Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Time on Legs - Bolder Boulder

Memorial Day in Boulder for the past 29 years has meant the running of the Bolder Boulder 10K. This year there were 50,816 entries. I have never ran in such a large race. It was a constant dodge of runners from start to finish.

Due to the large number of runners, the race is set up to start in waves. Each wave is about 1 minute apart. The first several waves required a qualifying time for entry. Since I did not bring a copy of a qualifying time to registration I was placed in one of the first waves known as "sub 60 minutes - no proof." All I can say is there was a lot of fibbers in my wave. It was clear shortly into the race that a sub-60 minute 10K was a dream for most of those runners. I do not mean that in a bad way since I am no speed demon, but I am a rules person and there were reasons for how the waves were set up. I was shooting for an average pace of 9 minute miles for a 10K PR. So, I spent a lot of time dodging runners just so I could get a good time. It was a little frustrating. As I dodged runners I became more determined to set a good time for next year's wave start. I also had to remind myself that this was for fun and to just enjoy the race.

I started the course in the usual too fast mode. My first two miles were about the 8:30 pace range. This is definitely a pace I cannot sustain over a 10K and knew I would pay at some point. There are a few hills on the course and those did not factor too much into my race with the exception of the finish. At the mid point of the race I started feeling the effects of my earlier pace and had to slow some to get rid of a side pain. Slowing up helped. Along the course there were live bands, an Elvis singer and belly dancers (my personal favorite). The final portion of the race goes up a pretty steep hill into Folsom Field (Home of the University of Colorado Buffaloes) where the runners take a half lap to the finish line. What a great experience of finishing in the stadium. There were thousands of people cheering for the runners as they entered.

I finished with an unofficial time of 55:45 which is an 8.59 pace. As of yet there are no posted results.

An amazing part of this race is the Memorial Celebration that follows the race. As you wait for the celebration the begin you get to watch other runners finish. There are several military groups that run this as well. As the groups enter the stadium there is a standing ovation for the military runners. The most memorable group was the Marines. They entered in formation holding a US flag and a USMC flag high into the air. Before they finished the race the formation dropped and did several push-ups and then reformed to finish the race. Of course I am a little biased, but the Navy and Army did not look near as sharp. Air Force did not even have a team. The Memorial Service was capped with a tear jerking playing of Taps and finally with the National Anthem. I had tears streaming down my cheeks as the US flag parachuted into the stadium. What a great way to spend the day, a great run and an even better tribute.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Time on Legs - Colorful Colorado

For Memorial Weekend the family all got together in Vail Colorado just a couple hour drive from home. The trail you see was my running trail for the weekend. This is why I live in Colorado. I had an amazing run along the river on this trail. I only had time for a short 3 miles, but what a great time. Things have been so hectic that this weekend was a very welcome time to spend quietly with family.

Tomorrow I will run the Bolder Boulder 10K. This race will be for all of the brave men and women who have served and died so that we may enjoy the freedom to take a morning and run a 10K. I will be wearing a Marines shirt as a tribute.

An update on my wife's progress with her couch to 5K, she has been pretty slack of late. She has not taken to the program as I had hoped. She is having a hard time keeping motivated enough to make the running a habit. I keep the encouragement going.

As for upcoming races I will leave that for another time...

Semper Fidelis and God Bless America!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Crazy Weeks

The past couple of weeks have been amazingly crazy. Work has been non-stop and I have had little time for running. Things are bound to slow sometime.

Memorial Day I will be running in the Bolder Boulder 10K. I am told this is the 3rd largest 10K in the US. 45,000 people are scheduled to run.

I have decided on my fall half marathon. The training starts next week.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Time on Legs - Race Day!

The day began really early with a 4:30 am wake up. I was not sure what the day would bring since it had been cold and raining for the past two days. The weather people promised us more of the same for race day. To my joy I could see that there was clear sky over the foothills where the race was going to start. My running partner Dean picked me up and we arrived at the busses at 5:20 am. We had it easy; the marathoners had to catch the buses between 4 and 4:45 am. All racers had to ride the bus since they were closing the road for the race.

