Saturday, June 9, 2012

Race Recap: BolderBoulder 10K

Sorry I'm late with this recap...that's not like me...

Anyway, here we go.

If you've been following me at all this year, you know I'm starting to improve my running quite a bit.  My training has shifted from a volume-specific training to more of a speed-based training.  I am forcing myself to run a bit harder, deal with the pain that comes along with speed work, grow mentally, and overall, just keep improving.  The first two running races of the season were definite good tests of where I'm progressing; the BolderBoulder was going to be a serious challenge.

We woke up after getting very little sleep; I commuted in the night before and T had to close her store.  We prepped our usual way; eating breakfast.  Then we left ridiculously early so we could get parking where we like to park up in Boulder.

After parking in the very quiet garage, we went to Starbucks to get some coffee, take care of pre-race business, and have a bagel.  We relaxed for a bit, then walked to find some zip-tie thingies for our timing chips (thank you very nice race volunteer) and check in our stuff into the FedEx mobile locker.  We ran into one of T's customers, Jim, who is very nice.  We chatted a bit in the locker line, then after checking in our stuff, went our separate ways.

We got into our wave and just waited for the race start.  It was typical BolderBoulder; a lot of people, celebrating those who have run it forever, etc.  Then we got to the start, counted down, and at 7:24:10, we were off.

The Race
We had discussed race strategy the night before and the morning of, but we weren't able to nail down a definitive plan.  We knew we would have to be averaging 9:38 per mile to crack 60:00, but we weren't sure how to do it.  The BolderBoulder course is tricky.

We basically agreed that the first mile would have to be quick.  Figured 9:30-9:40.  Well we blew that away with a 9:14 per mile.  We both agreed that it wouldn't be sustainable, but at the same time, slowing down just wasn't happening.  As much as we tried to dial it back, we just kept flying.  Mile 2 was 3 seconds slower, a 9:17.  

By now, we were in a groove and ready to tackle the toughest part of the course, Mile 3.  Mile 3 is the slow part of the course, and if you're not careful, can break you down.  We did know though that we would have to push it a bit through Mile 3, or else we were going to play catch up.

When I took the split at mile 3 and saw it was 9:51, I knew if we kept the foot on the gas, under 60 was going to happen.  However, my shoulder started experiencing some pain in this mile.  Underneath the shoulder blade, and it was nothing I've ever felt before.  I told T about it, just in case it was something serious.  We made it through mile 4 in 9:29, but it definitely didn't feel that fast.

Going into mile 5, you hit the high point of the race, then begin a nice descent to Pearl Street.  On this descent, my shoulder was killing me.  We picked it up a bit as we made it down to Pearl, and at this point, I had to close my eyes for about 3-4 seconds, drawing into myself and just kind of regrouping mentally.  T was in pain too, but she had a good point after the race; sometimes talking about it can make it worse.

When we made it to mile 5 in 9:35, I knew we had 1.2 miles to go, and I vocalized that 60:00 was ours to lose.  T, very smartly, picked it up at that point, and I had to go with her.  I was in some massive pain at this point, but kept pushing it.

The hill up to Folsom the past couple years has been something of a joke for the two of us.  People complain how hard it is and how it breaks them down.  We used to breeze up it.  Not this year.  Climbing up Folsom HURT!!!!!!  When we turned into the stadium, I must have mixed up something with the time, because I thought it wasn't a lock yet.  Even though it only takes 15-20 seconds to hit the finish, I thought we were still in danger of missing our goal, and I said this to T.  She told me to shut up, and normally I would have been upset. However, I realized she was right, and told myself to shut up and run.  I came around the corner, hit the finish, stopped my watch, looked at the time, and saw 59:21.  Emotions overcame me as I realized how much I've grown and that I hit my goal in yet another race.

Post-race involved a massage (crappy, but whatever), getting a burrito thrown at me, many delicious fruit popsicles, and just other fun things.  It was yet another great BolderBoulder, another great race by us, and yet another proving of how far we've come.

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