Last week I did something I never thought I would – I ran a race in Colorado! What an experience!
My friend and I spent two days in Denver before heading to Boulder for the BOLDERBoulder 10k race. Our first stop in Boulder was at the SportsEXHIBIT to pick up our packets and check out the vendors. They have the SportsEXHIBIT at the Pearl Street Mall, which is outdoors, so its a nice way to check out a bit of Boulder right from the start. I had to stop by the Nuun booth to say him and pick up a few things. Getting to see my name up on the Team Nuun poster was a pretty fun way to get things started. I stocked up on Nuun (they were running a great special), picked up my Team Nuun 2019 water bottle, and was even able to get the special edition regional bottle as well. Let’s just say that I’ll be donating a few water bottles from my current stash to make room for these.
After the expo we checked into our hotel for the rest of the weekend. We were staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Boulder and it was practically across the street from the start line. In addition to being a beautiful property, being able to just roll out of bed and walk to the start line was a great bonus.
We filled the rest of our day with checking out Boulder. We had brunch at The Buff (hooray 99 cent mimosas), checked out Twisted Pine Brewing Co., and then met up with one of the BOLDERBoulder staff at the CU stadium to switch up my shoes. We got a sneak peak at the finish line in the stadium and it was too cool!
The rest of the afternoon was spent checking out a local festival, eating some of the BEST fried chicken ever, and teaching my friend how to play Skeeball at an underground bar. It was pretty fabulous.
Then BOLDERBoulder is a massive race with over 50,000 participants. Yep, you read that right – 50,000. Because of this they do wave starts so that it is not a made house. You are assigned a wave, and start time, based on how long you think it will take you to finish. Due to this our wave didn’t start until 8:53 am. Thankfully the weather was beautiful in Boulder, because it we had been at home starting at 8:53 am would have been TERRIBLE. We got to the race start in plenty of time and had a chance to see some of the other waves start. It was fun to see some of the crazy outfits everyone was wearing. Finally our time to start was arriving and we made our way to our corral.
The next 6.2 miles were a bit of a blur really. There was just so much to take in. The course wasn’t as hilly as I thought it would be, but at one point we were over 5,400 feet above sea level. Thankfully I didn’t have any issues with the altitude while running. This race really is a great big part and the whole town gets in on the fun. You run through lots of neighborhoods were people are out with their family and friends cheering on the runners. And plenty of houses have fun activities set up too like slip-n-slides, hopscotch, bubble guns, and even a bacon stop. But really, how can you go wrong with a race where when you turn the corner you are running towards mountains?
The race finishes in the University of Colorado at Boulder football stadium. It may not be my beloved Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, but it was still quite an amazing way to finish the race. As you run into the stadium the stands are filled with spectators. They have a HUGE Memorial Day celebration after the race, so people start getting their early to find their seats. That last 0.2 miles was pretty emotional and really amazing. I tried to make a video of that part to share, but apparently I don’t know how to use the video function on my phone.
After you finish you make you way out of the stadium and into the field house where you are able to pick up your snack bag, water, and different drinks. I was very impressed by how quickly they were able to get everyone through there. Unfortunately once we were out of the field house it was a bit chaotic. Since spectators were allowed in the areas just outside of the finish it was VERY crowded. We made our way through the post-race expo but didn’t stick around very long because of the crowds. Thankfully we had been invited to a VIP lunch up in the suites above the field, so we were able to relax a little, grab a snack, and get some killer shots of the stadium.
We finished off our race morning with a walk to lunch, which ended up giving us the opportunity to see some of the female pro racers heading through the final stretch of their race. Man were those ladies fast! Lunch consisted of pizza and beer – which was one of the best decisions we had made all weekend.
So how did I do in the race you ask? I was slow. I went into the race knowing that I was going to be slow, but I was okay with that. I knew that the race was going to be an experience regardless of my speed, so as long as I finished upright I was happy with that. I definitely want to do this race again and hopefully be a little bit more prepared for the run. A lot has been going on lately that kept me from running, but I’m determined to get back to it.
I want to thank BOLDERBoulder for their amazing hospitality and including me in this amazing experience!