Perfectly average: Running the Bolder Boulder 10K

In a stunning shift of priorities, I skipped the Angel Fire MSC this year and instead ran the Bolder Boulder 10k. So today, rather than pinning it through aspen forests by myself, I jogged through city streets with 50,000 goofballs. I am proud to say I finished right in the middle.

Lee Hates Running dot com
Running and me, we are not long-time friends. Running seems like such a fundamental human skill, but it has eluded me for most of my life.

Back in the day, I was the overweight asthmatic kid who got picked last and got a doctor’s excuse from the mile run. I tried SO hard to pass the Presidential Physical Fitness test, but that dang 600-yard run … I just couldn’t do it. I was in military school back then, and that run cost me a sweet medal for my dress uniform.

As a young adult, I compensated with a few years of triathlon and 6% body fat (still … feel … fat). I put in a mediocre swim leg, pinned the bike at pro pace, then tried to survive the run. I would literally get passed by old ladies. I sucked on my feet.

When Super Ds switched from time trials to LeMans starts, I went from killing it to getting killed — I was last on the bike every time, then I had to fight for every position. I recently put in some study time, cleaned up my mechanics and have become a semi-decent runner. I can sprint well enough to start a Super D in a good position, and I jog about 30 minutes most weeks. It doesn’t always suck.

My last 10K was in a triathlon around 1990. Going into today’s adventure, I hoped to stay comfortable and be able to enjoy the experience.

Running Action Magazine

Cool! Rad! Sick!

Best t-shirt seen on course: “People ask me why I run track. I ask them, what do you do when someone fires a gun?”

Best side-line band: Some hard-looking dudes rocking out a Talking Heads cover.

Best way to get muddy and bloody: The Slip ‘N’ Slide that dropped off someone’s porch, down the grass slope, through sloppy muck and onto the sidewalk.

Best moment: Ripping down Pearl Street in a huge crowd. Music, people, color and motion everywhere. A sense of being swept along some archetypical river.

Family fun: I started the race with my kids Kate and Ian and their friend Preston. Ian and Preston have been running a lot in basketball practice; Kate has been rocking the Wii Fitness game. The Wife drove shuttle (thanks!).

Tortoise and the hares: The boys and I jogged together for a while, then they sprinted for the Mile 2 line. Kaboom! They exploded, and I kept chugging along. At Mile 3, Preston told Ian he was going to catch and beat me — and he did, by 22 seconds. Ian, more of a sprinter, came in strong at 1:06. Kate pulled off course and went back to bed.

Perfectly average: I stayed comfortable, kept a consistent pace and enjoyed the scene. It was pretty amazing to look ahead and see a sea of bobbing bodies, and to realize that I was bobbing in that same sea. Compared with downhill racing, it’s a totally different kind of awareness; just relax, find your flow and let it happen (wait, maybe it’s the same as DH).

I ran a 57:12 with an average pace of 9:13 per mile. That put me 200th out of 386 38-year-old men. Perfectly average.

And perfectly satisfying (for now.)

5 replies
  1. Seb says:

    Nice one Lee. I too was the ashmatic kid back in school – but I never got out of the run, I just wheezed along at the back with a stitch.

    However, I have found that when I do lots of running, I’m not so quick on a bike, and vice versa. Both use the legs, heart and lungs, but obviously in slightly different ways. Have you found anything similar?

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    Hey Seb,

    An asthma researcher once told me the asthma rate among Olympians is higher than the asthma rate in the general population. Why? Because athletes who conquer asthma are more likely to conquer other setbacks. Asthma makes us WINNERS! 🙂

    Fitness is a constant compromise.

    Both cycling and running build general fitness that helps any activity. But, to be really good at any activity, you have to train specifically. If you’re a high-level cyclist and you run too much at the expense of riding, your riding will suffer.

    I have never run enough for it to harm my riding. When I was a roadie and triathlete, my 1-2x weekly run or skate (usually skate) seemed to help my riding. I felt like the cross training 1) worked my aerobic system while resting my cycling muscles, 2) improved my overall strength/stability and 3) gave me a mental break. That is cross training at its best.

    These days, the factors that limit my cycling fitness (especially the sit-and-climb kind) are time and comfort. I don’t have time for mileage, and my prostate has had it with saddles. My “training” is a mix of endurance riding, running, hiking (usually with a DH bike), pump/jump, yoga, James Wilson workouts and random Feats of Strength. I’m not the World Champ in anything, but I can crank out an average 10k, contend in BMX and gravity events, lift heavy things and rip a sweet trail ride.

    If I need to peak for a certain event, I can do that. In the mean time, I’m happy to be able to do fun stuff.

  3. Chris says:

    My thirties hve just been one long session of managing injuries.

    Never again will I swim, do pushups with hands flat on the floor, do pull ups, run long distance or spend more than two hours on a road bike. I’m just so lucky that none of this stops me from mountain biking (except adopting an inferior bunny-hop technique and I can only wipe my brow with my left arm).

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  1. […] tend to let the recovering leg sit there while the power leg pushes it along. When I finished the Bolder Boulder 10K this year, I could push into the ground all I wanted, but I could barely lift my legs for the next […]

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