Yesterday morning, the alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. (I was already awake, lying in the dark wondering if it was almost time to get up) and it was officially race day! We live 45 minutes from Boulder and had to allow time to get to a friend’s where we’d park our car while she drove us to the starting line. (RTD usually has shuttle buses but due to a shortage of drivers, they cut the service). On the drive to Boulder, the sky had darkened and the wind picked up, so I changed from a short-sleeved to a long-sleeved shirt. Minutes later, the sky cleared and the wind died down. Hooray!
My last Bolder Boulder was in 2016 and I was eager to run. The familiar sound of slamming porta-potty doors made me smile as I warmed up on side streets while Zippy waited in line to drop our bag at the mobile locker. He was still in line ten minutes before our GC wave was set to start, but I was determined to start with my wave so ran ahead to get in place. Volunteers held ropes and signs denoting the G, GA, GB, and GC waves, and I bounced on my toes while listening to Olympic gold medalist Frank Shorter (the official starter) announce participants’ birthdays and other notable information such as the 90-year-old (!) woman in the G wave who was running her 32nd Bolder Boulder.
Just minutes before our start, Zippy joined me, and one minute and 50 seconds after the GB wave took off, it was our turn. BAM! That was the last I saw Zippy because I took off (he’s more of a bicyclist than runner), but we saw the same sights along the way.
- The trampoline where participants were invited to bounce and flip (a woman did a backflip as I ran past).
- The belly dancers (two different groups of them).
- The bands. The solo musicians. The Elvis impersonator.
- The cheerleaders. The dance-school girls that included a tap dancer and hoop-spinners.
- The families in lawn chairs shaking cowbells. The kids with super-soakers. The baby in the onesie doing “the worm” on the sidewalk.
- The brewery handing out free cans of beer. A woman with a huge pan of bacon. The group handing out doughnuts. The woman tossing marshmallows (when Zippy ran past, he instinctively put up a hand and ended up catching the marshmallow which he carried until the next aid station where he downed it along with a cup of water).
- The slip n slides for which runners lined up for their turn to slide on their stomachs through the water before returning to the race.
The course winds through neighborhoods and while running, I scanned ahead to note whether the next turn was a Right or Left, and moved accordingly so as to cut the corners as close as possible. There was also the constant negotiation of choosing the shortest route around other slower runners and walkers, and despite those efforts, my Garmin reports I ran 6.31 miles rather than the official 6.2 miles. Precious seconds lost along the way! But the hardest part of the race for me was the stench of fabric softener that wafted off runners’ sweaty clothing. Fabric softener is air pollution for the chemically sensitive and several times I thought I’d throw up. Fortunately, I didn’t.
And then I was on the final incline into the CU stadium and the finish line. Here’s a screen grab from the stadium video (I’m on the left in white hat, black shirt, and blue shorts):
The video gives you about 15 seconds of your run into the stadium and Zippy pointed there were several moments of me being grumpy-face as I got boxed in by slower runners, but my overwhelming emotion was happiness. I was almost done running a strong race!
And my smile got bigger when I saw my time . . . 55:05. I’d hoped to run 55:00 or under (and would’ve made it had that little kid not cost me precious time when he grabbed the water cup intended for me at the aid station, forcing me to wait for the volunteer to get me another!) But it turned out my performance landed me in eighth place in the F59 division (of which there were 160 participants) which means I get another medal! Zippy also performed well, walking one minute between four of his miles, and we soon met up past the finish line. We masked up to go inside the field house where we collected our snack bags and a beer for Zippy, and then headed back out into the sunshine to stretch and snack.
It was a good day.