Wayne’s World

26 05 2009

Another post from world-traveling F4 athlete Wayne Itano

A Stopover in Boulder and Running the Bolder Boulder (Wayne)

By waynechrisitano

Memorial Day, Monday May 25, 2009
It’s hard to believe, but my stay in Australia is over, and I am back in Boulder for a few days before I leave for Japan next Monday. My trip back to the US was relatively uneventful. The flight from Sydney to Los Angeles was a little late, so I missed the connecting flight to Denver and had to take another one about 5 hours later.

I am staying at our house in Boulder, and the couple who are renting it from us (who happen to be Australian) have been gracious hosts. There is something strange about being in a house which is almost like you remember it, but not quite, surrounded by people who are not your family. It reminds me of the movie “Family Man” and also an episode of the Twilight Zone. It’s strange, but then, things have been strange for so long that strange seems normal.

In Boulder, Memorial Day means it’s time for the Bolder Boulder. The Bolder Boulder is a 10K race with around 50,000 participants. For a town of 100,000, this is a big event.  It is one of the largest races in the world. I have run it more times than I can remember. Last year was my best. I had a time below 47 minutes and placed 9th out of about 270 men my age. This year my time was over 5 minutes slower, but I was still satisfied. Let me explain. Racing is all about doing the best you can for the shape you happen to be in on that particular day. Since February, I have not been able to train as much as I normally do, mainly because of all the trips we made in Australia, which have been the subjects of many of the blog posts. I ran 3 or 4 days a week when we were not traveling, but hardly at all when we were traveling. This is less than half the volume of running that I normally do, and there was hardly any speed work. I ran a 10K race in Sydney in April in 49:21.   That race had a hilly profile, rather like the Bolder Boulder, but it was at sea level. If anything, I am in worse shape now, and the greater-than-mile-high altitude of Boulder hurts performance. Thus, my goal (the best I thought I could do) was 51 minutes. My unofficial time (it’s too early for the official time) was 52:01.
The Bolder Boulder website gives the following times for my mile splits:
mile 1  7:59
mile 2  8:18
mile 3  8:28
mile 4  8:28
mile 5  8:19
mile 6  8:41

Last 0.2 mile: 1:50

Total time: 52:01  Average time per mile: 8:22

According to my heart rate monitor, my average heart rate was 176 beats per minute and the maximum heart rate for the race was 185.

The way to run a good Bolder Boulder is to run the first mile at about the same pace as the average for the entire race, slow down a little for miles 2 and 3 because they are mostly uphill, pick up the pace a bit for mile 4, which is mixed uphill and downhill, go really fast for mile 5, which is all downhill, and try to keep up the pace for the last mile, which starts downhill but ends with a nasty uphill.  I made the mistake of going out too fast the first mile, 23 seconds faster than the average pace.  I paid for this with slower paces near the end of the race.  I think that if I had not gone out so fast in mile 1, I would have more than made up the time in miles 5 and 6.  So I think I ran a good race, but not a perfect race, and I might have shaved 30 seconds off with more intelligent pacing.

I’m not sure what to make of the heart rate data.  It is higher than normal for a 10K.  It seems that my average was about 94% of my maximum heart rate of about 187.  At last year’s Bolder Boulder, which I ran much faster, my average heart rate was 163 and the maximum was 174.  I think the high heart rate reflects my being in poor aerobic condition.  It also shows that I couldn’t have pushed myself much harder, although I could have had a better time by better pacing.  187 is the maximum heart rate that I have actually reserved.  In my case the commonly used formula (maximum heart rate = 220 – age in years) is quite inaccurate.  That would predict a maximum for me of 163, which I can greatly exceed.

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