Many of you know I just completed the Missoula Half-Marathon this past Sunday and James completed the full. What a great little racecation! It was a whirlwind, but totally worth every moment we spent there and on the road.
To recap, we left the Seattle area on Friday afternoon and drove to Spokane to stay the night, meeting up with fellow blogger Renee on Saturday morning. We then drove the rest of the way to Missoula, just in time for the expo and to see Jeff Galloway. Dinner was at 7 and sleep for me came at midnight.
Rocks! In a river!! Apparently great for fishing!
RACE DAY: We woke up at 3:30 for a 6 a.m. start time… mind you, this was Montana time. In Seattle time, it was only 2:30 a.m. Ack! And we all know sleep doesn’t come easy the night before a race.
Logistics were easy… we walked across the bridge right behind the hotel and there were the shuttle buses hauling people to the start line. Once at the start line, it was port-a-loo heaven! And I’m not kidding. They were everywhere. No one had to suffer or stress. Kudos to the race director on the potties! (For those who don’t race, port-a-loos are a super important part of the start line, which is why every runner will report on them!)
As well, they had fireworks going off about every 6 to 7 minutes. Okay, that was a little unnerving and unnecessary, but it was entertaining.
Then at 6 a.m., the cannon fired (yes, a booming cannon, just in case the fireworks didn’t wake you up) and the finale of the fireworks were set off (for those of us who had to wait a couple of minutes to cross the start line). By the way, Jeff Galloway was running the half with his 90-year-old friend. How’s that for inspiring?!! If I would’ve known they were behind me, I totally would’ve backed up and ran with them.
THE COURSE: Gorgeous. Farms, trees, rivers, historic neighborhoods, and basically flat. Loved it. I ran out of air at about mile 9 or 10, but that’s what happens when you train at sea level. I’m thinking James and I probably need to go hike up one of the mountains here to get some practice with breathing at different elevations.
An entertainer playing a violin on the side while we went past. There were also bands, drums, people with stereos to keep us going.
THE PEOPLE AND VOLUNTEERS: So very nice, so friendly, so helpful. I didn’t run into one single person who wasn’t encouraging and uplifting throughout the race. I wasn’t too impressed at mile 11 when people were saying, “you’re almost there” (because I wasn’t anywhere near the finish line), but that was my emotional breakdown, not theirs, so I really appreciated their support regardless of my state of mind.
THE FINISH LINE: Again, fabulous! For recovery food, they had a lovely quinoa salad, bananas, oranges, watermelon, frozen fruit bars, nuts, bagels, fig newtons… a great spread! At the family meetup area, all racers got a free beer and a free finisher picture, and they were selling fry bread and other things, just in case the food at the finish line didn’t quite get it done for you.
A moose with running shoes on the bling… too cute.
POST-RACE CELEBRATION: I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. After sleeping for a couple of hours, we went out and enjoyed. Our eyes were much bigger than our stomachs, but it was nice having a sample of everything.
Chicken strips, quesadilla, and nachos.
James and his father Rick, who came to watch and celebrate, and who also brought AJ back after he spent the previous week in Boise.
This was a fabulous race and a fabulous time, and I felt it was very well organized. Thankfully we didn’t run into even one snafu, and that’s always bonus. This race may actually have moved to the very top of my favorites list, so I highly recommend it if you’re looking to run in Montana!!
I think this bike totally works for the treasure hunt!
Be sure to stay tuned to 50 in 50 Marathon Quest to see his full race report. He had a nasty mountain to climb that forced practically everyone to walk…