It seems wrong to call what I’ve been doing since the Boston Marathon “a break,” but that’s what it feels like. I’ve been running, lifting weights, cycling, and doing speedwork, but mentally it feels different because I haven’t had a race goal in mind.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t been racing! It’s a change of pace (haha) to be running races without training specifically for them but these have been more for the camaraderie than to test my limits and I’ve loved every minute of it.
One of my sisters planned the first annual (we hope) sisters weekend around the Bolder Boulder 10k in Denver, Colorado. This race has 54,000 participants and is the 2nd largest 10k in the US and 5th largest race in the world. It’s basically a gigantic party the whole way.
I flew into Denver on a Thursday night. My other sisters arrived on Friday and 3 of us went out for a 7+ mile run through the rolling hills outside Superior, CO. Saturday we went for a 31 mile bike ride to the race expo and back to get our race packets. Sunday we mostly rested and went on a short hike up in the mountains. After two weeks of hectic overtime at work where I barely ran at all, this extended outdoors adventure weekend was so rejuvenating.
On Monday morning, we got up early and took the bus to the start line, which is gigantic. There’s a rolling start and you get seeded based on a previous race time. By the time we got there, my wave had already left which was fine by me because I was (am) not in peak 10k shape by any means.
There’s a rolling start which goes on for a couple of hours. You’re allowed to start behind your assigned start group, but not before. Two of my sisters and I headed up to the front and started with the next wave.
The Bolder Boulder is certainly unique in the crowd support. There are people handing out bacon, doritos, and marshmallows along the course, as well as slip ‘n’ slides and a trampoline you can play on if you want to take a break. The music is absolutely incredible. It’s eclectic and the bands are stationed pretty frequently which I loved.
We lost one of my sisters around mile 1, and I lost the other when she stopped for water at mile 3, but it turned out she was only 40 seconds behind me for the rest of the race. I definitely regret not running together for the whole race, but we had plenty of fun the rest of the weekend and at the finish line.
The race finishes around the track of Colorado University and it didn’t take too long for us to get reunited. We had plenty of time to check out the post-race vendors and then wait in the stadium for the rest of the family to finish.
One of the absolute best things about this race is watching the elites finish. While the walkers are still coming in, the elite women’s start gets shown on the jumbo-tron and you get frequent updates of them and then the men racing with commentators explaining who they are and what’s going on. It’s so cool because you get to see them passing landmarks you just barely ran past.
A few minutes after the last walkers finish, the first elite women enter the track. I’ve never watched the end of a big race before and it was so exciting! Mamitu Daska from Ethiopia won her 6th Bolder Boulder and her fans were there right behind us waving their flags and cheering their hearts out. It was incredible.
My finish time was 52:02, which I’m totally fine with but it goes to show how much training makes a difference. I was +6 minutes from my December 10k and about +20 seconds per mile from my latest marathon pace. Even so, I felt pretty good about the effort and had a great time.