Bolder Boulder 10K Race Review

Bolder Boulder Race Review

Confession: Running Is My Least Favorite Cardio.

I have run a half marathon, a full marathon, two Bolder Boulder 10K races, and other various 5k’s. However, there isn’t a running race that has yet sold me on running although the Bolder Boulder 10K race has come close. It is like a big party that starts way too early with required cardio. But the cardio is made bearable by already tipsy, tailgating cheer squads trying to hand you the beer from their fridge. It was the weirdest, craziest but most fun run experience I have ever had. My friend recently participated in the 39th annual Bolder Boulder race that happens every Memorial Day Weekend and I wanted to share her race day review.

Meet the Meathead:

Kolby is my dear friend who recently ran the Bolder Boulder. It is one of the largest 10K races in America with over 50,000 participants in Boulder, Colorado and is a totally good time as far as running goes. It is notorious as a bit of a rowdy race with spectators lining the course handing out various “treats” during the slip n’ slid dotted 10K course that ends in Folsom Field at the University of Colorado.

Bolder Boulder

Kolby has previously completed two whole 30 challenges, which I find more challenging than my prep diet. Much kudos. And she likes to stay active participating in the occasional race, trying new bootcamp varieties and sprinkles a little yoga in here and there although I still plan on getting her to the squat rack! She was kind enough to let me interrogate pick her brain about her Bolder Boulder running experience this past Memorial Day Weekend.

Kolby’s Bolder Boulder 10K Race Review…

…I would not classify myself as a runner…more like the body of a gymnast–although I never did that either. 🙂 However, I have run a few 5k’s in my life, generally after a month or two of training and preparing because running doesn’t come naturally or easy for me!

How did you train for it?

I started running in early April—which was roughly 2 solid months prior to the actual race. My training really consisted of “feet to pavement” approach throughout the neighborhood. Best approach?? Maybe not. Although it was Spring when I started running, it ended up snowing at least 4 times during my training period. However, at least 2-3 times a week after work, I committed to hoodies and headbands to get in a roughly 3 mile loop. In my past training preparation, I was able to prepare for 3 miles within a month, slowing increasing my distance and keeping up a steady pace. So for the longest race of my life (thus far), I thought I’d easily be able to just tackle on 3 additional miles with another month of training. But I found that wasn’t true. Until about a week before the race, I couldn’t seem to find a smooth, comfortable run for much more than 3 miles. However, due to change in some weather, I threw on an older pair of tennis shoes one night and found I had one of the best runs of my life—coasting easily through 4.5 miles under a 12 minute pace. I’m not sure if it was the shoes or change in weather or compilation of training but this gave me some momentum going into the big day!

Is it walker/stroller/dog friendly?

The race is definitely not stroller or dog friendly as there is just too much going on and too many people moving at different directions or different paces; I’m pretty sure the official rules eliminate this. But walking is totally acceptable and common. Even in my “wave” which was 14 minute and under, was there were lots of people who walked. I’ll admit. I even walked solidly walked a mile of the race as well. I never did quite get my stamina and distance up to the full race length—5 miles total was the most I was likely able to run.

What about spectator friendly?

This race is all about the experience, even for those watching. The city of Boulder does a great job creating and supporting such a large event; you can tell it’s an entire town celebration. There were people out on their lawns and on street corners and outside businesses cheering on the hundreds of runners going by all morning long. Spectators held signs, provided fun activities and crazy food choices throughout the race. Cowbells rang around every bend and photographers were posted up at every mile marker! Additionally, the end of the race ends at CU-Boulder’s Folsom Field—for a memorial day celebration with thousands of spectators. The ceremony was actually was really impressive; war heroes, military oath and parachute jumpers!

Bolder Boulder Review

Rate the race day set up, accommodations and staff:

The Bolder Boulder committee sends lots of emails leading up to the actual race day. A few were confusing because it mentioned the option for volunteering on race day. However on the day of, the streets were blocked off easily and thankfully I was dropped off near the starting line so I didn’t have to worry about parking or figuring out how to locate the race area. The course path was clearly outlined, barricaded and the mile markers/kilometers were easily identifiable—which was important motivation. And the amenities and concessions stands were easily accessible and available for spectators in CU post-run.

What was you race day breakfast?

Eggs with some veggies mixed in; 8oz of water and roughly half of a Diet Dr. Pepper–my morning ritual! 🙂

What was  you favorite part of the race?

My favorite part of the race was likely the enormity of it; there were SO many runners and it was such a big event within the town. It created atmosphere and vibe—which helped me accomplish and tackle the big day!

