Saturday Brent was going to take the opportunity to hike the Bridger Ridge, so I went ahead and registered myself for another half marathon. I was not going to hike, so I wanted something to do to keep myself busy. What better than running a half marathon? Brent was gone the previous weekend for STP and is going to head out this week for Casper, WY for work. He decided that he would rather spend the day with me because of all of his traveling. I was excited to have someone there to cheer me on as I had been trying to find a friend to go with me. Standing around for almost 2 hours did not sound like fun to anyone nor did they want to run even though there was a 5k and 10k.
Race morning came early than I wanted. I woke up at the usual 5 a.m. as I do almost daily throughout the summer months and sometimes into the winter months. I like having time after I run to sit down and eat a decent breakfast before heading off to work. Rushing in the mornings only seems to make my days longer and miserable. Also with the early rising sun, it makes it hard to sleep in. I had my usual race morning meal of yogurt, fruit, a bit of granola and a slice of toast. I knew we didn’t have to leave the house till 6:30, so I went and crawled back into bed till 6. It was nice to get a little nap in right away in the morning.
I finally woke up and got ready for the race. Brent slowly crawled out of bed and prepared for the day ahead as well. It was going to be a long one as we were not planning on coming home after the race. (More on these adventures in a later post). We made our way out the door towards Three Forks, MT. It was about a half hour drive away and I knew the race was going to be fairly small. I was not worried about getting there too early. We made it there in time for me to get my packet, pin on my bib, do one last pit stop and a few minutes to wait around for the cannon to go off. Yes! A cannon started the race. Oh small town Montana. This particular race was put on by a local bank to fund the trail system around Three Forks and the headwaters of the Missouri. I did not know how nice of a trail system this small town has. It was nice to run some place completely new.
The cannon went off and we all headed down the street onto the local track. After a quarter of a lap on the track, we made our way onto the trails. This section was on a paved trail that went on for about 4 miles towards the headwaters of the Missouri River. The only problem with this trail is that it is mostly out in the open with hardly any shade. This made for a pretty warm race. As the trail neared the headwaters, it turned into gravel and then eventually into a grassy path that looked like it was mowed just for this event.
Since this event was to support the trail system, I am wondering if they are hoping to turn the grass section into either a gravel or paved trail. Who knows? I am not use to running on such soft ground especially during the part where we ran on wet grass. That was interesting. Luckily, this part was also mostly in the shade. Which gave a great mid-race break from the sun. When I started the race it was in the early 70′s. By the time I finished, it was in the 90′s. I run in the early mornings, so I was not use to the heat. I am use to 50-60 degree runs with an occasional 70 degree run without the sun beating down on me.
After the grassy section, we finally made our way back onto the gravel trail. This time around, I was appreciating the unevenness of the trail because it no longer felt like I was sinking into the ground while I was running. The race was shaped almost like a lollipop. We had just finished the out section and the loop, so I was now covering the same ground on the back section. By this point I was a little bit over half way. Which meant, they had to do some clear meandering of the route to tack on a few more miles towards the end. They did this indeed. The last 2-3 miles seemed to last forever as we wound back and forth on a new section of the trail closer to town.
This is were Brent was patiently waiting for me. He walked over to a spot were he knew he would be able to cheer me on a few times as we were winding back and forth. I was ready to be done with the race as it started heating up quick. I felt great until these last few miles. I was completely out in the open with the sun beating down on me. Since the race was so small, it was a little hard to get motivated to step it up the last few miles. I already knew that I was not going to PR, but I continued to run as best as I could giving how I was feeling. I was finally making my way into town and saw the finish line with Brent waiting on the other side. I crossed the line at 1:51:34. My 3rd best half marathon! Not bad at all! I ended up taking first in my age group and fourth overall for women. It was a great small town race that I hope to try and run again next year. Hopefully it will not be 90 degrees by 9:30 in the morning. This is hot for Montana. Where is all this heat coming from?
Running a half marathon is great because it gets me to run at a faster pace than I normally would on my regular training runs. It is a great event while training for my marathon. I just wish it would have had some crazy hills or something. Good think I have been running lots of hills around town on my long runs. San Francisco is going to be interesting but fun! I cannot wait.
Pace: 8:30 min./mi.
Overall: 10 out of 31 (men & women)
Overall Women: 4 out of 20
Age Group: 1 out of 2
Sorry no photos to occupancy this one. Bug Brent! He has some!