Monday, May 25, 2009

I ran the Bolder Boulder!!!

When I awoke this morning I was beyond excited to get to racing my first 10k in many years! The skies were partly cloudy and it looked like the rain might hold off until after the race. After a breakfast of eggs, toast and a cup of coffee we headed off to the start with my aunt and uncle serving as a most excellent shuttle to the start for my coach and I. Her wave went off nearly an hour before mine so I had a lot of time to take in the surroundings.

This race has 54,000 runners so people are line up as far as the eyes can see. The Bolder has gone off for 31 years so the organizers have an incredibly well run set up allowing each racer to feel special. There are 84 waves in total. The first waves are qualified waves so the people in those waves have to submit times from other races proving they can race at a certain pace. Following that are waves of people who self-seed based on their expected times. I seeded myself in a 70-90 minute wave and registered early enough that I was in the first of those waves. As you line up you get behind a sign with your wave letters and as each wave goes off you move closer. All of the sudden you feel like you must have a wave or two in front of you but the volunteers are saying "Go time!" and you're moving to the start. A trumpeter plays his tune and then the gun!

Making sure to keep your pace in check the first mile is tough as noted by my 11 minute mile (goal was just over 12 minute miles)is the biggest challenge in this mile. I settled in for mile 2 including Folsom Field. Unfortunately, for some reason mile 3 hurt today. It was odd because it was virtually flat but I just couldn't find a rhythm and I had to walk more than I'd have liked. Mile 4 appears slow on the official split because I had to run into the port-o-potty unfortunately but it actually felt much better than mile 3. Once I topped the hill just after the mile 4 marker I felt like I hit a comfortable stride. Wish it had happened earlier but at least I found it. In the final mile the crowd cheering loudly. Starting up the last hill I just told myself I couldn't walk any more. As I rounded the corner toward the stadium the emotions took hold and I had an asthma attack. But I just didn't want to be the one who walked the last 3/10 of a mile. As I went under the 6 mile banner and peeked at my watch I saw that I'd taken 2 minutes off my 6 mile time from last week. Woohoo!!! I wouldn't hit my 75 minute goal but I'm improving and that's what really matters right now.

As I came around the turn into the stadium, down the little hill and hit the metal planking that protects the ground of the stadium the roar of the crowd in enormous! People line the railings cheering you on and you feel like you just ran into the stadium of the Olympics. Around the stadium about 3/4 of the way and there's the finish! Hitting the stop on the watch and I see 1:17:13. And I look around and can't believe that I've done it. If you'd like to see me cross the finish line check out this video. I appear at 4:01 in the video in the center of the screen.

After picking up my snack bag I headed for our designated meeting spot and found my coach and was joined shortly after that by my aunt and uncle. We waited to watch the pro race and the Memorial Day ceremonies. The male pro ran his race in, get this, 29:19!!! That's about a 4:43 second mile pace!

The Memorial Day tribute took on special meaning for me today as I prepare to send my oldest friend off to battle next week. God speed Brett Cheatham, you better come home safely! For the tribute sky jumpers come in with flags representing each of the branches of service and then finally the US flag. It's incredibly moving as Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud to be an American" plays in the background.

Next year, I'd like to qualify for the restricted waves. I'd also like to get the side stitches issue under control as much of the walking that I had to do was because of these. Hopefully more fitness will bring relief from these.

As the last notes of the Memorial Day Tribute finished the skies opened up and released a deluge of rain. We were parked a mile or so away so needless to say we were soaked by the time we reached the car but we couldn't believe the luck of the weather holding off until after the races and ceremonies!

Here are some photos from the day!

Before the race with my coach Andrea

After the race with Andrea

With my friend Gaye

Memorial Day Tribute


Terri said...

Congratulations on your great finish today!!!

Catharine said...

I am SO proud of you, Robyn! Great race and great report. You are so inspiring. Way. To. Go!