I was smart, and decided to reserve a motel room for this one. So, on Friday, my mom and I got to head down toward Bozeman. When we left Helena, the weather was overcast, on the way to Bozeman, it was torrential rain. That slowed down the travel, although we had plenty of time. We got to the Rainbow Motel (which is really conveniently located), got checked in, and headed over for packet pickup. Unfortunately, they decided to give t-shirts to both those who preregistered and those decided to do last minute registration. So, they were out of my large and my mom’s extra large shirts when we came to packet pickup. I did pick up last year’s shirt for a mere five bucks, since I can always use a wicking running shirt with sleeves. We headed over to the Ale Works, got some amazing food and beer, headed back, and my shirt was resolved. Their comment was ‘you can pick it up in the morning’ which does not make sense when people are trying to avoid drop bags. Later, we learn that the printer messed up, which does make it much easier to take problems with getting correct shirts.
We decide to ride out and scope the course. This is my new recommendation for all road races, as it is much easier to do a race when one knows about where one is, and where one is going.
Figuring out what to wear for the race was a miserable challenge. I ended up wearing most stuff that I brought, being miserably cold while waiting for the race, and then miserable hot one mile into the race. After three miles, I managed to get the windbreaker off and wrapped up in the waist carrier, so I was only slightly too hot for the race.
Anyway, we meet up at the Running Company around 8:15, kill half an hour waiting for the busses, load up at 8:45, get out to the race start at 9:20, and wait until 10:00 for the race start. During the wait, we were miserably cold and windy, while the weather flipped about five minutes into the race.
So, I decided to do the trick from last time, and start at the back. There’s nothing quite like knowing I’ve got chip time over the people ahead of me. The race wound toward Hylite, with a slight uphill. Keep in mind, a slight uphill means that the legs are shot, the pace is off, and the effort is high. On the upside, I did get to do lots of passing, which makes me feel fast. Once we hit the first subdivision, one of the locals was handing out Rainer, in salute of the St Patrick’s Day. So, me being me, I take advantage of the opportunity. Hence, I learn the important lesson that it is difficult to drink while running, and bad beer turns into foam.
First aid station is roughly four miles in, near the hills south of town, and the crew is filling water as fast as they can to keep the line down. Since I beered up, I dropped off the can where it could be properly disposed of. I get my water, and prepare for a nice downhill run back into Bozeman. We finish running through the subdivision, and head back along 3rd ave. I notice the huge set of port-a-potties alongside the road, and figure the next aid station must be soon. Around the seven mile mark, I see the aid station on the left, and so I do the Hammer gel that I had been saving. For the record, I seem to need just a single Hammer, around roughly the hour mark. That did the nutrition trick. We hit the station, and notice a huge mess of green Dixie cups ahead. Yep, the 10kers stole our Jello Shots!
The race continues uneventfully until the nine mile mark, when we make a right hand onto Goldenstein Lane. From nowhere, we are hit with a head deathwind. So, in addition to being tired, going slightly uphill for way too much of the race, we get to deal with a nasty headwind for a few hundred feet. Around the ten mile mark, we finally catch up with the tail of the 10kers, including my beloved mother. So, we get to deal with the walkers right as we get off of Bozeman’s roads and onto the trail system. Actually, any of the remaining 10kers were sufficiently slower than the runners to be easy to pass.
At around mile 11, my right knee finally started to give out. It didn’t give out in the sense of being painful to run, just in the sense that it finally ran out of all power. Nonetheless, I managed to regroup and keep moving forward. Although the trail system was annoying rolling, I managed to make it toward Church and move to the finish line.
So, I go through the finish line, and get my awesome water, and wait for a few minutes, then head toward the massive beer mess. I spend way too long waiting in line (including getting cut by one very rude gal who was encouraged to cut by her even more rude mother) only to sneak one of the prefilled Harps off the table, with no bib mark. By the time that I finish my beer, I head toward Bogart and run into my mother, who I help limp toward the finish line.
So, overall time, 1:54 and change. I didn’t break 1:50, but the course and weather didn’t make it easy. The course was deceptively tough, with just enough uphill to fool the Garmin and drain the legs. I felt strong for most of the race, even though my pace was not as strong as I wanted it to be.
Swag: Last year’s shirt, this year’s shirt (both long sleeve), a really cool pint glass, advertisments for Bozeman events.
Clothing: magic running underwear, green running tights, old-school green sweatshorts, cold weather Brooks running shirt, Adidas running shirt, winderbreaker / hoodie, gloves, hat, waist carrier for the iPod.
Upsides: Family Promise is an amazing organization, the people who do the race are really cool, pint glass is good swag, course is pretty and interesting.
Downsides: packet pickup logistics problems, water stations had water only (no food, or even Poweraid), disorganized mess for most race beer pickup. Mostly, there are a few minor logistical issues that need fixed.
Overall: I found myself enjoying this, although I think I’m going to try a different March schedule next year.