The thirty-seventh running of the Bolder Boulder came off without a hitch, at least from the vantage point of this runner. I wish I knew exactly how many times I’ve done this, my favorite race of all time, but I don’t. What I do know is that I’ve done it more than 30 times and it’s become a tradition for me.
This year the timing was a little tight as I arrived home from Maine late the night before and was on the road from Fort Collins to Boulder before 5 a.m. on race day. The night before a race is not my best sleeping time, so it really didn’t make a whole lot of difference.
A last minute decision to use a porta-potty resulted in a dash to catch up with my “wave,” the group of 1,000 or so runners that take off at closely-timed intervals and keep the runners spread out over the course. My wave was off and away when I arrived at the start. I jumped in behind them and for a few unique moments found myself alone on the road. I worked hard to catch up with them but I didn’t get the job done before runners from the following wave caught up with me. No matter, the chip system makes it possible for everyone to get an accurate time regardless of where in the wave they start. It was a kick to have a few moments alone on the course!
After a week of dismal rain, Memorial Day dawned with perfect running weather. The predicted rain never showed up and the temperature remained cool enough to make for the most pleasant kind of running. A newly-designed course featured more gradual downhill stretches—most welcome.
All the elements that make the Bolder Boulder special were there, from the belly dancers to bystanders offering jello shots, donuts and stacks of bacon. Encouraging live music spurred runners on at nearly every corner. The Bolder Boulder can’t claim to be the fastest course around, but it is, in so many ways, the most beloved. Otherwise, why would 58,000 souls sign up to do it?
I gave it all I had and it wasn’t enough to come close to last year’s time. I was more than two minutes off. One of these days I’m going to have to admit that I’m not likely to see another 10k in the 40’s. My strategy is always pretty simple: to run as fast as I can. I pretty much did that today. What a treat to have that opportunity.