Crazy Horse Half Marathon – Post Race Recap!

(You’re regularly scheduled Tuesday Newsday will not by posted today due to a special Post Race Recap. Tuesday Newsday will resume next week. Thank You.)

I had the best race EVER! I’m just going to start off with my awesome news/brag: NEW PR!!! I beat my old PR by about 6 minutes!! My new personal record is now 1:51:37!!!!! (Last one was 1:57:19) AND I got to knock of another state! I’m sooooo excited! Can you tell!??

On Sunday, I ran the Crazy Horse Half Marathon in South Dakota. The race started at the Crazy Horse Memorial and ended in good ol’ Hill City. (Hill City is about 30 minutes from Rapid City, right by Mt. Rushmore). So far, this has been my favorite race, although I have just begun my project, so this could and probably will change in the future.

The morning started out brisk and cloudy. I always hate race mornings for the first 2 hours before the race starts. I get super nervous every time and it’s always cooler than it will be during the run, so I sit there and debate about what to wear. I usually go with my gut feeling of the shorts and t shirt every time, but there’s always that voice in the back of my head going…”but I’m soooo cold right now!” I did leave on my sweats until right before the race to warm up in and keep my legs warm while I waited.

We arrived to Crazy Horse without any problem and I found the information table where my packet was being held. Now, this was lucky for me, because there is not actually supposed to be race day packet pick up. I had to email the race director and she said she’d hold mine for me since I would be arriving in SD after the expo where everyone else got their packet (and I couldn’t have it mailed because I registered late). My mom dropped me off while she found parking so I could get what I needed and warm up.

THE RACE: I love how this race started! The announcer stated that there would be traditional indian singers and as soon as the drums started, we would start! Since it was all done by timing chips, it was a nice and gentler way of starting than just by a gun going off – especially since it always takes a couple seconds to get to the actual starting line with the crowd.

Waiting for the race to start

It was a super fast race after the first 3 miles; but in those first 3, I had flash backs of the hilly Horsetooth Half…given, not NEARLY as bad. But the beginning has some nice hills, one, we ran twice because the path loops around. After you’re out of the Crazy Horse Memorial Park, it’s all downhill from there!!! Seriously! The rest of the course was a slight downhill!

“The Handoff” I decided I didn’t want my sunglasses, so I gave them to my “support crew” aka: my mom!

Super FAST course! I loved it! I cruised it! I passed people left and right! I felt sooooo fantastic 90% of the time….

There was the 10% that I had the worse side cramp I have ever felt. I’ve only gotten side cramps occasionally and am unsure what is going on. It was at 8 and half miles that I was almost doubled over in pain. I did end up walking for no more than half a mile, pinching my side and taking deep breaths in and out. A very nice man that passed me shouted encouragements: “You got this! You can do it, keep it up!” and totally made me feel better. The pain subsided, finally, and I started up again… slowly at first, really focusing on my breathing. Once I saw that 9 mile sign, I picked back up the pace and cruised to the finish line, and the side pain never returned.

I think I’m finally figuring out my potential and my rhythm when it comes to racing. I’m getting to know my body more and more. I’m understanding what I can and can’t do to it. Remember my weird back/side of the knee pain? Well, it still hurts, but I think I figured out the cause. I was noticing that every once in awhile I take a random step with my right foot turning in…I think this is straining and abnormally stretching that tendon…and I’m wondering if new shoes would fix this…I have pretty high arches and these shoes are well past their intended milage and the wear and tear of the arch support could be the cause of my random twisted stepping…. (I just can’t afford new shoes at the moment). THOUGHTS?

Although I think I discovered the problem, the pain of that tendon didn’t bother me much until after and especially the next day. I wanted to use the laser from work on it again, but someone had borrowed it from the clinic. The discomfort I noticed the most for this race was my aching feet and ankles. Otherwise, this race was fantastic.

Oh yeah! I forgot to mention, I almost got hit by a car! LOL? Not that much of a laughing matter, but seriously, I literally was inches from a car. Right at the end, the course crosses a street (the only street it crossed) and there was a race official stopping traffic. I looked up head; there was a break in the runners so he let a few cars through. He saw me, and held up his hands and stop signs to stop traffic, So I kept running. Well, the next car really didn’t want to stop I guess, and I was in the grove. I looked up again, and the car was inches in front of me, going way too fast for the intersection anyway.  I took an instinctual step back in surprise, the car passed, and I continued running, all in a matter of  seconds; then hearing the crowd yell at the car! The next race official said, “Man, he wanted to take you out!” I just laughed and kept running.


I highly, HIGHLY recommend this event to you all! Such I wonderful event altogether! The course was BEAUTIFUL! Starting at Crazy Horse was fun, and after you exit the park, the rest of the run is on the Mickelson Trail, bordered by color changing aspen trees the whole way. You crossed lots of streams and big valleys (be careful of the handful of bridges though: the slats we crooked and weirdly spaced out. You could easily get a toe stuck and trip).

The crowds were awesome and supportive. The trail was close enough to the highway that people could pull over and park, walk up to the trail and cheer you on. I even got some random little kid high fives!

There was plenty of water stations and the race volunteers were awesome. Everyone was super nice; I’ve super glad the race director set my packet aside to pick up race day. I know the crossing guard was doing his job when I almost got hit by a car; I saw him holding up his hands and the stop sign; it was the car that was impatient.

The only thing I didn’t like about the whole event, is after a few hours, they took down the blow-up finish line thing. There was still half marathon runners finishing, but they didn’t get the big grand finish line. I’m sure they had to take it down to set up for the marathon finishers…but still, I felt bad for those runners.

Also: although my half did not go a good cause besides bringing attention to the Crazy Horse Memorial, there was a kids 1K and fun 5K on saturday put on by the Run Crazy Horse Event where the benefits did go to the American Heart Association. If I was in town a day earlier, I would have definitely supported that!


If you look closely, you can see the time; although, it is a little slower than I actually finished because it’s displaying gun time and not my chip time!

I remember passing the last race official with him shouting, “you’re just 100 feet away! Almost there!” As I smile at him, he continued, “That’s right: Smiling as you finish!” I pick up the pace, saw the time clock and finished with that same smile! That official race photo better come out good!

Like I said before, I finished in 1:51:37, 10 out of 48 in my age/gender group, knocking off about 6 minutes from my PR! Looks like my birth state did me well.

19 thoughts on “Crazy Horse Half Marathon – Post Race Recap!

  1. Way to scorch the course! You mention a lot of things that I forgot to talk about in my own recap, namely how easy it was for spectators to make their way from the highway onto the trail. I ended up seeing the same couple about three times because I was just ahead of the person they came to support.

    Congratulations on that PR — now you have to match it on a flat course!

    • Thanks! I saw a lot of the same spectators through out my half. one group was supporting a women running the full marathon, handing her water and stuff. I’m really excited to try and match my PR, now that i’m really feeling comfortable racing.

  2. Hooray! That is a speedy speedy half marathon time, especially considering the side cramp, weird knee pain, and hills. You’re doing awesome!

    And glad you didn’t get hit by a car! A couple of the local races here don’t close off roads, so I’ve definitely had some good “I’M WALKIN’ HERE” moments.

    • um, i’m not sure. In high school, I tried insoles in my shoes, but it made it worse…becuase it added almost TOO much padding…making my foot want to strike twice as hard to reach the pavement (one of the reasons minimalists shoes are getting popular, because there’s less cushion and the body doesn’t need to strike as hard to meet the pavement if that makes sense). So i’ll probably just buy another pair of asics.. They “Cheaper” but good enough.

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