The mini-marathon, 15 miles, begins at Gateway Park. The park is a few miles up the scenic Poudre River Canyon located just outside of Fort Collins. The temperature was about 38F but the sky was clear and we were going to have an excellent day.

My goal was to complete the run in 2 hours 30 minutes for a 10 minute pace. Dean was using this run as a training run in his preparation for the Coeur d’ Alene Ironman in June and he would run the entire way with me. All I could think about was what Joe Henderson said in his book “Run Right Now”, that the race was the reward for the training. All that time on the treadmill, out in the cold and the many hours of pounding the pavement was all so that I could enjoy this race.

The first 5 miles of the race were the best. A gentle scenic downhill along the Poudre River. It was very easy to settle into a quick and comfortable pace. I wanted to make sure to keep the pace under control early into this race and the temptation to go fast was great. I resisted it a little, but was running much faster than my planned 9:45 pace.

Miles 6 and 7 went well leading up to the only real hill on the course. It was here that the lead male marathoners passed us. They had begun their run 45 minutes prior to ours.

The hill on this course is like most of them, too long and too steep. I managed a 9:30 pace up the hill. I knew that this was going to get me later, but felt real good and could not bring myself to slow down. Here I was passed by the lead female marathoner who with her 2:46.33 finish would qualify for the 2008 Women’s Olympic Trials as well as set a course record. Dean also had to leave me for a bit to find a port-a-potty. Turns out a tree worked just as well.

Up to mile 10, I was feeling pretty strong. It was clear that my training had served me well. My average pace was running at 9:35. This was well ahead of my planned run and I was beginning to wonder where or when this would all catch up to me. That happened at mile 12.

Mile 12 to 14 is still a bit of a blur. My legs were a little on the numb side, but it was my lungs that were hurting. I knew I had to get my breathing under control. To do this I slowed my pace and concentrated on regaining my breath. At mile 14.5 Dean looked over at me and asked if I was alright. The simple answer was, no. My legs were numb, I could not feel my hands and the world was a little crooked. His response was, “Great, you have run this race just right!!” He then said that it was only 5 minutes to the finish and that I could do anything for 5 minutes. He still had his funny with him.

The last half mile to the finish was all about determination. I had worked hard to get here and I was going to finish strong. The crowds were awesome and the cheers were loud and enthusiastic. That is what this race stuff is all about. The great crowds and the realization that you have worked hard and ran the race you wanted to run. I ran a better race than I expected. My finish time was 2 hours 24 minutes and 39 seconds, a 9:38 pace.

I was able to stick around a watch a friend, the youngest marathoner, finish at 4 hours 33 minutes. I was also able to cheer Shirley from the Humble Triathlete as she ran to the finish. Yes Shirley that was me who yelled out your name on the final stretch.

What a great run!!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Time on Legs - On to the Race

The training program has come to an end. Today I finished a short 5 mile tempo run to end my 16 weeks of training for the Colorado Mini-Marathon. I ran it with my good friend and running partner, Dean. Dean will be running this race as a training run and will be with me the entire way. The training has gone exceptionally well and I am very ready for this race. I used the simple planning tool found on Runner's World for my plan and was a little sceptical at first. Now that it is over I am convinced that for me and my goals this plan worked pretty well.

Here are the statistics of my training (found on Buckeye Outdoors):
  • Total Miles - 403.6
  • Total Runs - 68
  • Total Time - 67 hours 29 minutes 33 seconds
  • Longest Run - 13 miles
  • Average Pace - 10.01
  • Average Distance - 5.9 miles
  • Average Calories Burned - 1055
  • Total Calories Burned - 71712

The race kicks off at 7:15 A.M. Mountain Time on Sunday May 6th. Race report to follow.