FitOne Half Marathon 2019

The FitOne Half Marathon takes place in Boise every September. They offer a killer deal on National Running Day in June where you can sign up for $20. I couldn’t pass that up, so I signed myself and Cyndi up. I had never run it before, so I was looking forward to the flat, fast course this year.

After the Jack and Jill’s Downhill Marathon in late July I took about two weeks off of running to try to let my Achilles heal (didn’t work). Hood to Coast was the only race I’d done since then, so beginning in mid-August I was able to get some decent training in. I didn’t think I was quite back up to the shape I was in during the spring, but I was feeling pretty good and looked forward to getting a decent half marathon time.

One thing going against me was the cruise that I went on the week before. Besides eating way too much food, I did a pretty tough (but awesome!) run on the Monday before the FitOne Half Marathon. My run was on Catalina Island and included 1800 feet elevation gain and loss.

We also walked around touring, danced a bit, and I forced myself to walk countless stairs on the boat to try to offset some of my eating (elevators off limits). This all had me coming off the cruise fairly worn out.

That said, I took it easy on Friday and felt that I could still hit a decent time. I had run the Famous Idaho Potato Half Marathon at a 5:57 pace, and I thought I could do FitOne between 6:05 and 6:10/mile.

Between the 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon there are thousands of FitOne participants, and therefore they hold a large Expo. This year it was a JUMP downtown. They were lots of booths with various running, fitness, and nutrition offerings. We took our kids and two of them got free bike helmets.

On Saturday Cyndi and I woke up early and drove downtown to get ready for the 7:15am start time. We ran into our friends, Julie and Chad, and talked to them before the start. Chad and I did a little warm up around the Idaho state capitol building. When I lined up I noted there were a few really fast guys that I know from the area. I introduced myself to one of them who I had only seen on Strava and who I figured would win (he did).

As usual, I tried to take it easy when the race started. I was successful and I ran the first mile in 6:04, which was right about on target. I fell in behind a group of three guys in about 10th place. Mile 2 was a 6:01 pace. I felt pretty good and thought that I could probably get at least a 6:05 average for the race.

Mile 3 swings up near the old penitentiary, with some uphill followed by downhill. On the downhill I sped up and passed the group of three I had been following. My next two miles were nearly the fastest of the race for me, 5:56 and 5:57. I felt good and the guys I had just passed were right behind me. We were also still not too far behind a few runners ahead of us.

Mile 6 was a little slower at 6:02. During Mile 7 there is a 180 degree turn where you pass runners up to ~150 yards ahead and behind you. I cheered for my high school classmate, Kenny, who was ahead of me, and then I cheered on Chad who was behind me.

After Mile 7, which I completed in 6:03, we started a very gradual downhill portion that followed the Boise River. At about this time, one of the three guys I had passed sped up slightly and passed me back. Mile 8 was 5:59 and Mile 9 was 6:02. I hoped that I could catch some of the runners I could still see ahead during the last few miles, but that wasn’t to be. I was starting to tighten up in my hips and didn’t feel that I could give a lot more.

Apparently I slowed slightly during Mile 10 and Mile 11, coming in at 6:05 in each of those. At the end of Mile 11 we merged with the 10K runners and started up the Boise Depot hill. I worked hard up the hill and managed to run Mile 12 in 6:04. I closed the distance on the runners ahead of me, but then I got a little light-headed at the top of the hill.

Everyone sped up during the final mile, which had some downhill. I managed to run a 5:49 pace, but the runners ahead of me sped up more and widened the gap back out.

The course was short, about 12.95 miles. I came across in 8th (or 9th?) place with a pace of 6:01 (according to my watch).

I was happy with the time, and it makes me think that I have a great base going into the winter training. I feel like maybe I held back a little too much in some of the middle portion of the race. Perhaps I could have gone a few seconds faster, but overall it was a good race. I’m hoping that next year I can PR again.

Chad came in shortly after me and he was very happy with his time and performance. I had to take one of the kids to an activity, so I jogged back to the car and I wasn’t able to watch Cyndi come in. She was also happy with her sub-2:00 time. I found that I was already really tightening up as I jogged back to my car. (Cyndi got a ride home with Chad and Julie, as planned.)

What makes FitOne Half Marathon fun is that there are lots of runners. It’s a big race and well organized. There were plenty of volunteers at every little turn, a good Expo, and a good finish area. The course is OK, but it’s very similar to other races in Boise (Famous Potato, St Patrick’s Day Run), so it’s not a noteworthy course. However, the price is right. For $20 I can definitely see myself doing this race again in years to come.

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