This is the third year that Spartan Race has offered a Montana event, with the past two years being the Sprint Distance. This year, they kicked it up a notch and added the Spartan Beast on Saturday—12+ miles and 30+ obstacles of fun! Dan and I had done the Sprint the past two years and loved every second of it, so when they made Saturday’s event the Beast, I registered us for it right away! This year, we also decided to go back to where we stayed the 1st time around—Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge in Big Fork, Montana. This dude ranch has been in operation for 70 years! It is absolutely gorgeous, and as long as we keep doing the Montana Spartan Races, we will always be coming back here! Part of the fun for us during Spartan Race weekend is getting away from Lethbridge for the weekend, and being able to drive 3.5 hours south and be surrounded by such beauty and fun is fantastic. Big Fork is a small vacation “town” (I even think it is unincorporated) but there are a handful of restaurants and bars to enjoy before and after the event. We opted for the new Flathead Lake Brewery for dinner and drinks on Friday, and we’re very happy with our meals. The beer was excellent also! On Saturday, we went into “downtown” and ate at Kiska’s by the Lake, a Cajun restaurant that was also new. Excellent food and drinks all around! My Cajun pot pie was AMAZING! Now that I just gave a lodging, food and drink rundown, onto the race recap….
My previous post was about my preparation for the Woody’s RV World Red Deer Half Marathon. Today, I am going to recap the race and let you know if my goal came to be!
This is the fourth year I have ran the Red Deer Half Marathon. I ran in 2010, 2012, 2013, and now this year. It is convenient in that my in laws live in Red Deer, but it is also a great race! The volunteers are fantastic, and swag is pretty great (with one complaint) and the course is gorgeous.
Pick up was no issue at all, as usual. Stopped to get my goods on Friday night, so I had plenty of time to then relax on Saturday I forgot BodyGlide and HoneyStinger Chews, which then caused me to go back to the expo and purchase these. (I didn’t know where any other running store was in town so this was easiest!). Had some pasta with the family Saturday night, threw back a beer that evening (per usual pre race plan) and went to bed early. 6:00 am alarm came fast!
I did my pre-race ritual of eating oatmeal and drinking coffee. I taped myself up, put on some Voltaren 10% on my knee, and headed outside for a warmup. I wanted to get more than 13.1 miles in today, so I planned on doing a 1 mile warmup before the race. I ended up doing about 1.5 miles, but thankfully I did this as I determined I was dressed too warm. Sure, it was raining, but I was already warm with a short sleeve Lululemon shirt on, so I quickly put on a tank, got on a garbage bag to protect myself from the rain, and walked to the start line.
I cut it pretty close this year, arriving at the start line at probably 7:53. It is nearly a mile from my in-laws house and I was power walking it. I got positioned in the corral, Oh Canada was sang, and away we went! You can notice how confused I am at that very moment by looking at the photo found on the front page of the Red Deer Advocate. Nice.
So my goal this race was to pace it like I will when running in Calgary on June 1st for my full; an 8:00 minute per mile pace. I knew my first mile was going to be a crapshoot, and I actually ended up going too slow! I ran mile 1 in 8:14! I set my Nike plus GPS watch to Average Pace so I could watch it work the way back down to 8:00. Miles 2-5 clocked in at 7:58, 8:01, 7:55, and 7:47, respectively.
The course is gorgeous, and follows the trail system on the Red Deer River. I have ran these trails many times, even though I don’t live in Red Deer, as they are convenient to my in-laws place. Familiarity does help a ton when you are shooting for a specific time in a race, as I knew when certain hills or hazards were coming. As I approached one tricky hill on the south side of the Red Deer river, I started talking with a lady around my age about her pace. Her name was Christy—she was doing the full and was going for 3:30! She was running the same pace as me, but obviously I was only doing the half. For the rest of the course, until she kept going to finish her full, we stuck near each other. Using each other as pace buddies was helpful! I had slowed a bit on that hill, hitting an 8:25 for mile 6, but then got back on track with help from Christy. We ran miles 7-12 in 7:51, 7:56, 8:15, 7:52, 7:53, and 8:02.
I had to run the last mile alone, as the full course forked to the left. I headed behind Lindsay Thurber High School, up Michener Hill, and coasted down to the finish line. This last “mile” took me about 7:00. I put mile in quotes because throughout the race I did not have to weave through traffic much, I hugged the curves, and I ran the tangents. My little legs need any advantage possible. I crossed the finish line comfortable with a time of 1:43.09…and I felt great!
I was met at the finish line with my finisher’s medal, water, a banana, and one of those space blankets. My only petty complaint about this race is the medal, as this is now the third year in a row the medal has had the same design on the front face, with the backside date being the only thing that changed. After receiving those goodies, I was greeted by my father-in-law and my beagle Snoopy. Snoopy was not thrilled as the rain was now really coming down. I had to get a finisher’s photo with him, because I realized earlier last week that I had a photo with my silly beagle every year at this race! Apparently it is a tradition!
I had met my “goal” for this race-I completed the half marathon at the same pace I plan on doing my full marathon. And most importantly, I felt like I could keep on going. It is now Tuesday evening and I am not sore one bit! I took yesterday off, but ran a comfortable 6 miles this evening, and I don’t even have knee pain! I am more ready than ever before to attempt to earn the coveted Boston Qualifying time. Less than two weeks….!
A shoutout to Christy, who did meet her goal, finishing the Red Deer Full Marathon in 3:29:00! Boston Qualifier!
I am getting a little bit off on my Sunday entry schedule, and I apologize.. I have been writing more sports tidally each week and still try to manage a post each week, but I cannot always guarantee the day of week. For instance, I want to now do a race recap on my event from Sunday, but I would like to wait until I see all pictures from the course photographers and any my friends took. So that will wait until later. But until then, I will put out a short photo memory post.
The photo below is of my dad and I during Christmastime of 2002.. While my website strongly talks about my loves of running, Disney World, my dad, and how they all tie together, there are other moments I love to cherish from when my dad was alive. This moment is one of them.
The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin, is a hotel that can simply not be compared with many other hotels in the world. The main building used to house the immigrant workers for the Kohler Company (yes, the company that makes toilets and faucets!). It was converted to a historic hotel in the early 80s and has received much praise—it is a AAA five diamond hotel! And, after Walt Disney World, it is definitely my family’s favorite getaway.
My parents first went to American Club when I was in 8th grade, and they got hooked. They first brought me in 2001, during Christmas. It was our backup trip that year, as after 9/11 occurred, my mom wasn’t sure if our airline tickets for Jamaica would be holding true by December—it was hard telling what would be flying by then at that point in time. So a trip to the American Club occurred. We went back again that Easter for a night, and then the following Christmas, in 2002. That’s when this photo was taken. In the main building off of the front foyer and library is this little nook by a fireplace with a chess set. My dad taught me how to play chess when I was a little girl and it was a game we would always play. He had a carved set from the Philippines I learned to play on, and now I am the owner of my dad’s stone chess set from the Holy Lands.
This moment of us playing chess together freezes an important memory and moment forever in my mind. I will always cherish the times our family had up in Kohler at the American Club, and this simple act of playing chess before heading off to dinner is so special.