What a great race!
It felt amazing to finally be with a group of people unafraid and untainted by government and media. Though there were about a dozen mask wearers, the other 1,970ish were displaying their imago dei and it was glorious.
It was our first time on this run. We had walked about 2.5 miles of the trail last year with the girls to see one of the train tunnels. I was hooked! I knew I wanted to run the half this year.
We drove up Saturday morning early (the girls were at bio dad’s) and stayed in Lead, SD, just a few miles from Deadwood, SD where the race ends. We grabbed our packets at the Lodge, checked into our hotel, and then grabbed a bite to eat in Deadwood. We had salmon, asparagus, bison ravioli, salad and rice (we shared all of it). It was a great pre-race meal, just enough carbs for me (I ate about a third of the ravioli) and lots of protein.
We stopped at this amazing chocolate store called the “Chubby Chipmunk.” I had planned on just having one piece of chocolate for “carbs” but we ended up not eating any at all and saved them for post-race.
Funny enough, the race runs right across the street from Chubby Chipmunk at about mile eleven.
I can’t say enough good things about this race. Parking was super easy and free (we stayed about 10 minutes away). The buses were ready to go when we arrived and we started loading. The drive to the start line was about 30 minutes, we left the parking lot at 6:30 a.m. and arrived at 7:00 a.m. We were dropped off on the side of the road next to the trail. It was a tenth of a mile walk up to the trail where there was a table directing people to the port-a-poos, or the start line and bag dropoff.
There were plenty of port-a-poos and very little wait. Next we dropped off our bag at the bag truck sponsored by Scheels then on to the start line. The only start line complaint was the lack of trash cans, but the announcer had his truck there, plus another support truck, and a nice man took our two disposable bottles for us so we didn’t have to walk a tenth of a mile back to the table and trashcans.
This year, they did a rolling start. I really enjoy those starts. Between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. you could start whenever you were ready, but you did have to start by 8:00 a.m. I like starting earlier, as the later it is the warmer it gets, so I started right at 7:35, hubby started right at 7:30.
The first four miles were stellar for both of us. We were recording great times, on track for a PR (personal record). Ironically, we both hit a wall at 5 and 6 miles, which had a few small uphills, and our paces dropped. We talked about how we both grabbed a salt tab and honey stingers, and got a second wind when the downhills became crazy downhill steep grades for a short time. I found myself again realizing a PR was possible and picked up the pace.
The course is BEAUTIFUL! We also had perfect cloudy and cool weather until after 9 a.m. I thought it might rain, but it didn’t, just nice and cool. Once the sun did emerge, we still had ample shade in most places.
At mile 11, I realized my PR was still possible, but I would have to push hard. I ended up missing my PR by 48 seconds, which was the difference in my worst mile 6 when I broke down a bit. I am happy, though, my second fastest half marathon of 14 is nothing to be ashamed of and I felt like I pushed hard overall. Hubby did very well, his was the 4th fastest of 49 half marathons.
I do not like posting my times, I’m very slow. My first race was 6 days before my 42nd birthday, and I’ve improved a little since then, but I’m still slow. My fastest 5K is an 11:40 pace, and my fastest half is a 12:55 pace. I’m not fast, but I’m not last. My husband is so much faster, so I like to brag on his accomplishments.
I will be 50 this year. I’m not going to get much faster, but I will keep trying. For me, the most important thing is to keep healthy and fit. We hike every summer, and it keeps me fit enough to do so. If we decide to do a last-minute physical challenge, I’m up for it, like hiking the 2000 ft 1 mile incline in Manitou Springs (March 2020) or a 14er like Mt Democrat (2018).
Stay healthy friends!