Crazy Horse Half Marathon Race Recap
I spent my weekend in South Dakota.
Hubs and I were on the road bright and early Saturday morning to make it to Hill City, SD in time to watch my family run in the 5k that the race was offering.
My sister, Eddie, wanted to run and honor our uncle and good friend on the same weekend that I was honoring them. So the 5k on Saturday it was! My mom and dad ran the race also.
The weather and wind was definitely not totally perfect. A nice head wind, cloud cover and cooler temps it what they faced. It was pretty ok as long as you were doing physical activity and it would have been really nice if there was no head wind.
They all looked fabulous and finished strong into the finish line! It was fun for a change to be at the finish instead of everyone waiting for me at the finish. It was awesome and inspiring to cheer for everyone coming into the finish line.
We headed back to the motel and relaxed for a brief second and then were off to get some food in our tummies.
Pasta for me and red meat for just about everyone else.
After dinner we all decided it would be best to ride a buffalo. Don’t worry though we all walked away scratch free.
We were all tucked into bed and out like lights before 930.
I didn’t sleep well at all that night. I was constantly waking up worried I had missed my alarm. It was just not a good nights sleep for me. As soon as my alarm officially did go off though I felt the nerves set in. My stomach was just in knots. I hadn’t had race nerves like that in awhile.
I got up and got dressed pretty quickly.
Slowly got some food in my tummy and before I knew it we were headed to the start of the race.
As we walked out of the hotel it was overcast and spitting rain. I looked up into the sky and said “Really? Really?” I wasn’t prepared for rain, but it looked like it had potential to clear.
We made it to the start no problem, and I got to hang out with my crew for a little while before the race.
It was chilly at the start and I waited until the last possible minute to take off all my layers. I wasn’t totally prepared for the cooler weather. It was welcomed, but not completely ready.
Before I knew it we were getting ready to head off on our 13.1 journey!
Just before the start the skies it started raining again. There were rainbows everywhere. I took this as a definite positive sign that those boys were testing my mental toughness, but were also letting me know I wasn’t there alone.
Mile 1: 8:18 Mile 2: 10:21 Mile 3: 8:09
Mile 1 and Mile 3 were almost the same miles. Mile 2 had a nice long couple of climbs in them. I told myself, no matter how bad it hurt I wasn’t walking up the hills. You do a big loop around Crazy Horse Memorial. It was really cool to see. I had never been to Crazy Horse. The magnitude of that thing is unreal and to think I will never see it completed in my lifetime.
Shortly after mile 3 the marathoners split off and head toward Custer while the half turns and heads towards Hill City.
Mile 4: 8:43 Mile 5: 8:35 Mile 6: 8:25
I got to see the family right at mile 4 which was nice. Then as I watched my watch slowly click the tenths of miles by I found myself getting frustrated. I felt like this race was taking FOREVER. I was begging for an aid station to break up the frustration. I finally got one about mile 5. I found myself getting lost in the beauty of the trail. I also found myself thinking “I’m so glad they cancelled this thing last year.” If you remember I was signed up to run the marathon and then the winter storm hit with around 3 feet of snow. I kept thinking how frustrating it would have been.
My family surprised me again about mile 6 ish. Seeing them along the course did nothing but boost my spirits. This has been the first race that I have seen them multiple times along the course. Usually I see them at the start and the finish. I really needed the mental boost from them.
My sister’s boyfriend came along for the ride. This was the first race he had been apart of and I think I am going to hire him officially as my traveling aid station. He had water for me, even though I didn’t take it from him, almost every time I saw them.
Mile 7: 8:18 Mile 8: 9:10 Mile 9: 9:13
I was feeling really solid up until mile 8. The wheels slowly started falling off. My IT band on my right leg started throbbing, my left foot also started throbbing. I tried to run on the most level of the trail, but my hip and IT band definitely told me when I wasn’t running on level ground. I started walking through aid stations when they presented themselves. I felt like this race they were so spread out. Usually I am thinking, “another aid station already?” But not with this race. I couldn’t find the next one fast enough.
I saw my family again at mile 8. I ditched my gloves to them since the sun was shining and it was getting warm. At one point I reached down and rubbed my IT band only to discover that my legs were so cold I couldn’t feel the pressure of me rubbing it.
Mile 8 I started dedicating 1 mile to each of the guys. It took my mind off of the race the last time I did it and so I did it again.
