Monday, July 14, 2008

Missoula Marathon

Good and bad news: No more speeding tickets. (Got one in Idaho as mentioned below in the meme.)

But, I sort of hoped to be speeding during the Missoula Marathon. With a forecast of cool, crisp low 50's at the start and high 60's at the end, the weather was perfect. Only one hill just after the halfway point. So what the heck was my problem?

Near as I can tell, altitude. Although the race was only at 3000 to 3200 feet and some had told me it should not bother me, all the symptoms were there. Labored breathing while running a normally comfortable 9-ish pace, unusual thirst and peeing (more than once). But, nowhere near as bad as during the Colorado Marathon, which was run at 5000-6000 feet and led to my best (most enjoyable) worst (sluglike) PW of 4:32:05.

Now, had I used the running calculator that Stef had recently mentioned at the Bar, I would have known that running at 3000 feet meant I should adjust my expectations by 8 minutes. Doh!

Still, I learned something new about running at higher-than-usual-but-not-very-high altitude (I have another one at a similar altitude later this year). I had a good time overall and now have one less state left in my 50 states quest. And, really, 4:04:35 is not all that bad.

This race report will be mostly pictures since the beautiful Montana scenery was the best part about this race, not my running.



The cool mile markers used at this race. Made by local artists, they were available for sale at the expo along with other artwork (the proceeds going to charity). Of course, they would not be available to take home until after the race.



For the start, we were bussed to a small town called Frenchtown. Here's where they dropped us off. Looked like we'd been transported back to the Old West but with a paved parking lot.



The first few miles, we were running towards a big paper mill. It was actually quite ugly with its smoke stacks spewing white smoke into the air but at least it gave us something to run towards. Other than it, there was just miles and miles of farmland framed by beautiful mountains and big sky. Photo inset: me after passing the paper mill.



Around mile 7, we passed a large stable and saw our first big group of spectators. Saw some bison too in a corral but the photo didn't come out, unfortunately. For those who don't know, all photos during my races are taken while running!



Then back to more openness. By this time, I've talked to a guy from Seattle and another from San Diego who both told me they, too, were breathing harder than normal. Whew, it's not just me! I finally back off my original pace and hope I've not pushed too hard for too long already. Photo inset: me and the guy in back who knows he's in my picture so he hams it up some.



After mile 9.4, we finally turn off the same road we've been on since the beginning of the race. Nice change! We head past a pretty river called Clark Fork and see some folks heading out to do some rafting. I realize I need to pee and end up waiting for what seems like 5 minutes (really, probably only 2) to use a porta potty at the next aid station. Finally, a volunteer comes out and apologizes for taking so freaking long. Oh well ...



At mile 11.4, we turn onto Big Flat Road, which takes us into a nice shady forested area. Ironically, along this road is where the one and only hill on the course lies.

I cross the halfway point in 2:00:46 but know I'm not feeling as good as I should. Crap. Looks like I did go out too hard at the start. The hill is about 1.5 miles long with a deceiving dip about halfway. It's not any steeper than the ones I ran at the Kentucky Derby Marathon but I'm huffing and puffing and getting nowhere fast. But at the top waiting for me is a view of the river down below. Gorgeous!

After that, mile 15, there's a good downhill that makes it evident that I have to pee again. ARGH!! Fortunately, this marathon has at least one porta potty at every aid station (obviously, the race director is a woman :-). The wait this time is less than a minute and I'm back on the road hoping that'll be it in the pee department.



Back across the river we go over this cute one lane bridge near mile 16. A woman about my age running near me says that she used to jump off the bridge when she was young. I give her that "You've got to be kidding " look as the water looks to be only a couple feet deep but she assures me it's deeper in this one spot on the other side. Then she passes me. Eek! I'm usually the passer, not the passee late in a marathon.

So I stuck with her hoping to catch the 4-hour pace group, which snuck past me while I was in a porta potty. Those devils! After mile 20, however, she slowed down and I did the same after mile 22, involuntarily. Sorry no pictures the last 10 miles as I was working too hard. They were mostly just residential areas anyway.

Still, I'm managing to pass more folks than those that pass me (4 to be exact, one of whom was a much younger woman). Finally, I got to the last turn and see the finish line just on the other side of a bridge. And it looked like all of Missoula had lined up along it. Their wonderful cheering gave me extra energy to finish strong and the smile that left me around mile 22 came back bigger than ever. Jen was right, what a great town this is. Thanks Missoula!!


Final time 4:04:35 (9:20 avg pace)
8/25 F45-49 (the second largest female division!)
First half 2:00:46
Second half 2:03:49, not as bad as I thought it would be :-)

PS - Isn't that a cool race bib number?

35 comments:

Wendy said...

Great race report Shirley! And an admirable altitude run. Good for you!

Flatman said...

Way to go Shirley! :)

Tri to Be Funny said...

I bet you would go a million times faster if you didn't take such great photos during the race! Seriously, is there ever a time you're not smiling?!!?

Kevin said...

Looks like a great place to run a marathon. Very scenic

RoadBunner said...

Congrats! The mile marker thing seems like a really neat idea.

Brittany M. said...

Great race out there this weekend--and great pictures too!

Brent Buckner said...

Forgiveness for dislike of racing at elevation:
latitude in attitude re: altitude.

Good to pick off another state!

KodaFit said...

Nicely done, and the photo's are terrific!

I've wondered about documenting some of my races by taking a camera along. Is there anything special about the camera you use, and does the pounding from the run seem to have any negative effects on the camera itself?

