Friday, 4 June 2010

Bolder Boulder

Apologies for the lack of update recently. Of course, had the race gone better than expected on Monday I would have been on here singing and and dancing about it.

Well it's been a crazy week. The jet-lag which I've been dreading ever since I planned this leg of the adventure didn't even have time to take a hold of me. More about that later.

Boulder was another amazing stop on this trip. The trails were very different from those that I'd come across so far, but no less spectacular. In contrast with the vast pine forests of Flagstaff, the Boulder trails were lined by deciduous trees which had just budded fresh green foliage. And like everywhere else I've visited, there was plenty of wildlife to keep me entertained on my runs.

In addition to the flat trails in south Boulder which I could access from the hotel, thanks to Angelina Ramos (a friend of a friend) I got to explore some of the higher, out-of-town routes. The views of the town from the Messa Trail were amazing, and I can see why its many people's favourite.

After the heavy mileage of the previous week, last week was a somewhat easier one, well at least from Thursday when I started tapering from Monday's big race.

Now by big race I don't mean the pinnacle of my season (well at least I hope not), but rather it's a reference to the 53,000-strong field that take part in Boulder's biggest event each Memorial Day bank-holiday. The Bolder Boulder is one of the deepest road races, in terms of quality, outside of Africa. With some 400 people breaking 40 minutes (at altitude!) for the 10km distance each year, I was hoping to get close to my PB for the distance from 2005. Alas this was not to be. I guess it was a case of 1 good week's training and you think you can take on the world. I guess 42 minutes wasn't too bad, especially considering how fresh I felt afterwards. Two months ago I would have been happy with that. And I did finish in the top 3% of the field.

After the main Bolder race, I managed to watch the elite men from the media truck that lead the race out. Watching 3 Ethiopian athletes run away from the rest of the field with considerable ease, was eye-opening. So dominant was their performance that they were able to control the second half of the race, and slow down to cross the line together, in the University of Colorado American Football stadium, which by that time was packed to the rafters with finishers from the citizens race. The whole event has definitely given me some inspiration and motivation to train even harder, and maybe one day to come back here and be one of those 400 that run faster than 40 minutes.

And so, after 64 days of living out of a suitcase; thousands of miles of air travel; 12 different airports; 13 different hotel rooms, 10 time change, and far more tacos than I care to count, part 1 of my adventure has come to an end. A seven hour overnight flight back across the Atlantic to Birmingham, was followed by the completion of yet another assignment; a lot of catching-up with friends, some birthday cake (yes I turned 31 yesterday); endless routing through bags to try find my belongings, and some manic rushing around to get to the M5 Services at Frankly by 7pm this evening. And that's where I'm now sitting, waiting for a lift to Cardiff for some races tomorrow, finally able to take a deep breath, and contemplate the next leg of this amazing journey.

Thanks to everyone who had made the trip a possibility; to those who gave me that final push to make the decision to go in first place, to those who have shared my enthusiasm for the project, and all those who have shown such generosity during the first part of the trip. And last, but my no means least, thanks to all my blog followers. It's nice to know that somebody is reading my rants and rambles.