Leading Ladies Half Marathon Recap
Hope you all are having a fantastic week.
Last weekend I was in Spearfish, SD for my 9th race of the year. That’s just crazy to think that I have managed to race 9 races of at least 13.1 miles.
I had originally signed up to run the marathon at Leading Ladies, but somehow a little thing called fire season got in the way of training and before I knew it I had to make the call whether to struggle through the marathon on no real marathon training or drop to the half marathon. I made the choice to drop to the half. I’ll be back to run the full on this course some day.
I had left Rawlins late afternoon on Friday and made it to Sheridan to meet the hubs and my dad.
The race was on Sunday and I was blessed to have a 3 day weekend. We took our time getting over to the Black Hills on Saturday. Packet pickup was a breeze.
The race started at 0600 on Sunday morning. This race start was even earlier than the start time for my full. The buses left the hotel for the race start at 415. We had an early dinner and then didn’t take too much time before we were back at the motel and tucked into bed. I think I had fallen asleep by 830ish. I was up by 330 and was getting some food in my stomach and getting dressed.
I couldn’t find my gels the night before and wasn’t too terribly worried about it. I figured I would be ok anyways.
I was on the bus by 415 and we were headed up the canyon to the start line. It was warm in town, but I knew that the same probably couldn’t be said for the start line and I was thankful I had throw away clothes on once we off loaded the buses. Watching all the girls walk around without an extra layer on was making me cold.
This was the first race that I have ran that was an all woman’s race. Surprisingly the lines for the bathrooms were pretty much non-existent. So from here on out…I am blaming the lines on the men at race starts!
This race was a lot smaller than I expected also. I had assumed that the canyon road was closed. I was wrong there. We just ran the shoulder down and there was traffic coming and going. Thankfully it wasn’t rally week. 😉
The timers started the marathon further up the canyon at 6am and then brought all the timing equipment down to our start and we started closer to 630. The start was a little congested but once you got out of the crowd you basically had the whole shoulder to yourself.
Mile 1: 8:15 Mile 2: 8:23 Mile 3: 8:03
I went into this race hoping to hover right around 8:30 miles. I still wanted to go sub 2 hour half and even though I had no serious training. I was happy with mile 1 and mile 2 especially since usually in a big group you tend to go out faster than needed.
The first aid station I had grabbed a cup of water and took a sip and then poured the rest on my head. Even though we were still in the shade and in a canyon I knew I needed to keep cool.
Mile 4: 7:48 Mile 5: 7:57 Mile 6: 7:53
This race was flying by. I was surprised how quickly it was going especially for how much of this I was running alone and not in a big group of people. There was a pack of girls in front of me that I could catch a glimpse of around every corner.
I was slowly passing girls that had fallen off this packs pace.
At the halfway mark was a beautiful waterfall that I had been waiting to see since we started. Once I passed that I couldn’t believe I was halfway done already.
At the next couple aid stations I started taking powerade and water. I knew because I didn’t have gels I needed to get some calories in me or I was going to bonk hard. I had started to quickly walk through the aid stations about mile 6. I don’t usually mind the water sloshing all over me, but the powerade was a little sticky. The aid stations were stocked with food like pretzels and bananas, but I wasn’t feeling the need for any real food.
Mile 7: 7:42 Mile 8: 7:47 Mile 9: 7:45
I was really wishing I had a gel to get me over the hump at mile 8. I needed a little extra sugar. I wasn’t cramping. My legs and lungs felt great actually. I was trying to hold back just a little bit because I knew that when I came out of the canyon with a little over a mile and a half to go to the finish I was going to need the energy there.
I had passed a girl right before the mile 8 aid station. I had had her in my sights since I first spotted that pack of ladies. She had on bright orange shorts and I just kept my eye on her the entire time. I was chasing her down. She then passed me back right after the aid station. I had let up a little too much in this part.
I took the last 4 miles and dedicated each one to one of the individuals I was running for. I talked strictly to them. I asked them to give me some of their strength to get me through. I couldn’t believe how fast these miles flew by.
Mile 10: 8:21 (Dedicated to Oscar)
I had the girl in the orange shorts within striking distance again. I was going to pass her one more time and I wasn’t going to let her pass me back. We cruised through the aid station with just enough time to take a good couple sips of powerade and water and then get back on my pony.
Once we got to this point we were losing the canyon walls and the sun was starting to peak out over the tops of the trees.
Mile 11: 8:19 (Dedicated to Kevin)
I had passed the girl in the orange shorts shortly before we hit mile 11. I knew I could hold her off for two miles. I had to. I could hear another girl coming up behind me. I tried to hold her off and then I tried to stick with her only to lose steam once we hit the mouth of the canyon. Even though it was only 8ish in the morning, the sun was hot and it was humid coming out of that canyon. I was praying for shade, a breeze, anything to keep me cool. I asked Kevin for just a little bit of cloud cover and he delivered. I was so thankful when the clouds covered the sun.
Mile 12: 8:22 (Dedicated to Jesse)
I still had the girl in the orange shorts behind me. We were on a wide open road away from the confines of the canyon. I took a minute during this mile to look around at the beauty that surrounded me. That surrounded all of us out there on the road that day. Jesse was taken all too soon. A young life that had so much to live for. Thinking about Jesse made me push harder than I had wanted to push my body all day. I wanted to live free for him. I wished he was running next to me. I took in all the sights and sounds knowing that he was there. He may not have been next to me, but he was right behind me the whole way.
Mile 13: 8:22 (Dedicated to John)
As I pushed through the last aid station with less than a mile to go I managed to grab a cup of water and dump it down my back. We turned off the main highway and onto a walking path the went back through a city campground and popped us out right at the city park and finish line. I asked John to keep the blood flowing to my legs and help me keep picking my feet up so I didn’t trip. A few of the people staying in the campground were lining the path and cheering us home that final stretch.
I kept waiting to hear the party happening at the finish line, but I didn’t know how much farther I had to go until I turned that last corner and saw the hubs and my dad standing there. I had maybe 50 yards to go. Dad asked how I was feeling and I gave him a shrug and an “eh,” because I didn’t feel bad, but I didn’t feel great. I felt eh.
I dang near tripped in a divot before the finish line, but thankfully I had help from above in picking up my feet.
I crossed the finish line (ahead of orange shorts girl) with a smile on my face.
I walked through the finish shoot. Since this was an all girls race, the had nice young men to give you a water, drape your medal across your neck, hand you a rose and take off your ankle timer.
Official time: 1:46:29
20th female out of 249
4th F25-29 out of 28
I was very surprised and impressed with my finish! I was thrilled to have done so well. I know I couldn’t have done it with the 4 honorees though. It was their strength that kept me going through those later more painful miles of the race.