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Archive for August, 2013

After the Famous Potato Half Marathon, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had unfinished business to attend to. I wanted to get back out, run another race, and conquer the gastro issues that sidelined me.  Sanity should have prevailed, but the very next weekend I had the High Desert Trail Half Marathon on my calendar. When I had decided to run the Famous Potato, I figured that the High Desert was off the table. Now that I had something to prove to myself, High Desert was back ON the table in a big way.  Still, I was wary of running another race instead of recovering from Famous Potato, and I didn’t commit to actually running the race until I woke up Saturday morning. At that point I had no doubt (except whether or not they’d take cash for a registration fee at the starting line).

I woke up, ate a granola bar, and headed off to the high desert in between Boise and Horseshoe Bend to test myself against another 13.1 mile course.  Parking is trouble at this location. There just aren’t many places to put cars, so runners’ cars end up parked alongside the dirt road leading into the start line. If you don’t mind parallel parking on a gravel road, its not a really big deal, but I overheard quite a few runners conversing about the parking conditions, and I wonder if this race can continue in this location for the long term without solving the parking problem.

Folks at race registration were friendly and happily took my cash in exchange for a number and a timing chip.  The combined crowd for the 10k and Half probably totaled 120 people, which was a nice sized group to run with after the previous weekend’s 1,000 plus.

This is the first race where I’ve actually missed the start- and this time, I did it on purpose.  After last weekend’s gastro disaster, I made sure to hit the port-o-let before the run began, and that meant starting the race in line for the bathroom.  It seems a little silly, but all I cared about was my chip time, anyway, so I was happy to start at the back of the pack.  I crossed the line about 2m:30s after the official race start and settled into a nice pace.  The race is an out-and-back trip on a good-condition Idaho high desert dirt road.  Highlights include gorgeous views of grass and flower-covered high desert hills, old farming and mining equipment, and an old mine shaft bored right into the hillside and marked by the front end of an old car.

Driving near Pearl, Idaho

Flowers in teh high desert near Pearl, ID

I’m not sure I paid enough attention to the elevation profile before signing up- wow:

HighDesertHalfElevation

1300 vertical feet down to the halfway point, then gain it all back before finishing rather gently. A few runners said that it felt as tough as Robie Creek because the elevation gain is back-loaded rather than front-loaded.  The course totaled 1731 feet of climbing, which is not something I was really prepared for, and it was easily the hardest race I’ve ever done.  I went to a walk-run strategy for most of the climbing in the second half of the race, but resumed running at the 11.5 mile mark and ended up passing a few people near the end of the race for a nice morale booster.  My final time was 2h:26m:35s, which is indeed slower than my Famous Potato time, but given the challenging course and limited recovery time since the Potato, I’m thrilled to have that time.  I think that with more hill training and foothills running, I could make a run at a 2h time next year. I will need to work on figuring out what to eat during a run in order to keep my energy up, as I struggled with that a bit during this run.

Finished the 2013 High Desert Half Marathon

My wife and son were there to cheer me on a grab a picture at the finish! The post race refreshments were great and the people were fun as we sat around waiting for the results.  I really enjoy the races put on by Jeff and the Blue Circle/Shus/City of Trees Marathon Association gang.  They have a great, relaxed atmosphere and things always run smoothly.

Chip Time: 02:26:34.8
Age Group (30-39M) 11/12
Gender Place: 27/33
Overall Place: 44/67

Event page: http://cityoftreesmarathon.com/?p=11

Course map: http://www.usatf.org/routes/view.asp?rID=515859

2013 race results: http://www.bluecirclesports.com/Results_ShowEventResults.aspx?eid=1321

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