Monday, January 20, 2020

State #38: South Dakota

I was so excited to go to South Dakota! I couldn't wait to see Mt Rushmore, The Badlands - Sturgis and maybe take a trip to see Devil's Tower in Wyoming.
Wow! Mt Rushmore!
Can you name all four presidents?
No, Ron is not one of them! LOL!
I didn't choose The Leading Ladies Half Marathon in Spearfish South Dakota to go sightseeing, I honestly chose this race because it was a downhill race. I was having trouble with my Crohn's Disease and I thought it would be a good one to do while my Crohn's was active. Maybe easier because it was downhill.

Was I glad I did? Absolutely! I actually feel sorry for my male running friends because this will go down as one of my favorite half marathons - not because I PR'd - I actually didn't even run fast in spite of it being downhill.

It is a beautiful race! You run downhill through a canyon while passing several different waterfalls. Absolutely gorgeous! The weather was super wonderful - perfect for running - cool, not cold; dry, not humid. The sky was blue with big sleepy, summer clouds.

We stayed at Spearfish Canyon Lodge just down the road from the start of the race. The owners were super nice. We had a small cabin with a full kitchen. We had a little balcony that looked straight into woods.

This was great because I need my decaf/regular coffee mix with Lactose free milk and ability to make my own breakfast - usually homemade banana bread with Justin's Vanilla Almond bread. I also need a fridge to store my Green Valley Organic Lactose Free Vanilla Yogurt. When something works - you stick with it!
Race Fuel!
Hiking through the property and then through the canyon was just the cherry on top!

Waterfalls Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota
It was a beautiful, scenic half marathon!

I was nervous at the start.

My goal is always to place in my age group. This one would be challenging. When my Crohn's is active, I bleed. My small intestines don't do a good job of absorbing nutrients and transit time between eating and digesting is only one meal away.  So, not only was training rough - low energy - but my tummy wasn't very cooperative and I was afraid it would not hold out for all 13.1 miles ...and it didn't.

It is typical 6 months after a very stressful event to have my Crohn's flare. Opening another business, Beyond Cryotherapy was fun, but stressful. In fact, I upped my Whole Body Cryotherapy sessions from maintenance of 1-2 times per week to 4-5 times per week to help bring down the inflammation! My doctor wanted me on medicine - which I eventually succumbed to. It took two changes in meds and lots of cryotherapy over 6 months to finally get the Crohn's back into remission. Running this half was scary because I was bleeding every stop I made - and I stopped 4 times!

My splits were going well in the race, until the cramping started around mile 9/10. I intentionally started out slow and was shooting for 8:15 min/mile pace ... but I told myself if I ran an 8:30 min/mile pace, I should be happy and proud of myself based on how active my Crohn's was. It got pretty ugly after mile 10 - I could no longer get my time down under 8:30 min/mile. I finished 1:51:13:59 ... go figure who was with me? I got a 13 and a 59!

I ran exactly an 8:30 min/mile pace - and even though it was right before my 55th birthday, I managed to snag the 1st place age group for this half in what was the last time I would see the 50-55 age group!. Those years saw lots of running!

After the race, we drove to Wyoming to do some hiking around Devil's Tower.
Devil's Tower, Wyoming
And the next day, we drove out to Badlands National Park! Who knew South Dakota was full of so many beautiful canyons?
Badlands National Park

and Prairie Dogs?
Prairie Dogs - Just Chillin'
Driving through this part of America was amazing! We went through towns that had signs stating that their total population was like 11! I graduated high school with well over 600 students in my class!

It was definitely the land of black steer! Lots and lots of farmland! So beautiful. I feel so blessed to be able to have run in so many states. It has been an amazing way to see the country!
South Dakota Farmland!
Places to eat while in Spearfish:
  • Spearfish Brewing Company - Great for a burger and beer
  • Redwater Cafe - Trendy foods and menu chef-inspired
  • Steerfish Steak and Smoke: Cozy downtown restaurant serving smoked steaks and chops
  • Badlands Saloon and Grill: Family Restaurant - beer, pizza, burgers
... everything is meat in South Dakota! LOL!

Seeds all around the cabin - They look just like a memorial necklace I was given after 9/11

Train Hard!
Recover Harder!
Run Happy!
Run To Inspire!