Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010 Zeitgeist Half Marathon

I must say I truly believe that God is great, but sometimes I don’t really appreciate His sense of humor. When I reviewed the Columbia River Marathon, I said one of the lessons I learned was that I was pretty good at hills. Well, I was promptly proven wrong. The Zeitgeist is a half marathon that demands respect. It has some very long tough hills. In fact you start off with a 3 mile climb. That first hill took so much out of me that I ended up walking a parts of this course.


Packet pickup was the same morning as the race so everyone got to show up nice and early. It was a typical fall morning in Boise. The temp was in the 40 and it was overcast, however the weather man assured me on the news that it would not start raining until the following day.


At least they had donuts, bagels and coffee to help keep you warm.


There were over 1000 runners of this half marathon. As such, they had lots of port-a-potties (and the lines where long to use them).


Here is out self photo before the start. I would title this the “Happiness of Ignorance” as neither one of use had a clue what awaited us.


As we lined up for the start, the PA system had some technical difficulties. Sadly, the announcer had no idea and all his attempts to get the crowd cheering were just not working. They started this race a little differently. They had a group of people spell out Zeitgeist. I think we were supposed to shout out the letters as they spelled it, but since the PA wasn’t working, nobody cheered along.


With the fall colors, it was a very pretty course to run. The first 3 miles are a long slow hill climb. I found this to be very difficult as with short steep hills, I can just push through them and make it to the top. But when the top is 3 miles away, it is very hard to push through.


To give you an idea of how high of a climb, these two ladies were at the top of the hill at mile three. After hearing what sounded like a Ricola commercial, I was pretty sure I must have run all the way to the top of the Swiss alps.


Mile 3 to 4 was downhill. Now when I say down hill, I mean you drop all the elevation in just one mile that you just spend 3 miles to gain. I cut lose and managed to do this mile in the quickest time.


Miles 4 and 5 were through a cute little community called Hidden Springs. My favorite part was a sign that said “If you are interested in running for city council, please see city hall before Tuesday.” I guess they are having problems getting people to run for city council in Hidden Springs.


We passed lots of horses along the course. What got me was that all the runners seamed to really upset the horses. Most were stand offish, but some were visably upset. I think I know why they were so bothered by the runners. I am sure they are all thinking “What? When did humans start running? And why don’t we get to ride on their back? This is totally unfair!!!!” I can see how that would be upsetting.


Mile six was a nice little hill. Up and down. The worse part of these hills is that you think see either flat spots or small down hills in the middle of the climb only to find out you were wrong.


Mile 7 was at the bottom of what I call “The Punisher.” This is a mile and 1/4 hill that gets steeper as you go. This was a killer hill. I ended up walking the last 1/4 miles and i was still winded when I got to the top.


But once you made it to the top, you started a nice 2 1/2 mile down hill.


This was the only part of the course that was not on paved road. It was very packed dirt so it was pretty nice to run on.


By mile 11, we were back in town. I have to say, the course was pretty well marked, with volunteers at all turning points. They even had all the mile markers out and visible.


Miles 11 and 12 were through city streets and was pretty flat. There was a nice, very short hill right at mile 13 (it was about 20 yards of running up hill). After that it was all down hill to the finish.

The after festivities include Chill, corn bread, pasta salad and Apple Crisp. There was also a beer garden and a live band.

My official chip time was 2:29:57. Given that I walked parts of the race, I am very happy with this time.

I would like to take a minute to talk about my wife. My wife also did this half marathon. She walks them so I finish before her and walk back to finish with her. I have to say she really impressed me. She was hurting so bad and was so discouraged because the sweeper car was following her (which meant she was last), but she pushed through and didn’t quit. She didn’t have her best time, but she did finish. I think that one reason we run these along endurance races is to find our limits and then push through them. I am so proud of her. Also, as we walked to the finish line together, a cat, sitting in the a grove of trees, was meowing. I told Shelly the cat was cheering her on. Also, was she crossed the finish line, everyone there yelled and cheered her on. It was so great that everyone was cheering so loud and congratulating her. Her tears of pain, turned to tears of joy.


This was a very tough race, much harder than I thought it would be. I won’t make that mistake again.

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