Wrapping up 2017 – better late than never

25 07 2018

The second half of 2017 was a weird time.  I ran too many long slow endurance races and didn’t focus enough on speed.  Social and political unrest in the States made for a lot of unhappy complainers everywhere.  The weather was relentlessly hot, in fact the third-hottest year on record according to NOAA.  And all of those things were just a prelude to the worst flu season I’ve ever encountered in my 16 years of working in health care.  To say it simply, 2017 ended up pretty much sucking for a lot of different reasons.  My final half-marathon of the year was no exception.

I ran the Crazy Horse half marathon in Hill City SD on Crazy Horse temperaturea blustery cold day in a summer town that was closed for the winter.  The entirety of the experience was one of disappointment.  It started with my booking at the host hotel, The Lodge at Palmer Gulch, which is advertised as a tourist haven with barbecue and steak and beer and all sorts of entertainment for the whole family.  Silly me, I should have checked to see when they closed for the season!  After a summer of reading and planning and thinking about all the fun I was going to have and meals I was going to eat and ice cold pints of beer I was going to drink, I arrived to find the place deserted and barren.  Yes, it was the host hotel for the race but that is absolutely all it was.  No food.  No drinks. No fun.  They had closed down everything but the rooms the week before.  And if you look at the screenshot from my phone, you also see “No Service” — which means no GPS directions anywhere either.  Fortunately, they did have a breakfast buffet and there was a biker bar/grill nearby so I never starved to death (nor died of thirst since the attached convenience store sold water, beer and juice).  The herds of deer that took over the parking lot and playground at the lodge were actually quite beautiful as well.  So as much as I was let down, I was also sort of amused by the Twilight Zone-ish ambiance of the place.

Crazy Horse logoRace day was frigid and windy and my iPod died.  It played half of one song and then ground to a halt despite having a full charge.  Silly me again, I didn’t download music to my phone as a backup!  And with no signal, I was not able to do so.  Therefore, I ran the race (doing a lot more walking than usual) with no music to spur me on when I was tired but the never-ending conversation of the two chicks closely trailing me to keep me annoyed.

Crazy Horse monumentThe Crazy Horse Monument itself is beautiful.  Large and imposing, it represents a grandiose dream with its continuing fulfillment as well as being a symbol of recognition and respect for The People who were here before my people were here (both sides, the Africans and the Europeans).

Results

Crazy Horse finish pic

The snow that fell for much of the race eventually turned to rain as the temperature climbed to about 44 degrees, and well over three hours later I finished a soggy, tired and disheartened mess.  I headed back to the lodge and cleaned myself up enough to take the obligatory “happy medal photo” that is every runner’s post race tradition.  Then I headed back toward home after a ride past Mount Rushmore to see the famous faces carved upon it (because you have to pay to get any closer than the highway or the parking lot).  Dare I say that was a little disappointing too, or is this theme becoming too redundant?

The rest of the year proceeded in similar fashion, both in life and athletics.  Flu season started early and lasted long.  Work shifts were torture fests of stress and overwork for six months.  We were short-staffed, too busy and it was awful.

Forte 5k Me Running

FORTE 5k, Channahon IL

Running was equally off-kilter.  My usual “fast 5k,” the Forte 5k, was not fast this year for some odd reason, and my debut year of running the Canal Connection 10k with my running club was a cold rainy slog through too much mud on the I&M Canal.   But honestly, a major highlight of that race was finding a porta potty with my name on it!  That was a first.

Canal Connection 10k I ran the 4 mile Poultry and Pie Predictor with my club (not my fastest performance either) and then got gloriously drunk with family and friends afterwards on Thanksgiving day after eating at a restaurant.  It was actually quite a fun day and the end of my 2017 fall running season.

Poulty Pie Predictor

Soon enough, it was 2018 and the season of lackluster running was over.  The new year ushered in big changes with new events, a better frame of mind and different goals.  Unlike the four faces on Mount Rushmore, nothing in life is set in stone.  One crappy race or even an entire season of uninspiring performance does not predict anything about the future, except that better things are sure to follow if you learn the lessons your disappointments offer.

Crazy Horse rushmore

NEXT UP:
Winter-into-Spring 2018

 


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