I did it! Running my second half marathon, and a competitive time to boot at the Bozeman Half Marathon!

After completing my first half marathon in West Yellowstone back in June, I was anxious to complete a second and actually compete for a good time. After a summer of serious training and hundreds of miles on the trails and roads, I made it to the 2015 Bozeman Half Marathon.

We already caught up on the Bozeman 5k I ran on Saturday, where I placed in the Top 10. Sunday morning, I felt great, well rested (after a steak dinner on Saturday, of course, #TeamBeef) and ready to hit the road.

running bozeman half marathon

Bozeman Half Marathon Start

We loaded the buses downtown before 7 a.m. in the dark and traveled southwest of town, near Four Corners, for the starting line. Most of the race took place on roads among pastures with occasional houses, so the scenery was great. Temperatures at the starting line were in the low 50s, but things quickly heated up.

It was difficult to get started at a good pace in the crowd. There was no organization of pace groups at the start and we had a lot of slow runners up front in the crowd. The first mile was spent dodging and weaving around people while trying not to take someone out with an elbow. My legs were a little tight and I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out. By the time I made it to mile 4, we were finally strung out and that’s where I settled into a comfortable pace.

bozeman half marathon finish time

Bozeman Half Marathon Mid Race

Then I was nervous, I was not hitting my pace — I was going too fast. I went in with a goal of an 8:15 pace, which is faster than my training runs and what my plan had set as a goal according to my performance. I was running 8-minute miles and felt loose.

Miles 4 through 7 were easy, but I was still worried about going too fast. I tried to distract myself from that worry by focusing on my breathing and taking in the sunrise scenes in the hayfields around.

By mile 8, something clicked, I zoned out and pushed on! There were a few gently rolling hills for the remainder of the course that wound through a few residential neighborhoods. I joked with a few runners as I passed by and was surprised to see some of the trail runners I recognized from other races.

Bozeman Half Marathon Finish

Mile 12 and 13 were a push. I was just looking for the finish line. My feet were tired. Too much time on the trails, not as much on the pavement this round of training and it was warming up. To be honest, I wasn’t paying much attention to what was around, other than the final 1.2 miles was the same street I’d covered the day before during the 5k.

running bozeman half marathon finish medal

I was definitely happy to see that Bozeman Half Marathon finish line on Main Street!

My time was close to a Top 50 finish, but this isn’t hand grenades or horseshoes. I ended up with a 7:51 pace, finishing in 1:42:51. 5 minutes faster than my training plan had predicted. Very happy with my pace in miles 8 through 13. If I just could have done that during the entire race!

I did end up placing 61st overall, 5th in my division. The screenshot to the left is my placing just after my finish from Competitive Timing.

Final Thoughts

I’ll definitely look at doing the Bozeman Half Marathon again. Bozeman Running Company did a great job of putting on 3 events this weekend (5k, Half and Full Marathons), professionally. There was plenty of energy from the runner perspective.

My next race? The Montana CattleWomen are hosting a 25-mile relay run where I’ll run 2–3 legs on ranches in the Lennep, MT area. After that, I’m not sure as race season is winding down here in Montana. I definitely enjoy the 13.1-mile distance. It’s a great opportunity to push myself, settle into a comfortable pace and I’m definitely sore this morning. As for my first marathon…. I definitely want to accomplish that goal next Spring. Maybe our local Governor’s Cup Marathon in early June.

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