Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Springtime in Boulder

This morning I did my first run since Sunday's race. Since I'm still trying to kick this cold, and since it was supposed to be a short, easy recovery run anyway, I didn't get up at 5 a.m. Instead, I used my short break time at work to take a 3-mile run up Boulder Canyon.

Photos of Boulder Falls, Boulder
This part of Boulder Canyon (photo is courtesy of TripAdvisor) is up higher than I ran today, but it looks very similar.

My calves are still sore, and my nose is still runny, but overall it felt great to be out in the chill of early spring. My library straddles Boulder Creek and a part-paved, part-gravel trail runs the length of the creek through a lot of the city and up into the canyon, our main thoroughfare to the mountains. I used to run this route all the time, until my allowed break got to be too short for the kind of running I need to do most of the time.

Boulder Creek

It's a beautiful place to run. At this time of year, the snowmelt from above hasn't swelled the creek to the level it will be in just a few weeks, but the water is no longer constrained by winter's ice in most places. The higher you get, the more waterfalls and rapids you see and hear. The path crosses and re-crosses the creek several times, so the calming white noise of the water comes and goes. You don't need music at all. As I went along, I thought about how I will likely incorporate this trail, which provides an increasingly hefty climb the further into the canyon you get, into my long marathon training runs this summer.

But summer is still on the horizon. Right now, it's spring. Spring in Boulder means one thing to many runners: the Bolder Boulder 10K. Held every Memorial Day, this race is the second-largest in the country. Hotels around here fill that weekend, as do gym treadmills and the trails and streets in the weeks leading up to it. Lots of school kids train for it as a group. (I was too much of a wimp at that age to contemplate running that far. What a waste! Part of why I run now is to make up for my foolish fears and choices as a young person.)

I've run this race the past three years, with mixed success. In 2008, I was just happy to be back running at all after getting through the first year and a half with twins. My time was 56 minutes and change. In 2009, I ran my post-pregnancy 10K PR of 53:24. Last year, it was the first in a series of disappointments, as I ran two minutes slower than I had in '09.

Though I had originally hoped to run it with my dad this year, my plan changed several weeks back when it looked like I might be able to go with Dan on a trip to Finland, where he has a conference the week ahead of the race. But last week we found out my plane ticket for that trip would cost around $2,000. So suddenly the Bolder Boulder was back on the table. Of course I plan to run it.

In order to start in one of the first waves of this giant race, you have to show a qualifying time in a prior race of almost any length (see chart here to see how your races would stack up). It's interesting to compare where my recent races would place me. Sunday's half-marathon time of 1:57:19, as well as my 1:27:01 in the 10-mile Snowman Stampede, would get me into the DB wave (makes me feel a bit better, as my half time must not have been as far off my 10-mile time as I thought). But my time in December's Colder Bolder 5K (24:24) bumps me up two waves, into the more rarified CC group.

This makes me wonder if I just had a really awesome day at the Colder Bolder or if I have lost something in the intervening months. Probably impossible to tell....

Regardless....Can you guess which time I plan to use when I sign up for the Bolder Boulder?

I'm sticking with the FIRST program for the Bolder Boulder. Those guys didn't let me down for the half or the 5K, so I figure they know what they are doing with 10Ks too. I do plan to keep my long runs longer than they specify for the 10K training, as I don't want to lose my half-marathon endurance gains when it's time to start marathon training in June. Two 15-milers, and no long runs shorter than 10 miles after this weekends recovery long one of 7.5 miles, will be what I'm aiming for.

I also plan to stick with the Quick Start eating plan in an effort to get closer to racing weight prior to embarking on marathon training. Here's what I've eaten so far today:

Breakfast: 1 cup of high-fiber Kashi 7-Grain flake cereal; 1 banana; 1 cup Greek yogurt; 1.5 cups lo-sodium V8 vegetable juice
A.M. snack: One packet Justin's Chocolate Peanut Butter
Lunch: One can lo-sodium Imagine chicken noodle soup; one apple
Indiscretion: 1 piece Twizzler's black licorice (I swear, our security guard at work is going to kill me with this stuff!)

Finally, earlier bedtimes are definitely in order! Wouldn't it be awfully nice to have this nasty cold be the only one I get this year?


  1. Oh man, how awesome would it be to run there. I'm running in Iowa this week ... not much to see except field after field after field after...

  2. Way to get out there! It is beautiful!

    Oh and I am weak against black licorice. It is the bomb!

  3. Thanks, both of you! If you're ever out here and want some beautiful runs, please drop me a line.