Friday, May 30, 2014

Idaho Half Marathon Is Done...And Not Soon Forgotten

There could be nothing more perfect than clear skies and 50 degree temperatures on race day morning.  Add to this a truly kick-butt route skimming the shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene and you have a nearly perfect race experience.

The start line was just steps outside the doors of Coeur d'Alene Resort where I was staying so I had the luxury of staying in my room, eating a leisurely light breakfast of Cheerios, strawberries, a banana and water, then walking outside and toward the crowd of other runners waiting for the half marathon portion of the race to start.  The full distance marathon runners started 1/2 hour earlier than the half marathon runners, so these were just the 13.1 milers mingling and waiting.  I found our little group of Half Fanatics just in time for the group photo and then we scattered to our respective self-seeded positions in the start chute to await the gun to go off.
Runners from our Half Fanatics club, doing this race

This is at about 2200 feet elevation so I was a little concerned, but it really didn't affect me and I hardly noticed the difference as we started off on a slight uphill section before turning toward the lake and picking up the Centennial Trail, a paved pedestrian way that hugs the shoreline.  Some runners don't like out-and-back routes, but I rather like them, giving me a chance to see the marathon runners as they came back in the opposite direction and then, later, seeing the speedier half marathon runners coming back.

About a half mile before the turnaround point, I saw my friend coming back toward me.  So she was about a mile ahead of me, maybe a little less than that.  The course had two long hills which of course we had do do in both directions, but they were gradual enough that I could run sections of the inclines.

My Garmin GPS tracks

I wear a Garmin GPS watch which records my time and distance and maps my route along the way.  After I made it past the turnaround point, I noticed that my GPS watch was not agreeing much with the mile marker signs.  It had up until that point, but now it would mark the mile well before I reached the sign.  As I neared the last turn for finish line area, my watch was well past the 13.1 or 13.2 mile distance and I still had what looked to be a couple of tenths of a mile to go as I made the final left turn toward the park and the finish.  Sure I crossed the finish line I pressed the stop button on my watch.  Total distance:  13.5 miles.  Usually my watch will read somewhere between 13.1 and 13.2 miles for most races.  The measured distance for any USTAF course is always going to be done using the most direct tangents which no runner can replicate, hence the usual slight overage on my watch.  But 13.5 miles for what should be a 13.12 mile course definitely indicates the course was mismarked, most likely the turnaround point was placed too far down the road.

That aside, it was a great event!  I did it in good time.  Not my fastest, not my slowest, just average.  Now I can color in the state of Idaho on my 50 States-50 Half Marathons map and hang the lovely medal on my now-groaning medal rack!

The medal:
Finisher medal

What the map looks like how the Pacific Northwest area is starting to fill in:

Next:  A week as sole caretaker of the grandkids!

1 comment:

  1. Taking care of the grandkids should be a cake walk compared to the back to back half marathons.

    Glad the weather cooperated.