ColderBolder Race Report

She said a bad day is when I lie in the bed and I think of things that might have been ~ Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel

Fun race yesterday in Boulder. I didn’t have a lot of expectations going in and that turned out to be a good thing as the weather didn’t really cooperate to produce anything resembling a fast run. I had a good time, however, and that is what matters.

Got up early to jam down to the race. It was just above 20°F and snowing when I arrived at the venue. It snowed about 6″ overnight as well making for interesting racing conditions. I jogged up to the Balch Field House on the CU campus to pick up my race pack and warm up a little before my wave started at 8:00.

The ColderBolder race features staged starting based on one’s BolderBoulder finish time. Since I had a marginal BB (see the full report here), I was able to line up with the 00:40-00:42 group. I have been looking for event staging of this type in hopes of really being able to participate in a “race” rather than just running for time. Sadly, this was not to be for me given the conditions (I really didn’t want to end up in a pile of broken Stus along the course) and the fact that the field was packed with fast XC kids (at least 5 of the 9 people who eventually bested me in this race were under 17). Guessing that most of these guys were 5K or shorter specialists who fade at longer events. And really, I am just the opposite so who am I to talk about sandbagging?

I spun some laps in the field house, donned my sexy trashbag and made my way to the start. I ran into a couple of people I know at the start, did a few strides on the very slick streets and generally formed thoughts of “let’s get this show on the road before my nuts freeze off” while waiting for the gun. As volunteers were still setting up the start banner, the starter announced, “30-seconds”. We lined up on the mat and were soon greeted by the starter’s pistol and were off.

As typically the case, there was an early surge and a quick gap formed. I was left in no-man’s-land for a moment until I decided to try to muscle up to the frontrunners. Just as I caught onto the tail of the lead group, we headed downhill and moved from the street to the sidewalk. At this point, there was another surge up front and I fell back, not wanting to go out quite that quickly and in fear of a fall on the slick surface. In the first major turn of the race (about 1/4 mile in), someone did fall in front of me. I came to a near stop to avoid him, asked if he was ok (he was) and we continued on our way – albeit further detached from the lead group.

I settled in with two other runners for a bit and just focused on good form and figuring out how to translate my new “active-push-off-style” stride to less-than-favorable surface conditions. We ran past the amphitheater, Kittredge Field, and made our way back toward Broadway. At this point, one of the other runners (and, coincidentally, a client’s husband) made a small move I was unable to cover and put about 5 meters on me. We headed back toward the start line and I noticed a police car in the race course. “No biggie,” I thought, and angled to go in front of it. Apparently, this was not in the cop’s plan, however, and he gunned it, cutting me off. Second complete stop of the race. Good times.

So now it was down to me and another runner as we made our way back to the Broadway bike path. I passed him shortly after the turn and quickly put in a good effort to gap him a bit. I ran down Broadway to University, navigated the last super-sketchy turn of the race (another near stop) and then headed back through campus for the final stretch. At this point, the 9th place runner was a bit too far ahead to catch so I focused on finishing strongly with good form. I wound my way through the final 1/2 mile, made one last slow turn back into Balch and then surged to the line in 20:30 and 10th place.

Given that this was only my second 5K and the deplorable conditions, I was pretty happy with this result. Post-race, I met the guy I passed on Broadway (Sean Wetstine) and coincidentally, we follow each other on Twitter, which was amusing. I packed up my stuff and then jogged back to my car to complete the experience. It was great to get out and run even if the weather was crappy. Beats not running any day.

~stubert.

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