Susan said...

I hope that paper mill didn't stink too badly!

Excellent race report, as always. I felt like I was there. Dang I am impressed!!!!!

P.S. Your photos are great.

Calyx Meredith said...

I had the same thought as your last commenter wondering about the paper mill stink! (Is it only in the hot, humid South that paper mills smell so bad?!) Missoula looks beautiful and it sounds like a fun race. Sorry about the altitude issues though. (It wouldn't have occurred to me to check the altitude. Shows how much I know!) Keep smiling!

Dirty Dancing Through LIFE said...

GREAT JOB Shirley. It must be difficult although beautiful to run where mile after mile the scenery doesn't really change. Great pix. Someday I'll find my way to Montana and maybe race there too. I'm glad you had a good time though and I love the idea for the mile markers. How neat is that?

Runner's Anonymous said...

Congrats on a great job! Considering that you train at sea level this was a great effort!

Oh and to answer Calyx Meredith, we have paper mills in PA and they reek!! Due to your lack of comment on the smell it sounds like you were upwind of this one Shirley. Good thing. :-)

sharon said...

Great Job Shirley. To be able to have your second half only 3 min. longer when you were having trouble was quite an accomplishment

MarathonChris said...

Great race report. Way to knock off another state on your list!

Cliff said...

Hi Shirley,

Woohoo another state down. I was expecting to see some 6 packs with the race bib :)

Tammy said...

You GO Girl!!!!! Love the memo stuff, it reminds me on how blind I am without my glasses or contacts. By the way the pics are totally awesome.

Stef said...

You always look so great in your marathon photos and taking photos during the race is just the greatest thing EVER.

You (almost) make me want to train for a marathon. :-)

Hope you had good safe travels home. Missoula looks great (well except for that paper mill).

ShirleyPerly said...

Thanks everyone!!

FYI, the paper mill barely smelled at all, just a faint wood-like odor. And come to think of it, I hardly smelled the horses either. There must have been a mild wind taking the odors in another direction.

Maddy said...

Awesome job!

a great report, fantastic pictures, overall impressive!

You rock Shirley!

Ellie Hamilton said...

Well, I think your time is admirable and would be even at sea level. Your photos are beautiful. I LOVE Montana!

You gotta learn the stand-up pee technique, girl.... then you don't have to wait at the porta-pots, just duck behind them!!

Comm's said...

I just a ticket today on a stretch of road i'd never been on. Damn. First one in 15 years.

I have fished the Clarks Fork in Montana. I never knew they had marathons in Montana.

Spokane Al said...

You rolled a long at a brisk pace, took some great pictures, shared your memories with us - what a great way to spend a day!

akshaye said...

Congrats! That's some great scenery to do the race in. I guess that's probably one of the best things about doing the 50 in 50 states. You finished with a good time given the altitude problems. Well done!

jen said...

Congratulations!! You did amazing. I agree the altitude can sometimes get you. Sometimes when I visit MT I really notice it, and other times not so much. You ran a very strong race though. I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit to Missoula!! :)

jeanne said...

beautiful scenery! I can't believe you're running while taking those photos! Congrats on a terrific race--you make it look easy!

RBR said...

What a beautiful race! Your pictures and description make me feel like I was there!

Sorry, but I have to LOL at your disappointment with your time. I would have 4:04 tattooed on my forehead if I could ever run a marathon that fast!

You rock!

Smithposts said...

Nice race Shirley! "Tri to be funny" maybe right about the time and photos but I am glad you take them!

Sunshine said...

Amazing mile markers!!
Thanks for the enjoyable pictures.
And high elevated congratulations!
You soar, Shirley.

skoshi said...

Looks rural and very beautiful.
Love the mile markers--very cool!
The longest run I've ever done is a half marathon (except for training runs)--you make it look so easy.
Elevation is interesting--I live at 5000' elevation--took A LOT longer than the "3 weeks" people told me it would take to adjust. Now, when I go up to 6000 to run, I can definitely feel the difference. Last year had a race at 6000' and could feel the difference in the pool swim. Don't think other's feel it like I do--no one else seems to comiserate (sp?) when I mention it...

Petraruns said...

Fantatstic race report Shirley! As ever you inspire. And I love the photos you took on the way - it looks really pretty there. Love your bright and beautiful outfit as well - that and your smile must make you a dream to race with (were it not for the fact you overtake everyone..,)

Bruce Stewart (施樸樂) (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

I stopped by your blog as I had seen you on Bree's blog and found out you also spend time in Kona (surprised I don't really know you, at least by name). I decided to do the 6-point meme, since I read that posting as well as the more recent one. It seems that you are on to a great thing, trying to run a marathon in every US state. Keep it up. All the best.

Kathy said...

I found your blog and got caught reading for a while! I love the fact that you take pictures as you run, what a fantastic idea. Do you use a disposable? Think I will do this from now on! What a great way to capture it all. And what a beautiful place to run.

Jade Lady said...

cool mile markers! such creativity. I've never done a race where I had to worry about elevation. Beautiful scenery - thanks for sharing your tour of Missoula with us.

Chris said...

Hi, I came across your blog when I Googled "Missoula Marathon" for the fun of it. I've run Missoula twice now (so, all of them) and I ran Colorado too (this year). I think the altitude got to me in Colorado, but I live at the same elevation as Missoula, so didn't have any problems there. I'm glad you enjoyed the race and Missoula itself. I'm originally from Montana and went to college in Missoula; I try to get back there every chance I get (the marathon is a great excuse!).

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