Monday, August 20, 2012

Leading Ladies Marathon Race Recap

I ran the Leading Ladies Marathon in Spearfish, SD on August 19, 2012. It was my 6th marathon and I think it's my new favorite!

This trip was a quickie so I flew in the day before the race. I also had to keep my runstreak going so that meant I woke up at 3 on Saturday to run an easy 5K before getting ready to head to the airport. I was tired and I did a lot of napping on my flights!

I pretty much did everything you are NOT supposed to do the day before a marathon. I had a 2 hour layover in Denver and got to South Dakota at noon. Since all the walking at the airports wasn't enough, I decided to go see Mt. Rushmore too! Holy moly, that was awesome. It was another one of those "wish I could see it but will probably never happen" items on my to-do list. But thanks to running I got to see it in person! :)

After I left there, I took the scenic drive through the Black Hills Forest to Spearfish. It was a gorgeous drive. I got to the expo, got my shirt & bib, and then did a little shopping. Oops. ;)

After that, I went to the hotel to check in and made the mistake of resting for a little while. I had planned to go to Deadwood for dinner but ended up just getting Subway and calling it a night. Probably for the best because I planned to get up at 3 on Sunday...which is 2 my time. Luckily, I did not sleep thru the alarm! I got dressed, ate a couple of mini bagels, and drove over to the race to catch the bus to the start. This is the third marathon where we did that and it's a little mind boggling - we drive and drive and you think "hey, I have to run this far back!". Then you block it out and you don't think about it! I had some PB&J crackers on the bus so a total of 390 calories before the start. Not a whole lot but I figured I could eat fruit and stuff along the course.

There were a couple of buses going to the start and luckily I got on the one that 2 fellow Run It Fast Club Members were on: Michelle #124 and Diane #159. It was so fun to have a mini RIF meet up. We took a few pics, the RD gave us a few last minute instructions, and then it was time to race!

Me, Diane, and Michelle
Without a whole lot of fanfare, the small band of Amazon Warriors set off on their 26.2 journey at 6am on Sunday morning. Oh wait, it was about 200 women. No, that's right. Same thing. ;) We started off on dirt and with an uphill for about a mile and then the fun downhill started. I fell into a comfortable pace which happened to match another runner's and we ran together for the first 10 miles.

Talking with Amber and looking at all the scenery was a lot of fun and made the first 10 miles fly by but I realized that I was running faster than I meant to. I'd planned on running 10:30ish miles and we were averaging closer to 10 min miles. I told Amber that I needed to stop for the port-a-potty at the aid station after 10 miles and then try and slow down so I would see her at the end. She said okay and we split up at the next aid station. My stomach was a little gurgley but it wasn’t too bad. I ended up not taking in any food or gels throughout the race and just relied on my bottle of GuBrew. I think that worked out okay because I never bonked. Wild!

Miles 11 & 12 included the pit stop and then an out and back on dirt with a hill so my pace for those 2 miles was 11:34 and 11:18. I also started taking photos so that helped slow me down. This is the stream that we had keeping us company for most of the run. I loved listening to the water on the run.

 This is the out and back. It was so green there and not a cloud in the sky. Incredibly beautiful!

When I was coming back down, I saw Diane heading up and we high-fived each other. That must have given me a little kick because mile 13 was 10:06. Oops! I hit the half way point around 2:16/2:17, I think. I seriously did try to slow down but I FELT like I was running easy so the next 7 miles were an average 10:02ish pace, with mile 20 being 9:33.

With just 10K to go and still feeling awesome, I just ran how I wanted although I did try to keep it around 9:30. I started playing Reel In The Runner and would pick a woman ahead of me and try and catch her and ended up passing quite a few women including Amber, who said "You must be feeling good" and I answered "Yes, I am." and I smiled. I swear time sped up during this marathon because the miles just kept zipping by. It could have been the distractions: the views, the water, passing by Bridal Veil Falls (which I missed taking a pic of :( but didn't want to go back), and seeing the little critters including a little ferret that was spectating as we went by. He didn't have a cowbell though. :) Anyway, the last 6 miles were: 9:29, 9:30, 9.26, 9:12, 9:25, and 9:19. Oh, I did stop one more time somewhere in there for one last pic:

And then sadly, I was back at the park. :( I was on the path to the finish and almost done. The avg pace for the last .46 (per my garmin) was 8:58. I kinda, sorta got a little excited at the end and picked it up a bit. :) Not that I wanted it to be over but just hearing the announcer and the crowd always gets my feet moving faster. The announcer dude called out “Here comes Run It Fast, bib #60 Lisa from Alta Loma” (the Run It Fast part made me laugh) and I was done with marathon #6! The men at the finish line gave me my medal, took my chip, gave me a nice warm scented towel to clean up with, a bottle of ice cold water in a Leading Ladies Marathon koozie, and a rose. This is the awesome medal we received:

The medal is based on the painting The Lead Mare by Sarah Rogers. It's beautiful. I love the colors and it fits in with my whole Year of Animal Racing!

By the way, almost all of the aid stations were staffed by men and a lot of the spectators were too and that was kind of fun. :) For snacks after there was fresh fruit and fruit “pizzas” (homemade frosted sugar cookies) with the fruit forming smiley faces on the pizzas. All in all, they treated us like rock stars there and it was a great feeling. I also got to see Michelle get her 3rd place award for our age group. Woo!

So... I totally negative split this run! How cool is that? I also never once thought about walking and my legs felt really good during the race. I felt like I wasn't leaving it all out there but ran nice and easy and enjoyed the views, the sound of the stream/river, and best of all...had a lot of fun. I think this marathon felt the best of all the marathons I've done so far! Which is kind of crazy considering I didn't taper for it at all. In fact, I even did my Big 3 on Tues/Wed/Thurs and ran 14, 10.5, and 12.3 miles back-to-back-to-back. Then ran 5 miles on Friday and 3 on Saturday. I had a lot less than ideal sleep and did a lot of walking on Saturday. Oh, and did a crappy job of hydrating on Saturday too. With all that and not eating much before, I was NOT expecting to feel so good during the run and thought for sure I would finish between 4:45-5 hours. To say I am happy with the result would be a huge understatement. I even felt good enough to do a 12 miler today (Monday) even with doing more walking on Sunday in Deadwood and then the whole airport thing in reverse.

I am one seriously happy runner girl today and I'm treating myself to a massage tonight. :)

Thanks for reading! Hope your weekend was as fun as mine!


  1. You have run some pretty cool races!

    1. Thanks Brian! I try to pick fun runs in cool places. I want to see things and have adventures! That's why I run. :)

  2. Dang, Lisa!! Strong and happy are the words that come to mind throughout this whole entire race! How did you find this race anyway because it sounds like a FABULOUS one! Love all the special touches too it. Jealous of you going to Mt. Rushmore too! Your times are fabulous and way to go on that negative split on your mary! So proud of you!

    1. Thanks guys! :) It really was fun. I found it on and another RIFer told me that it was a great one and they treated you really well. And she was right. So, so pretty there. You should add it to your list!

  3. Thank you for your company! I really enjoyed running with you and hope your first ultra goes as well or better than this marathon turned out for you!


    1. P.S. And in a strange coincidence, I saw a coyote for the first time in years on the drive to Spearfish.

    2. Hey Amber! Thanks for stopping by! And thank you for your company as well. It was fun running with you.