Tag Archives: Boulder Reservoir

Race Report: Boulder Distance Classic 5K, Boulder CO., April 26, 2014

This was my third race in Boulder, after this February’s USATF 2014 Cross Country Champs and the Bolder Boulder 10K back in May 2012. These two races had proven that altitude is not conducive to fast times. This race would be no different. And I got beat by both a 2 and 48 year-old!

While not expecting a great time I had reasoned that the flat course – an out and back at Boulder Reservoir – would get me close to the 16:12 I recorded at the hilly Washington Heights 5K I ran in March. I was wrong. I ran 17:03 for fifth overall and second masters.

It’s not often I fail to win the masters age group, especially the M45-49. But this time I had to contend with fellow 48 year-old Simon Gutierrez. Simon won the USATF 2014 Cross Country M45-49, comfortably pushing me into second. On this occasion I was 30 seconds in arrears, running a time I last ran in my late teens. Still back then I’d never been as high as 5,400 feet above sea level let alone run at it.

I entered this race a few days after Sham and I arrived in Boulder to vacation with her sisters. I had been struggling with my ITB and hip flexors (I think). This time round I found the altitude, hills and trails particularly hard going – harder than I can ever remember. So I had modest expectations for the race and had acclimatized to the idea of running a slow time but hopefully pocketing the masters’ purse of $100. That would net me $70 after the race entry. Retirement as a full time runner is still some way off.

But as I warmed up with Sham, who had decided against doing the race after coming down with a cold, I spotted Simon. I deduced he must have made the trip from his home in Colorado Springs to run the 5K rather than the accompanying 15K. So I quickly re-acclimated to the idea of running a slow time and finishing second masters. At the start line Sham’s sister Ramola, husband Kevin and their toddler Eloise, joined Sham to form my support team. Eloise had been in great voice so I expected to hear her throughout the race.

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My support team cheering me on at the start.

Soon after the gun went I settled into fifth place and that’s where I’d stay. The gap in front to Simon, in 4th until around half way, steadily widened. Just after the turn at 3K he moved into 3rd and that’s where he’d stay. I kept my eyes singularly focused on him, counting the deficit in seconds at various checkpoints.

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Simon finishing strong.

This race proved to be one of the most uncomfortable I have ever run. Psychologically, since I was resigned to running for second masters place from the gun. And physically, since after barely a quarter of a mile I was getting that feeling one gets as you crank it up in the final quarter mile.

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Feeling the altitude at the start of the race.

I breasted the tape and noticed Simon already headed off for a warm-down. I embraced my support team and took comfort in knowing my street credibility with Eloise was at a new PR. It would climb higher still. My race entry brought with it a smorgasbord of free breakfast goodies – yoghurt, chocolate milkshake, bratwurst, breakfast burritos, even Avery IPA.

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I then went for a complimentary massage and had Eloise in close attendance trying to figure whether my expression spoke for pain or pleasure. The therapist, Kat Hearty, worked on my legs, especially the problem areas, and explained that certain muscles needed to be ‘fired up’ using special treatment. I guess the old body is overdue a full service or at least some TLC.

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Getting a long over-due massage.

And finally I took the stage to collect the prize for first masters. Simon’s third place overall meant he took that prize rather than first masters. My retirement plan was back on track. But Eloise beat me on the race back to the car.

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Eloise was ready to race with the 12-year olds but she might have to wait a few years.

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Boulder with the Boys

We are back in Boulder for a few days. this time with two of Paul’s Warren Street running mates, Sebastien and Fabio. Paul’s been extolling the virtues of the Boulder trails and now they’re going to experience it for themselves.  So it’s just me, three running addicts and four days in Boulder. And when obsessive runners get together in Boulder it’s quickly becomes boot camp at altitude. In the last three days the boys have racked up 40 miles and they still have one more long run planned. (Paul’s will be giving details of the runs they did in his next post. )

Boulder had been hit with one of its largest snow storms a few weeks ago and we didn’t know if the trails would still be covered by snow and ice.  New York winters have gotten us used to not being able to run off-road once there have been a couple of big snow storms. There had been some snow on Wednesday night and the foothills  had a coating of white. We found the trails, however, generally clear bar the odd icy patch.  I managed to take a few photos on the Wonderland Trail which was good because the next day it had all melted away!

The Foothills with a dusting of snow

I had decided to try working remotely so spent more time with my computer than outdoors on Thursday and Friday. But with New York two hours ahead of Boulder I could still get out for a run before dark when things at work slowed down. Friday late afternoon I headed toward Boulder Reservoir on the North Boulder trails. It was perfect conditions both for running as well as taking photos and I could feel myself quickly slipping into a Boulder state of mind.

Lake on the way to Boulder Reservoir

Blue skies and cylists are part of the Boulder landscape

This stand alone hill can be seen from most of the trails in North Boulder