Race to Robie Creek. The race, known as the toughest half marathon in the northwest, starts in Boise, peaks at 4,797-foot Aldape Summit, then makes a steep descent that ends at Robie Creek Park. This year’s event was the pirate-themed Plunderin’ fer Booty– to commemorate the now official Jimmy Buffet Day in Florida. In other words, it’s just another excuse for grown-ups to play dress-up.
This is my second Race to Robie Creek. And after a painful 2:05 on the course, I’m now wondering why I actually participate in this event at all. Here’s why.
- Running uphill for 1 ½ hours just plain sucks. (So what if the winner was already finished when I reached the top?). When there are gradual climbs and rolling terrain, it’s bearable. But non-stop uphill for 2500 feet is tough. Especially when the last mile is the toughest of them all.
- Running fast down steep hills is for the young at heart, and young of knee. Though I was excited to cross the 8.5 mile mark and charge downhill, I simply cannot run as fast as my younger counterparts. Not only might my knees blow out at a moment’s notice, but I’m a klutz and would probably fall anyway.
- Costumes can cause problems. I was trying to be spirited, so I wore a pirate hat on my head and added a few temporary tattoos (so I didn’t go all out, but at least I made the effort.) Around mile 6, I thought I might pass out from dizziness and my only option was to remove my costume and carry it. It helped a little.
- It’s great to run with friends if you’re actually running with them. I saw all my friends at the start of the race. Then not again till it was over. What fun is that? (And I missed my dog, too).
- I can’t walk today. Yesterday wasn’t so bad, but today I can barely stand up. And it’s all from the darn down hills, I am convinced.
- It gets harder with age. Five years ago, I did not train and felt better than this year when I trained all winter. Sure, I cut my time 3 minutes. But three minutes in exchange for months of training? I think I’m getting old.
- It starts at high noon. I have trouble with noon races because it throws off my whole meal routine. It’s too early to eat lunch. But it’s too late to live off breakfast. So you nibble from breaky to starty, then you’re still hungry when it’s race time. (And it’s near impossible to choke down Gu when you’re running uphill and can’t catch your breath anyway).
- And the post–food ain’t great. I am really impressed that they even attempt to feed 2500 folks – especially since they have to haul off food to the middle of nowhere. But those potatoes tasted like they were cooked last week.
- The lines, lines are everywhere. There were lines for the bathroom and lines for the beer. Lines for the food and, yes, we waited over an hour to get on a bus to take us home. Then the trip home was 1 ½ hours (with our dear friends driving their car out to the first drop-off the night before, making it much quicker than it would have been otherwise). It’s a logistical nightmare, to say the least. But……
- It’s perty. Beautiful, in fact. And unique. ‘Cuz there’s really no other race like it. So though it may be a few years, I’ll probably drag my butt up that hill again one day.