Stage 2: Distraction

A race report from magical and exotic Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Part 2 (catch Part 1 here)

by Mandy Deen

After a terrifying plane ride on the world’s smallest commercial plane (one seat, aisle, 2 seats, 12 rows), I succeeded in arriving in SCENIC Sioux Falls, South Dakota (upon landing the weather was about 60*F outside and everything smelled fresh and clean and delightful. I had to put on my sweater). Being very much earlier than my teammates (overanxious over-achiever!), I had a large amount of time to kill until they arrived and we could go about killing time (driving each other crazy) together. Luckily the Sioux Falls Sheraton had a TV on which there was both a Law and Order marathon and US Open tennis!

As much as tapermadness is a part of gearing up for a race, the last few days, I find, are best spent distracting yourself. There’s nothing you can do about it now, and worrying about hitting the wall, or body parts falling off (always a concern), or cramping, or the amount of pain you might encounter is not going to stop any of those things from happening. I know because I’ve tried. I always try to remind myself that my fear of the pain when I’m sitting in my comfortable hotel room is worse and scarier than the actual pain when it happens on mile 20 (more on that later).

After a surprisingly good meal at the hotel restaurant where the waitress didn’t even know that the marathon was happening or that it started next door, and a long discussion about how much better and nicer my view out my window was (Sioux Falls is flat, green, with lovely wide avenues and picturesque little houses and neighborhoods where everyone is friendlier than a wet dog, dontcha know. It is Everytown, USA), we all retreated to our rooms for an early night of obsessing about race strategy/watching hilarious South Dakota regional commercials.

The next day we got up, made it to packet pick up at the expo which had an adorable small-town/disorganized feel to it (high school basketball gymnasium). I had to help the woman at the Clif table work the iPad credit-card attachment thingy because they don’t take cash, and because I’m a librarian, and also because I didn’t bring any Gu’s from home because all I brought was my carry on and I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of security regulations regarding liquids on planes. Btw, fyi, jsyk. Alicia and Anna got sucked into a vendor tent with some kind of miracle pain-relief cream (cures plantar fascitis! migraines! Ebola!!!!!! AND menstrual cramps!!! anyone who HASN’T been using this product their whole lives has been living a life of needless suffering and pain!) made from Emu oils? (?????!!!?) with very enthusiastic sales people who were distributing samples whether you wanted them or not. Everyone immediately started applying it to their problem areas. Later it was brought to the attention of our group that Alicia thought the lady said it provided 45 hours of pain-relief instead of 4-5 hours. Which, when you’re all slightly on edge due to impending race-ness (there was annoying number of people in the hotel/expo wearing their Boston gear. I thought this race was for people who HADN’T qualified for Boston yet!!!! #smugbq-ers), is nothing short of hilarious.

We took a cab into downtown that day, because there was not ONLY an art festival, but also a German Fest (sponsored by Shiner!!!!! what an exotic, specialty beer!!!). After deciding quite quickly that being surrounded by well-meaning but decidedly in-the-way families (there were a lot of toy bows and arrows at the art fest), was not good for anyones nerves. We walked down the length of the main drag, Philips Ave, and took lots of dumb pictures with the local “sculpture walk” sculptures. #art. (I am assuming Allison will insert multiple photos from my Facebook account here.)

(note from Allison: yes I will)

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Due to the local cab service failures, we ended up just walking down to the Falls Park, which was across from the German Fest. I did not realize until I was in the shuttle from the airport to the hotel that there would ACTUALLY be falls at Sioux Falls. But the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. We took lots of pictures of the very pretty falls and got a stranger to take a team picture of us all in front of them (which certain teammates have failed to upload to the internet so far, just saying.) After that we headed over to our selected Italian restaurant (Luciano’s, or, Lucifer’s as we kept calling it) for an early dinner. Due to another local cab service failure, we actually got dropped off on the southern area of the street instead of the northern area of the street we requested. We ended up just re-walking the entire length of the street down to the restaurant which was by the Falls. Funny story, there’s only ONE door to get into the place, and it’s not labeled and it’s very well hidden. Which we took as a sign of it’s exclusiveness and also small-town Sioux Falls-ness.

At this point, everyone was pretty tired and the pre-race crazies were setting in on us all, and we were all noticing how tired we were and we all kept agreeing to stop talking about the race, and then starting up conversations about the race/our race plan/our race fears. But the food was good and the wine and beer was good, and we were all sad we couldn’t take the leftovers back with us. There was nothing left to do, the next thing was the race.

One more cab ride back to the hotel, a final check of email/Facebook for race plans/internet pressure (the entire Rogue internet is watching us all!!!!!!!!!!!!) we all went our separate ways to settle in for a night of trying to sleep. THE ALARM CAME EARLY THE NEXT DAY.

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