Race Report: Firecracker Frolic Half Marathon
I was stoked when I saw this race come around on my Facebook suggested events. It was set up pretty last minute–about a month before race day on July 4th. I think because of that, it had very few people sign up. I suspected it would be a small event because about two weeks before the race, the participants received an email saying they moved the location from downtown Boise, to the tiny town of Melba (I had to look up where Melba was), combining with the Olde Tyme fun runs that they have done for years on the 4th. I didn’t realize just how few racers had signed up until about half an hour before the race started and I asked a fellow runner picking up his race packet. He said the race director told him about 20. Turns out it was 22, to be exact.
Melba is about an hour drive from Boise, so I rallied my kids at 4:30 am by scooping them out of bed, still in their jams, my husband putting them in their car seats. They always view these early morning wake ups as adventures, so they were pretty excited. Fingers crossed that attitude doesn’t change in the foreseeable future. They also knew there was going to be a fun 4th of July parade after the race, so they were willing to comply.
We got there at 5:30 for the race packet pick up. It was at the Tower Theater, a tiny little old theater on a quintessential small town main street. Melba looks like a town out of an Old West-style movie. It even had people riding horses and tumbleweeds to make it legit Old West–not staged, I kid you not.
As I processed the size of the race, I was also grateful for the cooler morning. It isn’t usually lower degrees on the Forth of July, but because of the early start, Melba delivered perfect running temperatures. At the 6 am start time, we had a simple countdown from three to start us off.
I started off in second place, following a pretty fast guy in the lead. I held second for most of it, with a lady that trailed right behind me a majority of the time.
I was still feeling pretty strong and holding second place. I was starting to feel it at 18 kilometers, and the lady that was behind me overtook me. She was super sweet, offering me encouragement and telling me to stay with her.
I had failed to eat anything before the race and only had two gels with me, which is what I usually carry with me for a half, but without having my banana breakfast, I felt the loss in calories. The race did have a roaming aid station, which worked pretty well. She drove her van to three different locations, providing water, Gatorade, and oranges. She drove to the person in the lead and waited until the last runner had passed through her aid station before moving on. I know they were short on volunteers because of the later festivities in the town, so this was pretty clever.
After the last aid station, where I grabbed some Gatorade, I felt much better, regaining a lot of my strength. I finished right behind the lady that had passed me. I also finished third overall and second female (you know, out of 22). My only complaint about the race was that the results were all screwed up. They also said they would hand deliver our medals to our houses, and I have not heard word on that yet. I guess things like that are to be expected in a race that was new this year and wasn’t maybe as planned out as it could be in the future. They did a good job with getting us our packets, the course, pictures, the roaming aid station, and of course, I dug the location because of the parade that was to follow. I would do this race again…if I get my medal, that is.
Evaluating the calorie situation, I should have had my 100 calorie banana in the morning (but, duh, I know) and I should have had my second gel one kilometer earlier, before I felt tired. It was hard to get back my speed after that.
At the end of the day, I only race against myself, and thinking about it from that angle, I did get my second best half marathon time. I was happy with that.
1 hour, 44 minutes
Red, white, and blue festivities
With the combination of the Olde Tyme fun run, it felt pretty festive afterward. Lots of families out and about with some good after race food. We set up our blankets and sat for a bit, snacking on some of the foods. It was still pretty chilly though, so we grabbed our change of clothes and found the nearest diner with hot coffee and American-style breakfast.
We killed time until 10:30, which was the start of the parade. It was the first parade our kids had seen, as that is not a thing that happens overseas…at least not the places we have lived abroad.
We stayed and watched the parade until past noon. Sun-soaked and post candy saturated crash, the kids both passed out on the car ride back.
The day flowed from race, to parade, to cookies, to fireworks well. We were all so tired at the end of the day though, everyone went to bed two hours earlier than usual. It was awesome.