Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Own Joke Half Marathon

Submitted by Ken

The past 2 winters I've traveled to Seeley Lake the last Saturday of February and participated in the Snow Joke half marathon. I'm at best a "5.8" runner by serious runner standards, but regardless, I still enjoy getting out and covering some miles, often as a much-needed break from the pressures and hassles of my job.  The Snow Joke in 2012 was my first ever half marathon, and my longest run as well. My 100-miler ultra runner friend, Lance Fisher, gets credit for planting the idea to run a half in the first place, and with that goal in mind, I set about realizing it. Last year, 2013, was my second race ever at that distance, and this year was to be my third. But schedules and obligations conspired against me and I found I wasn't going to be able to take a full day to make the trip to Seeley this year.

Meanwhile, as many of this blog's readers know, I've recently drug myself onto Facebook. And while I'm finding the FB experience fairly unremarkable, I will say I've been struck by the record of unceasing activity of the real-life friends who are now my virtual FB friends. I've seen skate skiing, Lolo pass skiing, backcountry skiing, lift skiing and a ski retreat to Canada. Mountain biking, sub-zero bike commuting. Climbing trips, climbing comps, climbing ice, bouldering, sending, projecting. Flying off cliffs, hikes to the top of cliffs. Travels to the ocean, travels to the desert, travels to the midwest, the east coast and across Europe. The examples go on and on. Seeing it  collected in one place is impressive, and has further inspired and motivated me to make sure I remain part of this hyper-active, no-grass-under-our-feet club of doers.

So with a few hours available in my schedule this past Saturday --the same day as the actual Snow Joke in Seeley-- I laced up my shoes, grabbed a couple of dogs, left the house and ran to Ronan, 13.4 miles, creating my own half marathon.

It was a gorgeous day: mid-30s, sunny and calm. I stopped here and there to take pictures. Which didn't help my time, of course. In fact for a while I lamented my ever-decreasing pace, until out of nowhere I heard the imagined voice of Brendon Quinn, who ran a 50-miler this winter, say to me with his characteristic understatement, "You know, if you stopped less to take pictures, your time would improve."  Point well taken, imagined Brendon!

Since I paid the price for them, here are a few images from the run (with special thanks to Sarah who took the start and finish pictures, and collected me and my running companions in Ronan).

The Start
"I'm Shay. I didn't get to go."

Eagle "Mile Marker" - Mile 2

Entering the trees - Mile 4

Looks just like Snow Joke back of the lake.

Hurry up!
Looking back from where I came - Mile 9

Ducks launching off pond. Grain elevator just visible on horizon is the finish.



Made it!