September 9, 2013

Night Before the Race: Bozeman Marathon

I got into Montana on Friday night, after working for the morning at my client. My friend Lauren was at the Bozeman Airport to pick me up as soon as I arrived – but not before I got this pretty picture.


From the second I landed, all I could think about was my eventual move to Colorado, and how the Rockies are absolutely the right place for me. Seeing the mountains as soon as I got off the plane filled me with this amazing sense of peace – like every little stressor had gone out of my life and I didn’t have anything to worry about. (Weird, because I just read something about the “Mountains Don’t Care” signs in Colorado that point out how the mountains can be quite dangerous and you always need to be on guard.) But as soon as I landed in Bozeman, I just felt like I was home and in exactly the right place.

After a tour of the town, Lauren and I started our Friday night at Plonk, a cute cocktail/wine bar, where we got to start catching up over drinks (margarita made with sage-infused tequila? Yum!). Lauren moved from New York to Bozeman a little over a year ago, and after the usual catch up about work/dating/etc, our conversation turned to how I needed to move out there also. Lauren and I have really similar personalities/opinions, and hearing about how wonderful it’s been for her since moving out definitely pushed the move to Colorado up quite a bit in my mind. Bozeman is a much, much, much smaller town than Denver, but despite the tiny size, I just loved everything about it.

We finished our round at Plonk and then headed over to Blackbird Kitchen, an amazing restaurant to which Lauren told me she takes all her guests. I can certainly see why! The atmosphere was chic without being snooty, and the food was incredible. We split two pizzas – one with mushrooms, gran padano, thyme, and blue cheese, and the other with red onion, sweet onion, gran padano, mozzarella, rosemary, pistachio, and fennel sausage. Amazing! I also tried a local beer, the Salmon Fly Honey Rye, which I loved. Montana food and drink was agreeing with me!


Finally, we ended our Friday night at Bacchus, a cute little pub really close to Lauren’s apartment that was advertising a big Saturday event: the “halfway to St. Patrick’s Day party!” I thought it was hilarious that they were having a big bash (complete with green beer and live Celtic music) for a holiday six months away, and loved how small town it was.

Since we called it an early night around 10pm, I got a decent night’s sleep – though I woke up at 6:45am since I wasn’t used to the two hour time difference from New York. (I usually keep my body on Eastern Time when I’m in Dallas.) But that gave me a chance to finish up all my work stuff for the weekend before heading out to meet Lauren at a cute local coffee shop, Wild Joe’s, where I snagged a chocolate-and-flathead-cherry scone to go with my coffee. Yum again! Lauren had to work all day Saturday, so after breakfast, we said our goodbyes, and then I was on my own to explore. (Though Lauren had given me a lot of ideas and tips for what to do.)

Example of how adorably small town Bozeman is: Wild Joe’s has a “buddy board” where you can pre-buy a coffee for your friend, or put money into a communal pot for anyone to use for coffee! I love it.

But while I should have been out sightseeing, I honestly spent most of the day home at Lauren’s, messing around on the computer, reading, and doing Brit’s bodyweight Michelle Obama arms workout. And I didn’t feel guilty about it in the least! My therapist has been encouraging me to start taking time for myself like this, since I am usually plowing through my to-do list whenever I get free time, and I have to say, it was glorious. I did venture out for lunch (more pizza, this time at MacKenzie River Pizza Co) and to retrieve my packet from Bozeman Running Company, but the rest of the day was spent being lazy and relaxing, and I don’t regret it one bit. (Though I do admit that I will have to go back to Bozeman to see more of the town.)

By evening, I was so relaxed that I didn’t even want to go out for dinner, and contemplated just eating some of the power bars that I had in my laptop bag. Fortunately, I forced myself to get up and go out – because when I went to Montana Ale Works, I met another runner and ended up happily chatting with him for over an hour. George is a fifty state marathon clubber from Ohio for whom Montana would be his 30th state. While I had initially planned to stay at Montana Ale Works for one drink, I ended up so engaged in the conversation that I sampled four half pints before regretfully excusing myself! George and I wished each other best of luck for the next morning, and said we hoped to see each other out there.

This was when I arrived. It was pitch black when I left. Oops! But that’s what I love most about marathons – getting to see new places and meet wonderful new friends.

When I finally left the bar, I debated what to do. I hadn’t been planning to have so much beer, and I considered whether my best bet was just to go home and crawl into bed (I was tired!), or if it was a really dumb idea to skip dinner. And so I pursued the dumbest idea of all: going to a Mexican restaurant and ordering fish tacos + mashed potatoes for dinner before crashing into bed. (And eating an absurd amount of chips/salsa to boot.) Um, what the heck kind of carb loading was that?! I don’t know what I was thinking either.

But at least I met my goal of going to bed somewhat early – it was lights out by 10:30pm. I had to be at the shuttle bus to the start by 5:45am, so I hoped it would be enough for me to do well in the next morning’s race!


11 thoughts on “Night Before the Race: Bozeman Marathon”

  1. Are you really moving to CO? Did I miss something? Or is it on another to-do list? I know so many people in Boulder that have moved here fro NYC and, although they 2 places are quite different, it is so funny because what they have in common is that everyone claims they (either NYC or Boulder) are the ONLY places to live. I love it!

    1. I’d say it’s been about a year that I decided I eventually want to end up in the Denver area (though not Boulder), and about six months since I decided to start really thinking more about it in the short-term. My job is completely flexible – I can be based anywhere there is a decent airport – so there isn’t really a timeline for it. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the problem! Moving in general is such a pain (I’ve been in the same NYC apartment for 7 years!), and cross-country moves are even tougher; plus of course, I will miss my friends in NYC (though I know it’s the right move for me). So without a time-bound reason to move (e.g., if I had to switch jobs on a timeframe to do it), it’s been something I keep delaying. I think the next year or so will have me finally make the jump though, especially the more I keep traveling west and realizing just how happy it makes me!

    2. That sounds awesome. We go to Denver all the time for the nano-breweries! Awesome beer. I can understand how hard it is to move if you have lived in the same place for so long, so take your time but I assure you that awesome things await in Denver.

    3. I think the key for me will be keeping it top of mind so that I am working toward it! Step 1, I decided last night, is cleaning out my pack-rat apartment so I COULD make the move 😉

  2. Hey Fit girl! If you ever need a place to crash on your way across country to Colorado our door is always open here in Kansas 🙂

  3. Glad to see you had such a great time in Bozeman! It definitely can get VERY small VERY fast. If you do come back and want to see people go all out for St. Patrick’s you should come in March for Run to the Pub, yeah it is a half but free beer at the end!

  4. Great blog post! It’s always great to read about someone’s experiences in a new place, especially when they seem to have fallen in love with it. The descriptions of the different food and drink experiences, as well as the sights and sounds of the town, really bring Bozeman to life. It sounds like you had a fantastic time catching up with your friend, and discovering the local culture. The “buddy board” at Wild Joe’s is such a charming touch and a great example of the small-town feel of Bozeman. It’s good to hear that you took some much-needed time for yourself, and that you enjoyed being lazy and relaxed. The encounter with George at Montana Ale Works also sounds like a highlight of the trip. Overall, a wonderful write-up of your trip.

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