This half marathon was special.
I grew up in beautiful Osburn, Idaho. Just an hour east of Coeur d’ Alene. My running journey began when I left the house I grew up in to run the Rails to trails path just outside the door. That portion of the trail where I was emerging as a distance runner is the course for the Jackass Half Marathon.
This wasn’t a normal training cycle leading up to this race, Covid-19 pretty much turned everything upside down so my mileage was much lower and training while distance education had its challenges. But one of the biggest and hardest concepts that I worked on was my mental ability and strength. An upside world coupled with a chaotic home life ended up being some of the biggest hurdles to jump.
October 3, 2020 I have returned to race course where it all began. It was not only taking a 1,200 mile trip to the start line but also the thousands of miles that have been ran in 14 years of training. This is also a homecoming, it had been ten years.
But race day came and I walked up to that start line solo (because social distancing) and I took one large deep breath and said “breath, you’re excited, just have fun.”
Started out around 7:35, a large amount of people had already started so knowing there was runners I could “catch”. Just got to mile 2 where I found my parents waiting for me, my mother tells me not to go out to fast in the beginning when I passed…should’ve listened better to her. What is different about running during a pandemic is that there is literally no one on the course. You can see someone ahead of you but you are never quite sure if you will pass them or just follow along. The times that I did pass runners while socially distancing, they would pull up their masks for safety. Others just dumped their masks at the start.
Ran through Silverton and made my way through the tiny town of Osburn where I grew up. Passed buildings and places that brought back so many wonderful memories. One of the biggest highlights was having my family for support the entire race course.
Until you get into mile 8, then you go uphill for nearly a mile towards the Sunshine Mine and turn to go back downhill. They needed to find an extra two miles to make that 13.1 course so they had us go up the Big Creek road. Smooth sailing until you get to mile 12 and then the name JACKASS really holds its meaning because it is an awful uphill climb to reach a last right turn to the finish line.
The whole race I was passing other runners, it was motivating to find someone and work to pass them. When I reached the last hill of the finish there was a girl with pink socks that I just HAD to pass. So I used everything in me to try to catch her.
Finished in 1:53:35, 8:40 pace, 40th overall, 9th gender and 2nd in my age group (F35-39). This is a lifetime best for me.
I am proud of this performance. This was a race that I felt I was prepared for, showed up for myself and was ready to deliver. There came a point around mile 10 where I just couldn’t get my legs to turn over and pick up- that is when the decision was made just to hold on, dig deep and get to work.
This race course is made to be run in October because the colors are so vibrant, weather is ideal and it is a slight downhill course. As a socially distant race- there was plenty of aid stations. What it lacks in crowds cheering you on, it makes up in spectacular mountain views and scenery.
The medals are very unique. They are made by the local high school wood and metal shop. It is large like a NYC or Marine Corp Marathon medal but rugged and charming just like the race. Jackass Marathon and 5k is slated to return next October 2021. I highly recommend visiting the quiet little mining town to run.
Huge thank you to my family for their support on the race course. It is a luxury to have water and aid support. Thank you to my husband for making the trip up north for a race with our family, a feat that is never easy. Also a special thanks to my coach, John Raneri of Mckirdy Trained. He didn’t just coach but was a therapist when we navigated this very surreal training cycle. We put the work in and it paid off. So proud of myself and ready to move into the next chapter.