Going into this Charlevoix half marathon, I was very much looking forward to it for several reasons:
It was my 7th time running the half, but I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect performance-wise. It was my second half marathon in 3 weeks, and I’m still protective of my knee after having surgery last fall. I gained weight around that time and basically never lost it. So I was going into this race a good 7 pounds heavier, and with less mileage since I’m trying to be more conservative these days.
This town is unbelievably charming and breathtakingly gorgeous. It’s like a little piece of cape cod sitting in Northern Michigan. We rolled into town on Thursday after a somewhat rainy day. Forecast looked great for the race though! Packet pickup is just held Friday afternoon and Saturday morning before the race. It’s a small race that also has a full, a 10k and 5k. Friday was spend getting the packet, having lunch and relaxing at the beach.
I had 2 clothing options for the race – a tank or short sleeve shirt on top, and capris or shorts for the bottom. It was going to be 53 at the start which is ideal or almost warm for most people, but in my head, I had settled on the capris and short sleeves. I tend to overdress for races and running in general.
Then as I was trying to fall asleep the night before the race, I had a jolt and remembered that my outfit has no pockets and I forgot my spi belt! Where would I put my id, money, cards and rental car keys? Ugh. I remembered that I had a long sleeve running shirt that has a zipper pocket in the back. So that was the new game plan.
I stayed at a condo about 10 minutes from the start. I like to go in really early and just have coffee and chill before the race. I decided to stash the rental car keys so I didn’t have to deal with those bulky things. I was enjoying my pre race coffee and nuun performance drink, and hoping to meet up with my Insta friend Trina.
In the meantime, I was treated to a stunning sunrise. The drawbridge still gives me goosebumps seeing it in action, even after all these years. So cool.
Mission accomplished, I found Trina and group, and then we were off!
I started out fast but naturally couldn’t keep it up. The first few miles are residential and I enjoyed seeing all of it. The long sleeved shirt was really starting to bother me. It was getting warm and I was feeling like an idiot for getting myself in this predicament by forgetting my spi belt. So after mile 2 I pulled over, came to a complete stop and took both shirts off, down to my sports bra. The long sleeve shirt is very fitted and was already covered in sweat so it was sticking to me. It was hard to get off! Anyhoo, I wrapped it around my waist and put the short sleeve top back on and off I went. I’m not sure how much time I lost there but it had to be at least 1.5-2 minutes. I got back on track and soon (around 3.6) the course turns onto the Little Traverse Wheelway, a paved multiuse path that is lined with trees and comes next to the lake in some parts. Super pretty.
Miles 4.5-6.5 felt pretty good, I had a good rhythm. I brought my bottle of nuun with me so I didn’t need to stop at water stops, but I did need to walk a little to actually drink some. Miles 7-10 were a little more of a struggle. Felt a bit out of gas. I did not use any gels. Once the race turned back off the trail to the residential neighborhood, I was started feeling a little better. I was proud of myself for not walking at all in the 2 hills in the last few miles. I remember looking at my fitbit and seeing that at mile 12 I was at 1:59 already. I thought uh oh. In a perfect world, I would have liked sub 2, but it was not in the cards. Other than my wardrobe change, I am not sure how I lost so much time. I really want a do-over!
I finished in 2:08 and was happy to see my sister at the finish line. After some pizza and local Kilwin's fudge, I headed back to the condo to get cleaned up and chill out.
We visited an adorable little winery nearby (Northern Michigan has some amazing wineries due to it’s location on the 45th parallel.) I highly, highly recommend this race if you like fantastic scenery, small town good vibes and sweet bling!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!