The plan was to run Crazy Horse in South Dakota on Oct 7, 2013 but as our coach said, “God hit the pause button” on our LIFE Runner weekend. Our team was to meet up at the Rushmore Express in Keystone, SD.
So that is where my sisters and I headed off to last Wednesday.
Stopped in Sioux Falls and then went on to Keystone.
Once you hit South Dakota, you begin moving a bit faster…
Day 2 of the trip there was met with a cold and sometimes hard rain.
When we arrived Thursday night, it was rainy and cold with a major winter storm in the forecast. There was a break in the rain while we checked out a couple of areas in Rapid City before going onto Keystone.
Later that night it started and didn’t stop.
We lost our power in the hotel at 3:30 am Friday, which never came back on during our 4 day stay. By 6:30 am there was 4 inches on the ground.
Later snow began to fall as if in an avalanche from the roof on the cars below. Some, anticipated the dramatic and destructive fall, so cars were moved quickly.
The snow fall continued and then turned into a blizzard that was devastating to livestock in the area.
No cars were allowed on streets and if caught traveling, $400 tickets were handed out. Snow plows in Rapid City couldn’t push the heavy snow, people were rescued from their cars by snow mobiles and that was after some people had to spend the night in their cars. The total amount of snow for our area was 31 inches – some areas got as much as 48. Far from the 4 – 8 inches predicted just a day before we left.
The worse part of the power outage was the utter darkness. Our rooms were interior, so no outside windows which helped to keep them warm. But the darkness was such that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. We all had to have flash lights to go anywhere beyond the lobby – day or night. No sound from TV, computer or anything else to distract you in your room, phones had to be charged and recharged in the car, snow was shoveled and re-shoveled by the guys that were out there all day long, the staff at the hotel looked to their family and friends to cook meals and would run them back to the hotel for us. There were even a couple of people who went missing in the process but were later found just after dark. It was a dangerous situation for anyone that left the safety of the hotel.
Our team was separated during this storm. Some came in on a bus that started in St. Louis and picked others up along the way. They couldn’t make it as far as the hotel, so it was re-routed to Ellsworth Air Force Base. There were about 50 or 60 people where we were and it gave us all a chance to get to know each other better – building relationships.
Finally, Saturday morning, we received word, that our race and all the events surrounding it that we spent the last year planning and the 8 to 12 or more weeks training for, were canceled. It was hard to hear this but it was the right thing to do. The record snow fall was too much to tackle and the race officials were stranded in their homes unable to even get word out.
Here’s a picture of all of us from the hotel, convoying down the mountain afterwards.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that teared up though as we crossed back into our home state after 4 days of driving and unable to run the race or carry out the planned team activities.
For our team though, we know, it’s not about us.
We raised a lot of money for the life-saving work of Vitae and pregnancy care centers (still raising funds through year-end) and will just have to run our own races instead of the one together in South Dakota. I’m still $200 from my goal. If you’d like to help me hit the $2,500 goal for Vitae Foundation, please click here.
Our time together in South Dakota was a bit different than we planned, but we came back with a lot of great memories and more good friends than even before.
Running for life…there is nothing like it. I’ll never stop.