I got to Montana a couple of days early. Though I have been to Montana before, I was blown away by the beauty of the land and sky.
On Saturday I went exploring and took some pictures. The rain had cleared up, and I could see each layer of mountain in front of me.
|I half-expected to see a grizzly in one of the meadows but never did.|
|I climbed this hill to get another perspective...and got winded from the elevation. Uh oh.|
|Indian Paintbrush for my good friend Rose|
|The highest elevation of the race|
Sunday morning registration came early. Apparently I wasn't thinking straight because I left my iPod and my Garmin back at the car. I got on the bus to the starting line with just my race stuff (water bottle, shoes, clothes, two gels, and some Chomps) and a smile.
The 13.1-mile bus ride to the start was long, and truth be told, that intimidated me. I wondered how my lungs would do at 9,500', and I worried I was going to come in last...again. (Such things shouldn't bother me, and for the most part they don't; but I had to make a conscious effort to tell myself that I was there for the views and the experience and not the time.)
|About to start and a little nervous|
The first few miles of the race were good. I hiked all of the uphills, and I even passed a few people. (Perhaps I should thank Moscow Mountain and Kamiak Butte for that.) I loved running the downhills.
|Isn't this just an awesome dirt road?! This stretch is pretty typical of what I saw for the whole race.|
|This picture just doesn't do the mountain justice. It was TOUGH!|
It is funny that I don't have more stories about each mile like I did during my first half marathon and my first marathon. The race just kinda blends together as a gorgeous long run that I am blessed to have experienced. I never felt like I was gonna die; I never wanted to cry when I realized how far I still had to go. I just enjoyed the landscape. I don't want to get ahead of myself here, but it was almost as if I am getting more comfortable with the distance of a half marathon; I knew how long 13 miles feels, and I knew that I could handle it.
The only time I felt borderline-discouraged was around mile 9. I felt like I had been climbing more than I was descending, and I then I saw this:
Unfortunately, my RunKeeper application on my phone and the course mile markers were a little bit off. According to my app, I reached the 13-mile mark with two minutes to spare. However, I didn't reach the 13-mile sign until after 3 hours had passed. My official finish time was 3:03:09.
|A welcome sight no matter how beautiful the course.|
|I was bitten by one of the deer flies that swarmed me from mile 11 on. The welt took up the better part of my thigh by the next morning.|
I am so glad to have run the Madison Half. The landscape was breathtaking; the volunteers were wonderful; and the feeling I got after completing a race at over 9000', well, it makes me smile just thinking about it. I highly recommend it... but bring your bug spray! :)