Friday, July 19, 2013

Missoula Half Marathon 7.14.2013

Picture this: It's 3:00 AM on race morning in Missoula, Montana. You are still half asleep and crack the blinds to peek out your motel window. You see a car in the parking lot that looks suspiciously familiar. You put your face up to the window, squinting to try to see the details of car below your second story walkway. BAM! Freddie Kruger jumps up at you and smacks your hotel window! You scream bloody murder and about have a heart attack. Before you have a chance to run, you see Freddie Kruger standing in the window laughing his ass off wearing a pink tutu.

Oh my God! It's not Freddie Kruger, but my cousin Cathy who drove 150 miles then slept in her car just to surprise me and cheer me on at my race! Best surprise ever! This certainly explains why my husband slipped my camera into my gear bag.

I left this note in the motel door when I thought something was up.

My friend Michele who came as my race support was in on the whole thing. Nice work ladies!

Pre-race photos with my cheer squad.

One of the best things about the Missoula Half-Marathon is the 6 AM early start time. You're done before the heat of the day, get back to the hotel while they are still serving continental breakfast, and you don't have to worry about asking for a late check-out time.

Although, it is quite alarming to be sitting in the race starting area and turn on your Garmin to see the time read 3:45 AM. Wait, what!? Oh yeah, my watch doesn't know it is an hour later in Montana, but after only three hours of sleep that doesn't make me feel any better. 4:45 AM is too early to be waiting in the freezing dark with 3499 other people who had the same bright idea.

Our lineup starts with a moment of silence for the victims of Boston then the National Anthem.  A cannon booms and fireworks explode in the air marking the start of the race. I begin my 13th half-marathon as the sun rises hoping it will be my lucky baker's dozen...

Smooth first mile less a stop to tie my shoelace and starting to feel the need to pee. Really? Maybe I can outrun the need to stop; I've done it before. Miles 2-4 feel great, but I still need to pee. Running along side a beautiful flowing river isn't helping.

Somewhere in mile 4, I have my first Michele and Cathy sighting. Who can miss Cathy's outfit and cowbell?

Excited for a Michele and Cathy sighting!
By mile 6 I'm ahead of my goal time, but now my teeth are floating and I'm afraid I'm going to pee myself with every step I take. I give up and stop to get in the porta-potty line. Then I wait, and wait, and do a potty dance, and wait some more; It feels like an eternity!

Doing a potty-dance while the guy behind
me looks like he's about to blow chunks.
Leaving the longest potty break of my life.

Photo opp with Michele after my potty break.

Somewhere between 7-10 minutes later I get back on the road. Now I'm behind my goal time so I pick up the pace to see if I can make up some of the difference. I'm encouraged by more Michele and Cathy drive-bye screams, cowbell ringing, photos, and waves.

Staying positive and pushing through.

By mile 10 fatigue is setting in and I give up on making my race goal. No PR race for me, I just can't make up all the time I lost at the potty stop. Disappointing.

Always have energy to be goofy.

Mile 11 seals my no PR fate with a calf cramp. I stop to stretch it out, then take it easy on my last two miles.  I turn the final corner and sprint the quarter mile to the finish line. 

Heading to the finish line!

Official time: 2:35:32 with another "lucky horse shoe" medal to take home to my son!

All done wearing my bling!

This is a great race and one I highly recommend. Next year we'll see Michele out there and I'll be snapping pictures of her!

Like the end of a movie, I have a few out-take/honorable mention moments from this trip:

Best begging sign:  "Will wrestle mother-in-law for 5 bucks." -Bum on Higgins Street
Most clueless guy:  Motel neighbor hanging out in his room with nothing but briefs on.  (Buddy, the sheer shades don't work when it is dark outside and you have your room lights on.)
Worst smell:  Burning rubber from three cop cars screaming past us.
Biggest shock:  Guy with his pants down in the middle of downtown.
Amazing sight:  A buck and four does swimming across the river.
Amazing sight runner up:  Cow elk eating grass in a pasture.
Quick thinking:  Using your running gear bag as your barf bag. (Wasn't me, I swear!)
Best luck:  Leaving your purse in the car with window down and having it still be there when you returned.
Best moment:  Realizing that Freddie Kruger was not there to kill me, but to cheer me on.

With that race behind me, it is now time to slow down and enjoy the rest of the summer with my family. 

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