I’m happy with that finish time. I sip my post race beer sitting next to Ralphie.
I rush home afterward because today isn’t really about me and my little morning runs. Brit performs at noon with her band False Summit in the park at our neighborhood Memorial Day party. I’m committed to grill burgers for the band before they play. They end up sounding great. Brit’s voice student, Anya Chavez sings a couple of songs too. You would never guess Anya is only 12 years old after watching this music video of her singing Riptide. Our neighbor Bella sings later in the day, around 4 pm. She sings mostly original songs and performs great as well. Many of our friends come out to watch the local girls sing, which is super nice. Long day of racing, music and IPAs. Next weekend I’ll be running a trail relay with friends in Snowmass.