Black Hills – 100 miles

Six Lessons Learned


My amazing crew and pacers, Nic, Juli and Brandt

                I had always heard great things about the Black Hills area of South Dakota and


Cabin #1 Bib #1

recently had seen several pretty cool pictures from that area. It’s always been my belief


Sunset the night before the race.

that the best way to explore a new area is to sign up for a race, so I started searching.  I came across the Black Hills 100 the end of June which fit perfectly into my summer schedule and, as an added bonus, the race is sponsored by Hammer Nutrition, my favorite fueling and supplement company.

                If you have read my previous race reports you know I like to talk more about lessons learned during a race as opposed to recounting technicalities of a race.


Nic and I before the race start.

In this case my first lesson occurred well before the start of the race. I thought, it’s South Dakota, surely there would be plenty of rooms available to stay in for the race.  So I waited to make a reservation. Black Hills lesson number one –Even though it is South Dakota do not wait to make hotel/cabin reservations. Finally after calling five different places I found one cabin that was still open for the weekend at No Name No City campground.

                The drive up went smoothly. Two of my best friends, Nic and Juli, and their kids came along for the adventure. We all got settled in the cabin, which happen to be cabin #1 and I was hoping in the back of my head that was a good omen.


Finally pizza time!!

Then at packet pick up I got my bib and it was #1 too… no pressure there. I thought at this point the race is going to be especially good or horribly bad. Post packet pick up, Juli and I headed to the local pizza place to follow tradition of pre race pizza, and this is where lesson two comes in.  When you order a cheese pizza and a veggie pizza without cheese you must specify very clearly which pizza is not to have cheese. They came out with a regular veggie pizza and a cheese pizza with no cheese ….. This was really funny except for the fact we were all starving.

                I really liked the 10 am start time. This allowed for a nice leisurely morning to


Time to focus … or I’m just bored of waiting and ready to run (Photo Cred: John Steward) 

wake up, eat breakfast and get my lucky braids, courtesy of Juli, put in my hair. It was cloudy and cool before the race started and I was questioning if I should start in my long sleeve or tank top. This could have been lesson number three, but at the last minute I decided to shed the long sleeve. This turned out to be a great decision; I was already sweating after running the first two miles on the bike path before connecting with the Centennial Trail (#89).   The first little bit of the race went


Entering the single track (Photo Cred: John Stewart)

smoothly and quickly. We climbed and descended into beautiful valleys. I was able to settle into a comfortable rhythm as I chatted with fellow runners. I saw Nic and Juli about mile 18 and was feeling great as said a quick hello, grabbed some food, thanked everyone and headed down the trail.  As the day wore on it was getting increasingly hot so I made sure I stayed on top of my hydration and electrolytes.  I remember thinking at this point how runnable the trail was and wondered if in 50 miles I would still feel the same way.

                I hit the turn around about 7:30. Brandt took over crewing there so Nic would


Enjoying the valleys (Photo Cred: John Stewart)

pace for the next 20 miles. I could tell coming into the aid station that it would get cool as soon as the sun disappeared so I grabbed a long sleeve. This is where the beginning of lesson four starts. I had looked at the weather report for Sturgis and it said a low of 48 so I thought that’s perfect running weather all I might need is a long sleeve. Total rookie mistake… its ALWAYS colder in the mountains than in


Just cruising (Photo Cred: Black Hills 100)

the city. It got so cold that night. I heard later the temp on the mountain was 33 that night and several people had been pulled for hypothermia. Luckily I have an amazing friend, Nic, who let me borrow a pair of extra gloves and a hat.

                The first half of a hundred, I typically rely on bars and liquid calories, but as I get into the second


Headed back home with Nic (Photo Cred: Black Hills 100)

half and night time I do best on real food. This is where lesson number five comes in. I just assumed the race would have real food at the aid stations (more that chips, cookies and pb&j sandwiches) so I did not bring much real food of my own. This caused a major lack of energy as the night wore on.

                Brandt picked me up to pace at mile 70. Luckily he had some Ensure which helped to get calories in me and gave a bit of an energy pick up. I was thankful to finally see the sun come up as it always renews my energy. At this point I knew I was first female, but had no idea how far the next girl was from me. When I came to the last aid station before the finish I asked if they had any radio contact and knew where the next girl was. One of the volunteers said she had heard she was not too far behind but had no idea how far that really meant. I was like, crap I’ve pushed too hard to get passed on this last section, so I thanked


Almost home …

them and took off. Poor Brandt didn’t get more than a sip of his coffee as I booked it out of the aid station. This is where lesson number six comes in; always race as if someone is two minutes  behind you regardless of where they really are, you will get more out of yourself than you thought was ever possible.

                I was happy to see the bike path and knew I only had two miles before I could be done. Just like any race those last few miles seem like the longest miles you’ve ever


Hi Mom I missed you …. we need to talk you left me with a two year old for 22 hours….

run. The finish line did eventually come though.

                Overall, super great race and I would recommend it to anyone interested in exploring the Black Hills area.  I can’t thank enough Nic, Juli and Brandt for helping me at the Black Hills 100. This was a good adventure made great by getting to share it with some amazing friends.

Quick Stats

Time – 22h 16m

Place – 1st female, 2rd over all

Nutrition – about 125 cal/hour (mostly Hammer Bars)

Hydration Vest – Nathan VaporHowe 12L

Pre-Race supplements (also taken daily) – Mito Caps, Race Caps Supreme, Endurance Amino and Anti-Fatigue Caps (all Hammer products)

Post race recovery – Hammer Recoverrite and Tissue Rejuvenator


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