I used to have this crazy goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states. I checked Wisconsin, South Dakota, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana off the list before I decided that running half marathons wasn’t for me. I still enjoy the occasion race (usually a 5k) and I used to really like running so I wanted to combine two things I thought I loved: running and traveling. Like I said before, I did that five times before I decided I really didn’t like running enough to run 13 miles fifty times-there’s a shock. I ran the Wisconsin Half Marathon in 2015 and I fell in love with the concept, hence why I continued to sign up for races. After being inspired by a friend to achieve a goal and reading an article that really made me want to visit Sioux Falls, South Dakota, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and sign up for the Sioux Falls Half Marathon in 2016. The race was one year ago today. My trip to Sioux Falls was my first real travel experience by myself. Yes, I had gone to nearby states by myself in the past but this time I was flying, booking a hotel and responsible for finding my way around all by myself.
Ok. Let me just admit to one of my biggest mistakes. I thought I was too young to rent a car so I didn’t. I wasn’t too young. I was under the impression that you had to be 25 years of age to rent a car under all circumstances. I was only 23. That is NOT correct. I learned that a little bit too late though. I didn’t think it was a big deal because I could just take an Uber everywhere I went. I was pretty familiar with Uber in my own city and I assumed Uber worked the same everywhere. It does not. I don’t know if it exists in Sioux Falls now-which I might add, has the smallest airport I have ever been to. It seriously looked like a bus station. Everybody waits in the same area and there are only (if I remember correctly so correct me if I’m wrong) 4 gates. I didn’t have any bags to pick up because I only brought a backpack, as I do with most trips that only last a couple days, so I went outside to find a ride to my hotel. Uber was giving me errors. I tried everything. I tried deleting and re-downlaoding the app, I tried a different credit card, I tried turning my phone off and back on. Nothing. I called Uber and still nobody told me that I couldn’t get a ride where I was at. They simply told me that my app was not working. I debated just getting a taxi to take me to my hotel because it was too far of a walk. Instead, I called my hotel to see if they had any deals on transportation and they sent someone to pick me up (THANK GOD!!). I settled into my hotel and decided to give Uber another try because I had to pick up my race packet six miles away. After being frustrated for a while and knowing I was running out of time, I started walking. Here’s the other stupid mistake I made: I wore sandals. Why, Phoebe? WHY? When I got to packet pickup, did everything I needed to do and was ready to go back, I gave Uber another try. NOTHING. I was furious by this point. I walked back to my hotel. At this point, I walked 12 miles in sandals (and not the comfortable walking kind). I literally had to cut blisters off my feet when I got back because otherwise I couldn’t put on my running shoes for the race. Yes- thats disgusting. You’re welcome. Eventually after cutting blisters off my feet and googling Uber related questions for about an hour, I learned that Uber didn’t exist everywhere. Luckily my hotel provided me with a ride to and from the race the next day -THANK GOD. If you learn anything from me, let it be to research transportation BEFORE you get to your destination.
The race was fine. I highly recommend the Sioux Falls Marathon if you are into that kind of thing. Sioux Falls is beautiful and I plan on going back to explore next year. It is crazy to look back on this memory-only one year ago- and think about how much I have grown as a traveler. It seems like this trip was a lifetime ago and it many ways, I think it was. It was the start of my independent travel and the adventure I needed to live again.