Least favorite part?

My least favorite part was after the race when they corralled all the runners into this enclosed practice field to get post-race swag/snack bags. It was hot, muggy and not a comfortable environment post 6 miles. I just needed to get a moment to catch my breath and a big drink of water—not file into a line of people.

Also, there was a steep hill right before entering the CU stadium at the end of the race. Someone had mentioned this to me but I forgot about this until I started up the hill!. And after 6 miles of running, I was just not ready for the hardest part of the race!! 🙂

Swag bag: yay or nay?

My race price included a race shirt, a lunch box and some snacks—hummus, jerky and chickpea snacks! In the post-race corral, they were handing out soda and milk replacement but with the lines, it was just too complicated to determine if I needed a ticket or they would just give me one. I just walked around the crowds and out of the heated lines.

True swag bag test, will you ever wear the race shirt again?

Uhh yes. I wore it the first day I got it. Does that make me like a loser in the “running world”?

Bolder Boulder Review

What items were you offered during the race?

Cans of Beer, Water, Doritos, Marshmallows, Mr.Freeze/Otter Pop, The craziest offering was drinks (bigger than shots) of Vodka drink (out of a large gallon container) and a lime to go!

What items did you take up the offer on during the race?

I only went for the water at the sponsored stations and marshmallows—they were easy to grab and go and I was pretty focused on running (at least at the beginning).

What race day signs made you chuckle?

“Your currently running better than the country right now!”

“Run like United Airlines wants your seat!”

“You are doing random strangers!” Keep running people we don’t know!!”

Who were the best race day tailgaters?

One household had an above-ground pool and people were jumping in and and splashing around before getting back to the race. I opted out and imagine that running with wet clothes would be so difficult. But it likely would have been fun and might have cooled me off!

I also saw an Elvis singer, a bluegrass bands, little kids/old ladies giving out high-fives, and a whole yard party dressed as (and handing out) Doritos!

Were there/did you slip N’ slide?

There were at least 2 slip-n-slides offered, but much smaller scale. There was a backlog of people waiting and for the first 3 miles I was really focused on running as much as possible so I didn’t want to distract!

Favorite race day costume?

One person ran in a round “boulder” costume and another person ran alongside dressed up as Indiana Jones. They were so committed and the fact that they ran 6 or more miles with costumes that complex.

Important food question. How were the post race eats and celebration?

Folsom field had plenty of space and environment for all spectators and runners. They had an amazing international race for Men’s and Women’s category which was exciting, particularly that those people were running the same route I just ran—just much faster!! After the international race, they had a military oath for new recruits, had a 90+ year old army veteran who played Star Spangled Banner on his trumpet (amazing!) and honored 3 veterans for their sacrifice and dedication in providing “comfort”—the theme of this year’s ceremony. Lastly, parachute jumpers dived into the stadium strategically, carrying a military flag and ending with the American Flag. (This was really quite the feat as they jumped out of plane and I was not expecting this elaborate of a display!)

Rate the race. Scale: Sucky, mediocre, Average, Happy camper, damn well pleased, …or somewhere in between?

I would rate my experience as a happy camper. I think I had psyched myself up that it would be so terrible—hills and high elevation and so much pressure for a big race. Particularly because until the last week of training, I had barely made it past 4 miles, I thought 6 would not be hard to accomplish.

Rate your overall experience:

I was really pleasantly surprised with my experience. Perhaps my training had better prepared me than I anticipated or perhaps I psyched myself out about what the race might actually be like but the course was more mild (less hilly) than I anticipated which made tackling the course attainable. Additionally, the atmosphere, fun displays and activities as well as the large amount of people moving helped keep me at a steady (manageable pace) throughout the race—more easily than I anticipated!

Bolder Boulder Review

Is it recommended it for a beginner/average/experienced runner?

I think for those signing up should really consider what type of experience they are expecting when signing up. There is one approach that could really focus on time and completion where as another approach would allow the runner to indulge and engage in more of the activities. But either way, the race is designed to accommodate all abilities, ages and levels of running experience!

Would you do it again?

I would totally consider running this race again! It was a great experience; larger and more fun than I anticipated.

Congrats to Kolby on finishing her first 10K!

Do you wear your race day shirt?

-The Meathead

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    1. Running a marathon is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done physically. Honestly, I don’t plan on ever doing it again. Luckily the BolderBoulder is only a 10K and you get offered a cold beer on the race. That I can handle!

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