I made a discovery this past weekend while running the Missoula Half Marathon: a half marathon is a fabulous alternative to the full marathon. I was done in half the time, my legs felt great afterwards, and I still felt that sense of accomplishment that comes from running a race.
I was originally signed up for the full marathon, but with the recent injuries, I shortened it to the half marathon, and planned on walking it. Come race morning, my legs felt fine, including my questionable, stress-fracture-like spot, and I shuffled through the first mile of the race, only stopping to take pictures along the way. During the second mile, while I was taking another photo, I heard someone call out, “Stopwatch!”, and turned to see Zippers and her friend running alongside of me. I joined them from that point on, catching up with Zippers, a friend we know from the Appalachian Trail, and her friend Jennifer.
The race turned out to be all that it was built up to me, with beautiful scenery, cool morning temps that warmed into a hot afternoon, great aid stations, and a finish line packed with delicious post-race food. I ran with Zippers the entire race, snapping photos along the way, and just enjoyed the fact that I was running versus walking, and enjoyed the company that I’ve never had in a race.
After finishing, we all waited around to see Matt finish 10th in the marathon, with a time of 2:50.16, and our friend Eric came in shortly after in 2:53. Matt looked strong and happy coming in to the finish, despite an aching knee and tired legs. We all celebrated our finishes over brunch shortly after the race, and made our way back to Seattle that afternoon.
It was a long drive from Seattle to Missoula, especially to do over the weekend, but we’re glad we made the trip, because we took part in a great race, saw good friends (including Anders, the Swede we met in the Jackson, Mississippi marathon, who is running a marathon in every state!), and had good food. We also had unmatched hospitality, as we stayed with our friend Eric’s Aunt Patti and Uncle Jim, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves while in their company for the weekend. Lastly, congratulations to Kat Mueller for placing first place among the women in the 5k at Missoula. Thank you to Eric and his family for hosting us in such a great town as Missoula, and thank you to Zippers and Jennifer for joining me for such an event.