- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Virtual Race
- Road Race
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I had heard so many great things about the Missoula Marathon that when the opportunity came up to run on behalf of BibRave, I immediately signed up. Also, by completing this race I would cross off another state off my list.
The Missoula Airport is small and flights are expensive. I paid about $600 for mine from Chicago.
Unfortunately, it was a quick trip from Saturday-Sunday. I stayed 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 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 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 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. My friend told me that her hotel provided transportation to the Adams Event Center and mine didn't. In fact when I asked about it at the front desk, the clerk had no idea what I was talking about.
• 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.
• 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.