Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Leading Ladies 1/2 (South Dakota)

The Race:
State #43 - South Dakota

Lifetime 1/2: 53
13 in 13 Progress 11/13
Official time 1:47:52

Practically twins....

Last  year this race fit nicely by having a double header in North Dakota the day prior- I tried to convince Kim to do it as SD and ND are not cheap to get to, however she already had racing plans that weekend in VA and promised we'd do it for 2013. We stalked and stalked this weekend waiting for dates to be announced, but sadly, the ND 1/2 might have been disbanned as there was never any updates for 2013. 

We decided to do this one and ND solo and the main clencher... downhill hill course (a first for both of us)

Kim had big goals for this race, and I originally had the brilliant idea to do a full. When that didn't pan out I decided it would be my shot to break 1:40-- laziness, hectic work schedule, travels, and injuries has kept my weekly mileage under 20 miles for the last month, so most of my ambitions were just lost. 

As suggested by the name, this was an all ladies race. I'm going to be honest here, all that 'girl power' and 'empowerment' annoys me and I try to avoid them.... what's ironic is this race followed by ND and MN the following consecutive weekends are all female races as well...

Pre- Race
We decided to skip the hotel shuttles to the race start and instead drive our rental to the finish and catch those shuttles up the canyon- best idea ever considering we left shortly after race, stopped for coffee / food, AND sat in hotel hot tub before the shuttle even brought back the first round of ladies. 

A wrong turn on the bus drivers part once we got to the top of the canyon yielded us to spot hidden port o potties before we were dropped off at our location... We were the only ones apparently who saw these as most just waiting in long lines at the start. . 

We stayed up by the lodge till the sun came out and mildy stretched and talked to kill the hour before our 6am start time. I kept trying to get into Pandora (since I lost my ipod this is how i've been listening to music the past 3 months)- unfortunately no internet on top of Spearfish Canyon = no music 

The lodge

The race
We all kind of half-hazardly line up for the start and my lack of motivation is kicking in as I have no idea what I could do. My make-shift plan was to just go out easy / fast and just see how it feels. I have a rule of thumb that my first mile will make or break my race- from there I would then decide how the rest of the 12 miles were going to go. 

I could be making this up, however I felt like the first mile was the steepest or largest amount of loss, thus resulting in an almost effort-less 7:15 pace. I say almost effort less because even though my breathing was fine, my shins and calves were already hurting. The calf pain I can mildly deal with, but shin pain really bothers me because I have no idea what is going on. From a stamina standpoint, I felt like I could continue with this pace for a bit, however from the "I have 4 more half marathons in the next month" stand point, I really can't afford to push too much. A decision was made to just go easy and have 'no goal'. Man is that hard for me to do. I guess I had a mini goal- since I had no music and this is my first half without it, I could hear myself breathing--- goal was to not sound like a fat kid in need of an inhaler. I guess it worked because one of (the many) ladies who passed me halfway had said good job and when I responded with a "thank you you look great," she shouted back, "you sound like you're not working very hard" to which I replied "ya, no goal for this race" - she is only 1 or 2 people that I ended up passing back the ENTIRE race.

I took my time at the aid stations which were spaced out about every 2 miles. They had an assortment of goodies, so I tried peanut m&ms... I am not great at multi-tasking and trying to eat these while running was miserable. I managed to eat 2 and then threw the rest of my handful off the side of road. Although I love chocolate, it does not bode well while running. 

Although the scenery was gorgeous, it was really hard to keep my mind occupied because it all looked the same

I kept reminding myself how breath taking the hills and rock formations were, but then negative nancy reared her ugly head and starting vomitting about how I didn't care, I'm sick of running half marathons, can't wait to be done, I hurt, this sucks blah blah blah. This was not one of my best mental race days and I just felt like I was going through the motions and was checked out.

Although the course is downhill, its a LOT of winding as you can see from the photo- this took a toll on ankles making those sharp turns, but also from going back and forth between the main road and on the left of white line. The main traffic on the road was actually spectators in the cars driving up and down cheering on the runners, so I didn't mind too much getting over for them. Call me crazy, but prior to this race, I thought that running a downhill course meant:
  • I would be able to go faster (nope, robot pace up until mile 11)
  • I would feel it in hips, quads, calves (although quads and calves are sore NOW, they were fine while running)
FINALLY at mile 8 everything stopped hurting. Since I already committed to not pushing it, I remained at robot place (8-8:15) until I happen to notice at mile 11 I had internet so I turned on m Skrillex pandora and was rejuvenated. I'm the classic case of pavlov's dogs- I hear music and I immediately go faster. Since my headphones were actually around Kim's Ifitness belt I borrow (thanks Kim!) I had to just hold my phone in my hand while running to hear the music. I found it funny as I was catching up "you look great" girl that Skrillex was blaring from my phone, if I were her I would have been annoyed. When I finally passed her I apologized about my music blaring and she laughed and said it was okay. I ended up beating said girl by 3-4 min so she must have really died down after I passed her. 

Once I passed my 'friend', the rest of the race was pretty uneventful other than I finally picked up my pace so I could just be done already. It wasn't that I was hurting, it was more mental than anything. Looking back conditions were perfect- zero uphill with mostly downhills / flats, overcast, low 60s with a slight breeze, no humidity, no large crowds to bop around, perfectly placed aide stations- yet I was just not into the race. 

The last 1/2 mile was on a path that led to the park where we finished. There was an annoucer shouting everyone's name as they turned the corner for the last 100 m  and she got really excited when she read where I was traveling from (mostly a local race). Upon finishing I received my medal and rose from a ridiculously good-looking minor in a fake tuxedo shirt.

I grabbed a fruit pizza and a can of coke and went back to cheer Kim. We took a few photos, checked our results (got 5th in my age group), and then headed for some caffeine, food, and quality time in our hot tub. 

hard to tell, but there are roses in our mouth 

Despite what Kim says, I actually like my gray and purple shirt 

Medal was quite large yet it didn't say anything about South Dakota on it, which I find strange. 

Despite my lackluster attitude during the race, I would recommend it to cross off South Dakota. Although it wasn't fun getting up at 3:30, it WAS nice being finished by 8am so you have the rest of the day to yourself. The scenery is gorgeous, the temperatures were perfect, and it was extremely easy with logistics to get in and out of the state and race- as an added bonus I'm pretty sure I paid less than $50 for registration. 

State #43 complete- next up this weekend, #44 with Kim again in the 'other Dakota'


  1. You were listening to your music on speaker? lol

  2. you and Kim look cute in your nearly twinsie outfits. I can't eat chocolate either when I run, it just doesn't sit well with me.

  3. Great job with the race! Strange the medal didn't have anything about SD on it, but I do like the shirt! Fruit pizza sounds yum!!

  4. That's a pretty awesome medal! I've always wanted to do a completely downhill race but would probably prefer a downhill 5k as a half marathon might reeeallly kill my legs. Totally agree on the all female type races....usually annoying. You are almost to 50!!

  5. I LOVE your skirts! By the way, you always have the cutest running skirts! Where do you find them? I also LOVE cheaper 1/2's - I just signed up for one and it was $104 bucks. Granted I missed the $94 deadline but still not cheap.