On Sunday, August 16th, I ran my 3rd Leading Ladies race. It was the 2nd time I ran the marathon there. I ran it first in 2012 and then I ran the half marathon last year. It is a small, women's only race that goes through Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota and it is incredibly beautiful. It's usually cool for a summer race and it starts at 6am. That's my kind of race!
I had trained pretty hard going into this and I felt sure I had a PR in me...and not just a post cancer PR. So I was really excited about this trip. It was going to be a quick trip (when I first booked it, I hadn't planned to take time off of work) so I was flying up on Saturday and then flying home Sunday night. I did leave enough time for me to do a little exploring after the race though.
My flight on Saturday morning was at 6 am. I needed to get one last run in before I left so I was up at 3 to run an easy 5K and then get ready. My flight left on time and all was good. Until I landed in Denver. As I got off the plane, I received a text from United that my next plane was delayed 40 minutes. And then another text came through and it was going to be delayed another 2 hours. Since the airport in SD is an hour away from where the race expo was at and it closed at 5, I was starting to panic. There was no bib pickup on race morning so if I didn’t get it on Saturday, I was out of luck.
I tried emailing the RD and posted on their FB wall. In the meantime, I got another text that my flight was delayed another 20 minutes. For sure, I wouldn’t make it on time now. I called the host hotel where the expo was and asked them to get a message to the RD. Then YAY! She called me back and said she would leave my bib and chip at the front desk for me. Whew.
After another delay, we finally took off and we made it to Rapid City. I ran to the rental car desk and got my rental and then headed out for Spearfish. I scored a nice upgrade so that drive was fun at least!
I made it to the hotel at 5:30 and went to the front desk to ask for my packet…and they didn’t have it! After talking with them for a little bit, they thought the RD must still be cleaning up so they sent me back there and sure enough, that’s where my packet was. So I got my bib, chip, and shirt. I was so relieved!
After that, I was so tired I just grabbed a sandwich and went to check in at the hotel. I ate, got my stuff ready, and then read for awhile. The alarm was going off very early so I tried to go to sleep early too. I slept okay but 2:45 am came really fast! I got up, ate, and then got ready. I was out the door by 3:45 to make the 4:15 bus at the finish line.
Made it on the bus and we headed on the twisty drive to the start line. I was excited to go!
The race started promptly at 6. There were probably 150 or so women running the marathon. The first couple miles is on a dirt road and the first 3/4 mile is a slight uphill. But then it's down, down, downhill! This is seriously a fun marathon. I was ticking off the miles and enjoying the scenery for the first half. It was green and lush and we were running next to a river through a canyon so it was gorgeous. I stayed focused though and was on target with my pace. I am proud to say that I did not go crazy in the first couple of miles which I have a tendency to do.
During mile 12, we did a short out and back that again took us onto a dirt road and it was a slight uphill out and then a nice downhill back. On the downhill back, we passed the half mark and I was right on target - 2:02. I felt pretty good and was even calculating what I would need from there to get as close to 4 as possible. I think I was doing okay on the nutrition/fluid too. I was using tailwind and my stomach was feeling fine.
So yeah, it was all going great. And then in mile 16 & 17 my quads started getting very tight. Very tight. And by mile 18 they were screaming. I definitely should have done more downhill training for this. I started slowing after that and did do some walking to try and loosen the quads up. They never came back and I ended up bonking a little too. Mostly, I was trying to salvage the race. I was trying to remember what my time was the first time I ran it but I couldn't remember. So I just ran.
I finished in 4:25:25! My 15th marathon was in the books. Woo!
I was happy with that. I knew for sure I had a post cancer PR but had to wait for the results to see about the other. And guess what? It was a course PR! Only by 28 seconds but who cares! That made this marathon my 3rd fastest marathon. Woo! Here's my medal:
After I cleaned up in the bathroom, I headed out to get something to eat. I stopped at a Perkins and got a big breakfast with the works! It was soo good!
Then I got in my little red car and drove over to the Badlands to explore and do some sightseeing. I think the exploring helped keep me from getting to sore. And it was gorgeous! What an amazing place. I highly recommend seeing it if you get the chance.
It's one of the reasons I came back to do this race. I was sad I didn't get to see it the other 2 times so didn't want to miss it this time.
Then sadly, my short trip to SD was over and I had to fly back home. It was a quick trip but full of some good memories!
It's just 2 weeks until the Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland and I'm super excited about that too!
Thanks for reading!