Everyone has a race plan for running the Bolder Boulder, until they run up that mile-long hill on Folsom in the second mile. That’s when they learn that at altitude, even slopes feel like mountains. I like strategerizing my race plans ahead of time. My goals for Memorial Day include running faster than the year before, and to do so with a sub 7 minute per mile pace. The fun in planning is from knowing this course so well. I know every turn, every uphill, every down slope. I know the third mile will very likely be my slowest and the fifth mile will be my fastest.
So another goal will be to run the third mile better. One clever way to do that is to run slower the first two miles. It’s not easy starting slow in such a massive race stacked with screaming spectators from start to finish. The excitement is amped up, and my BA wave will start out fast. I’m going to try to run the first mile a little over 7 minutes, maybe 7:05. Rinse and repeat for mile two. That will have me averaging over 7 minute miles, but if I can commit to race mode at the top of Folsom Street, I’ll make it up over the next four miles with a sustained surge.
The best place to start my surge might actually be half way into mile three at 4KM on Glenwood Drive. This is near the high point of the course. The streets undulate a bit here and continue a slight climb to mile four, which is where I historically start my surge. It’s also where everyone else surges. When they zig, I’ll zag. One issue with this plan though is that the street gets crowded in the third mile as starting waves begin to converge and it might be difficult to pass other runners before mile four.
I’ll leverage that convergence at 4 kilometers. Runners who have started 60 seconds behind me in the next wave and maintaining a 6:40 pace will catch me about here. Surging will be easier if I can follow after a faster runner as they pass me. The question will be how long I maintain my surge. I don’t expect to be able to hold it to the end. That’s fine, but I’d like to maintain it through mile 5. And I’m not certain I can run a 7 minute pace. I’ve only been running on weekends for the month of May, and might have lost some conditioning. I’m certain I can maintain a 7:20 mile pace. Regardless of pace, the plan for Monday is for a conservative start and an early, sustained surge after two miles. I’d like to break 44 minutes.