Thursday, October 12, 2017

2017 Bozeman (MT) Marathon Race Report and Video

Here is Holly's Bozeman (Montana) Marathon Report with video and comments from Dave:

I chose the Bozeman race because it was a good time of year (September) and it was close to Yellowstone so we could make a return trip to see the things we missed from our trip last year. Unfortunately they moved the race up a week so we were just going to be back from a Disney World trip and then head to Bozeman. Not ideal for running a marathon.

We got into Bozeman the day before the race (Dave will handle the pre race activities). Our friends Jan, Mike, and Michael arrived early and picked up my race packet.

The race started at 7am and they said everyone had to take a shuttle to the start. The shuttle left at 5:45am so we had an early wake up. Michael and I were running this one together. Stan and Pam were to join us but they had a family emergency and had to cancel. We missed them both dearly. Dave was nice and got up and drove us to the shuttle pick up point. Michael and I got on the bus and we drove out to the middle of nowhere.

We were dropped off in the middle of an un-mowed field with 5 port of potties and a small tent. We immediately got in line for the bathroom and then went to huddle in the tent because it was actually chilly. Dave made his way to the start even though they said spectators couldn’t get there. He did park right by the starting van and Michael and I laughed at him trying to move. We finally started after one more visit to the bathroom.

It was a beautiful morning and we saw a group of elk running in the distance. We were enjoying the morning and feeling good. We ran through the one and only town on the course around mile 5.5 and saw Dave.

It was shortly after this that I started thinking that my legs felt dead. I said this to Michael and figured he would say it’s in my head. No such luck. He said his were too and was wondering what was going on. We were in trouble. I’m not sure if it was the heat, altitude, tired legs from Disney or a combination of all of the above.

We kept seeing Dave and he kept giving us drinks and salty chips. I know it was warm. We both didn’t have many gels at all. I only had 3 and I think Michael had 2 for the whole marathon. Very unusual and not good! At the halfway point we ran into some women walking their dogs. They asked us what we were doing. I said we were running a marathon. The one woman asked where it ended and I said downtown Bozeman. She said, woah, that’s really far from here. Thanks Lady! We got to Mile 16 and we agreed to drop our running ratio to 1:1. That helped tremendously, that and the fact that it was all pretty much downhill from there. It was REALLY getting warm. We were running through Montana's wide-open spaces with zero shade and a smoky haze from the wildfires in the area.

We finally make it to downtown and I have to say I was pretty disappointed in all the people that were having lunch along the finish line. Not many cheers and most not even looking. It was not the usual finish. The race announcers did a great job of calling us in though and it was a sweet medal! I’m not sure I would recommend this one due to the challenging course and the weather can be unpredictable. It actually snowed the following weekend.

Here's the video

Dave's Comments

Hooray for friends arriving early and getting to skip the expo! After landing we met up with the others (who enjoyed a morning hike) at lunch. Starky's had some great food, decent local beers on tap, and baked goods too! We enjoyed downtown Bozeman and wish we had more time to explore its shops and other eating / drinking establishments. After lunch we visited White Dog Brewing's beer side and wished some folks didn't have a race so we could have visited their distilling sister business next door. We stopped into the NU2U! pawn store on the way back to the hotel. It was massive! It did not live up to its square footage. Later that night we had dinner at Pizza Campania - a comfy newer space not too far from our hotel. The food was excellent. A few of us wanted a dessert so we went to The Chocolate Moose in town. Holly picked up some of their in-house made salt water taffy and Dave ordered a single serving cone of two flavors. It was like they stuck a pint of Ben and Jerry's on a cone. Even more absurd was the low price of $2.50 for the cone.

Race day was long. After driving Michael and Holly to the bus I went back to the room to shower, grab a few items from the hotel buffet, and illegally made my way to the start line. Where the hell were we? This was the middle of nowhere. I didn't follow the course at this point because the runners were so compacted. I took gravel roads back to the 5.5 mile point, and the last time I'd see a business (like gas or food) until mile 25-point-something. The course was pretty at times, but mostly a bore fest. I tried to entertain runners by blaring Hanson from the rental - didn't work. Given Holly and Michael were having a tough day I made frequent stops to keep them engaged and fueled. Back in town I scored great parking by the finish line and enjoyed local beer while sitting in a bar's windowsill. Best finish line ever.

After the race Holly was able to get a shower at our hotel, then we took off on the 90 minute ride to Yellowstone with a stop at Arby's in Livingston to pick up some lunch.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Alaska: Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay National Park

Alaska Post List

The advantage of taking a Princess cruise in Alaska vs. most of the other cruise lines is they have a license to go into Glacier Bay National Park. With our cruise originating in Alaska we had two full sea days ahead of us to take in the sights. We were dreading the sea days, and if they were on Caribbean or Transatlantic cruises we possibly would have gone crazy with boredom. At least we always had some land to focus on in Alaska.

