Another one. Perfect weather: cool, slight intermittent breeze. 50K+ runners. Memorable highlights:
1. A couple blogs ago I talked about some TOJs training. They all did what they set out to do. Mike did take enough seconds off his time to break his previous personal best. Fat Bob's mom, who, until Mile 5, felt she was running too slow, ended up taking more than two minutes off her personal best. She ran free of split times, following how she felt, and it worked. Jack, who had a serious stroke not that long ago, walked the whole race, as hoped, archived his goal, and felt great the entire time.
2. There was a new Elvis impersonator who's bound for impersonator glory. He's young and lean like the early Elvis, has a really good voice, and gets that perfect Elvis sneer on his upper lip, like: am I cool or what?
3. In these races, due to the sheer number of participants, you can't help but marvel at all the shapes, sizes, and running styles. Many were passing us, others we were passing. It's depressing when somebody waddles by you, it's exhilarating when you pass somebody who's going at a good clip.
4. Many of the people we passed, especially if they were young, were overweight. But they won't be for long if they keep doing 10Ks, and next year we won't see them at all because they'll finish ahead of us.
5. Just over 2 km into the race, you come to the belly dancers at the top of a small hill. This year I didn't stop due to a pulled calf, but slowed long enough to see that none of the women were dancing (maybe they were taking a break), just one guy, who seemed in ecstasy.
6. There were lots of TOJs of all ages. They all seemed to be doing fine and enjoying the event, whatever their speeds. There were very, very few persons who were overweight and older.
7. The elite runners from Kenya and Ethiopia have similar physiques and run with almost identical technique. It's beautiful and efficient. They lift their knees and open the angle between their thighs more than all the amateurs, so they seem to have their feet on the asphalt for minimal time. They almost fly.
8. Although the elite runners are truly amazing and certainly suffer as they fatigue, I was more impressed by some of the obese and physically handicapped who trickled into the stadium late in the race, drenched with sweat, teeth gritted. They may be slower, but endure levels of pain elite athletes will never know. These last really are first.
9. The minimalist/near barefoot craze is catching on, and maybe will stay (not what I originally predicted). There were more than ever, even a barefoot wave.
10. I was amazed by how many people were in Folsom Stadium waiting to cheer my entrance. (Oh, I just found out that the huge crowd was there were there because they ALL finished ahead of me.)
11. Every year I say this: The Bolder Boulder is run like a precision Swiss watch, even though it's all digital.
Hope to see you next year! For truly, heaven and earth will pass away, but the Bolder Boulder will abideth forever.