The marathon runs from Frenchtown into Missoula. Since I stayed at the RV park close to the start, rather than take the bus from Missoula to the start, I was able to get a ride to Frenchtown with another runner staying at the park.
The course started out flat with a few horses and farms to look at along the way. Everything was going fairly well and I was pretty close to the 4:00 pacers until the 11.5 mile aid station when I suddenly felt light headed and started wheezing (felt like I was hyper-ventilating, unusual). I drank some Gatorade Endurance and by the time I finished walking through the aid station, I was better, but my speed was gone.
The Prettiest, But Hardest Part
Then the hills began. I wondered if walking them would be as fast as running them! Still, that was my favorite part because it was the scenic part of the course with pines and nice houses on the side of a mountain. I took pictures later when we drove the course (see top two photos).
The Bad & the Good: Cramps & Musicians
We ran out of the hills and into Missoula. The spectators and volunteers called out to us, which is always so encouraging. A guitarist sang out a little diddy using our race number! There was a grand piano player (like at the Big Sur Marathon) and a classical guitarist, too. They kept my mind off of my toe cramps. I also had toe cramps at the Kona Marathon, which had similar humid weather.
Finished with a Smile
|After My Finish, I Took a Picture of the Finish Line|
I saw my husband with our dog right away, which was good because I couldn't telephone him because my phone was suddenly all in Greek... When I finished, I took my phone out of my pocket for a picture and somehow all the phone text had changed to Greek. Even the Verizon service person couldn't figure out what happened with it.
Another gadget snafu is that my Garmin Forerunner 220 showed a low battery at mile 23 so I couldn't see my distance. That made those last miles seem longer and I wondered if I'd finish before it died. I did.
|Finisher's Shirt & Bib, Tank and Gels for Race Day|
Expo: From our RV park which is filled with beautiful flowers, it was a quick 15 minute drive to the expo in downtown Missoula. Picking up my race packet was quick at the small expo. I like the shirt. We visited the farmer's market held beside the expo for some treats like huckleberries, tomatoes and cherries. Then I stopped in at the Runner's Edge store for a free ice cream sandwich. They had Tailwind (good!) and the new pizza flavored Clif Bar gels (haven't tried).
|Free Photo for Finishers and the Medal|
Fuel Pre-race: Three hours before the start, I had a peanut butter and honey sandwich, a small banana, an egg and coffee.
Fuel During the Race: I ate 2-3 Clif bar strawberry gels that were handed out and 4 of my GU gels: Maple Bacon (my first, good!), Blackberry, Salted Watermelon and Salted Caramel. I started gels at mile 3 and ate them every 3-4 miles, saving the salted gels for last. Also, I drank Gatorade Endurance that was on the course.
Fuel Post-race: A local grocery store offered runners quinoa salad, cheese sticks, watermelon and fig newton cookies. As usual, my stomach wasn't ready for too much food right after the marathon, though.
Gear: Brooks Ravenna shoes, Skirt Sports Adventure Girl Skirt, Garmin Forerunner 220
Finish time: 4:30:58
Average Pace: 10:20/mile
Place: 538 out of 1016
45-49 Women's Age Group: 14th out of 34
Missoula Elevation: 3209'
Missoula Marathon Elevation Gain: 382' (per Garmin)
Next time I'd probably start out slower and drink more during the race. I made some fun memories, have a new race shirt and, as always, I'm happy that I finished!