Freakin’ Fast Half Marathon Race Recap 7/21/18

I met Kim (on the right) at my half in WA last year

I signed up for the Freakin’ Fast Half Marathon on Christmas Day of 2017. I guess that’s what Jews do while everyone else is celebrating!

I had been looking at ID halfs for a while. Since we’ve done all of New England and a few other east coast states, we’ve also started to work on the ones near WA since Mr. Judy’s mother and sister live there. Unfortunately, nothing is really close to WA!

Mr. Judy has also had a bee in his bonnet about ID — visiting, even living there, for a while. So when some Skirt Sisters wanted to know who would join them in ID — one of whom I’d met briefly when I ran my WA half in 2017 — I pressed “register”.

freakin1

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup was the morning of the race. Freakin’ Fast Half is a small local race — less than 300 runners. It was done alphabetically and wouldn’t you know that my line was the longest one there? And time was of the essence.

That’s how you look when you don’t see the photographer — and notice the road surface

The weather & dressing
ID has very low humidity, y’all. There were a few days when the dewpoint was 28! Seriously, it was heaven to run in. I wore a Skirt Sports Super Girl top (these are supposed to come back in 2019 and I can’t wait) — even though I didn’t need the extra pockets due to my hydration vest — and Cool It Skirt, one of my absolute favorite skirts from this summer; it really has gotten me through many a hot run – and race! On my feet were Newton Motion VI (the ones Mr. Judy got me off of Ebay — from England!).

Ran into another Skirt Sister — and got a ride home with her, too (notice that the road finally turned into pavement)

However, the race also started at 6:45, right around sunrise, and did I mention it also started at over 5000 ft? I had a throwaway fleece and throwaway gloves, but I didn’t bring the gloves (and didn’t need them), and ended up putting the fleece into my hydration vest, because the race starts at the top of a mountain and there really wasn’t anywhere to throw it. Turns out I didn’t really need it.

My Race Plan
Rachel @ Runningonhappy didn’t ask me if I needed a race plan and I didn’t ask for one. In fact, she kept reminding me that this was a training run. As if. So I didn’t really have a plan. Being that it’s a downhill race and I tend to do well in those, though, I’d targeted it as a PR opportunity. The RD likes to promote it that way.

When the car honked (yes, that was our start and no, it wasn’t a chip timed race — I seemed to miss that point on the Website), I started out down the mountain but quickly realized that I should probably take it somewhat easy. 2500 ft drop over 13.1 miles is steep, y’all.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 10:52. It’s downhill; yes, it felt relatively easy.
  2. Mile 2: 10:54. Unlike Wineglass (read about it here), the race thinned out quickly.
  3. Mile 3: 10:27. No idea why this was one of the fastest miles. Probably because it takes me a couple of miles to warm up.
  4. Mile 4: 10:54.
  5. Mile 5: 10:42. I think it was around this mile that the need for a pitstop made itself felt.
  6. Mile 6: 10:54. At this point I knew I just had to stop at the next aid station.
  7. Mile 7: 10:44. Finally an aid station . . . and no porta potty.
  8. Mile 8: 10:49. My mantra became “this too shall pass”. There really was no place to just get off the toad — either a wild jungle or no bushes at all. Not sure I would have done it if there had been a “private” space (guess that’s where privy comes from!).
  9. Mile 9: 11:05. I’m seriously shocked that my butt wasn’t sore from how hard I was clenching it. I didn’t eat as much as I normally do, because I was worried I wouldn’t make it to the next portapotty.
  10. Mile 10: 13:11. Pitstop. First ever in a race! I had to wait for one other woman. Hurray for a small race!
  11. Mile 11: 11:12. That felt so much better. I didn’t mention that the course had been changed just days before so that the first almost 11 miles (it was supposed to be 10 — yeah, no) were on unpaved logging roads — it finally transitioned to paved road here.
  12. Mile 12: 10:58. I know I was kind of fading here. Most of the shade was gone and the course was flattening out.
  13. Mile 13: 11:18. Where’s that finish line? Where’s that finish line?
  14. Last .09: 9:30. Well, I did sprint to the finish line so I guess mile 13 could’ve been faster. Oh well.

2:24:55 — Official Time
(about a 4 minute PR)
11:04 Average Pace

198 our of 276 runners
6 out of 14 in my AG

Posing with someone else’s medal after the race

Was the race well run?
Well, I have to say I wasn’t super impressed with the organization of the race. First off there was the fact that just a few days before the race the course was changed, due to road work on the original course.

It was changed from a regular road race to the first 10 miles (according to my Garmin, it was almost the first 11 miles) on an unpaved logging road. From the Website:

If you are a conservative or nervous runner you could consider trail shoes instead of road shoes.

Say what?

You definitely didn’t need trail shoes, but you did have to watch your feet because of rocks in the road, and there were also portions that were rather sandy (good thing I’ve done a few trail races and trained for them in a place that has lots of sand — although not this year).

The course change actually changed the drop from 3000 ft to 2500 ft — I was pretty sore after this race — thank God I chose to tape for it!

