I don’t love running, but I love that it’s low-cost, easy to do and almost year round. I also believe it’s an efficient form of exercise. I believe this so thoroughly that I assumed running a 10K (about 6.2 miles) would burn calories. However, in the home of the fit, known as Boulder, Colorado, I was able to debunk this myth.
When I was told that a group of friends annually ran a popular 10K known as the Bolder Boulder, I said I was in and mentally reminded myself to continue running the weeks before the race. In the weeks leading up to the race, I casually asked one member of the group if they trained much for the race. He laughed in my face.
The Bolder Boulder can be a serious race. I would like to think the runners from Kenya who finished the race in 28.13 minutes took it seriously (that’s 4.34 minute miles… for 6.2 miles in a row). But the Bolder Boulder can also be a circus. That was the race I was in. And I was running for bacon.
Bacon was not the sponsored cause for the Bolder Boulder but rather my personal mission once the face-laugher told me what the race was really about. I was going to find bacon and eat it while running. Thus it came to pass that my Bolder Boulder in-race tally came to include the following: bacon (turkey and pork), cotton candy (pink), beer (Fat Tire!), Doritos (nacho cheese) and a few other items I’m sure I’m forgetting. Along the way, my motivation/cheering came from Jake and Elwood, belly dancers, way too much 80’s cover rock, bag pipes and a complete marching band, to name a few. I also hit one slip-and-slide with vengeance. It was a fabulous Monday.
Cumulatively, I’m sure the 50,000 Bolder Boulder participants burned a few calories on Memorial Day. I roughly calculated my caloric burn to be about 550 calories (using the formula .75 x your weight (in lbs.) for each mile from this Runner’s World article). But my team also ate a few, and it was fun. With our bathroom and bacon stops we finished, as a team, in one hour and 20 minutes. The Ethiopians were much (much) faster and some were much slower, but ultimately there was a lot of fun had by all and I saw more than a few people pushing themselves towards a healthy goal. If there needs to be a little bacon involved, so be it.
Saturday, September 19th marked the 5th Annual Horseshoe Challenge, a 10K and 20K race in Driggs, Idaho. Because I had decided to participate on Wednesday night, I had no time to “train” for my first competitive run ever.
I’m not a person that “loves” to run. I appreciate it for its simplicity and efficiently. A pair of shoes is remarkably little gear compared to the majority of my athletic endeavors and just 30 minutes can be enough to get your heart rate up and feel as if you accomplished some sort of exercise. I think that’s brilliant, but the activity itself is, well, boring. One foot in front of the next, plod, plod, plod. Despite this, I was interested to try it in a competitive environment and spend time with the women that invited me along, so I signed up.
The $25 registration fee went towards Teton Valley Trails and Pathways and what they called a “trail 10K” proved to be 7.5 miles instead of the standard 6.2. It was well-marked with a water station between the two significant hills. With sections of steep single-track, I truly enjoyed exploring an area I would have never ventured into on my own and although I was running without others in sight, I felt comfortable enough with the amount traffic to wear my iPod. But between tracks, I heard a steady rustling quite close and ripped my ear buds out while I spun around for the approaching moose, elk or deer. Seeing nothing, I started running again only for the rustling to also resume. It was the number pinned to the front of my shirt. Oops.
Other then the dangerous rustling sounds, the lack of anxiety over “which way is the car” was fantastic and the last two miles of downhill opened up some fantastic Teton views. They were so fantastic that I forgot to look where I was running and tripped over a menacing 1/2″ rock.
This wasn’t a slow “oh no I’m falling” type of fall. It was a “how the hell did I end up on the ground?” fall from which I jumped up and examined myself for signs that I had fallen more than signs of injury. Quickly dusting myself off, I realized that I had not only skinned both knees but my right shoulder as well. I’d gone down hard. As another runner passed me, I muttered something about “watch out for the killer rock” to which he asked if I was okay. “Just my pride, just my pride” was my sheepish response.
When my friend (who happened to place second overall) saw me approaching the finish, she jogged out to cross the line with me and my first comment was “I tripped- can you tell?”. She made sure I was okay and we laughed a little before I attacked the delicious table of yummy treats and water. The organizers waited for everyone to finish and started drawing entry forms for some pretty sweet raffle prizes. I won a Patagonia Capilne shirt right before a hornet stung my forearm.
Driving away from the trail head, I had dried blood on my knees, right shoulder and my left forearm was mottled with red and swelling considerably. But I don’t think it will be my last 10K.