Bibrave Race Review: Missoula Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Missoula Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

By Sunday, it was run number 3 for me in Montana. I had done the Free Beer Run on Friday night (3 miles), followed by the Missoula 5K Saturday.  Saturday after the Missoula 5K, I picked up my bib and number for the Half Marathon. The way packet pick up worked meant that only 5K bibs/shirts could be picked up on Friday, so I couldn’t pick up both of my race bibs at the same time. I finished the 5K around 830 and walked around the expo a bit, which ran from 8-4 and was pretty packed up until 9/9:30 AM. It was pretty easy to get my bib (bibs were split into half or full and then alphabetically by last name), but I had to wait a few minutes to get my shirt. We also got a string bag with not a whole lot in it, but I was ok with that. It had an area on the front where you wrote your bib number in it if you were checking your bag at the start. They had an area at the expo with plenty of permanent markers to do it there (smart thinking!). The expo was small, had all of your basic stuff (race merchandise, running shops, small local things and Jeff Galloway had a booth as well). I ended up walking around a farmer’s market next door after I had all my stuff and then grabbed some brunch. I chilled out at the hotel for most of the day before going to church and then dinner on Saturday night.

 

Race day was an early morning. I keep saying I need to not do as many early start/point to point races because it’s tiring. I was up by 3:30/4 AM, which felt like 2:30/3 AM to me. I had all of my stuff out the night before and after getting changed and functioning, I was out the door with my protein shake and drove 10 minutes to the Univ. of Montana and the Adams Center. Since it was a 6 AM start, everyone had to be shuttled to either the half or full marathon start. There was plenty of parking and plenty of shuttles at 4:25 when I got there and parked. A little better differentiation between the half line and the full line would have been good, though there were volunteers there directing you. I was texting back and forth with fellow Bibrave Pro Justin, who was also at the race, but doing the full. Shortly after I had left for the start, the lines for the half got pretty long!

At the start, people were stretching or trying to get some shut eye. I got there around 5 AM and had time to have some breakfast, drink some fluids and use the porta potties twice (trust me, there were more than plenty). It was dark for at least the first half an hour before the sun came up. A little bit cool, but that changed too. We also had to deal with fireworks every 15 minutes to help figure out time or something along those lines. I checked my bag close to the start and made my way over to the start line.

Off we went, right at 7 AM and we were off via cannon. That’s enough to wake you up. The first 2.5 miles or so were on a rural road, though there was some down hill to it. After that, we were directed onto the main course, where the full marathon would join in somewhere between 15-16 miles into their race. They started at 6 AM as well, though further up the course. Overall, a fairly flat and scenic course that picked up some residential areas the further along you went. At one point, we passed a guy playing his Baby Grand Piano on his front lawn. I really want to know how he got it out there! I was keeping an OK pace, but hit a wall from miles 8-11. It’s been awhile since I’ve hit the running wall, but my legs weren’t feeling it and the lack of sleep caught up with me some. I was able to pick up the pace the last 2 miles or so and finish in 2:05:14.

Aid Stations: every 2-3 miles the first 7 miles of the race, then every mile the last 10K. Luckily it was cool while I was on course, so it was ok, but it definitely got hot for people who were on course until 12:30.

Post race: met with medals pretty quickly and medical if you needed it. Porta Potties in the shute area if you needed them. You were led around the block to water and family waiting area. Post race party was in Caras Park. The even had free pictures! Not much of line for me, but that picked up pretty quick.

There was also an area for post race food, post race massages and family meeting areas. You could exchange your shirt if you needed a different size (again, why can’t this be done at the expo??). Plenty of food trucks. One thing I wish they had was chocolate milk, I felt like I needed some sooner than waiting to get back to mine at my hotel.

Big 3 Challenge: since I did the Beer Run, the 5K and the Half, I got fun extra swag!

Only downside to this race is I ended up walking about a mile back to my car at Univ. Montana. There may have been shuttles, though I’m not sure. My legs were ok, but if I would have done the full, I would have been hurting a bit more.

Overall, please go do Missoula. It’s well run and well put together. The people are awesome and are willing to help the race out with whatever’s asked (including running their sprinklers for people to run through when it’s too hot). A must do race for anyone, and I hope I can get back next year!

Bibrave Race Review: Missoula 5K

Disclaimer: I received a free entry into the Missoula 5K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews

I finally made it out to Missoula for the Missoula Race Weekend! I had signed up for the Missoula Half Marathon last year, however, due to moving disasters, I never made it to race weekend. This year, I went out and did the Big 3 Challenge: the Beer Run (completely free and a 3 mile shake out run on Friday), the 5K on Saturday and either the Half Marathon or Full Marathon on Sunday.

I got into town Friday afternoon and checked into my hotel. I headed over to Caras Park and was able to get my bib and shirt for the 5K on Saturday. They had pick up from 5-7 pm Friday and from 7-730 AM on Sunday. There were limited vendors at packet pick up on Friday night, as the beer run also happened. After running the beer run and looking around, I grabbed some dinner and went to the store to pick up a few things before calling it a night

 

Saturday Morning, I was up around 6 AM and out the door by 7 AM. I had time for a protein shake before hand (the joy of being able to drive 3 hrs to a race and throw whatever I want into my car!). It was easy enough to park downtown and walk to the start. I was able to meet up with fellow Bibrave Pro Justin at the start and we got to chat for a bit before the race started at 8 AM.

 

It was cool out, which was nice, compared to being in the 90s for the beer run. We were off at 8 AM and were sent through downtown Missoula. It was a fairly easy course to follow and took us through some residential areas, as well as some local parks. It was well marked, had some that was paved running routes, some that was road, etc. Missoula roads in general could use a little work! It was overall a fairly quick course that finished in Caras Park. You received your medal and then could explore the expo and relax some. There was water available at the finish, but none on course.

Overall, a good warm up for race day on Sunday. I do wish there was one water stop on course, as there wasn’t one. You could also exchange your shirt, but could only do it on Saturday after the 5K, so it really depended on how badly you wanted to lug the shirt back with you if picked up your stuff on Friday.

After the race, I got some brunch at a little place by the finish and explored the farmer’s market next to the finish. I hung out most of the day in the hotel since it got up into the 90s again. I called it an early night since it would be an early morning on Sunday!

 

Virtual Run for Sherry Arnold

Early last night, I was checking facebook and a post came up in one of the groups I’m in.  It directed you to a Virtual Run/Walk Page for Sherry Arnold.  On January 7, Sherry went out for an early morning run in her small Montana town and never returned home.  The only thing that has been recovered of her is her right running shoe.  A week later, 2 men were arrested, one of whom confessed to her murder.  Her body hasn’t been found in the 3 weeks since her disappearance and death and any sort of tips, help in locating her, etc is much appreciated.  Her friend, Beth, is the writer of the blog Shut Up and Run, where she talks a bit more of the events surrounding Sherry.  On February 11, there’s going to be a virtual run/walk for Sherry.  It’s easy- print out the bib and run how far or how ever long you’d like.  I know we all have some sort of run we’re going to be doing, so why not throw a bib on and support a fellow runner to boot?  To make it easier, here’s a link to the bib and a picture of it!  Continue to keep her husband and two kids in your thoughts and prayers, as they go through a difficult time and if you know anything, say something!

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