The course wasn’t closed to traffic; there weren’t a lot of cars on the road, but there were some and they kicked up a lot of dust — not a problem for me, but definitely a problem for some people.

There was a bus for the out of towners to the place where there were shuttle buses to take us up the mountain — we stayed on the bus, and more local runners got on. We left from town late, and by the time I got my bib and got on line for the six portapotties, it was already 6:20 — and the race started at 6:45.

Six might seem like enough portapotties for 300 runners, but it wasn’t. And I knew I needed to go. In fact, I needed to do both, if you get my drift. This is when I learned the race wasn’t chip timed! This information is in the Runner FAQ, but it never occurred to me to read the one about how the race is timed, and I don’t remember seeing this fact in the race description (although Mr. Judy thinks he does).

I got into the potty about race time, did one, but not the other (this would end up being a huge problem for me, as you can see from the mile by mile description), partially so I could have a good finish time, partially so that the people behind me would have time. I really have to stop being a nice person.

In the end, they started the race late. And I wish I’d known they were going to, because then I might have had time to do both and my race would probably have been much more enjoyable — and faster.

There were supposed to be 5 aid stations. Because I carry my own water, I don’t stop at aid stations, but I don’t recall seeing that many. I will say the volunteers were very enthusiastic and God bless them. and I know they had more than just water and sports drink at at least some of them.

However, by the time I got to about mile 5 I knew I had to make a pitstop for the first time in my racing career. As I said in the mile by mile recap, there was no potty at mile 7. I started eyeing the side of the road, but there seriously seemed no place to go without being in full view of anyone. It was past mile 9 already by the time I finally got some relief.

After a grueling last couple of miles on relatively flat streets with more sun, I crossed the finish line . . . and no medal. I wasn’t even quite BOTP. The medals are supposed to be mailed to those who didn’t receive them. I am still waiting.

Positives:

  1. Race tees are optional, but you do have to pay for them if you want one (I didn’t)
  2. Enthusiastic volunteers
  3. Free photos! And they were posted quickly, too
  4. Race Director responded quickly to emails
  5. Gravity (the downhill course)
  6. No turns — although there are lots of switchbacks, so you’re still running tangents, but you don’t have to worry about getting lost
  7. Hand sanitizer in all portapotties (at least, in the two I used, so I’m assuming in all)
  8. Locals willing to give out of towners a ride back into town — much appreciated!

Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:

    1. Not enough portapotties — not at the start and not on the course
    2. Started late (although in a sense that was good for me)
    3. Course change just days before the race
    4. Not chip timed
    5. Having to watch your footing on the unpaved road
    6. Some said the course was short, but my Garmin showed it almost spot on
    7. Ran out of medals

 

 

All dressed up . . . and no appetite

What I learned
This isn’t what I learned, but it’s what happened — aside from the portapotty issues, I felt okay during the race. And afterwards. But when I got back to the hotel, I didn’t feel that great. I won’t go into the details (TMI), but I think I had a rather mild case of food poisoning. Who knows? Maybe that’s why I had to make that one stop, but I don’t really know. Thankfully I felt okay before, during, and immediately after the race.

I had my post run snack that I’d brought with me, and I felt fine. I felt fine on the ride back into town. I didn’t even make a pitstop once I finished the race and waited for a ride and so on. Aside from the baked potato I ate at dinner, though, that was all I ate after the race.

And that really sucked. Because we were taken out to a very nice restaurant by someone Mr. Judy knew (who was also paying for it) . . . and I couldn’t eat.

I did use a supplement to help with the elevation: Aclimate(Amazon Affiliate link). I bought the grape flavor. Essentially it’s Nuun with some extra ingredients to help with acclimating to elevation — some of which I’d read could be helpful. I wasn’t overly fond f the taste, but it wasn’t horrible (and it didn’t bother Mr. Judy, and yes, I made him drink it too).

I found my pace didn’t suffer at all while I was running at elevation. I’ve had three years where I’ve spent a little time running at elevation — in Sedona a couple of years ago, in UT last year (read about that here), and now in ID. In both Sedona and UT my pace really suffered when I first started running at elevation (although the races went well).

I didn’t suffer from most of the usual elevation woes: no GI upset (ahem, until after the race); my resting heart rate was normal; and my pace was normal in my runs leading up to the race, too. A little trouble sleeping but definitely not as bad as I remember from UT.

Well, I trained for a PR, I hoped for a PR, and I got it — but I definitely had to work for it, even with gravity aided me! State #17 is done, and that is very possibly the only state I’ll add this year (although we’re still in discussions about a possible half later in the year).

Tor-box

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

29 thoughts on “Freakin’ Fast Half Marathon Race Recap 7/21/18

  1. I read every word of this recap and loved it! You wrote with such detail that I felt like I was right there with you! Huge congrats to you Judy! That is an awesome time for a half marathon. I do find it odd that a Half Marathon was not chip timed. Did they tear the number off your bib as you crossed the finish line? Is that how you got a time? I did a 10k once that was like that.

    I am extremely appalled that they ran out of medals. A. Especially when you registered ahead of time and B. 2:24 is NOT BOTP. That is just poor planning.

