Thursday, June 4, 2015

Race Recap: Bolder Boulder 2015

I ran the Bolder Boulder last year for the first time. It is the second largest road race in the United States (pretty sure anyways), so it's a lot of fun! It's also close to my hometown, so logistics are fairly easy to work out. I wasn't going to do it again this year, until they offered really good pricing in February if you referred a friend. So I decided, what the heck (the only reason I wasn't going to do it, is just because May is ALWAYS so busy and making the 4 hour drive over the mountains can be a pain).

Anyways, as busy as my month of May was (I was basically gone every weekend - 1st weekend for the Colorado Marathon, the second weekend for my friends wedding, the 3rd weekend for the Black Canyon Ascent, and then this!), it actually ended up working well that I made this trip because I was able to get an 18 mile training run in on the Revel Rockies Marathon course. As you may remember, Revel Rockies Marathon is on July 19th and is going to be my big goal race for the year (the one in which I, gulp, attempt to BQ). Since I am going to have a lot of pressure weighing on me for that race, it helped immensely that I was able to run such a big part of the course and really get a feel for what I'm in for! The training run ended up going really well (aside from leaving me insanely sore for the next few days)! Here are some pictures:

So that was on Saturday and took a good portion of the day. On Sunday, I slept in and then caught up with a few friends before heading to Boulder to go to the Race Expo for a little bit. The Expo was okay - it didn't feel like there was as many vendors as last year though - but maybe it was just that it was later in the day, on the last day? Anyways, the only major thing to note at the expo was that I got to try out a Roll Recovery - which was AMAZING...especially considering my legs were basically shot from the training run the day before (the 18 miles was all downhill. Downhill = serious quad soreness along with other random muscles I didn't even know I had). So anyways, the Roll Recovery is awesome... it's also pretty pricey at $120. They were offering a $20 discount as an expo special, so I sat there self debating it for quite awhile, before finally deciding - YES! I'm going to get one! So I walk back over to buy it...and they sell out. To the person in front of me. Are you kidding me? I guess it wasn't meant to be. Although I am still sad about it.... (currently taking donations for a Roll Recovery FYI...haha j/k). Anyways - the next expo I see it at, it's MINE!

Oh and we stopped and got cookies from Boulder Baked...A-M-A-Z-I-N-G (haven't had that since I worked in downtown Boulder 4 years ago).

Anyways - back to the race (you know - the thing this blog is actually supposed to be about). We took the RTD down (best way BY FAR to go if you're commuting from the Denver-Metro area) and got there about 6:30am. I qualified for the "BB" wave this year with my awesomely fast time from the Moab Winter Sun 10K...but considering how insanely sore my legs were, I knew there was no way I was going to be running the Bolder Boulder that fast. So I opted to start with my dad in the EJ wave. It only started 20 minutes after my wave at 7:20am, and worked out well since we didn't even make it through the bag check and bathroom lines until about 7:05. We said good bye to my mom who was walking in a later wave and then got ready to go!

And right on schedule, we were off at 7:20! I honestly wasn't sure what I wanted from this race. I knew I wasn't going to PR, but I also wanted to put some effort into it. So I decided to ease into it and give myself a chance to warm-up a bit before deciding.

Mile 1: 8:37 Garmin / 8:46 Timing Mat

After the first mile, I decided I would try for negative splits (running each mile faster than the mile before it). That was going to be my main goal for the race. Sounded good. I think it was during this mile that I spotted several ladies wearing Skirt Sports and when I went to say something to them, realized it was Joy - another Ambassador Captain who I had yet to meet in real life! I said "Hi" and then picked up my pace a little so I could keep with my negative split goal.

Mile 2: 8:25 Garmin / 8:27 Timing Mat

The first 2 miles were fairly accurate with my Garmin, but then they started getting off as the race progressed (I totally understand that courses and Garmin's can be different due to all sorts of factors, but that doesn't make it any less annoying).

Mile 3: 8:14 Garmin / 8:25 Timing Mat

Somewhere in here are the people that give out Doritos. I thought about getting some this year, but I was on a mission! Gotta get those negative splits!

Can you find me?
Mile 4: 7:55 Garmin / 8:07 Timing Mat

I had officially warmed up by now and was really picking up my pace. Unfortunately, I could totally feel all of my sore leg muscles hurting. I knew this was probably a bad idea. Oh well, I was committed now.

Mile 5: 7:36 Garmin / 7:39 Timing Mat

You run downtown for a bit here before getting onto Folsom and heading to the CU Stadium. This is always my favorite part because it means you're almost done. I picked up my pace a lot once I got on Folsom and barely managed to negative split mile 6 (although I only got the negative split on my Garmin and not according to the timing mat).

Mile 6: 7:33 Garmin / 7:50 Timing Mat

Right after mile 6 is the hill of all hills!!! Honestly, it's actually not that bad, unless you picked up your pace to 7:30's for the previous two miles and your legs are screaming at you from running an 18 mile, 3800' descent run 2 days prior.... anyways, my pace slowed incredibly on this part...but I decided I didn't care - my Garmin had the negative splits for the first 6! I kept at it, got into the Stadium for the final push and finished in 51:03!

I had originally hoped to go sub-50:00...but that was before my sore legs, and so I obviously didn't do it. Had I picked things up more in the beginning I could've, but I don't think that would've been the smartest thing - especially considering how achy my legs were when I tried running again the following day (yep - they were mad at me for running sub-8:00 miles on torn up legs).

