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Running Background:

marathon photoThis race began in 2005 and I thought it would be a great way to start a running tradition. I live near Spearfish, SD and know the area is beautiful, having run a half-marathon in the Spearfish Canyon in years past. My friend, Elaine Doll-Dunn is the race director and I knew she would put on a unique and rewarding marathon. Finally, since I was first to register, she gave me Bib #1, something that I hadn't and won't again experience, I'm sure!

Training:

I didn't follow a specific training program. I ran about 20 marathons in 2005, so I just stayed in shape throughout the year.

I've had people tell me you can't run so many marathons and stay healthy, but I obviously disagree with that and feel like I've disproved that theory.

This is really a great race and I would tell others to put away your watch and just enjoy the race.

Race Day:

The 2005 Leading Ladies was better than expected. The support on the course is incredible. The aid stations are enthusiastically staffed. The course is open to supporters driving and stopping to offer personal support to their runners. While there aren't urban throngs of fans, there is nature in all its glory to inspire you.

As for the rest of the race:

OK, this race is in my neck of the woods, so I may be biased, but consider the facts:

  1. a fast, downhill course
  2. very scenic surroundings
  3. no crowds, but plenty of deer, birds and natural beauty to spur you on, not to mention the guys at the aid tables and on bikes patrolling the course
  4. well stocked aid stations, regularly spaced
  5. hands-on attention from a well-organized race director
  6. great pre-race speaker/easy packet pick-up/2 lovely truffles in a box
  7. in addition to classy medal, a long stemmed rose and a moistened, lemon-scented towelette at the finish line
  8. more than enough food at the end, bagels, muffins, fruit, yogurt and chocolate (I ran San Francisco recently, can you tell?)
  9. neat awards
  10. incredibly interesting & supportive running companions!

Recovery:

I didn't have any problems with my recovery. I made sure my quads were in shape by practicing downhill running, using weights, and riding my bicycle a lot before the race.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Accelerade Energy Drink
Accelerade is my sports drink of choice. I carry my own so I don't have to toss something new and untried on my poor tummy--especially important on a downhill course, which can be tough on your GI system.
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

This race is so incredibly supportive and celebratory that you should consider making the trip out to South Dakota at least once for a unique racing experience.

Leave your iPod in your suitcase and talk with your fellow runners on race day!

Plans to Run Another:

I'll continue to run marathons because it's what I do for balance.

For my next marathon, I'll sleep more and eat better the week before!

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