On the Run: Bold, not beautiful
BOULDER ” Your girlfriend (and running partner) backed out a week before the Bolder Boulder, saying she couldn’t take the time off from work. Your old high school friends tactfully turned down your last-minute requests for a running partner, citing a dearth of training.
“No way in hell,” one said Saturday night over drinks at one of Boulder’s finer establishments.
“I just took up smoking again,” another lamented. “No thanks.”
Good point. Standing at the starting line Monday morning, you found yourself wondering why you hadn’t done the same, instead of taking up running again.
The thought only lasted a few seconds. Then the starting gun went off.
Before the race, you’d told friends and family that your goal was to beat your time from the sixth grade. That was the last time, as far as you remember, that you’d seriously trained for your hometown’s famed 10K. You’ve done the race numerous other times since then, but never with the same determination.
You ran it on a lark four years ago with some friends, sans a single day of training, and slugged free beers handed out along the route to try to dilute the sure pain you knew you were going to feel the next day. Didn’t help. You felt 96 years old the next morning.
This year was different. Aside from a 12-day layoff while relaxing on the beach in Mexico, you’ve been running about every other day for the past five weeks. Girlfriend or no girlfriend, you decided to be Bold. Bolder than your friends, at least, who assuredly slept in Monday morning. You entered the race just to see how in shape you were, with a goal of finishing in less than an hour.
Two miles in, you began to question that motivation. You were way off your set pace of nine-minute miles and without a partner to pick you up. Another four miles felt insufferable.
Something happened after you slogged through that third mile, however. Maybe you’d finally sweat out all the whiskey from that Saturday night out on the town. Maybe your iPod playlist finally woke you up. Maybe it was the face-painted 10-year-old boy in your wave who was smoking you. Whatever it was, you finally started running like you knew you were capable.
You ran the fourth mile in nine minutes, seven seconds, then followed with a blazing ” at least by your standards ” fifth mile in 8:48. You closed the deal by running the final mile in exactly 9 minutes. (Hey, at least you got one out of six right).
It wasn’t pretty, but you finished in 56 minutes, 57 seconds.
Take that, sixth-grade time. Now you’ve got a new mark to best next year when you’re back in Boulder.
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