Which will be the Big Five-Oh

Midlife Sentence | My Next Half Marathon

Some of you already know this, but I started running fairly regularly again in 2006 after a twenty-year hiatus. Then in 2011 I decided the half marathon event was more or less my thing. A little later, I stole adopted Mike’s goal of running 50 half marathons by that age.

Well, my 50th is coming right on up. I have four events left to go by August if I’m going to make my goal. Plus we have another relay event in June we’ve signed up for. It’s a little tight, but doable.

This weekend’s the Race to Robie Creek (my 13th time in this event, and my latest “last time on that damn hill,” but probably not if we’re being honest). I’m also signed up for the Boise Women’s Classic, May 5, and the Tutu Run, May 12.

That brings us to 49 half marathons.

I’m shopping for the big five-oh now. And between our relay and summer plans, I left myself about a two week window in which to schedule the dang thing.

Here’s the other thing, it’s going to get warm around here soon, and lumbering along in the summer heat is about the least amount of fun I can imagine. I sweat. A lot. My muscles cramp. I whine. I look like one of the bad guys in that Indiana Jones movie who witnesses the opening of the Ark. Full on melty-face.

I kind of had a vision of finishing up this 50 half marathons goal with a Boise-area run, to show some love to a local race organizer. There are a few I could choose from, including the Fit for Life, July 7, and the Run for Your Life in early August (which supports Camp Rainbow Gold, a favorite). They’re both well run events, although outside my scheduling window. There’s the Freaking Fast Half, which I’ve never run, but I know the organizer puts on a decent half.

The downside to these events is kind of a big deal. Summer. It’s never not face-meltingly hot around here July through about mid-September. Summer in Boise is for outdoor concerts and sitting in lawn chairs in the shade with a cool beverage and for all things involving not moving.

I kind of want my 50th to be a little less heat-stroke inducing. And maybe scenic. With beer at the finish line. I want a road run, too, not a dusty trail. It can’t be too small an event. I need to know I have a fighting chance of coming in better than dead last. It can’t be huge, either. I don’t want to fight crowds. If I have to travel, I’d like to keep it regional. There needs to be a fair chance the weather will be cooler than here, with decent scenery, and it’d be nice if it wasn’t screamingly hard. I’m not in this to kill myself, you know.

So, here are the contenders:

The Dam Half Marathon in Oakridge Oregon, June 16, billed as the most picturesque run in Oregon (the photos are amazing), set in the Willamette National Forest, 35 minutes from Eugene. Elevation starts at 1165 and rises about 500 feet before going back down again. Big enough I stand a fair enough chance of not coming in last, but not a cluster. Oregon weather in June can be sketchy, but for sure cooler than Boise. The downside: it’s about a 7-hour drive from Boise, or a flight into Eugene, and then a 48 minute drive. Dang. The access issue bumps this run from a four (out of five) sneaker rating to about a two and a half.

The Grateful Dad Half in Portland, June 16. Portland is such a beautiful city to run in, and while this event is probably bigger, there’s a beer garden at the end (yay), the possibility of seeing some Portland area friends (yay!), and live Grateful Dead music ( … ). Access is easy since there’s a nonstop flight from Boise to public transportation-happy Portland for less than $200. This one gets four sneakers.

The 2018 Berry Dairy Days run, Saturday, June 16, in Burlington, Washington. It’s billed as “flat and fast,” which is always my grove. It’s along the Skagit River, so possibly scenic, although it’s hard to tell, there’s little promo info and no official website. Access is a little hard – a flight into Seattle, and then an hour drive. But we do have Seattle-area friends who might be coaxed into running this event with us. This one’s getting two and a half sneakers from me, just because of the scant promotion.

The Cascade Super Series – Super Fast Half, Saturday, June 16, Snoqualmie Pass, Washington. Wow, does event look beautiful, if a little difficult to access, a flight into Seattle, then a forty-minutes by car, but again, those Seattle-area friends might be up for an event and a little evening out afterward. Three sneakers.

Then there’s the Nock the Rock in Soda Springs Idaho, June 23. A few ups and downs over the course of the race, but we’re edging into the more challenging realm. The starting elevation is 5,700 or so, and the website says the run “will test your stamina with a variety of terrain,” which, ahem: News Flash – I’m more into staying alive for the post-race activities than I am for testing my stamina. Weather looks great, it’ll surely be little cooler than Boise, and it could be cold. It looks like a smaller race, so I stand a fair to middling chance of coming in dead last. Soda Springs is a 4-hour drive. I’m going to give this one three sneakers.

Okay, so, hit me: what other PNW area runs do you know about that a) won’t kill me, b) have pretty/interesting stuff to look at, and c) are easy enough to get to without dipping into my kids’ college fund?

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