After I got done, I waited for my dad, who finished about 5 minutes after me, and we got our goodie bags and beer (I gave him mine - I just can't do Beer at 8:15 in the morning - especially when it's not that warm out, and then I convinced him to wait in line for a massage with me. I had read the day before that they were offering free massages. Since I didn't get my Roll Recovery, I thought this was the perfect substitute. And it hour and half later when I finally made it through the line (all for a 5 minute it might have been 7 or 8 minutes?).

Waiting for the massage took a ton of time, so after that we didn't have too much longer to wait for my mom. We went and walked around some of the vendor booths - which was just a mad house (don't recommend that), before meeting up with my friends Chere' and Dante and then sitting in the stadium stands for awhile watching people come in (and then watching the Elites!!).

Race: Bolder Boulder 10K
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Distance: 10K/6.2 Miles (Garmin clocked it at like 6.35 I think - which is why my splits were so off)
Date: May 25, 2015
Bib Number: BB218
Weather:40's and Sunny (honestly PERFECT running weather)
Official Time: 51:03
Average Pace:8:13
Overall Rank: 4,453 of 45,311
Gender Rank: 1,042 of 24,304
Age Division Rank (F27): 33 of 602
Official Splits: 8:46, 8:27, 8:25, 8:07, 7:39, 7:50
Garmin Splits: 8:37, 8:25, 8:14, 7:55, 7:36, 7:33

Elevation Profile

Course Map

So overall this was a good Bolder Boulder experience again. The weather ended up being great despite myself being VERY worried (it had rained almost all weekend). Someday, I would love to do this race and actually "race" it. Because it's such a big event, they give out awards for the top 15 finishers in every age group (and every age is an age group - so just Females, Age 27 is an age group). Looking at the results, if I truly, full out raced it, I think I could borderline make top 15 (it would be close - but it's possible) maybe next year?? It depends - every year I book myself solid for the month of May and every year I survive it, but barely. So we'll see. It's a very fun race and I highly recommend running it, at least once! It's pretty incredible to watch people just keep coming into the stadium - I mean thousands and thousands and thousands of them! It's also pretty interesting to watch the Elites - they have it televised in the Stadium and then you actually see them finish - very cool. There weren't any big names (that I knew of) like last year (last year they had Shalane Flanagan, Deena Kastor, and Ryan Hall), but it was still very interesting AND Meb was here this year, although I still never figured out why (he wasn't racing, but he was there - I think because Sketchers is a big sponsor, and he's sponsored by them? But again, not sure - they showed him on the screen and he waved!).

It's hard to see, but Meb is up on the screen!


  • The Bolder Boulder is by far, without a doubt, the most organized race I have ever done. I mean they have their $hit together (with the exception of the bag check but I'll get to that in the next section). From the option to pick up your race packets weeks before at various places all throughout the Front Range, to being able to ride the bus there, to the way the waves work - they've got everything down to a T. There's not much chaos at this one (other than the massive amount of people).
  • Loved the shirts this year (you also have multiple options on shirts which is nice - regular fitted tee, tech tee, or long sleeve).
  • Chick-Fil-A coupon!!! Chick Fil A is my favorite fast foot restaurant and they give everyone a coupon for a free I gotta put that here (although it still seems funny/ironic that Chick-Fil-A (definition of conservative) is such a big sponsor for a Boulder (definition of liberal) race.
  • Crowd Support - this is the race to run if you like crowd support - there are very few sections that do not have people cheering for you on all sides.
  • Fun - if you want a race to have "fun" at - this is the one. You can even do the Slip-n-slide in at least 2 places!
  • Early bird pricing is reasonable. It's $45 for early bird pricing - which seems kind of like a lot to me for only a 10K, BUT you get a lot out of it, so I'm okay with it.
  • FREE RACE PHOTOS: I'm so excited that more and more races are doing this! So fun!
  • Outfit related - my new Skirt Sports Electric Tank - I'm in love - it has a pocket in it!! (And as usual my skirt worked perfectly to hold my phone in while running!


  • Bag Check - this is the one thing that the Bolder Boulder needs to figure out. For starters, and probably the source of a lot of the issue, is that they charge for it. This is the only race that you have to pay for a bag check (and they trick you by calling them "mobile lockers" - nothing is "locking" on these at all, FYI). But besides having to pay $2 to transport your stuff, it's a mad house. You can pre-pay for it (which I did), but it gets you nothing - you still have to wait in line with everyone who has not pre-paid, and it takes FOREVER. Had I wanted to run in my BB wave, I would have missed it because it took so long to get through this line. So be prepared for that if you're doing the bag check (or maybe they'll figure out what their doing and fix it one of these years).
  • Massages: according to the people waiting in line with us for massages, in years past, they have 50+ masseuses (which sounds like how many you should have for a race with 45,000 people). This year, they had the wait was just insane.
  • The Lunch Bags - one of the unique things about the Bolder Boulder was that in years past they always gave you your post-race snacks in a cute lunch box. This year they switched to the boring draw string bags (which I now have about 1000 of - and never know what to do with).

Race shirt (left), Snack Bag, and "Sea Level Is For Sissies" shirt I bought at the expo.


  • Yes...but not every year (unless I lived in the area). It's a lot of fun, but like I said, May is just always so busy. I will probably take next year off from it...unless they offer a really good deal... :) (I am a huge sucker for a good deal).

Again - please vote for me in the Runner's World Cover Contest:

Thanks and Happy Running!

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