It’s Snow Joke

Sidenote:  Remember when I said I would “post five times a week as long as life didn’t get in the way?”  Well, life work got in the way last week.  Sorry for being MIA!  This week will be much better, plus I have a lot to catch you up on!

This past weekend was the Snow Joke Half Marathon I’ve been training for since December…remember this post of yore where I was nervous about missing some long runs?  I’m glad to report that missing those runs didn’t seem to hurt me too bad; but there were certainly some other obstacles/signs/omens (whatever you want to call them) that tried to deter me from finishing.  Take for example:

  • Working 70 hours (out-of-town) the week just prior to the run.  Not only was I mentally exhausted I was physically exhausted as well….missing two of my three weekly runs.   Yes, they were just my tapering runs, but it doesn’t help me mentally to miss runs that close to the race. 
  • Forgetting my running tights.   Since I returned to Missoula Friday afternoon, I had to madly unpack and re-pack to leave for the race.  You see the race was in Seeley Lake (about an hour drive from home), and the plan was to drive up Friday night.  Seems that in the frenzy of packing I forgot my tights (and temperatures were forecasted to be sub-zero)!    Lucky for me Stephanie had brought a spare set. 
  • The fact that the only food I packed with me was a bottle of wine.  Forget carbo-loading and protein; apparently red wine is my pregame fuel of choice.  I guess Stephanie had to go and save-the-day again with her bagels and peanut butter. 
  • We spent the night in a sauna – or what might as well have been a sauna.  Turns out Monica and I build a killer fire in a wood stove.  Sorry girls. 
  • The thermometer said MINUS twenty-one degrees when we woke up in the morning.   Enough said. 
  • The starting gun rifle was handed to a woman dressed like Sarah Palin to start the race.  Seriously.  She had a red skirt suit on and a Sarah Palin mask.  The scary thing is I couldn’t tell if it was a joke or serious.  You just never know in these small Montana towns; but it was certainly a deterrent to me, no matter what the meaning.     

View into Seeley Lake

In the end, I decided that I couldn’t let work be the reason I missed the race no matter how tired I was!   That’s just silly.  And I couldn’t let the fact that my pre-race meals weren’t exactly up-to-par deter me either.   I’d been training for 12 weeks for this thing!  So the last and biggest deterrent?  That minus twenty-one degrees?  I decided that Old Man Winter can suck it.  I didn’t work my butt off to quit the day of the race.  Luckily the temp was a balmy negative one by race time.  A real heat wave.

Luckily the other girls decided the same thing.  Here’s some of us waiting in the school gymnasium prior to the starting gun.

Me, Stephanie and Monica looking a bit to excited prior to running 13 miles in -1 temps

I’m sure ya’ll wanna see the rifle I mentioned earlier, eh?  I apologize there’s no Sarah Palin to go with was a “surprise.” 

You can't make this shit up people

Look how many other crazy runners there were!

I don’t have any pictures from the race (hello, I was running)…but I’ll tell you that it went fairly well.  At one point I got passed by a man wearing a skirt…and it brought back memories of my first 1/2 marathon where I got passed by a man running barefoot.   Right.  With no shoes on (and this was before the big barefoot running craze).  At that point I didn’t care if I passed out right there on the course; a man with no shoes was not beating me…oh hell no.  I found myself starting to feel similarly about the man in the skirt, but I decided to let it go.  Besides, around mile ten I passed a dude wearing jeans…so I considered it even.   But seriously, what is wrong with people?  Isn’t running thirteen miles hard enough?

The Snow Joke is a funny little race.  According to the lady at the local coffee shop it was started by a “bunch of drunks.”  Not sure what that means because drunks don’t usually moonlight as distance runners.  But it is kind of a light-hearted race (see Sarah Palin bullet above).  People dress up.  There’s no real “finish” line except for two orange cones you run through.   This was the first year I’ve noticed an official time clock.  I asked for water at the end and they were out.  haha.  You run down the highway for about five miles and the whole time a dude (the race director?) drives back and forth yelling at people to “run single file or get disqualified.”  Dogs are allowed. Your race tag gets you a beer at the local bar.  There are funny signs along the whole course; for example:

  • Jokers do it once a year
  • Rhino crossing:  Do not molest
  • Vulture hang out:  Stop and be eaten alive
  • Safe Water:  The water at mile six was unsafe

I wish I could remember more.  I tried. 

Anyhoo…I finished:  2:09.  I was hoping for under two hours, but given the snow, wind and sub-zero temperatures; I’ll take it.  Take that Old Man Winter.  And here are some pictures to prove it:

Notice the Peach smoothy I got in place of water.

The obligatory beer at the Filling Station

All the girls; plus one random creeper in the back. haha

In the end?  I’m glad I didn’t let anything deter me.  Was it freezing?  Heck yes it was freezing.  Was it fun?  I haven’t decided yet.  Was it worth it?  Heck yes it was worth it.   Now to find the next race…perferably without snow.

Now for a random pic I thought you would enjoy:

Found this in the restroom (registration was in the local middle school). Hmmm. So middle schoolers really need to be reminded to "leave?" I just picture kid after kid piling up in the bathroom because no one told them to leave. Weird. But it has also inspired me to post my own "bathroom expectations." If that ever comes to fruition you know you'll hear about it. :)



  1. Nice work lady! I’m impressed that you ran in sub zero temperatures! I don’t think I could have done that, Old Man Winter would have gotten the best of me. Maybe next year I’ll be your own personal cheerleader…but don’t hold your breath.

    1. If there is a next year….then I do hope you’re right there running it with me. :) Hey, I saw a lady pushing a double stroller! And I thought I was crazy.

      1. WHAT?! A double stroller in sub-zero temps…now that’s C-R-A-Z-Y! Glad you conquered the race and still have all your digets, I’m impressed. Keep up that training because Bloomsday is right around the corner baby!

      2. It was crazy. And yes, I’m hoping to keep this running business up until Bloomsday! I’m about to sign up for a St. Patty’s day 6-miler in Anaconda next weekend. With a maiden name like “O’Connell” I’m not sure how I could NOT.

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