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It would be unfair to consider Bolder Boulder just a race. For runners who flock here from all parts of the world – it’s a carnival of racing. Nowhere else you will find residents sitting on the sidewalk to cheer you up and offer you goodies. My favorite this year was a family with a sign – “Free Hugs”. If you are not very particular about the time you want – you have plenty of occasions to get distracted with belly dancers performing on the sidewalks, opportunities for posing with the likes of Elvis Presley etc. Though there are professional runners contesting in this race, for the rest of us – it just feels great to be one of 60000 runners/joggers/walkers/wheelchair racers.

After two weeks of vacation in Europe, I just had about 10 days to get back into my rhythm for this run. As I did, I was feeling guilty of the macaroons that I devoured at La Duree (Champs Elysees, Paris). So I had planned with a modest goal of just finishing within 70 minutes – anything longer, after all, qualifies you as a jogger and not runner (per the registration site of Bolder Boulder).  However, in hind sight, I feel I didn’t execute my planning so well. After parking my car (close to the finish point at CU), I took an impulsive decision of taking a bus ride to the start line – thinking of saving my energy. Well it seemed like RTD Denver flooded the narrow streets of Boulder with the buses. As my level of anxiety rose in the snail paced bus, I decided to walk two miles to the start point. I got to my start line more than an hour late. The last walking wave leaves at 9:21 am and at 9:40 am I was still more than three quarters of a mile away. Beyond this point I stopped looking at my watch. Actually they were almost wrapping up the start line – even the walkers had left!! Well, as a takeaway, I have three lessons learned:

  1. Goal should be to reach the start line not parking close to the finish line.
  2. Beg, borrow, steal a ride to reach the start line by 7 am. Never mind when your wave starts.
  3. If you don’t, make sure you include tennis lessons along with running practice – will build the capability to move sideways.

Since most of the walkers had already left, the first mile was virtually deserted. So much so, I clocked a pace of 0:09:46.94 in the first mile. Well, as I ran  further, my limited tennis skills were coming into play. From a complete timing perspective, I did manage to meet my goal of completing the race within 70 minutes. My net time was 1:08:05.75 with a pace of 10:58 per mile. Perhaps I can call myself a runner after all!! I think I made a modest improvement over my Cherry Creek Sneak, where I completed 5 miles in 64:25 minutes (a pace of 12:53 per mile). Going down the memory lane, I checked my performance in Bolder Boulder in 2003 which I had completed in 1:20:47. Well, as Carol (my co-runner in Highlands Ranch Running Club) says – It’s nothing to do with age after all!!

With no pre-run formal stretching for this race, I was worried that soon some muscle would cramp up. As I took my initial strides, I thought of what Brent Vaughn told us when he came to our training session one day at the HRRC – “On most days some part of your body is in pain, so you will have to learn how to deal with it”. And truly so – with each race we perhaps move an inch closer in understanding ourselves – what gives us pain and what Lights us up with joy.