Missoula Marathon Race Recap

Marathon #17
The Missoula Marathon was my 17th marathon and Montana is my 9th state to run a marathon in!

The Start

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
The last part was a downhill slope (not too much downhill, but just right) and then we ran over a bridge and heard our name called out and they said that I was finishing my 17th marathon on the loud speaker. You should have heard the crowd cheer!

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
More Race Info

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
Weather: In the 60's and a little humid. Cloud cover most of the morning and an early start at 6AM made it a fairly comfortable race day. A spectator yelled out that I wasn't even breaking a sweat in the last mile and that felt almost true!

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 SkirtGarmin Forerunner 220

The Numbers:

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)
1,016 Marathoners

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!

Comments

  1. 17th marathon! That's amazing! What a wonderful experience in a beautiful place. Congrats on your race!

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  2. Congrats! Glad you enjoyed the course, I always think Missoula does a great job when I go run that race.

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  3. Tina, I almost always get toe cramps. I feel lucky if they don't happen anywhere else. My phone does weird things when it gets excessively wet with sweat. LOL. It looks like a really pretty race and you did an awesome job! And I like the elk/caribou (?) with the shoes on the shirt!

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  4. 17 marathons! You are so amazing! The course looks beautiful.

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  5. Thanks FitFunMom, Christy, Robin, Heather and HoHoRuns - the elk and his running shoes is what I like best about the shirt, too! How can we eliminate those cramps - need to know! P.S. I'm having a little blog trouble today so I'm making this is a group reply from me. : )

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  6. Awesome! Congratulations on #17! You had a great run. I am glad it wasn't blazing hot for you. That's cool you added another state to the running resume :) I am heading out to that area in Oct. I can't wait!

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    1. I'm sure you'll have fun! I'm looking forward to seeing those travel posts!

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  7. Maple bacon GU gel?!?! You liked it? I've never tried it but would be a little scared :)

    A big congrats on your 17th marathon! That's awesome. Beautiful race!
    Amy @ http://www.livinglifetruth.com/

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    1. It reminded me of breakfast and I ate it first thing. It's more maple flavored than bacon.

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  8. Congratulations on another marathon! Love the race shirt too! Maybe salt would help with the toe cramps? Check out Base Salt, they were all over at Ironman Coeur d'Alene, I used it and heard tons of great response from others too.

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    1. Thanks for the tip - wondered the same thing! I hope we get the chance to visit that part of Idaho in the future.

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  9. Mmmm, maple bacon. There is a bakery here who does gluten free maple bacon donuts = yum! Nice job pushing through a much rougher than normal day. So funny - we were in the Black Hills - Hill City - about 2 wks ago - following in your footsteps! We absolutely love that area!

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    1. We would have loved to see you! It was beautiful there, not unlike the Colorado Springs area!

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  10. Great job ticking off another state. Awesome!!!

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    1. Thanks, it has taken me almost 10 years to run 17. Looks like I'll be busy for many more years to cover 50 states!

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  11. Congratulations, Tina! Sounds like a beautiful but tough course. I really, really love the race tee. And I love that the crowd cheered for you at the finish line. I did have to laugh at your phone being in Greek. At first I thought you were just kidding...that would be pretty confusing to finish a marathon and to see your phone switched to Greek!!! Congrats again!

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    1. When I couldn't read the phone text, I guessed and tapped and that actually worked!

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  12. Sorry to hear of the dizziness, but glad you were able to recover and finish strong. Must've been the bacon maple magic....must try that one!!

    Congrats on #17!!!

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    1. Thanks! It was a bit of a risk, but I've never had a GU gel I didn't like.

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  13. Great job! That was a lot of Gu!

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    1. Now that you mention it, that reminds me that my gels had sodium in them that I hoped would ward off cramps.

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  14. Congratulations on your 17th marathon finish! Nine states.... do you have any kind of "X number of states" goal? This looks like a really neat race - I love the shirt and medal. I bet it was really scenic... everything is so big in Montana, including the sky.

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  15. Sure - all of the states!!!

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  16. So enjoyed reading this recap! But first, a maple bacon gel?! Why have I not seen this yet?!

    Perhaps your body felt a lil off from the elevation?

    Sounds like a great race from the awesome support along the course, to the post race, and the CUTE shirt! And I think your finish time is FANTASTIC :)

    Major CONGRATS on marathon #17!!!! Maybe you'll hit 20 by years end! :)

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    1. Thanks! Run 3 more marathons this year? LOL!

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  17. Great race! Congrats! I hate it when my Garmin shows low battery and covers up the info. What stupid design is that? And so weird about your phone!! Glad you met your family regardless.

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