Sunday, October 21, 2012

GUEST POST! L's Recap of Boulder Half Marathon

Boulder Half Marathon
October 21, 2012
Half #82
Temperature-mid 60’s

***While I was suffering in the crazy heat running the Palo Duro 50k, L was going to be running the Boulder Half Marathon***

This is the for real race bib. FOR REAL.
I registered for this race waaayy back in February. There is a version of this race in April with the exact same course which I did and HATED. The course goes along the Boulder Backroads and it’s all out in the open with the heat blaring down on you. There is not much to look at and since it’s an out and back I got to enjoy the lack of scenery twice. So needless to say… I was not looking forward to this race. I had already decided my next goal after completing all the states was to do every half in Colorado so I could not back out of this one.

Woke up at 6:10 since the start was not until 8. I remember right when I went to bed I forgot (or so I think I forgot) to pull out my headphones so I was reminding myself that was the first thing I needed to do when I woke up. Alarm goes off and I look for my headphones and I can’t find them. I spend about 10 minutes trying to figure out what I could have done with them and then just gave up feeling really annoyed. I grabbed my race belt, handheld from the counter and what do you know… my headphones were right there. I don’t remember putting them there at all. Ha. Rush out the door to meet Ruth at 24 Hour Fitness so we can carpool to the race. We both pull up early at the exact same time. Boulder is about 20 minutes away so I thought we would get there about 7.

After an uneventful drive we reach the Boulder Reservoir turn at exactly 7. Am I good or what? We notice it is slow moving and we find out later that it was because there was no one directing traffic and we all had to wait for lights to change. People were driving in from all directions. After about 20 minutes of not really moving I start to get a little twitchy. We still have to pick up our bibs and use the port-a-potties. We are never going to make it. Then the jerks started driving all the way to the front and aggressively pulling in behind those of us who have been waiting there forever. I made my mean hand gestures a lot. So inconsiderate. After 32 minutes we make it through the light and then it’s a dead stop on the one way road. It’s still 1.5 miles to the parking lot with less than 30 minutes till the start. The chick in front of us gets out of the car and starts running to the start. (FYI she beat us there by a lot. Pretty sad a runner can out run a car. We did see her on the course and she was one of the top 10 females.)

Finally at 7:45 we park the car at the edge of the parking area. We head to pick up and see a huge amount of people waiting for their bibs. After 10 minutes we hadn’t moved more than a foot and its 8. The announcer said they were going to delay to start by a little bit to accommodate the extra 500 people who did last minute registration.

This is the line at packet pick-up - 5 minutes after race should have started
Finally get to the counter at 8:18 where we see that that even though it was separated by last name all the volunteers had to go to a table in the middle to grab stuff. What is the point of separating lines to make it faster if all the bibs are together? The race also started at 8:18 and they were going to start the 5 mile at 8:30. They announce they are going to have to deactivate the timing mats for when the next race lined up so we race to the port-a-potties which surprisingly had absolutely no lines. We then try to figure out what to do with our stuff. There bag drop off was not ready and we had our swag bags and none of our other race stuff.

We run through the start with me holding my bib and swag bag. The course goes past the parking lot so once we thought we knew where the car was we hop over the flags and head to the general area of the car. Don’t see it. Go aisle after aisle with no success. Finally I start hitting my panic button and finally hear it. We get ready and see a poor woman who also did what we did though she really was having a hard time finding her car. I never did see her again. Head to the course again with not very many people ahead of us. When you start way after the race starts the first people you come up to are the walkers.

The course is pretty much a gradual incline the first half and I just was not feeling it. I was cranky from the chaos and I failed to mention that around 7 I started complaining I needed to use the restroom. All you fellow runners know what I am talking about so I will not go into details but needless to say… holding it for over an hour caused my stomach to be very angry. I had a massive stomach ache for the first few miles. There is no shade on the course so it was hot, hot.

Hit the first aid station a little over 2 miles. From what I remembered from the race I did in April was that they do not have a lot of aid stations and they are not usually very good so at least I remember my handheld. They had water, Gatorade and bananas. The course flattens out and just goes a long one long road. The next aid station comes up a little after mile 4 and the winner comes zooming past me. I wish I were him. This aid station had GU so I stole a couple. I love Vanilla Bean. Finally hit the turn-around and notice everyone has to fill up their cups because there aren’t any volunteers. Huh.

Pretty much the second half of the race was the same as the first so I wouldn’t go into any more boring details. The aid stations seemed to have lost their staff so for the rest of the race it was fill up yourself. The faster marathoners started passing me around mile 9. (They started on time at 7.)

Run up a big hill and it’s the home stretch. I had started map my run after we had dropped everything off at the car and I still got a distance of 13.49 miles. The mile markers seemed to be off the second half by a lot. Not sure how that can happen with an out a back. 

(Her mapmyrun time was 2:24:45, 13.49 miles. She didn't turn on her app until after they found the car, so who knows what the offiical time will be).

Ruth had Gatorade waiting for me at the finish. Had to take the chip off the bib to return it and then got my medal. Head to the food area and notice all that’s left are squishy bananas and some mini Larabars. (There you go B. I stole 3 just for you.) There was a meal ticket on the bib but no meals left. They ran out of everything. I feel sorry for the marathoners.

We head back to the car and notice the chaos of everyone trying to leave. It’s going to be like getting in all over again. Oy. It takes us over 10 minutes to get in the line of traffic from our row. 

Line of cars waiting to leave
The guy in front of us gets out of his car and runs down the hill. We are trying to figure out what he is doing. The sly guy apparently found a short cut. I told Ruth if more than one car followed him I would follow too. My car is just a little VW Rabbit that is not 4 wheel drive so driving down non roads is not ideal. We make it to the bottom where there is a separation of haystacks just wide enough to fit cars right by the exit. There is someone directing traffic since its coming from 2 directions. She did not like those of us who took the detour and refused to add us in to the rotation. I snuck through between her changing the directions of traffic and she yelled at me for going an unauthorized way. What are you going to do about it lady? There were a ton of people doing it and I couldn’t take anymore. Gave her a piece of my mind and left. Traffic was nothing.


Note race director- Account for how many people are doing the race and accommodate. Do not send out 3-4 emails a week a month before the race starts and then be “surprised” people register at the last minute. Direct traffic and make it easier to get in and out. Don’t have 3 distances with 3 different start times.

(L would like to add that they sent out MULTIPLE emails promising pint glasses - which no one got)


  1. Nice recap, L. Maybe B will let you come back and report on a positive race experience??

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