Skip to content

Race Recap: Crazy Horse Half 2016


This was my third running of the Crazy Horse Half Marathon.

My PR from here is 1:23:11 (6:20.94 avg pace) and I wanted anything faster. A 1:23:10 was the only goal. Only if weather conditions would have not allowed for a PR was I at all concerned with my placing.

It starts at the Crazy Horse monument near Custer, SD and then heads north to Hill City. You can see more of Crazy Horse here from Native American Day the following day.

While the course is a net downhill the last 10 being on gravel slows you and I consider it a fair course, especially with the extra slow first three miles. Towards the end when you’re really running fast the gravel footing is extra noticeable and they laid down new crushed limestone this summer/fall which made the last 5k more difficult than previous years.

screenshot-2016-10-10-08-40-45 screenshot-2016-10-10-08-42-42






The day was cool with a very light tail wind for most of the final 9.5 miles. Last year was a little wet for the start and it may have even rained a bit early on. I remember a lot of fog.

My gear from bottom to top

  • SKORA Tempo shoes
  • Injinji socks
  • Vaseline for lube
  • BOA shorts
  • r/runnit singlet
  • old Suunto watch for splits
  • man bun

I didn’t use a GPS watch this time around. I’ve had two cases of GPS failure during events and I’m so over it. The watch is accurate and I simply hit the lap button at every mile marker.

This is a nice starting location since we can hang out in the visitor center. It’s also a great museum for the families to check out while they wait for the roads to open back up from the runners passing though.


I’ll break the race down into segments

  • Mile 0-3.5
    • Average pace: 6:35
    • This was within the monument area and was a mixture of pavement and gravel. This is easily one of the best starts at any race I’ve ran since from the mile 1.9 turnaround to mile 2.7 us lead runners are running on the other side of the road from everyone else. Being a local runner who is active in the community I had easily no less than 50 people yell my name and cheer for me 🙂
    • There is not really any flat section here and the ups are pretty steep and the downs are steep enough that it’s uncomfortable to run them fast.
    • Looking back at the GPS data from another runner I’m actually surprised the hill I thought was the steepest was not the steepest!
  • Miles 3.5 – 5.0
    • Average pace thus far:  6:28.4
    • This was bad. I was running very comfortable effort wise and then all of a sudden during a step I felt like I had stepped on a nail that went through my big toe. It almost knocked me down the pain was so intense, probably the greatest pain I had ever felt during running. Maybe 4 times this year I have had the very end of my big toe hurt during hard interval workouts, for some reason the nerve acts up once in a while. But never had it felt half as bad as it felt here. I kept running hard and figured out that if I pushed down hard with the big toe it wasn’t as bad. Luckily it only lasted a couple miles!
    • At this point in the race I was in 5th place with first and second way off ahead and 3rd and 4th a few blocks ahead of me and I settled in to a steady moderate / hard effort.
  • Miles 5-8
    • Average pace thus far: 6:22
    • I very very slowly caught 3rd and 4th place and joined them for a few minutes before one dropped back and it was just me and another gentleman. We said a few words and ran in silence together.
  • Miles 8-11
    • Average pace thus far: 6:20.63
    • Basically maintaining pace and effort here while running with the other runner.
  • Miles 11-finish
    • I knew getting under 1:23 was going to be very close and at mile 11 my running partner and I kicked it up a notch. I could not match his acceleration and he went on to finish :45 ahead of me.
    • I basically maintained the same pace at my best effort for the final two point one miles.
    • The shirt and my face say it all.

Everything hurts and I’m dying

I turned down the home stretch for the final quarter mile and saw the time counting down. It was going to be close to my goal of a PR. I gave it my best effort and came in one second short of my PR and two seconds short of my goal of a new PR!

With this being my fastest half marathon in two years I’m still very happy with the result as it shows I have improved 🙂 That’s the most important thing, I’m my fastest since the PR here two years prior.


Hours and day after, how do I feel

Better then I have after any best effort half marathon, no question. I certainly attribute this to the more frequent longer runs.

What I did different

  • I….
    • ran more single longer runs: Before the Fargo and Deadwood halves I only ran over 9 mile single runs about once weekly on average and ran a lot of double run days. Building up to Crazy Horse I averaged 2.5 runs weekly of at least 9 miles or longer.
    • got a coach. Thanks to Alex with the Hudson Community for helping me along the way! The reason I got a coach was for the accountability to make me run harder during hard runs and longer during long runs. I had lost the accountability to myself to execute these types of workouts.
    • averaged 8 – 10 more miles weekly during the three months leading up to Crazy Horse as I did leading up to Fargo.
    • stopped running the super steep up and down to Skyline and ran more flatter easy runs.
    • was maybe 1-2 pounds lighter during the week or two leading up to Crazy Horse than I was for Fargo. Small difference.


  1. 6:43
  2. 7:04
  3. 6:00
  4. 6:31
  5. 6:04
  6. 5:57
  7. 6:13
  8. 6:24
  9. 6:16
  10. 6:12
  11. 6:23
  12. 6:21
  13. – 13.1 6:20 pace

4th out of 685 people.

Shoutouts to Emily Wheeler (left in red, above) who is the RD of a few fantastic events out here in the Black Hills. This is definitely my fave though 🙂

Also to all of the volunteers who made the event possible!

And of course to my wife Desi who finished this as her first half marathon! She was inspired after volunteering at this run last year and began training for the 2016 edition the next week and has trained well and crushed her goal! It was nice to see a text her from “I might be early….” and she said she passed about 70 people during the final stretch and was feeling really good!


What’s next?

I’m going to run The Goodlife Halfsy in Lincoln, NE November 6th. This is a similar course to Crazy Horse with rolling hills during the first few miles and then a net downhill after that. As long as there is no snow it should be a good run and another chance at a PR. This event is very fast with nearly 4,000 finishers and a 1:23 would not have even put me in the top 30 last year.

My races:

  • 2016
    • Crazy Horse Half, Oct – 1:23:12
    • Early spring 5k – 18:20
    • Fargo Half Marathon, May – 1:25:20
    • Deadwood Mickelson Trail Half, June – 1:28:00
  • 2015
    • Top Pot Donut Dash 5k – 18:13
    • Crazy Horse Half Marathon, Oct – 1:26:30
    • Kampeska Half, July – 1:27
    • Deadwood Half Marathon, June – 1:25:12
  • 2014
    • Winter (in TX) Indie 5k – 17:49
    • Crazy Horse Half Marathon, Oct – 1:23:11 (PR)
    • Two small 5ks, spring – 18:36
  • 2013
    • Sioux Falls Half Marathon, summer – 1:28:13 (rather warm)
    • Watertown Half Marathon, July – 1:24:18