Missoula Marathon RR

On Sunday, I ran the Missoula Marathon, my 48th marathon and one more state on the quest.  It was a hot day for marathoning and I had some issues with my asthma and elevation, but it was done and not too slow at that.

Ever since Martha's Vineyard in May, I've been having asthma issues again.  Been using the long-term asthma inhaler, which I had dropped for close to two years.  With that, comes some side effects, so I wasn't happy.  On top of that, the week before the marathon my breathing issues were so bad that I had to start on prednisone. I sure loved the extra 10lbs I gained before the race, says no one ever.  But at least I could breathe better...or so I thought.

We arrived in Bozeman, Montana on Friday late afternoon, and as soon as we went to the rental car, I started having breathing issues.  I didn't even think the elevation in Montana would be too bad so I wasn't even prepared or expecting this.  Bozeman has around 5400ft elevation, so would think it was low enough but noooooo.  I was taking very short breaths like a fish out of water.  Oh, well, it is what it is.

We found a Mexican restaurant for dinner for margaritas and burritos (of course, always Mexican restaurants :) ) and went to bed. We headed to Missoula the next morning and early, since we were still in EST time and we woke up at 6am MT.  Missoula is lower in elevation and once we arrived, my lungs started to think they were breathing better (3400ft).  I went from this race is going to suck to I can run fast now, a clear sign that I had elevation stupidness.

On our route from Bozeman to Missoula:

There is a reason why it's called the Big Sky state.  The sky is gorgeous...and BIG!

We had lunch with my friend Lisa and her friend Abhay at one of the many Missoula breweries and the food was amazing.  I had a pastrami Reuben which I've not had in ages and their beer batter fries were awesome.  Stomach was happy!

We went back to the hotel and I ran 3 miles on the hotel TM. Whoever thought of putting the guests' laundry inside the gym is an idiot. It was like mid 90s outside and as hot indoors thanks to the dryers constant work.  Anyway, 3 miles done.  We had dinner at an Irish Pub where I had probably the best chicken pot pie I've ever had and went to bed early enough even for me.  I slept maybe three hours so at least there was some improvement from my last race.

Both the marathon and the half started at 6am but at different locations.  We had to get to the buses no later than 5:15am and we were there well before then.  We said goodbye and I ate my standard KK donuts and Mtn Dew on the way.  Lisa and Abhay managed to get to the same bus as me.

Our start was around 11 miles from downtown, after which we met the HM course at around Mile 15 to run 10-11 miles of that route.  The race is relatively flat (not Miami flat by any means) with a big hill between Miles 14-15.  My coach had me train for it by doing some intervals at 5% and I ran most of it without issue, except I was running as a slow as a turtle parade, as you will see in a minute.

At the start, I saw a fellow INKnBURN fan, Lula, and we took our picture:

And we were off!

Miles 1-15
The high for the day was 90-94F (I don't recall), but the start was in the mid 50s.  It sure didn't feel cool at all for most of the race and by the halfway point, it just felt like I was running in Miami, without the humidity, of course.

Since I've had breathing issues for at least a week, my plan was to run easy for as long as I could and adjust accordingly.  So, I started at my typical easy pace.  By Mile 8, I was done, almost literally.  I guess what I thought was workable lungs were only for walking, lol.

The course was entertaining enough, with lots of great views and Disney-esque photo stops.  So, I took it easy and stopped when I needed to.

Pace: 10:49, 10:31, 10:20, 10:17, 10:17, 10:19, 10:23, 10:27, 11:08 (stopped at medical tent for vaseline - they didn't have any), 10:43, 10:53, 13:00 (stopped at medical tent for more vaseline - they didn't have any), 11:21, 15:26 (hill and stopped at medical tent for vaseline - they have it finally!), 11:37.

Miles 16-20
At this point, I decided to run/walk the race. I felt super winded and with no energy (typical of a bad asthma day), and I knew that if I continued running I would pay for it later.  So, I started having more fun on the course, grabbed mimosas, Disney-esque pics, etc.  I also saw a girl who had give me some vaseline on the course limping, so I walked with her a little bit to make sure she was OK. She told me that she had a brain injury that sometimes made her brain not communicate well with her body and today was just one day (hence why she was limping), to go ahead and that she would finish no matter what.  Hearing about her running the marathon with a brain injury really inspired me to continue on.  What's a little bit of asthma compared to a brain injury?  I'm lucky indeed.

Here are some of the pics and videos I took on the course:

Paces: 10:52, 12:34 (piano man), 13:48 (girl I walked with for a while), 12:55 (banjo brothers), 14:13 (texted my husband to check if France was winning the World Cup - it was).

At this point, I'm tired and it's hot.  it was somewhere in the mid 70s and getting hotter.  The race has no shade for the most part and, although not humid, it was draining for sure.  I texted my husband here to say I am most likely walking the rest of the way.  Then, of course I proceeded to run/walk and maintain whatever pace I had before.

Miles 21-26.2
Most of the people were outside with hoses to keep us cool.  It helped a lot but it was still hot, ha.  I couldn't breathe well at this point, so my run/walking got a bit shorter, but I was still moving.  Everywhere around me had people walking left and right.  Somewhere around here I knew I didn't even have a sub-5 in me (my goal for this race) and when the 5 hour pacer passed me, I really didn't care.  But anyway, I was moving and going, even if I couldn't breathe.

By the time we reached downtown and that sign above that the pain cave would be over in one mile, I texted my husband that was less than 0.30 away from the finish (since he was waiting for me) and he texted back: the finish line is downhill.  Awesome.  I had something to look forward to. 

I reached the finishing chute and headed there as fast as I could (10:36mm).  My name was called but they sure didn't know how to pronounce it, lol.  Saw my husband taking pictures of me which he accidentally deleted, sigh, and finished in 5:14:55.  I had a full medical team on me as soon as I finished (even though it wasn't as hot as I heard it was last year) to make sure I was OK and let me go as soon as I they were sure I was.  Collected my giant medal and picked up a Coke and a bottle of water.  The extra sugar felt nice right then and there.

Here are some official pictures of me at the finish line:

After the finish, I met a friend from the RWOL forums, Curtis:

And one more state was done.  I wish I could've breathed through the race, but I sure wasn't breathing much all week in 0ft of elevation, least of all at 3500.

I seriously don't know how I'm going to finish UT next month, which is more than doubled Missoula's elevation.  I guess I'll join the turtle parade for sure.


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