But all is good, as I had plans for this morning. There's an osprey nest here in Missoula just little more than a mile up river from where I'm staying. I've been following the nest activity on Cornell Lab's webcam for three seasons and have watched the wonderfully skilled parenting of Iris and Stanley Osprey as they've raised their chicks to fledge each summer. Stanley's fishing and providing skills are superb, bringing huge trout and suckers and other fish back to the nest with such regularity that sometimes portions of fish go uneaten as the chicks fall asleep in a full-tummy coma. It's addictive and informative watching this nest cam.
When I knew I'd be coming to Missoula to run the half marathon in July, a plan I'd booked last fall, I promised myself I'd get over to see that nest in person. This morning the early rise was a good thing. The walk to the nest is 1.3 miles each way and I wanted to get started early in the day, before it got too hot.
The walk was pleasant and it gave me a chance to scout the route for the group dinner later today, as I'd be passing right by the dinner location. Though the sun was high in the sky with promise of a hot day later, there was a nice breeze coming down through Hellgate Canyon.
Hellgate Osprey Nest Pole Just Right of Building
Iris perched on the edge of her nest on the left side, overseeing her chicks
I dropped my purse off at the hotel room and then continued on to the race expo at Caras Park to pick up my race packet, check out the vendors and perhaps grab a light snack. To my delight, there was a very large farmers market going on adjacent to Caras Park.
A stunnIng display of radish varieties!
Fresh huckleberries...not cheap, but so delicious!
I love this! A lettuce bunch peeking out of a backpack!
A delightful little bluegrass ensemble was playing, which suited the atmosphere of the market perfectly.
The produce was just breathtaking for its size, freshness, and beauty! Much of it was cool weather, early season vegetables...spinach, carrots, radishes, wide variety of lettuces, cabbage, bok choy, peas, sugar peas, beets... Oh, my! If I didn't have a race to run in the morning, I would have purchased an array of vegetables and made myself a salad for lunch/dinner today and tomorrow. Most runners learn to keep the diet low in fiber for a couple of days leading up to a race...ahem. Such a shame! But I am still working on that pound bag of fresh cherries!
Finally I tore myself away from the market and plunged into the crowd at the fitness expo. It was packed! I looked up my bib number, stood in line to get my bib and then in another line to pick up my race shirt.
Then it was absolutely jammed as I tried to move through the one-way routing past all the exhibitors toward the exit under the pavilion. Huge clumps of folks were socializing, meeting and greeting, not really visiting the vendors.
I did manage to find the Half Fanatics/Marathon Maniacs table, where I chatted briefly with the Gear Guy, before moving on through the crowds.
Lots of cute dogs..big one and small ones, and plenty of race shirts from past events being worn by the folks who were there to get their race packets. It just never occurs to me to do this! I suppose I have a few shirts in my collection that would stand out as being unique or "exotic."
It was getting close to lunch time and the lines were long at the various vendors serving food, so I walked back to the hotel and sat on the patio having a hamburger, fries, and downing plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Yesterday, I walked across the bridge to a funky little neighborhood just on the other side, where I found an interesting yarn shop - Joseph's Coat. I browsed the local yarns section, but was having a hard time getting excited, knowing I had accumulated quite a yarn stash back home. Perhaps if the proprietress had been a bit more engaging, I might have been convinced to make a purchase.
Across the street was a great little bakery, Bernice's, where I had a ham and cheese sandwich on a freshly baked baguette, and then picked up a couple of cupcakes to bring back to my room for post-race celebration. I'm having a hard time this afternoon resisting them. Must wait, must wait...!
Back in my room, feet up in front of a movie.
Tomorrow morning, very early (!)....race day!