Category Archives: Running

BolderBOULDER Race Review

Race: BolderBOULDER

Date: Memorial Day 2017 (May 29)

Hailed as “America’s All-Time Best 10k,” the BolderBOULDER regularly draws in 50,000+ participants and 100,000+ spectators. Walkers, joggers, runners, and pros come from around the nation and the globe to participate in the Memorial Day festivities that wind through downtown Boulder and end with a spectacular celebration in the football stadium, with cheering crowds packed in along the entire course.

Course: The course itself poses ample challenges, but it is not a race to be undertaken seriously. There are several small hills throughout the course, with noticeable inclines at mile 4 and at the very finish as you come into the stadium. Train for the altitude if you can  because the course maxes out at just over 5,300 feet. Additionally, it will likely be the longest 10k you’ll ever run. Between weaving around other participants and cutting across the course to make it to the slip-n-slides and drink stations, you’ll run well over 6.2 miles. However, they will also be the funnest 6.2+ miles! Bands, belly dance troupes, bag pipers, pools, and trampolines are only a handful of the entertainment that packs the course. The BolderBOULDER is non-stop fun.

Aid: Official aid consists of 2 (or was it 3? Probably 3) aid stations throughout the course. Unofficial aid is the tastiest part of the race. To be expected: bacon, cupcakes, Doritos, beer, shots of alcohol, and plenty of other junk food. In the many years I’ve done this race, I’ve seen keg stands, tequila shots, a make-your-own mimosa station, and coffee stops.

Atmosphere: Did I mention yet that this race is fun? I can’t think of a better word for it! Not only are the participants in the mood for a good time (as evidenced by the stunning array of costumes, capes, onesies, and tutus), but the spectators are as well. Good times had by all!!

Organization: 2017 marks the 39th running of the BolderBOULDER, and the seamless logistics prove it! Packet pickup must be done in advance (or packets can also be mailed), there are plenty of shuttles to transport people to and from Boulder, and the finish area is clearly labelled and easily navigated (aside from being packed with 50,000+ smelly runners). Everything occurs on schedule, from the precisely timed wave starts, to the start of the elite races, to clearing the course to give the elite runners access to the stadium. One difficulty I found though was that the med tent is immediately across the finish line, and the finish chute comes after. When I was looking for sunscreen (so I could sit in the stadium for 2 hours after finishing to watch the elite race and Memorial Day tribute), I couldn’t find any because I couldn’t quite make my way back to the med tent.

Spectators: Phenomenal! They are as much a part of the BolderBOULDER as everything else integral to the race. They bring enthusiasm and good spirits, offer unofficial nutrition and entertainment, and contribute to the level of fun had by all.

Swag: Chocolate milk at the finish line!! Nothing else matters. Well, I guess it matters for other people. The finish chute funnels runners through a series of stops for a “goodie bag” (lunch tote pre-packed with your post-race snacks), soda, and beer. Race shirts come with the price of registration (higher price for fancier shirts, or more shirts), and you can choose among a t-shirt, technical running shirt, or long-sleeved shirt (or all three!) which are super comfy with consistently fantastic designs. No medals, just the reward of knowing you ran America’s All-Time Best 10k.

Recommended for: Everyone! Especially people looking for an easy or fun 10k – this one has plenty of built-in breaks to let you catch your breath and keep your energy up! The enthusiastic (and non-stop) spectators also add to the mix.

Overall thoughts: This is bucket-list race – everyone who runs, jogs, walks, or moves needs to do this race at least once in their life. It is a quintessential race experience, akin to the Boston Marathon but accessible to all. What are you waiting for?? Sign up already! Also, I’m going to start a petition someday to change the tagline to “America’s Longest Block Party.”

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Are You Strong Enough?

One of the great things about running is that there is always something to learn. Even better is that if the lesson doesn’t stick with you the first time, there will inevitably be a future moment in which the lesson repeats itself. For example, the lesson that running involves many, many more muscles than just your legs.

When I set out to train for my first marathon, I thought that marathon training only required running. Running according to a schedule of increasingly farther distances, of course, but only running. As I began to edge into the realm of “this is the farthest I’ve ever run” on each long run, I noticed that it wasn’t only my legs that got tired by the end of the run. Actually, my legs weren’t even the area of my body that hurt the most by the end of a run. What I seemed to struggle with more was holding my arms up over such a long distance. Seriously? Arms? To run a marathon?? So I began lifting weights, but the smallest weights I could find with minimum work necessary to ensure my arms were up to the challenge of increasing mileage.

hulkFast forward a few years and weights are now a pretty regular part of my weekly regimen. In fact, I feel pretty confident in saying strength work has become such a regular part of my routine that I’m basically on the same level as superheroes. Of course I can’t make a claim like that without backing it up, right?

I’ve been easing my way out of hibernation the past few weeks, so returning to my regular workouts has involved a degree of humility as I find myself back to basics to build my base. Then there are times when I woefully underestimate the effort required and a workout completely slays me. This happened recently after a weekend of fairly intense arm work. I woke up on Monday feeling the effects of multiple workouts in every last muscle group of my body, and especially those muscle groups that I was entirely unaware of up until that morning. Thank goodness it was a scheduled rest day. Tuesday I was back to running – 3 little miles, a perfectly doable distance. Early in the run, I started to feel the soreness creeping back into my not-movingarms. Of course I ignored it, 3 miles would go by quickly enough. The soreness soon turned into a persistent cry for attention, with ever increasing urgency. By the end of the run, my arms were burning, and I could barely make my fingers function the way they need to in order to stop my Garmin at the end. Again, arms?? I thought I had muscles! Apparently not.

I guess I still have some more work to do. Fortunately, running will continue to teach me the same lessons over and over again until they finally sink in.

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