Sea Level is for Sissies!

And now, another post from guest writer Peggy...

I've lived in Boulder about 10 months now and while I think I've assimilated well to my surroundings, there was one thing that I still needed to do to feel like a true native: run the Bolder Boulder. For those of you who don?t know, the Bolder Boulder is the largest 10K IN THE COUNTRY.

This year, just under 52,000 people (yes, you read that right) took part in the race/party.
You may recall that I ran my first half marathon (13.1 miles) on May 3rd, so a 10K (6.1 miles) should be a piece of cake, right? Well for most folks, the answer is yes. But my lack of consistent running since May 3rd coupled with a nasty week-long stomach bug right before the race had me wondering if I would finish. Still, I was excited to try.

So this morning, Kurt and Chloe dropped me off at the runner drop-off area and I found my "wave" (with 52,000 people running, each person was placed in a wave roughly determined by their approximate finish time / overall pace). At 7:30 AM sharp, my wave was called to the post (yep, with the trumpet, just like the Kentucky Derby) and we proceeded to be slapped on the butt and high-fived by uniformed members of the Colorado National Guard... if THAT doesn't psych you up to run your best on Memorial Day of all days, NOTHING will. The starting gun went off, and my running of the 31st Annual Bolder Boulder had begun.

To say that this was a serious race for most of the runners is a stretch... it was a PARTY through the streets of Boulder. Some highlights:
* Bands playing at roughly 1/2 mile intervals including a DEAD ON Blue Brothers duo at Mile 1... so good that the runners were clapping for THEM!
* Two troops of fully costumed belly dancers accompanied by tribal drumming.
* Being passed by three Elvises and two gorillas.
* Partaking at the "Beer, Bacon and Watermelon" station at mile 3, manned by some friendly neighbors in bath robes.

I caught up with Kurt and Chloe at mile 5 and continued on to the finish, which ended at Folsom Field, the football stadium at the University of Colorado. I saw my face on the jumbotron and sprinted to the finish! After getting my complimentary snack bag and beer, I met up with Kurt, Chloe and some friends of ours to watch the other runners enter the field. I got a lump in my throat seeing a group of National Guardsmen in fatigues and combat boots running in carrying the flag and was dumbstruck to see an additional group of soldiers run in with fully-loaded back packs. I found out later that this 6.1 mile run with 50 pound packs was a pretty easy one for them?they are used to running 12 miles with 90 pound packs.

It was a great day and I can now wear my "Sea Level is for Sissies" shirt with pride. Boulder rocks!

(Some pictures from the day can be seen here. A quick note about Chloe's headwear: it was chosen to make it easy to find her and Kurt - he was wearing one, too - in the crowd.)

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