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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Missoula Marathon! #11 Done!

When the Missoula Marathon was voted “Best Overall Marathon” in the 2010 marathon issue of Runners World, my friends and I put it on our list. It was only an 8 hour drive from Salt Lake City and we could check Montana off our 50 State list. But, as the months went on and schedules (marathon and life) changed, it seemed that we would not have our usual crew of Utah Maniacs heading to Missoula. David and I planned to make it a family vacation, but when his work schedule didn’t coordinate, it looked as if I would be driving to Missoula for my 11th marathon alone.

Teresa, Jim and I leaving SLC!

About a week and a half before the trip my good friends Jim Levy and Teresa Baker were able to move their schedules around and join me! Now it was a party! Then like a snowball, Franz, Sue, Doug and Trina were running too! From looking at the Maniac race calendar, we knew there would be a lot of Maniacs there and none of us wanted to miss it! Saturday morning Teresa, Jim and I loaded my car up and made the long drive.

We made good time, stopping in Dillon, MT for a bite of lunch at Sparky’s. When we got into Missoula we headed right for the expo to pick up our race packets. Teresa and I were happy to see that our hotel was right there next to the park which would also serve as the finish area!

Teresa at Sparky's

While at the expo, we met a few fellow Maniacs as well as a lovely group of ladies (50 Staters) from Waco, TX. We all were noticing how warm it was and were all hoping for a cooler day come race time.

The Expo

After leaving the expo Franz & Jim had headed off to their hotel, and Teresa, Sue and I went to ours. There we ran into our BFF (and Maniac) from Casper, Patrick Finney. Of course we stood around chatting forever and when Teresa and I finally got into our room, we only had 15 minutes to get to Ciao Mambo’s for dinner! We dropped our bags, changed our clothes and were out the door.

Ciao Mambo’s was packed, but we managed to get a few tables and have a nice pasta dinner. There were tons of Maniacs there so we floated around to other tables, meeting people and socializing. After dinner we Teresa and I went back to our hotel to prepare for race day and get some rest. We were meeting our crew at 4:30am!

Our crew at Ciao Mambos for dinner!

The busses for this race were easy to find and we loaded up and headed for the start. It seemed like we were driving forever. The bus driver was very friendly so we all started joking with him about being on the “Ultra” bus or him taking us out of state. When we finally got to the start, there were lots of friendly volunteers to show us where to go. We went straight for the potties then settled on a patch of grass, where we saw Patrick and a lot more Maniacs! We even met one maniac, Kelby Marks, from Bogota, Columbia!

Maniacs at the start!

We headed to the potty one last time and made our way to the starting line. On the way back to our pace group, we saw Maniac #1 himself, Steven Yee and stopped to take a photo. I minute later, BOOM! The University of Montana cannon fired and we were off!

Teresa, Steven Yee (MM #1), Jim and I

The weather was cool as we started, but heated up quick, Jim was already pouring water on his head at around mile 3. The course was so pretty and flat, which was great for the first 12 miles. It was at that point I realized that unlike our Sarasota brother Greg Goebel, I am not a fan courses that are too flat.  Without any changes, my legs felt tired and stiff sooner.

The course was BEAUTIFUL!!

Me at mile 6!

At around the half, I let Teresa and Jim go. I thought I would finish better if I slowed down. There was one big hill we had to run and it was a welcomed sight (I never thought I would say that)!

Jim heading up the hill!

I stopped and took some photos conserving my energy on the hill, as I was not feeling too good. I was having some stomach issues and felt at times like I was going to barf, partly because of the heat and partly because my stomach wasn’t feeling well before I started, but, a nice lady on the course had a bag of ice and was offering it to runners. I took some and put it in my cap. It felt sooo good!

So pretty!!

I got a second wind and headed down the hill. It felt great! As I was running, I came across a throng of Maniacs and in the center of the throng was Larry Macon (Maniac extraordinar and cute little old man). As I ran up behind him, I yelled “Look at all these good looking Maniacs”! He turned around and gave me a hug. I stayed with the throng for a short while, and then we all splintered off.

When I ran over this bridge, I saw a moose crossing the river!

As I got to about mile 16, I started feeling nauseous again. I pushed through to about mile 18.5, when I saw Jim walking with Maniac Christine Girtz Adams. They were a welcomed sight. I decided to stay with them and walk a while (at that point I would have been fine walking the rest of the race). During that walk break, we picked up a guy named Mad Dog and Julia Kocubinski, who was running her first marathon. At mile by 19.5, I was feeling 100% better. It was sooo hot out, but Jim and I decided to start running easy again at mile 20. Jim and I had both accepted the fact that not only were neither of us going to set a PR (personal best), but we just might set a PW (personal worst) time wise, but we didn’t care, we were having a BLAST! Singing, dancing, walking, running. The back of the pack was FUN!!

My Favorite Mile Marker!

For the final 6 miles we all stuck together as we ran through the neighborhoods of Missoula. The people of Missoula were GREAT!! It was hot and about every house had people cheering and/or out with their sprinklers for runners to run through. I don’t know how any of us would have gotten by without them!
We look happy!!
Juila and I running!

As we came around the last turn over the bridge the finish line in site, Julia (as with most 1st time marathoners), recognizing her amazing accomplishment, started to cry. It was so sweet!! We had just met her, but we were all so proud of her!!

Jim and I headed for the finish line and since we were breaking no records, we stopped just short of the finish line and rocked the robot (something Jim, Teresa and I had joked about in the car on the way up), before crossing the timing mats!! Then we waited and cheered as Christine and Mad Dog finished. It was AWESOME!

Jim and I ROCKING the robot!

Christine, Mad Dog, Me, Julia, and Jim at the finish!

After the race, Teresa was meeting up with an old friend, so Jim and I went to pick up our free photo at the finishers area. The line was super long. While there we saw Steven Yee (Maniac #1) and Chris Warren (Maniac #2). We chatted for a bit and then saw Franz and Sue. We all chatted some more and I finally went back to the hotel room to shower.

Patrick, Teresa, Jim and I all ended up at a really good Mexican restaurant for lunch before Patrick had to catch his flight out (thanks for lunch Patrick)!! Teresa, Jim and I walked around a little farmers market, stuck our feet in the river and then headed back to our room to watch a movie (of course, I dozed off). Then we took a drive around the University of Montana campus, dropped Jim off at his hotel and Teresa and I headed back to our room to watch a movie and/or crash! It was so relaxing!! The next morning we headed home!

Jim soaking his feet in the river.

Teresa and I soaking! It felt sooooo good!!

This wasn’t my best race (time wise), but it wasn’t my worst either. As my fellow Maniac Greg Goebel posted on my Facebook page, “They all can't be PRs, and as long as you have fun, THAT is what counts!” Well, we had FUN!! In fact, we had a BLAST!!!! THANK YOU MISSOULA!!

SPECIAL SHOUT OUT to Teresa! Missoula earned her 4 Maniac stars!! You ROCK Teresa!!

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