Going into this race, I was concerned about hitting my one goal with this race - a sub-60:00 finish. Yes, my running has been going relatively well this year despite not putting in the mileage I'd like and part of that has probably been due to the lifting I've been doing as well as the consistency of working out.
Still, I didn't really like that I hadn't gotten in a run longer than five and a half miles going in, as opposed to last year, where I had gotten in at least a six miler and I'm pretty sure a seven-miler, too. The best I had gotten in was about eight miles of walking the week prior in Vegas. Oops.
Regardless, we were signed up for it (and it was technically a goal race), so I was going to race it.
Despite both of us getting to bed pretty late Sunday night (Brandon's flight got in late; I had to close at work), we got up bright and early to eat breakfast, get ready, and get on the road to Boulder by 5am. We got up there at about 5:45 (our wave was at 7:24:10) which was good, because a lot of the streets got blocked off starting at 6am.
We got parked and headed in to the Starbucks in the Twenty-Ninth Street shopping center, one of the greatest little spots/secrets at the BolderBOULDER. We both got some coffee and took care of pre-race business while I also got a bagel to try and settle my stomach. I don't know exactly what it was from (but probably not from eating a snack when I got home from work the night before), but I felt like crap that morning and even puked up some bile before leaving the house. I still felt like poo up in Boulder so I figured a bagel might help calm things down, and thankfully, it did.
At around 6:30, we left Starbucks and headed to find some zip ties for our timing chips (fail, race, for not including them with our bibs/chips) and get in the FedEx Mobile Locker line. Crazily enough, we ran into one of the nicest customers at the Starbucks I work at, Jim, who I knew was running the race. The odds of finding someone you know randomly up there, given the 50,000 people running, are not good, so it was really cool to run into Jim. We hung out with him and chatted in the locker line, splitting up to check in our bags and wishing each other a good race.
After saying goodbye to Jim, we hopped in our wave. We didn't have to wait a horribly long time to start, which made us happy - our race-morning timing was just about perfect ... and in a race that has waves going off from 7am to 9:27am, that's huge.
At 7:24:10am, we were off. Our plan was to not bomb the first mile too hard, but not too easy, either. We knew the hardest mile in the race was mile three and we knew it would be slow, but we didn't want to try and play catch-up in the last few miles either.
Mile 1: 9:14.64: Good. Speedy, but it didn't feel unmanageable. The first mile is ever-so-slightly uphill, but mostly flat. Great start to the race. I was also taking mental splits at each K, trying to keep each one sub-6:00 (which we were successful at).
Mile 2: 9:17.13: Slightly slower, but we're still good. Still a slight climb; K's are still sub-6.
Mile 3: 9:51.09: The crap mile. Which we knew would be the crap mile. But we were still VERY thankful that the crap mile was sub-10. We knew that if it was 10:00 or higher, it would be really hard cracking that hour mark.
Mile 4: 9:29.65: Faster, but still slower than our early pace. Of course, the high point of the course is in this mile and it's still climbing.
Mile 5: 9:35.60: I was disappointed in this split. Mile five is mostly on Pearl Street and I felt really good in this mile. However, I know Brandon was having some random shoulder pain and I think that subconsciously slowed us down some.
Mile 6: 9:52:58: (six, and I think .2 as well.) When we hit the mile five marker at our pace, I knew we would have to pick up the pace slightly if we definitely wanted to hit our goal. Once we turned off Pearl onto Folsom, it's straight for a little while before the hill at the end. I subtly picked up my pace on Folsom and Brandon was struggling a bit to stay with me. The hill at the end into the stadium, which didn't hurt the last two years, hurt this year. It was so hard not to walk up the hill, but we trudged on up and into the stadium. I still managed my sprint to the finish, but it was more of a faster run than a sprint.
Still, goal? MET.
Net Time: 59:16.64
Overall Place: 13159/46615
Gender Place: 4538/25155
Division Place (F28): 162/673
All things considered, especially given the massive size of this race, my rankings aren't all that bad.
After the race, we got our stuff from the mobile locker and checked out the expo. The popsicles were the BEST EVER and the free massage was okay (surprised on the small wait), but disappointed in the lack of strength by both our masseuses (seriously, dig in) and the fact that random people who didn't even run were in front of us in line. Grr.
This year will be hard to top. We've chopped off so much time from this race over the past few years that I wonder if we can get faster next year. I hope so, but it'll be hard.