Found this on the web as an example

The cruise line did a nice job of educating the passengers. There were maps placed around the ship giving us our touring itinerary, we attended the overview with the onboard naturalist, and once in the park rangers boarded the ship to take over narration from the naturalist. We were able to get National Park passport stamps from the rangers and purchase limited merchandise.

The Hubbard Glacier was our first target on Day 1 at sea (not located in a National Park). We spent our time viewing the glacier from our cabin's balcony. The naturalist's narration was broadcasted over the loudspeakers and over the in-room tvs. We lucked out by having some sunny blue skies during our viewing time. We could not get closer because they did not want to disturb the seal colony near the glacier. This is a very wide glacier.

Mount Logan is the second highest mountain in North America

The next morning the rangers boarded our ship once we entered Glacier Bay National Park.

It was a much colder day than the previous two. We decided to hang out on the main deck for a while in order to run to either side of the ship if something interesting happened. For the early morning goat viewing our cabins were on the wrong side of the ship. It was obviously crowded here with folks pushing loungers up to the railing for an all-day camp out.

Some people were actually kayaking out there. Hypothermia city right there!

Goat viewing frustrated the heck out of Dave. Everyone else was spotting them.... even with guidance from the audience it took him forever. We are lucky to have these photos.

Can you spot the sheep?

After all that fun we returned to our cabin and settled in for viewing the Margerie Glacier and Grand Pacific Glacier. Dave hit the buffet and scrounged together some semblance of a cheese plate. While cruising the bay we saw another Princess ship on its way to Anchorage from Vancouver. We were able to see some calving action (glacier breaking). Exposure was not our friend on this portion of the trip. Skies were grey and bright making it hard to see the camera's LCD. Dave took some editing liberties on some of these photos to highlight certain features.

Seal colony

This was a great way to see some of the beauty of Alaska. After two full days at sea we were certainly ready to get to Skagway and be free of our captivity.

Alaska Post List


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Charity of the Month: Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts

Charity of the Month is a way Team Tizzel is helping to support some very worthy organizations. As part of this program, we will dedicate a post to a charity that we will sponsor through the month by donating Holly's training run money.

In September we supported the Red Cross with a $125 donation to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

October's Charities

Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society
Virgin Unite
Cow Wreck Beach Fund Page
Perfect Pineapple Inn Fund Page

Although we've never been through a full-blown hurricane, we've been impacted by hurricanes. In 1995, our wedding had to be relocated from St. Thomas and our honeymoon from Antigua due to hurricane damage. In 1999 a hurricane hovered over St. Kitts for days, causing us to switch vacation plans last minute to Jamaica (and thank goodness - we love Jamaica). Last year our resort in the Bahamas received some damage, causing it to close and divert us to Grenada. These annoyances are nothing compared to the havoc inflicted by Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

We were nervous about Irma. It was on a direct path to the British Virgin Islands, a place we've enjoyed year-after-year since 2003. We've built friendships with people on the small islands of Jost Van Dyke (JVD) and Anegada and have even helped some of them in developing their business. The small inn we stayed at in Jost Van Dyke kept our personal beach towels for us each year. We nervously awaited the social media updates and were in awe once we started to read the posts. The first picture we saw was of Ivan's in White Bay, JVD. A few years ago the main building was refurbished, now it's mostly gone. The new gift shop at Cow Wreck in Anegada is gone. The Perfect Pineapple cottage we stayed in for years...gone. One friend from Jost who is now in the US did not hear from her son and family for almost a week. About 200 people live on each island and after the storms many have gone off-island to stay with family.

Ivan's on White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

Cow Wreck after
Great Harbor Jost Van Dyke
Perfect Pineapple Inn
The ferry landed on a restaurant
We've stood on this house's porch

This month we are going to do something different by supporting four separate funds. We'll donate $100 to the Virgin Unite relief fund. We caught a glimpse of Sir Richard Branson on Anegada in 2016. We know his organization will do its best to help the region. We are also sending $100 to the Jost Van Dykes Preservation Society. Their goal is to raise funds to support their community in humanitarian and reconstruction efforts. Currently they are trying to buy some heavy equipment to help with cleanup. Not sure how that effort is going since Maria hit Puerto Rico (where the equipment was located). We're also making smaller donations to funding pages setup for our friends at Cow Wreck Beach Bar/Inn on Anegada and Perfect Pineapple Inn on Jost Van Dyke. These are family businesses that have treated us, and many others, very well over the years.

This video from Beme News highlights Jost Van Dyke and shows how the community is coming together (Our first time at that yellow restaurant we may have been sitting where that boat landed).