This is one of my favorite races ever. Michigan is my “home” state, and I love to vacation in northern MI in the summer. Doing this race gives me the perfect excuse for a racecation. Charlevoix is a quaint small town about 45 minutes northeast of Traverse City, Michigan.
This is the 5th time I’ve ran the half here, and this year was the 10th anniversary of the race. Read last year’s recap here. I went up for a 10 day vacation – and the race fell on our last day there. I was so caught up in enjoying our last full day on the lake that I opted not to make the 40 min drive up for packet pickup the day before. I opted to pickup on race day, which was a piece of cake. In and out in less than 5 minutes! It’s just an outdoor tent by the water where you get a shirt, bib and goodie bag. There is one souvenir tent as well.
Communication leading up to the race was good. They were posting pics of the anniversary medal on facebook, which made me even more excited. Race day parking was a breeze as well.
I arrived just under an hour before the race and was able to buy coffee and use a real bathroom, hooray! Oh, and take in the views. Holy cow, Charlevoix is gorgeous!
Race day weather was sunny and 60. We lined up just before 7am and after the national anthem, we were off! You run past some pretty sweet homes near the water, and work your way east to the Little Traverse Wheelway, a paved multi-use path that goes for days. Unlike my normal routine, I didn’t take off too fast. In fact, I probably should have moved up just a tad more to the front. It took me a few minutes to get to the right speed and into the zone. My first mile was 8:46, which is way slower than I usually first start out. My second mile was 8:18 so I really was able to get settled into a good pace. My goals were to be under 2 hours, and ideally beat last year (1:58:05).
I remember last year that I took off very fast but ran out of gas by the half way point. I was so nervous that would happen this time. I had been vacationing for over a week and had been eating and drinking pretty much whatever I wanted. I had no idea what to expect in terms of performance. Just before mile 4 we start on the wheelway on the out and back course. Its very scenic and provides a great distraction. Half marathon walkers get to start early, so they were already coming back from the turnaround towards us.
By the halfway point I still felt good. I only stopped for one swig of Gatorade. I kept waiting for my energy to fade and so far it was doing pretty good. In the last 2 miles, there are a few minor “hills” and I was determined not to stop and walk like I did last year. I made it through without stopping! I knew my family was at the finish which is a rare treat, so I was motivated to stay strong and go for big strides. I came in at 1:56:23, which is my 2nd best time doing this race.
The medal is all about celebrating the 10th anniversary of the race. They incorporated a simulated Petoskey Stone pattern on it, which is Michigan’s state stone and native to the area. At the finish they had pizza and fudge (a northern Michigan specialty!) plus some chips and fruit. They have some cool breweries right by the finish, we we headed there to celebrate. Next year my goal is top 3 in my age group. I would only need to shave off about 3-4 minutes to do it. I can’t wait to come back and do this race again!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!