Welcome to my recap of my latest marathon, the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon! This is my 14th marathon and 6th state for marathoning!
If you are looking for a race in Idaho or you are really into potatos, this race will not disappoint. Overall it was a well organized and supported yet local feeling race put on by the YMCA in the area.
Let's start with the expo!
The expo was at the host hotel, the Riverside Hotel in Boise, ID. It was easy and had a few vendors there. I got my bib and my swag and then went over and grabbed my shirt. I really love staying at the hotel where the expo was, it made things so easy!
After relaxing for a bit we then grabbed a bite at a local brewery, Cloud 9.
Some rolling out of muscles, some Skratch and an early bedtime got be focused for race day!
So after some transportation issues (I thought when they said buses they meant multiple buses starting at 5:30 am but they actually meant 1 bus at 5:30 and another one later for the 5k and 10k group, whoops) I got to the start area with about 20 min to spare. The morning was crisp and the surroundings were beautiful since we started in Lucky Peak State Park. I had just enough time to use the bathroom and get into some semblance of a corral. It was self seeded and a bit crowded so the corrals weren't the most organized.
The National Anthem was played and we counted it down!
The beginning of the race was a bit clustered so it was hard to get into the flow. Since runners were self-seeded at the start by pace it added to the congestion. We ran through the state park and headed onto the Greenway that runs through Boise. First half of the race felt great once I got into my groove. When I went to grab my first gel at mile 5 I realized I had dropped one, oh no! I usually take one gel every 5 miles until mile 20 and this meant I had to space them differently to stretch them. I was feeling good and this wasn't going to hold me back plus the water and electrolyte stops were plentiful and well supported (every 2 or so miles) so I could use those more if needed.
Once we got to the half point, the half mararthoners peeled out and the marathon continued on the final out and back. When the half marathoners left the pack it was a bit lonely, there was one person about 300m infront of me but that was it. I caught a couple of people but for the most part I had to stayed focused and run my own race. It's really hard to run alone and feel like you are still in a race. Like really hard. I had worked hard and trained and I wasn't going to let something small like this get in my way. This is my day!
We continued on the greenway until mile 19.5 where we turned around and double backed. It was actually really fun to be running back and pass runners. Everyone was super friendly and low-key. At one point I picked up a "friend" that I couldn't shake. A runner who was struggling a bit decided to silently run right next to me. Well not silently. He was breathing hard, his feet were heavy and he was swinging across his body a bit, clearly struggling. He didn't seem to want to chat, he just stayed right beside me for a mile. If I sped up, so would he. If I slowed down, so would he. It's going to sound mean because I shouldn't have minded becuase it didn't really affect me but it was really annoying and was not helping me focus on my race. I have used others to pace before but usually I'll follow from a few feet behind and just keep the gap consistent. I don't normally run shoulder to shoulder, while coughing and spitting.
Anyways, after a bit he saw a friend who was heading out so he stopped to chat with her for a bit. Game on. Time to focus and finish this thing. There was a BQ in my sights! I had run the first half in about 1:46 so this was happening. I could feel it and I was ready to fight for it.
The minutes were getting close and I knew if I didn't kick it in high gear for the final stretch I might miss my goal. I finished the out and back and started coming into the finish and at this point we met up with the 5k and 10k runners. I did a lot of "passing on the left" and they moved and encourage me. It was awesome. I came screeching across the finish line (well at least it felt like that) just under my BQ time in 3:34:40. Guys I'm officially in the pool of people who have qualified for Boston. A 2-3 year goal is finally realized! This was a big day for me!
After a year plus of struggling with dissappointing races and hip/hamstring issues I not only came back to my sub-4 hour world, but I crushed it. I set a new PR of nearly 9 minutes and did I mention I BQ'ed??? I know it's probably not enough to meet the time cut off but for the moment I'm basking in the glow of that fact. After having this goal in my sites for 2 years, I'm a Boston Qualifier.
At the finish we got medals and chocolate milk and then enjoyed a baked potato bar! There were a bunch of vendors out but I didn't really check them out, instead I walked a bit and then sat in the grass for a bit and then we headed out.
Overall, if you are looking for a solid race that is Potato themed, look no further. If you are looking for a solid race in Boise (did I mention it's very much downhill?), look no further. If you like running races in a smaller field of competitors but is still well supported, look no further.
Honestly, other than the course being a little tired since it's all on a greenway/multi-use path (a really beautiful greenway) I don't have any real cons to this race. I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you are looking to join the 50 stater club!