Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Westward, Ho! (a.k.a. Jackson Hole Marathon Race Report)

This post is a little out of order. I missed my window of opportunity to post about the Jackson Hole Marathon, then I ran a couple more races before circling back. Without further ado – I knew I wanted to run the Jackson Hole Marathon as my Wyoming race as soon as I set foot in Jackson last summer while Jody and I were out west running Idaho and Montana. We did a quick drive-through of the town and stopped at Snake River Brewing. Seeing the town, and knowing that Scot had run this marathon the previous year, I was committed to doing it in 2014 or 2015. My opportunity came sooner rather than later.


View of the Tetons as soon as I stepped off the airplane
 
Jackson WY is neither easy nor cheap to get to from Washington DC. I weighed my options and ended up flying directly into Jackson Hole Airport, but it took me three flights to get there (DC to Cleveland to Denver to Jackson). The way back was better (Jackson to Chicago to DC). The flight wasn’t cheap, so I redeemed some United miles to off-set the high airfare.

El Rancho Motel
 
There were going to be several Marathon Maniacs in Jackson Hole for the race on 8/30/14, but I planned to spend my time with Abbi, who was driving out with her Airstream and Daphne Dog. I arrived first, so I picked up both our packets from the Chamber of Commerce and spent some time walking around the Town Square. My hotel was the El Rancho Motel, which was pretty old-school and bare-bones, but clean, and unlike most places in town, cheap. Abbi made it into town for dinner and we met up with Maniacs Gerald, Krissy and company for a good organic meal at Lotus Café.

 
Our dinner crew with Magenta the Road Trip Flamingo

The next day was race day. I could sleep in to a reasonable time because the starting line was just a couple blocks from the hotel. We got some pre-race pics and then we were off.

Pre-race pic in town with Daphne Dog; note the ski runs in the background

Marathon Maniac/50 Staters pre-race pic at the Town Square

The first few miles were in town, then we entered a paved bike path for a long section. Later on, we did some miles on the highway, and then another bike path. the entire course went from the town of Jackson to the Teton Village resort. The views were spectacular but the race was another difficult one at altitude. Along the way, we made friends with fellow Maniac Jess with whom we shared several miles, and later dinner at LibertyBurger (they had a yummy veggie burger).

 
I love this pic from the second half of the course
 
Jess and Abbi as we enter the first trail
 
I may be slow but I'm enjoying the scenery

It was great to run most of the race with Abbi. We had an opportunity to catch up and to enjoy the day. We were slightly disappointed that we didn't see any moose on course, despite the numerous moose-crossing signs. In any event, Abbi did a great job of pacing us and pushing me, but toward the end, I was having trouble getting enough oxygen, so I slowed down and finished a bit after her.

I knew I was almost done when I saw the entrance to Teton Village
 
Finishers: Carol, Abbi, Chad, me, Jess

With Abbi and the only moose we saw
 
I loved my antler medal, and I'm glad they do a new one each year; in 2012 Scot earned a buffalo medal

I would highly recommend Jackson Hole Marathon for its beauty and organization, but a few things to note:

·         You will be running at 6,000+ ft, so be ready for the thinner air. Everything feels harder at this elevation.
·         There isn’t much shade, so use sunscreen.
·         This is a cup-less race, so take your own water bottle to refill at aid stations.
·         Take your camera, because the course is gorgeous!

6 comments:

  1. This is a great destination race. I loved running toward Grand Teton, and Jackson is a cool town.

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    1. Indeed. I think Scot was a little sad he didn't go with me this year. He ran it in 2012 when they had wildfires and the air was more difficult to breathe and to see through.

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  2. It's always great to spend time with you! As with most of our races, there is little racing, some running, but mostly we laugh! Can't wait for our next adventure in IA! :)

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    1. Yes, Daphne! It's always nice to share a race weekend with you and your mama!

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  3. nice report! loved the photos :) It's always a pain going to these really cool out of the way destinations................and pricey!

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