Aaron's Real Opinions:

Aaron's Crazy Race Diary - 2009
Day 1
Saturday, May 23rd
2 Days Until Bolder Boulder

It was less than 42 hours before the start of the 31st Bolder Boulder 10K road race - when I made the potentially fateful (fatal?) decision to register and run.

I had run the race last year but took almost 76 minutes to complete it - well off my best relatively recent pace of exactly 52 minutes. It was pathetic that I had added 24 minutes to my time - an almost 50% increase in how long it took me to run the race.

It’s amazing what six years and 20 extra pounds (my three primary food groups - Cheetos, Rocky Road ice cream, and Taco Bell double cheesy beef burritos - are hard to resist) can do to slow down a person!

This year I had decided to skip the race because I had gained even more weight, was suffering from severe sleep deprivation due to caring for four pooches from Guide Dogs for the Blind (three of whom had physical problems and one of whom had liver cancer), and had not really trained.

I had been running with a friend, Angela, who was a much better runner than I was, but the time we took to run a 6½-mile course translated to a 10K time of about 80 minutes so I knew I was in trouble.

My more recent problem was I had suffered a one or more broken and/or bruised ribs playing pick-up basketball and the injury was impairing my ability to breathe. That wasn’t a good condition to have for a race.

But the attraction of the nation’s largest Memorial Day event actually held on Memorial Day and the fact it was the largest timed race in the country and the 5th largest road race in the world was too much for me to resist.

Plus, the Bolder Boulder always is a fun race. It is well organized. It has a party atmosphere even among the toughest competitors. Many runners dress up in silly costumes. There is entertainment - from live bands to belly dancers - along the race course. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate Memorial Day (the military jet flyover is hard to beat). And, best of all, everyone - runners and spectators - are in a good mood.

I attended the Media Luncheon at the Millennium Harvest House in Boulder to get the latest information on the Race. Cliff Bosley, the Race Director, filled us in and I was able to visit with him as well as the Race’s Founder, Steve Bosley. Steve also was the Chairman of the University of Colorado Board of Regents and was the founder of the Bank of Boulder, where I was a customer when I first entered the business world as a novice eons ago.

It was fun to see many of the international team members at the luncheon as well as present and past organizers such as Rich Castro, Tim Cronin, Olympian Frank Shorter, and many others. It also gave me a chance to visit with Dave Plati, CU’s Sports Information Director and the guy in charge of Press for the Race. I was never certain how Dave got roped into that but he always did a fabulous job. Working with him always was easy.

Cliff and Steve cajoled me into running so I headed to the Downtown Boulder Mall to register. The Boulder Creek Festival was in full swing with thousands of people milling about and the Bolder Boulder had a registration tent in front of the old County Courthouse. Kristin Reed was in charge of it and made the process simple and fast for everyone. In a matter of a few minutes I was registered and ready to go.

My problem was I was running alone for the first time in a while. I usually ran or at least started the race with someone but my running partner Angela Horacek was in another Wave (GB) with her husband Brett and some friends. They had invited me to join them and I told them I would but only when they caught up to and passed me! I told them this objective should be easily accomplished.

Bill Jones was a far better runner than I was - he of Ironman Canada success - but he was not feeling well so he had not registered. These days Michelle Poirier (who was a certified "spin" instructor and indefatigable), who ran with me four or five years ago, was doing half-marathons and marathons so a 10K wasn’t of interest to her because it was "too short." The list went on but I actually was quite comfortable running by myself. I had done it before and was sure I would do it again. Plus, at the Bolder Boulder, all +52,000 runners are your friends.

Admittedly, I also was disappointed in my condition. My breathing was limited by my rib injury and I wasn’t sure if I should take ibuprofen for the pain or aspirin to prevent a heart attack. All I knew was I shouldn’t take the two medications together. After some reflection, I opted for pain and life rather than comfort and death and decided I would pop a couple of aspirin before the Race.

Perhaps most disappointing was the fact I had been doing some running but it didn’t seem to help. I had just been jogging with no particular goals in mind. What was terribly discouraging was my times were not getting better; rather, on occasion they actually were worse than when I had started. That made me think it might have been better to not run at all.

This forced me to recognize the difference between "running" (OK, "jogging") and "training." When you’re training for a race, you have a strategy and a plan. You incrementally work your way to a better condition and improved times. You use interval training and cross-training to improve.

I wanted to get a good night’s sleep because I had only gotten one hour the night before (thanks to taking my daughter and nephew to see a late showing of "Night At The Museum: Battle At The Smithsonian"). My ill dog, however, limited me to four hours so I knew I likely would be tired for the Race. That was OK, however, because I wasn’t expecting to set any records.

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