I’m a big fan of #racecations, and this race gives me the perfect excuse to get out of the Arizona heat in late June and come “upnorth” in Michigan to see my family.
It’s the 5th time I’ve done this race, and I can’t get enough! It’s always well organized, it’s always easily accessible and its always gorgeous scenery!
There was construction in town this year, so coming in for packet pickup took longer than usual. Pickup is quick, and set right on main street with beautiful Round Lake as a backdrop. I wish they had a real expo. This year there was an inflatable merchandise tent that was poorly laid out and in serious need of ventilation. It was claustrophobic and stifling. But they have really cute souvenirs, so I would have liked to see more.
I had made plans to meet one of my best Twitter buddies (@spartansailor) for this race. He’s from my hometown, is part of the Bibrave community that I’m an ambassador for, and loves Northern MI as much as I do. The original plan was for him to pace me to PR, which would be 1:50 or less. However, he was recovering from knee issues from overuse and warned me he shouldn’t push it. I was more than ok to not have the pressure to maintain a super fast pace.
The race has roughly 1700 runners. This year, there was a new 5k and 10k in addition to the half and full. Parking is a breeze, my friend was able to get a killer spot right across from the start line!
The race started at 7am and per usual, I started out too fast. I knew I couldn’t keep it going, but my feeling is, if I’m feeling enough to put in the extra effort at the beginning, I can bank that extra time for later. I know there are other philosophies that would contradict that. The first 3 miles wind through neighborhoods with expansive homes with that “upnorth” feel. For the first 3 miles the 1:50 pacer was behind us. We were running an 8:07 pace. Then we turn onto the Little Traverse Wheelway, a paved multiple use trail that follows along side lake Michigan and flanked by pine trees. It’s an out and back course. I started slowing down a little once we hit the path, and the 1:50 pacer passed me. Boo….
I had one walking break on the path on the way back, and then unfortunately 2 more in the last 2 miles where the few hills were. I regret taking so many breaks, even though they were short. Even though my friend was super understanding, I could have sucked it up a little.
It was fun having someone to talk to, I normally race alone. It really helped time fly by getting to chat for the first time face to face. He was able to text and even take a runfie without missing a beat. Impressive. It was time for the finish, and another great part about this race is getting to see family. My sister and son were waiting for me at the finish, which is always special.
All those walking breaks took away from my PR that I was shooting for, but I ended up with 1:58:09, my second best Charlevoix half finish time. It got me 7th in my age group out of 44. It was my 40th half marathon (yay!) and my 6th best out of 40. The medal was very cool this year, with the iconic Charlevoix drawbridge on it with moveable arms.
If you’re looking for a cool weather summer half marathon, you might want to give this one a try! It was even rated one of the best small town marathons in the US!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!