To run the Colder Bolder, CU students merely have to roll out of bed, gear up, and stroll over to the Balch Field House. This 5K race is on their campus and chock full of college kids, including some members of the CU Cross Country team. It’s a fast race. But it’s also run in 12 heats, every few minutes, based on a 2 minute range from your Bolder Boulder finish time for all times under 64 minutes. I’m slated to run in the second heat with runners who finished the Bolder Boulder between 42 and 44 minutes. I like the novelty of an invitational, but I think I mostly register for the hat.
Less than three dozen runners are queued up in my heat. Three or four women. So there’s my race goal, beat the women. They are more than half my age and fast, or they wouldn’t be in this heat, but beating them is possible theoretically. I know from experience that I’ll likely finish in the second half of this heat, but targeting the women might help me to sneak into the top half. Based on past results, the women will finish in the middle of the pack. Predicated on spotting ponytails, my race strategy is more art than science.
I’m also battling injury. I confirmed yesterday with my Chiropractor that I have high hamstring strains in both legs. I injured them in the Jamestown Hill Climb in early October and the pain has progressed to where I can barely walk or even sit after a run. Since daylight savings ended, I’ve mostly run every other day. I haven’t run since Tuesday this week. I suspect I will need to take off six weeks or so to fully recover. Good thing it’s winter. Before I surrender to recovery though, I have one more race to run. My Chiropractor frowned upon me racing today, but I’m going out in a blaze of glory. Although I might avoid a final kick. Sprinting will hurt for sure. Afterward if not immediately. I warmed up a good two miles and honestly, my confidence doesn’t have me feeling certain I’ll even finish this race, let alone challenge those girls. But with my toe on the starting line, I’m committed now.
This course starts downhill the first half mile. That’s unfortunate for me because I start out slow and can’t take advantage of it. I begin in nearly last place but start to pass other runners as we turn up hill again at the half mile point. I’m not breathing hard but have limited range of motion and little power in my legs. Still, I cross the first mile in 6:43. About what I wanted to run. This gives me confidence. My breathing is easy the rest of the race, but I just can’t power up my legs. I try to surge on the downhills but don’t get much speed there either. I hit the second mile in 7:15 and pass one girl. She’s maybe 11 years old. Ninety percent of these runners are between 18 and 25. I coast from here and run the final mile in 7:17. To plan, to avoid further injury, I cool down the last half mile rather than kick. No point in making things worse. Time to begin the healing process. I finish in 21:51, about 2 minutes slower than I ran the first 3 miles of last weekend’s 4 mile Turkey Trot.
Glad I ran though because this is a fun event. It’s actually quite large, well over 1000 runners. Possibly more photographers than in the Bolder Boulder. And I love Evol burritos, which they supply all-you-can eat. I eat two and sip an Oscar Blues IPA before 8:30am, while half the campus is still in bed.