Mile 8 was for Andy. I said hello to Andy. I told him that I was sorry. Sorry he was taken too soon. Sorry that he didn’t get the proper help. I was just sorry. I knew Andy was young. I knew Andy was full of life! I kept repeating to myself through this whole mile, “young body, strong legs.” The pain in my legs in that instant went away. I no long felt the funky twinge in my knees or hips. My foot was not throbbing. My IT band wasn’t screaming. I was using Andy’s young body and strong legs to power me forward.
Mile 9 was for Dan. As soon as my watched beeped at me and clicked over to 9 miles I got the biggest grin on my face. I was in the middle of the Black Hills smiling the biggest I had smiled all day. I knew that Dan was behind that smile. His spunky attitude. His full of life attitude. I just smiled. Ear to ear for the entire mile. That kept me moving forward when I knew that my body was telling me to stop.
Mile 10: 9:29 Mile 11: 9:55 Mile 12: 10:31 Mile 13: 9:49
I got to see my family one last time around the 5k mark.
Mile 10 was for Trampus. I was running in his hills. I’m sure he knew the Black Hills like nobody’s business. I thought about his family waiting for me at the finish line. I kept moving forward. With each and every step taken for Trampus through mile 10. The sun started to shine a little more through mile 10. I knew Trampus was there smiling away. Showing me the beauty that the South Dakota Black Hills have to offer. They definitely are a beautiful place to call home.
Mile 11 was for Brett. I felt a surge of energy. I felt like I was back at mile 2. I felt good, I felt refreshed. It slowly started raining on us, but nothing too major. Brett was one tough guy, but he was that silent tough. That tough that he didn’t need to brag about. You saw it in the way he worked, the way he carried himself day to day. You saw it in his friendships and relationships. I knew that I wanted to finish this thing strong.
At some point during mile 11, out of the corner of my eye I see some horses. They are off in a pasture, calm, and as I watch them, suddenly they all get excited and a few of the rear up, a couple others turn and buck and kick. They look like they are playing and suddenly take off in different directions. Do you know how many horses I saw do this? Five. Five horses out in a pasture, enjoying life. As we ran closer to the fence that separated this pasture from the trail I was on, I looked for these same horses; and I didn’t see them. I even looked back after I was well past the pasture to see if I could see them. I never saw these horses again. I got the chills all down my spine. As I replay that instant in my head right now, I have chills and tears streaming down my face. Those five men I carried on my back were using those five horses to show me that they had been with me all day. That their spirits were still very much alive. They are with us every day. You just have to know where to look.
Mile 12 was for Ed. Boy, Ed threw everything he could at me, just to make sure I was still a Hutton. To make sure I was my father’s daughter. The clouds slowly started to roll in. I could see the rain coming. I tried with all my might to pick up my pace. I knew the finish line meant warm clothes. The wind started to pick up and blow straight into our faces. Then the rain started to fall. It wasn’t a warm rain either. At one point I could have sworn it as snowing, it wasn’t, but I felt that cold. As I pushed through that last mile thinking about my uncle, wishing I had my gloves back that I ditched at mile 8, I knew I had to keep pushing forward. A little cold, windy, rain never killed anyone and it sure wasn’t about to kill me in this instant. Thanks Ed for that little douse of mental and physical toughness that I needed to prove to myself that I was tough enough.
We ran right down into main street Hill City. I took a brief peak at my watch. I had roughly a minute to make it the last 0.10 if I was going to come in under 2 hours. I could hear the Hubs’ whistle as soon as I turned that corner. I found my family scattered through the finish line. At this point I couldn’t really feel my legs. I couldn’t tell how fast or how slow I was moving and I wasn’t too worried. As long as I made it across that finish line I was happy.
As I hobbled through the finishing chute I was hoping my family had found Trampus’ family. I turned to my left to walk over to sit down and I saw the Wildland Firefighter coat that they sell and I knew it had to be Trampus’ mom. Aron was coming to scoop me up about that time too. I hobbled over to her and she gave me one of the best finish line hugs I could ever imagine! I have never met any of them, but there is a bond that is unbreakable between us. They are part of my little Two Little Feet army. My family slowly trickled in to find us. I will always cherish those special moments I got to spend visiting with his family; and I can’t wait to get another chance to visit with them again!
I still can’t thank them enough for being at that finish line! I can’t thank them enough for their support!
I can’t thank each and everyone of you for the support you have given me through out the year. I has been one heck of a ride!