On Saturday Brent and I decided to take a second stab at the Lewis & Clark Half Marathon. We ran this race last year and it had turned out to be a tougher course than we thought. This year was not much different. The group that had originally put on the race decided to drop it. At the last minute our local running company decided to take it on. This made several people happy as it has been an iconic race in Bozeman for years. Even though the word did not make its way around that the race was back on, a few people showed up.
We got on the bus at 7 in the morning and headed down the road to the start. I knew generally where the race was going to start, but was still unsure of exactly where. When the running company took over the race, they decided to adjust the course a bit. It turned out that the race started below the dreadful hill that only the marathoners use to endure. Now that there was no marathon, the fate fell upon the half marathoners. After hanging out at the start line for about a half hour, it was finally time to start the race. The bus load of us runners toed the start line and then when the race director yelled “GO!”, we were off. We ran straight up a hill for about a mile and a half. In this mile and a half, we gained about 1,500 feet in elevation. That was no easy task. We finally peaked at the top to enjoy some nice long downhill. I thought that the hard part was over.
Brent and I cruised along for the next several miles regaining ourselves after that hill climb. We kept a comfortable and easy pace talking over how we would kick it up a notch when we finally hit the half way point. Turns out that wasn’t going to happen. Those race director guys decided to through even more hills into the course. It was slowly tearing away at the strength in my muscles. One by one people were starting to break down. We were finally nearing the end as we started passing all of those people that rushed out in front of us. I looked over at Brent after we passed the mile 12 marker and said “Let’s finish this.” So we busted out the last little bit of energy we had.
We turned the third to last corner to see that we had one more hill left. Even though it was short, we just looked at each other and said “We knew it!” We knew that they would throw this one last little hill in that I was hoping to avoid. It was quite the steep little hill and I was over hills at that point. We pushed through knowing that once we made it to the top, we could see the end. We kept pushing through and ran past mile 13. We busted out an 8:05 min/mile pace. That was ridiculous. I guess we both really wanted to be done. It was hard to believe that we pulled that out at the last mile. We made it down the grassy finish line in the park to see my parents cheering us on. It was great to have them there for another race.
Brent and I came in at around a 1:57. We are still waiting on the race results to come through. This was not my best half, but I did do just as well on this course as I did on the course last year and this year it was harder! I love that sense of accomplishment. My legs are still sore and in fact I believe they feel worse than after my marathon back in April. The race crew served us up some awesome chocolate chip pancakes, bananas, oranges, OJ and coffee after the race. It sure was a tasty meal. Chocolate chip pancakes have never tasted so good before. All in all it was a fun race and I suggest it to anyone that wants a challenge. Too bad you will have to wait till next year to run!
We will post the final race results once they come in!