I have no complaints. I still got my half marathon personal best and that is a huge accomplishment! Last year I did this race in 2:20:08 and that has been my official best half marathon until this weekend.
This first three miles of this race suck. In those 3 miles you're on an uphill start and both years I have done this race it has been in a headwind. I get so angry with myself when I walk in those first couple of miles! Seriously... I train for these conditions.
But here are the stats breakdowns:
By the way... that little hill at mile nine about killed me. You can see that I lost quite a bit of time there.
But lets back this story up just a bit.....
Mitch and I drove to Bozeman on Friday night so I would be there in time for race packet pick up. I had booked a room at the Super 8 through Expedia. I do not recommend booking the cheapest room you can find this way. We were put in a handicap accessible room right next to the front desk! I would not have thought it would be wise to put rooms that close to the hotel front desk, but there were two. I don't have a problem with a handicap room except that there were no bathroom counters and everything was very low (sink, refrigerator, etc.). And being right next to the front desk we got to listen to the phone ring and people coming and going all night long. We left the TV on each night until about midnight so we could fall asleep and then in the morning we had the pleasure of listing to loud talking and laughter at 5:30 in the morning. I was pretty miffed and I will never stay at that hotel again.
So on Friday night we arrived and went to the Emerson Cultural Center for packet pickup. The schwag is what I expected except that Mitch happened to notice my bag was missing an expected pair of socks and then when I got back to the hotel I discovered they didn't provide any safety pins (REALLY?). That warranted a walk to the local grocery store later at night.
Dinner was pasta at Johnny Carinos. Sorry folks... no pics from that dinner.
The Schwag: Tech shirt, Hammer Gel, Pint glass & Socks
Thankfully, I always lay out Flat Angie so I found out with plenty of time that I needed to buy pins!
Never mind the horrible background that was our bed cover at the hotel.
The morning of the race, I was up at 5:30. I let Mitch sleep and I went out to the lobby for coffee and read a magazine. The idea is to get my body "functioning" early.
Mitch's plan was to ride the Bozeman Pass on his bicycle and then come meet me on the course. The weather was really fantastic with the exception of a bit of wind. Once in town, I headed for the buses and Mitch went on his merry way up the mountain (why didn't I take a picture??).
I am almost always one of the first on the bus. I think I suffer from some strange anxiety that makes me feel like I have to hurry. I try to sign up for races the day the registration goes live, I get to the start or pick up spots early, I get on the bus first....
But being first on the bus has its perks. First on the bus means I was on the first bus that left, which was the first bus at the start line which meant I was first to the porta potties. And when I got out of the potty, the line looked like this:
And within ten minutes of this picture, there was a wait that rivaled half a football field. I'm sure the end of the line waited a very long time and I doubt they were in the race line for the gun to go off.
I ran into a couple of coworkers and an acquaintance, but mostly I walked/ran and warmed up for the race by myself.
This is my only selfie on the run and I didn't take out the camera again for the rest of the race. I was on a mission this time so I didn't plan to snap many pictures this time. Yes... I wear this hat for most of my runs. It will be a sad day when it wears out.
Since this blog post is a little out of order, I've already told you how much fun the first three miles were. After that initial climb, it was a nice downhill run until mile nine. You can see in my stats above that I hit a comfortable cruising speed. This race is well supported, but unfortunately they didn't have any sports drink on the course. My memory didn't serve me well as I thought they had it last year so I expected it. I struggled a bit with fuel and drink. I brought my hydration belt, but the bottles held on to the lovely taste of dishwasher which made the water and preworkout I brought pretty much undrinkable. Blah! I brought 3 gels - I took one before the run and two along the way. The 3rd one was too much and I spent the rest of the race with an upset stomach.
Mitch caught up with me around mile 11 and took some pictures and video. I like this one the best:
It was true to how I felt at that point. The good news was that I was just hitting the downhill after the climb between miles 9/10 so I picked up my second wind.
Mitch had mechanical difficulties with his bike and he missed the finish so there are no pictures, but it wasn't a glorious finish anyway. Even though I knew I had crushed my PR, I was not happy with the numbers on the clock when I came around the corner to the finish line. It took getting over the line and the medal on my neck before I let go of that momentary disappointment and embraced my accomplishment.
It really was a good day. The weather was lovely and I worked through some mentally hard stuff and came through with a PR and new resolve to get that 2 hour half marathon time. I don't know if I will get a chance to try this year with my already crazy race schedule, but next year for sure.
Last years medal was cooler, but I love that they always make the medals into bottle openers.
We celebrated with an early dinner at the Montana Ale Works, which has awesome food and stellar service.
That French Onion Soup is pretty much the best.
And even though I had a free post race beer at the race after-party, I had to splurge on something just a little more special with my dinner.
Mitch posted on Facebook:
Mitch Carlton Finishers get a beer of their choice, Angie gets a bonus beer for her PR at Montana Ale Works. A Fort Collins Double Chocolate Raspberry Nitro Stout. No PBR for this girl!!!
Mitch was right... BONUS! This beer was pretty amazing.
For the record, I did NOT win one of the four trips to Dublin, Ireland. Sad Angie. Oh well, I guess I'll have to try again next year.
So ends my race tale. I end with a nod to my favorite pair of racing shoes, which will now be retired to gym shoe status. They were a great pair of runners, but I have definitely put enough miles on them.
I was lucky enough to find a pair of replacements while in Bozeman. Brooks is changing the Pureflows to something that is not at all the same as the shoes I have grown to love. These will likely be the last pair of Pureflows I ever own, but I'm excited to break them in and run some races in them.
Until next time.....