I finally ran the renowned Bolder Boulder 10k with 32,706 of my closest running friends. The race did not disappoint.
The Bolder Boulder is a model of flawless organization, a necessity considering the sheer number of participants. The course is challenging. You likely will not PR given the turns, hills, elevation, and Colorado sun.
I placed 1,685th which is rough because when I got home my son asked if I had achieved a podium finish. Sorry son. If there were a hundred racers in this race, statistically I finished in a respectable 5th place.
When analyzed within the subset of 318 participants in the 39-year-old male division, the numbers are slightly more digestible. I secured the 36th fastest time within this group.
Remarkably, about 47% of us were able to run a negative split, which means the second half of the race was faster than the first. This was the case for 58 of the top 100 finishers in my group. Of the top ten, all but one finished with a negative split.
These statistics suggest a correlation between speed and the likelihood of achieving a negative split. In simpler terms, the better racers tend to accelerate towards the end of the race - which was my strategy right from the outset.
My first mile I intended to run in 7 minutes and 30 seconds. I ended up running it in 7:38 because I noticed that my heart rate was a bit high. I really wanted to be at ~160 and climb steadily over the course of the race as I sped up. Going out I was closer to 165 so I had to pump the breaks to bring my HR down. At the end of the first mile I was in 50th place amongst my soon-to-be-40 brethren.
The next two miles were about keeping an even effort. That meant I slowed down on the hills, but so did my competition. At the end of the 3rd mile I was getting faster and had moved up to 46th place.
The final three miles felt great. I focused on staying loose and savoring the race experience.
At the end of the race I was in 36th place, passing two division mates in the final .2 miles.
The Bolder Boulder gave me a chance to definitively prove that I am a reasonably fast 39 year old dude. I am already excitedly anticipating my next race, a 5k at the end of June where I hope to show that even at 40 I still have some speed in my legs.