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The Perfect Boulder Day + Some Struggle – Bolder Boulder 2017

I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since the Bolder Boulder and I can’t wait to recap it all for you. This is by far one of my favorite races and all round days in Boulder – it’s just so much fun and makes Boulder feel so much like a community!

So let’s dive in.

This race is BIG – 50,000+ participants big – and we all run through the same 6.2 mile course through Boulder. It’s freakin awesome! Because there are so many participants they give you LOTS of options for bib pickup. There is a mail option, pick up the week before at one of a long list of running stores, bib pick up at the expo on Pearl St in Boulder and then you can even pick it up Race Day. They make it so easy. This year I again opted for picking mine up at the weekend expo – gets me to check out the fun in downtown Boulder!

Unfortunately Saturday, the day I was planning to go to the expo, the weather was not great. It was raining on and off so it made wanting to browse the vendors a little less appealing.

I scanned the vendors and all the big ones were there. Clif was making hats with a Bolder Boulder patch, the city of Boulder had a photo truck and Sketchers was out in full force. Some of my favorite brands like 2XU and BUFF were also there!

If you forgot anything you were going to find it there. After walking 2 of the blocks of the Pearl St Mall, I made a beeline for packet pick up. I grabbed my race stuff and was on my way thanks to speedy volunteers!

The bag had the usual swag…

Bib in hand now it was time to focus on the race. This is the first time I’ve gotten a chance to run this race NOT after a goal marathon so I was hoping to try to really race this one. I had been trying to take it easy after Boston and just focus on quality speedwork. Going into the weekend I felt pretty good.

So since there are 50,000 runners, the wave start is intense. We all line up on 28th St and they send off the corrals quickly (every 1 min). The first corral starts before 7 and they continue for 2.5+ hours. I was scheduled for corral BB, the 5th corral (I believe) so my start was just after 7. Since I live somewhat close to the start I planned to walk over with a neighbor and meant my wake up was at 5:15am, bright and early.

Early to bed, early to rise!

Early to bed, early to rise!

I woke up sleepy but feeling pretty good. The legs were a little tired but hoped that it would shake off. We walked over to the start area chatting with my friend. When we got to the start area, I had brought a drop bag that I need to check (you pay an additional fee for this). This was the first year doing this and the line was CRAZY long. It took 20 minutes, not great and I had not timed according and ended up missing my corral. Note to self – it’s probably going to warm up – don’t bring a drop bag.

Even though I missed my corral it was fine because there are a million others I can join. I was feeling a little flustered/rushed and pushed my way forward for as far as a could go. In hindsight I should’ve just taken a beat and joined a later corral. I pushed my way up and then was off to the races!

My anxiety and rushing meant I started too fast. Like WAY to fast. I had trained to hit 7:30-7:40 and was sub-7 at the start, rut-roh!

I felt good for the first 2 miles and then bonked hard. I forgot how manyy slow uphill miles there were in the race. Woof! We can see the progression thanks to the free race photo download!


Looking focused and like I’m pushing!


Still having fun!

The struggle is getting real.


Oh my god, thank the good lord – THAT’S the FINISH LINE!

WHERE’S MY BEER?! Thank God that is done.

So while I started strong, I died in miles 3 and 4. The final climb to Folsom was a struggle but I got to the finish with a new 10k PR. I was hoping to come in under 48 minutes but alas I just didn’t have the fitness to meet that goal.

What was out in full force? A beautiful day, a plethora of volunteers and all the neighbors! This is the day where all of Boulder comes out and participates in one event in one way or another. Want some bacon or maybe some doritos? Yep, you’ll find the course. Need to cool off – I counted 2 slip n’ slides and 1 pool ready for runners at 7am. How about a beer or jello shot en route? Yep, someone can help you out there too! This is a seriously fun race.

So after I finished I grabbed my goodie bag (hello new lunch box) and then hung out and watched the finish line for a bit from the stands.

I then made a lap through the post-race expo, snagged a delicious popsickle before heading to my friend’s apartment to watch the rest of the race.

The best part of this race is the fact that all the regular racers, runners, and walkers get to run the course and then we all get to watch the elites finish together. My friend lives near mile 5 so it’s perfect for watching the rest of the race and then the elites!

This year the elite ladies were really spread out, there were 2 leaders and the rest were more sporadic. The men however, wow, there were about 8 runners in lead pack and they were blazing. They came to race!

After spending the morning running, drinking beer, and spectating it was time to head home and enjoy the rest of a beautiful Memorial Day. We watched the parachuters from afar as they dove into the stadium and watched the fighter jet fly over. Pretty cool. One year I’ll actually stay to watch the Memorial Day Ceremony from the stadium.

I moseyed home and took a nap, a great Memorial Day for all and I can’t recommend this race more if you want a great race experience from beginning to end! Truly one of a kind – come check it out!

Until next year Bolder Boulder!

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