State #36 Montana
Yellowstone Half Marathon
West Yellowstone, Montana
Division Place 32
State #36 Montana
Montana is a good way to get over the State #35 hump. To be honest I never thought in a million years I would be in Montana. I’ve never even given it a thought. It is one of the 50 states, I know but Montana? My knowledge of Montana was space, “ big sky country”, white people, guns, and native folks. Perhaps a bear or two maybe?
Montana surprised me in all kinds of ways. While there for five days, I visited and explored Montana State University, Museum of the Rockies, College “M” trailhead, Bozeman, Helena, Browning, Blackfeet nation, Museum of the Plains Indian, Montana Historical Society , West Yellowstone, and Yellowstone national park. This was before running 13.1 in nature.
My “river(s)” are the Ohio and Mississippi. Before starting this journey, these were the two rivers that I was familiar with and knew. I realize I only knew them in a regionally specific way. My knowledge and experience of the Ohio was between the boarders of Cincinnati and Covington and Northern Kentucky. I grew up there. The Mississippi – I know from being in New Orleans for graduate school conferences.
On this running journey I have seen different parts of the Mississippi and she looks geographically so different from my New Orleans comparison. I finally understood how wide she is when I ran across her in Tennessee. State #30 I ran across her from Memphis, TN to West Memphis, Arkansas. The big river crossing is the longest active pedestrian bridge. . Even in Minnesota the Mississippi is very narrow compared to the other parts of her.
I had no idea how the Ohio looked when I ran in Louisville , Kentucky. She is a lot wider down there. Who knew? Not me.
For the first time I was introduced to the mighty Missouri River was in North Dakota. I saw the see the River again in Montana. Also the Yellowstone River In Montana. Love that I'm seeing all kinds of water.
Traveling to Montana
How do you get there? My round trip travel route BOS- MSP-BZN ( Boston, Minneapolis, Bozeman). To try to save monies, I flew stand-by. Flights range from $500 to $800. Luckily, flying free worked out and I didn’t get bumped off the flight.
My flight left Boston at 5:30am to MSP. I was able to be on first class because the flight was wide open. Then a bit of drama. From MSP to BZN there was a delay and what looked somewhat opened had changed dramatically. Thankfully because of my mother’s flying status I was number one on the stand-by list. I got the last open seat on the plane. If I didn’t make that flight( 11:15am) the next one would be 8pm later that day.
Highlights From the Race:
I have said this several times. I am not a fan of running in nature. I am not a fan of running on trails. Just not a fan. To add insult to injury, the two times I fell while running has been on trails, in nature.
1. First time an Expo was completely outside. There’s no arena or convention center or running store to pick up bib numbers and shirts
2. First time seeing bear spray. Actually I saw it all over West Yellowstone. Are we running with Bears? Found out, on this race a bear has been known to stick it’s head out while people were running.
3. Running in nature = environmentally friendly and respectable. There would not be cups at water stations, you have to bring your own water container.
4. There was a s’mores station and fire pit at the expo. People made their own s’mores and sit around the fire
1. The weather was perfect. Race started at 7a.m. In Montana light comes super early, around 4 a.m.
2. There was a table full of bug spray for the mosquitoes and Vaseline to get ready for the race.
3. 2,000 people ran and I learned that trail running is so different. You have to go slower, pick up your knees. This was 100% trail race
4. Had a woman say to me before the race how she and her friends were admiring my arms and how they are so defined. Really?
While Running 13.1
1. Around mile 5 there was a mosquito spray station. Two men covered hats and mess, reminded me of what a beekeeper might wear while they sprayed people down .
Personally, I pre-sprayed before I left the motel. Then at the race I sprayed again. At mile 5 there was another spraying. One of the men said to me, “ boy they have eaten up your back”. Really, damnit, damnit nature.
2. This was a hard race for many people. A one point. All the runners who were in front me actually walked. Trying to run up hill with a rocky and uneven surface was hard
3. Open music. 3 people on the trail had open music. Everyone could hear their music. No headphone needed. I heard Shana Twain’s “I feel like a woman” and “ what is love”. So annoying and rude
4. For 5 miles, the last 5 miles I ran without music. I couldn’t get a signal. Had to keep on running
5. Scared I was going to twist and ankle or bust a knee. Around mile 7/8 we were running up and down a hill of uneven rocks and avoiding large mud puddles. There were a couple of times that I tripped. I didn’t fall I just tripped.
6. At point there was a large mud puddle that covered the trail and everyone had to run in a single file on the side to avoid it.
7. The scenery was just so amazing, I actually stopped to take photos. The last time that happen was state #11 because I hit a wall running a B2B half marathon.
8. This race took a lot of mental and emotional strength.
9. Running down hill will uneven rocks and dirt. You had to have strength to pull yourself back from going with the flow of gravity.
10. Since I didn’t have head phones in my ear, I thought I heard a bear. Then again I don’t know what a bear sounds like. I’m going with it sounded like a bear
11. I did see another African/American women on the trail. That was exciting to see.
12. The last two miles I refused to stop and it was flat by then
13. Somehow dirt, sand, and rocks got into my shoe. I should have stopped to get them out but I didn’t. I just kept on going
14. Running was also difficult because you couldn’t always go around people. There were several people that I just flowed because of the narrowness of the path
15. One women told me that she was following me and I got her through one of the rough patches. I thanked her and told her we can keep doing this.