The drive up was nice, although we were somewhat rushed. Ariel and her cousin had their gymnastics mini-meet in the morning (which we did not want to miss), and yet we had to be IN Deadwood by 6 pm to pick up our packets.
Other than some minor road construction, we luckily did not encounter any problems.
We made it to Deadwood:
A few things we did not take into consideration... having NO cell service. I remembered the name of the hotel where pack pick-up was, but after driving through town and not seeing it, we stopped at an information stand and picked up a local map. Got there in plenty of time... 4:30 pm. The expo was... meh. Not too much there, and all the apparel was expensive. My dad was planning on driving us in the morning, so after clarifying with some of the volunteers, we decided it was best to get dropped at the bus service instead of being driven to the start line.
The sponsored pasta dinner was $20 a head (!!!!) so we opted to eat near our motel in Spearfish, SD... our choice? Applebee's. Loaded up on carbs (which I've never done pre-race before) and shared a 24 oz can of Bud Light with my dad. Tried for lights out around 9:30 since we had to be up by 5. And that's when all hell broke loose. Pool hours in the motel? Apparently until 10 pm. And boy, did those people take full advantage. Screaming, yelling, etc. Until probably 10:15. Finally started to doze off... when Ariel wakes up for the first time (11:27 pm, yes, I looked). She was sleepwalking again. Calmed her down, put her back to bed. Tried to fall asleep. She woke up again... somewhere between 12:30 and 1 I think but I didn't look at the clock. Woke up again around 2:45... I finally fell asleep "for good" around 3 am. I had a nightmare about oversleeping and not waking up early enough to get to the start.
Anyway. Woke up at the scheduled time, got ready, and headed out only a minute or two late. (Shocking!!) My dad dropped us off at the busses:
There were visible signs for the full marathon busses, we had to ask to find out where to go for the half. Found the bus, sat in the back. I was pretty happy that they had the heat on. Having no cell service I have no clue what the temp was, but it was chilly and we opted NOT to do the drop bags (which, looking back, I totally would have done if I had prepped properly). So. Off we go... we are driving. And driving. And driving. Everyone on the bus is in good spirits, joking about "you aren't taking us to the full marathon start, are you?" Then we hear someone say "You missed the turnaround" - um??? Apparently our driver didn't really know where he was going. It was good that there were people on the bus that were familiar with the course. AND that we had over an hour before gun time. Dropped at 7 and nothing to do until 8. So, we have a quick breakfast (I had an English muffin with peanut butter on the bus, but still had a Luna bar). And of course, the ever-so-fun port-o-potty lines).
Lined up with the 10 minute milers about 15 minutes before the gun:
L started off in front of me before I ever crossed the mat, which was fine. Like all races, I didn't want to start out too fast, so I hung in the back a bit and tried to stay out of the way while I found my pace. By about a mile in, I was feeling pretty good and found a woman to pace with. I was pretty good when I checked my watch and regularly saw that I was pacing under 10 minute miles! I lost my pace partner around the second aid station, and got behind these three girls. They were fascinating. Not a single one of them had headphones in:
The girls actually paced really well for me and I followed them all the way to the finish line. The one in the middle (tank top) I sprinted past in the chute, but the other two took off about a half mile before the end.
iPhone picture quality sucks, but the course was pretty and I tried to get a few shots, although most of them are blurry/dark:
The course measured long (13.34 miles vs. 13.1) per my Garmin, but I felt pretty good the entire race. I briefly walked long enough to slam Powerade at 3 or 4 stations, and 2 "fifty step" walks around 6.4 and 12.5 miles. Still sprinted the last .1 like I always do (and passed at least 3 or 4 people that last .1 mile, hahahaha).
Overall? Extremely pleased. Shaved over 9 minutes off my last half time, and got done feeling good, NOT like I had never run before. Psyched that most of my splits were under 10 minute miles! (Combine the first two splits for the first mile, I hit the lap button early:
The shirt (awful!!):
My first finisher's medal!