I’ve run a fair bit of road races. I’m not very fast. There may be speedy snails that can beat me, but dang it, I enjoy it! I’m driven by the thrill of getting that finishing medal, the desire to have a wardrobe consisting exclusively of race shirts, and the fact that I want to eat all the time without weighing as much as a pair of hippos.
Overall, my favorite races have been part of the Final Kick series, which holds races in Idaho's Treasure Valley. The Freakin Fast Half is one such race. You take a bus to the top of Bogus Basin Road in the Boise area, and you run downhill. It’s basically impossible not to get a PR on this race. When I ran it in 2016, I finished in just over two hours. If only I’d managed about two seconds faster per mile, I would have broken that two-hour mark. See, I told you. I’m slow. A pair of snails crossed the finish line about 20 minutes before me. Despite that, it was my fastest time to that point by several minutes.
I almost made it in under two hours. Maybe if the snails had taunted me more...
The race is pretty easy as half marathons go. The next day, I did feel like various joints from the hips on down had remained at the top of the road in protest. However, the run itself seemed pretty low impact at the time. (Also, the fact that I wear running shoes way too long before replacing them *may* have contributed to the joint rebellion the following day. Replace your shoes in a timely fashion, guys!)
An emcee made jokes at the start line. There were a lot of people waiting to use the limited portapotties, so they pushed back the start by a few minutes. They wanted to make sure no one was going to be doing an interesting potty dance-running combo down the hill. Aw. It was considerate. When the bladders were relieved and the run began, there was a beautiful, scenic quality to it. The surrounding landscape was great running company. It was also not quite time for the sunrise, and once the sun did rise, we were mostly in the shadows for quite some time. Anyone who does a summer race can rejoice when they’re not being personally victimized by the sun. It makes waking up at 4 a.m. on a Saturday totally worth it.
Once we crossed the finish line, there was a ton of food. If you acted interested enough in a random sponsor, you could get a donut, too! They also had actual good things for refueling afterward, like healthy foods, blah blah blah. It’s all about that processed sugar.
If you want to run a half marathon, check out the Freakin Fast Half. You won’t regret it! …Even if there are no sponsors with donuts at the end. The finishing medal and shirt are awesome enough to make you momentarily forget about sweets.
Not the best photo of the shirt. It is not, in fact, underwater.