Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Missoula Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!
On Sunday I ran the Missoula Half Marathon. It was also state #41 in my goal to run a half marathon in each state. I am hoping to be done with this goal next year.
I left Saturday morning on a direct flight to Missoula. The airplane was small. The Missoula Airport is also small, definitely different from Midway or O’Hare. I was staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Missoula and they had a complimentary airport shuttle so as soon as I got my luggage, I called the hotel and there was a van waiting for me in about 10 minutes.
My flight arrived early and luckily a room was available for me. I went to the expo at Caras Park to get my bib. There were a few vendors but I did not buy anything. Well I did buy a small bag of donuts.
Then I tracked down a friend of mine and met up with him and a few others at Big Sky Brewing Co (they were one of the race sponsors). I had a flight (they were all delicious) and then went to dinner at Kobe Seafood and Steak. Then we parted ways since we had to wake up early the next day.
Sunday morning I got up at 4am. A friend of mine, Rebecca, was also running and she said her boyfriend could pick me up at 4:40am and take us both to the shuttle bus. There is no drop off at the half marathon start so you have to take the shuttle bus. We didn’t wait long for a bus and soon we were on our way. It was about a 15 minute bus ride to the start line. It was chilly but not cold. I knew it would warm up later. There were plenty of port-a-potties and I must have used them about 4 times before the race.
There were no corrals but I lined up close to the start line. I don’t remember hearing the National Anthem but soon it was time to start running. Sure enough by then it had warmed up a little bit. It was definitely perfect running weather.
The course is gorgeous! You run through the country side and along the river. I saw cows and horses. The course is flat with some downhills. The views were spectacular. About a mile into the race I saw the 2:20 group and ran with them for about 2 miles. I was feeling good but then took a break and then couldn’t catch up to them.
I saw a guy playing the piano in his yard!
I kept running but eventually I was tired. My left leg began hurting. I also felt some discomfort in the bottom of my left foot. I was frustrated because I had trained for this race (and did really good). For about 2 months on Saturday mornings I ran the hills at The Arboretum to get ready for this race. I knew it wasn’t a hilly course but figured training on hills still wouldn’t hurt. I couldn’t understand why I was struggling.I decided then to just keep running and enjoy the race. There were water stations about every 2 miles. The volunteers were wonderful in motivating us.
By mile 9 I was done with the race. I was tired and sore. By this time I was focusing on each mile and each one was slower than the previous one. I saw the 2:30 group but had no desire to run with them. It was sunny but I never felt very hot. I did sweat a lot though.
I saw a group of spectators with a table outside their house full of various adult drinks. Mimosa? Sure, why not? At about mile 10.5 is when the first marathon runner passed me. He was flying!!
With less than a mile to go I asked someone how much longer I had and he told me less than 1/2 mile. At that moment even 1/2 mile seemed like a long time. I told myself that it really wasn’t and tried to focus on my morning runs and exactly where 1/2 mile was from my house. It helped a bit. I remember then turning left and then right and then a bridge (downhill) to the finish line. I ran as fast as I could and was finally done. I think about 5 or 6 marathons runners passed me up by the time I was done. 😉 I did not stay long because I wanted to get back to the hotel to shower, get something to eat, and head to the airport. My flight was at 12:30 and I wanted to be there by 11:30. I know I had plenty of time but I hate rushing when going to the airport.
I was at the airport by 11:15am. I checked in and sat down to relax. At 12:00 there was an announcement that the flight was delayed because of the bad weather in Chicago. Later we were told it would leave at 2:30, then 1:30, then 3:30, then 5:30. It finally left after 4pm. However, the plane arrived at 9:10pm in Chicago but we didn’t get to the gate till 10:45 because there were other planes that were also delayed and were waiting for a gate too.
My coworker picked me up at the airport and she sent me the information she got from the website which of course is different from what actually happened.
I didn’t get home till almost midnight. Lola was happy to see me!
• I should have done a better job of researching hotels because I regret selecting that hotel. It was a nice hotel but not close to Caras Park where the expo was held nor close to the Adams Event Center where the shuttle busses were to take us to the start line (it is a point-to-point course).
• Uber/Lyft is expensive. Once I figured out how much it was going to cost me to go to the expo and and come back and also to and from the Adams Event Center (this was before Rebecca asked me if I wanted a ride), I realized I should have rented a car. I checked online and of course no cars were available at the airport. I will confess or runfess that I cried. How could I have been so careless about this whole trip? When I made my hotel reservation for Michigan, Kansas, and Georgia, I picked one close to the start and finish line. I booked the first hotel I saw on the race website but I should have looked for one closer to the start line. Oh and to top it off, the hotel was $300.
• Missoula is expensive. My flight was almost $600. I did book it at the end of May so maybe it would have been cheaper if I had booked it earlier? A few people did tell me that it is expensive to fly into and out of Missoula.
• I had high expectations for this race. Many people raved about it. The course is very pretty and flat. There are also great views but I wasn’t that impressed with it. I thought the course was nicer at the Delaware Marathon Running Festival. Sure it was hilly but there was more to see in DE.
• It is a well organized race. I liked that there were plenty of water stations and volunteers. There weren’t too many spectators but the ones that were there did a wonderful job of cheering for us.
• Gear bag drop off and pick up is a breeze. There was a bit of a line at the start line, but it still moved fast. When I was done with the race I went to get my bag and one of the volunteers saw me walking towards the truck and quickly retrieved my bag.
• I like the shirt but hate the color. The marathon runners’ shirt was blue.
• Finish time is 2:40:56. I am disappointed in my time. The weather was perfect and the course was flat. I was aiming for a 2:30 finish time but wasn’t even close. The last time I did a half and got a “decent” finish time was the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in 2015. I finished in 2:19:51 and that is my second best time after the Hartford Half Marathon. Oh, and the course in VA was hilly.
Would I do it again? Maybe but for sure I would pick a different hotel. I would also plan to stay longer and do more things in Missoula.
This week’s Tuesday Topic: Your 2019 mid year review. You can write about this topic, or feel free to post any running related blog post. Remember to Link-up with Kim and Zenaida! Visit at least two of the other linked posts – the more the merrier! Remember to come back for later linkers!