2011: Run Crazy Horse – an emotional and physical roller coaster (4:19:23)
Out of 4 marathons, this marathon went from being a dream run, to a nightmare and back to a dream…all in just over 4 hours! Here’s my little story of my 4th marathon in the Black Hills of South Dakota – Run Crazy Horse!
The day was set to hit approximately 85 degrees in temperature, this is not exactly the way one wants to enter a race. It is a race after all right. I may not be a fast runner but I am still racing against someone – myself. I knew I wouldn’t make a new PR…I think Dublin was a freak incident but I did want to finish at 10 minute miles. I trained my butt off in the mountains of Spain and the elevation of the Black Hills. I was wiser and smarter than previous times. I was older, which research shows that we are our fastest in our 30s. I was simply more confident. I was ready for a good race!
You can just see Crazy Horse in the background there! It was a crisp 50 degrees and with 20 minutes to spare after our arrival, I had just enough time to hit the toilets one last time. My breakfast was a toasted PB, honey and banana sandwich with only sips of water. I’d been hydrating enough all week that I was full up of the good ol’ H2O!
I was very unsure of running a small marathon! 900 runners were registered for the half and full with many more in the relay; however, only about 175 were aiming for the full 26.2 miles. Here is what the course looked like.
So, if you are looking close, the first 13 miles are a cake walk…all downhill. Those who ventured for the full would then have 6 miles uphill (miles 13-19.5) before turning around at mile 20 for a downhill finish!
The start was good. Native Americans played the drums, keeping a great beat throughout! The first 3 miles looped around the famous Crazy Horse monument. This was surreal. I’m just runnin’ then I look up and bam, it’s Crazy Horse’s face right there to the side of me! Talk about a view!
I was very inspired by a 10 year old boy running with his dad; severely overweight people walking it (the full and half); 13 year old girl taking part in the relay. There was so much to take in not only with the beautiful views but also the people. With a marathon this small in size, I noticed people more and then recognized them if we pasted each other!
Miles 3-13 I pretty much had to tell myself “slow down, slow down.” The downhill was SO downhill, I was cruising at 9:13 pace and I was really holding back. I couldn’t help myself; the temp was about 50, I was in the shade, no wind, beautiful scenic views of the Black Hills. It was a DREAM RUN! Those first 13 miles went by so fast, I couldn’t believe it!
Some little tricks I do: smile. I smile a lot when I run. I smile so much, I know it’s annoying to others, but I don’t care 😉 This helps keep my attitude up in the clouds and endorphins flowing at full-speed. For the arms, I like to raise them straight over my head and out to the sides in a “T” to help them from locking up. Another trick I do is to simply look around. Many runners concentrate so dang hard looking at the ground that they don’t actually take in the beauty of the area they’re running in. During this particular run, we were enveloped in trees turning their fall colors. It was stunning. Tree-covered mountains and hills were every where! There were horses, cows, rabbits, old farms, new farms, streams, fencing all around us. “Fall” was everywhere!!!
I’ll say this now and again, I had the best cheering section! I couldn’t have been happier!
THEN. THE. SUN. CAME. OUT. Shade no more. Down hill no more. I feel like the real race had just begun!
Stayed tuned for miles 13 to the finish where temps soared pasted 85 and more runners were walking than running!!