    Congrats again! I know when I have a good race time it gets me excited about doing my next race. Do you have that feeling? -M

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Meranda! The race was gun time. They said they just couldn’t put a mat up on the mountain, so they start the clock and record the time from your chip at the finish. Except I didn’t know that until right before the start!

      Apparently they ran out of medals last year, too . . .

      Since the next race is much longer than I’ve done, and there’s a time limit, there’s more anxiety (than usual) and less excitement — especially since the weather has been so ugly.

      Saturday’s run at least has me confident that I can meet the time limit as long as nothing gets injured and it’s not an insanely hot day.

      I’m sure I’ll be excited before the race start. 🙂

      Like

  2. Congrats on the PR! That’s impressive you got it even with the need for a pit stop. I hate that they ran out of medals and didn’t have enough portapotties. That would have really annoyed me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It really irks me when races aren’t well organized. 6 porta potties at the start? So not enough. Bay to Breakers didn’t have any near my corral, and boy did I have to go. At least Idaho is done and you can check it off your list.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent job on the PR! If you didn’t have to work for it, though, would it mean as much? Is it possible the elevation meds you mentioned could have affected the GI issues? All that running in the heat can wreak havoc in odd ways, and if it’s a product you’ve never tried before …(?). I seldom ever have an appetite after a long race like that, especially if it’s been hot and my tummy may have had a little distress.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I considered whether or not the supplement (not medicine) could be the culprit. But I’d been taking it for more than a week at the point, which included a lot of runs. No problems. Granted, they weren’t a race — but Mr. Judy also had no problems and quite frankly, the symptoms were really quite in line with food poisoning. Thankfully it was mile enough that I didn’t feel the need to go to a dr (but still definitely not pleasant) and they had resolved enough that I was able to run the Monday following the race.

      While I am often not very hungry after a long race either, this was very, very different. And hopefully nothing I’ll ever experience again!

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  5. Congrats on state #17 and that big PR! How much time would you have gained if the course were chip timed? 300 runners isn’t a big field. I’ve run many “old school” halfs with gun time. I never really cared about the 10 or 20 seconds added to my time. An inadequate number of porta potties is definitely no bueno. Look who’s creeping up in her age group…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I’d known they were going to start the race late . . . well who knows, hindsight is a wonderful thing (and as it was I lost those 2 minutes to the pitstop anyway).

      They were actually suggesting that people just cop a squat somewhere before the start & I was like no thank you.

      I did forget to mention that the person who was fifth in my age group was 20 minutes ahead of me. 🙂

      Like

  6. Congrats on a big PR on a race that was only a training run and with a pit stop.

    Doesn’t sound like an enjoyable experience from start to finish.

    Rnr Brooklyn had one porta potty for each corral of 1000. Runners just squatting everywhere. Ugh.

    Many halfs esp small ones do not have chip timing because it is so expensive.

    No excuse about the medal. They know the registration numbers.

    Hope your next big race goes better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1 portapotty for 1000? That’s inexcusable. Geez, that’s almost 3 x the entire number of runners for this race!

      They did have a chip, but had to use gun time due to not being able to get a timing mat up on the mountain.

      People actually seem to really like this race; I’d read good things about it — but I’ve also heard that this was the second year they’d run out of medals. I’m not even that bling-motivated but I do like to get handed my medal at the end of a race!

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  7. Congrats on the PR! That’s frustrating about the course change, but if ID does road construction anything like MT does, the race organizers probably found out about it at the last minute too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So much detail. I can almost imagine every step of the race. I would be totally bummeb about the lack of chip timing. I also will not usually run races where the roads aren’t closed. Too scary for me. Glad you were able to snag a PR. I love that you listed thing to take away from this race, even though your were told not to “race it”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have actually done quite a few races that weren’t closed to traffic, and as far as that goes, this one wasn’t really bad. I did one on a small road with basically no shoulder — that one was really nerve wracking!

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  9. Congrats on your PR. Amazing that you were able to still PR, even with not feeling 100%.
    Seems like the race could definitely use more organization in the future. Hopefully they will listen to your feedback!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congrats on your PR! I always enjoy your recaps. When I ran the Love Run Half Marathon earlier this year, I had my first pit stop ever as well! I’m sorry you had those GI issues but you really ran a great race! For a while I was thinking ID was Indiana, not Idaho….I gotta work on my geography, lol! Sounds like this race is a one and done.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations on such a huge PR Judy! Apparently downhill races are YOUR thing! 🙂

    The lack of potty’s is just unacceptable in any race! As to the timing mat ….they’re were timing mats all over the mountain we ran down in Denver ..which started at 10,500 ft! Why could they not put one on that mountain I wonder?

    Anyhoo… you did great and ticked off another state! So proud of you lady!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, that was the explanation they gave us about the timing mat. I dunno! I still don’t even understand how you not only did a marathon with that kind of drop, but PR’d it — even though I can understand how downhill can help, I think I’d be in such pain after 13.1 miles of that punishment.

      Thanks, Teresa! And yes, my body just loves a downhill. For a half, anyway. 🙂

      Like

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