Sometimes, the Universe aligns and graces you with experiences that surpasses your expectations. Sometimes, those experiences lead you to learn new things about yourself. And sometimes, if you’re really lucky, the Universe will throw in a few giant jogging chipmunks and penguins for perspective. And when the experience is over, you swear that you’re happier, and that the world would be happier, too, if there were more giant jogging penguins. Personally, I vote for giant jogging koala bears. Such was the blast I had at last weekend’s ColderBolder, the companion 5k race to the BolderBoulder10k.
This year, the ColderBolder turned out to be…not very cold. Well, “not very cold” as Colorado would define it anyway. Last year’s race temp was a balmy -5˚. For the record, it is highly likely I would have wussed out if it had been THAT cold this year. Fortunately the temperature at race time was 42˚, and although walking to the start was a bit chilly, the view made it worth it. The course takes runners through the University of Colorado’s beautiful Boulder campus, which has a front and center view of the Flatirons.
After the epic fail at my company Turkey Trot a few weeks back, I was determined to make this race count. I’d planned carefully, made sure I had all my gear, and was eager to try out my first pair of compression socks. We arrived forty-five minutes before my start time and had some time to check out the expo. I’d already picked up my packet so we bypassed that long, but fast-moving, line.
The crowd was cheerful and energized, and not nearly as big as the BolderBoulder (BB10K) even though the race had sold out. We headed toward Blach Field House to see the finish line and check out the vendors. There weren’t many booths, but I totally spied the beer booth despite it being 9:30 in the morning.
We bumped into my aunt Sandra and my soon-to-be-new-uncle Bill who is an avid runner. After chatting for a few minutes, Bill and I left to head to the start, while my husband and aunt found a place to cheer. Indoors. Where it was warm.
Bill and I lined up with our wave and I assured him that I was as slow as molasses, and to please not wait for me. He assured me he wouldn’t. And he didn’t either! We heard the gun shot and he was off! Go, Uncle Bill, go!
The first mile was great; my legs felt strong and my new shoes that I’m still getting used to felt like springy pillows on my feet. My asthma combined with the cold air, however, didn’t make for a happy Jenn. I wasn’t far into that first mile before I had to start alternating jogging with walking. I tried to walk as little as possible, and when I did run I tried to be conscious of my form and pace. I’ve been working on following the Chi Running Technique, and I do feel as though it helped my speed and enhanced my comfort while running this race.
Miles two and three were fun! I was feeling determined despite my difficulty breathing. When I was running, I felt like I was flying past everyone! I can honestly say I’ve never felt that free running, and I think I caught an inkling of that running addiction thing. Plus, I could NOT STOP giggling at the running penguins and their bobbing tails. Clearly, I was suffering from runner’s joy.
I powered though as much as I could and puffed on my inhaler more than I would have liked, but still felt strong at the finish. The third mile marker gave me the push I needed and I picked up my pace. The course support and volunteers were great, and there were quite a few spectators cheering us on for that last half mile. It’s really amazing what a little love from the crowd and positive race energy can do for you! As I turned the corner to the finish line, I spotted my husband , aunt, and Bill cheering for me. It was nice to have some friendly faces and a bit of love at the race. I think that made this race my happiest finish yet!
When it was all said and done, I was pretty darn pleased with myself. My official time was 38:29 and pace was 12:23. I will so take that action. This race was a blast and it taught me that I may not perform at my best in the winter cold, but I can still have fun and get out there. Favorite perks of this race were the cute pink and blue hat, and of course, beer. I am officially one of the cold and the bold.
What winter races are you looking forward to this season? DO YOU LIKE HATS TOO?