I started running in 2012, thanks to my friend Angela doing the Couch to 5K program. I didn’t think I’d get into it at first, but here we are 3 years later and I’ve just completed my 3rd 1/2 Marathon – the 32nd Annual Bayshore 1/2 Marathon.
Angela and I ran the Bayshore 10k last year. The course runs along East Grand Traverse Bay and on a beautiful spring day, it is very pretty. We felt good about it and about the fact that 2014 is to be our year of bling, that we decided to run the 1/2 this year. This year, our friend Emma Baranowski joined us this year to run the 10K and to cheer us in (in a very aggressive way).
Now, the one thing that both Angela and I noticed when we first ran the Bayshore last year was that the packet pick up area was at, frankly, the closest thing we’ve ever experienced to the 90210 school. As we walked into Traverse City Central High School, the building was one of the most immaculate things we set our eyes on. I couldn’t help but to start singing the 90210 theme out loud.
Packet pick up is also one of the smoothest operations experienced in any race that I’ve been a part of. Not crowded, in and out in less than 10 minutes (and that includes picking up a new water bottle and some sports beans).
This year’s 1/2 was a slightly different course than in the past. The start of the course was moved over to Bowers Harbor. In order to get to the start, runners have to jump on school buses and take about a 30 minute ride to Bowers Harbor park. Even the school buses are 90210 like. Tall backed seats. Stereo blaring a little Boston … yeah I was looking for Brenda and/or Brandon.
I had an opportunity to review the new course a few weeks back, when I was up in Traverse City for the MBA BEST Conference. I saw right away that the 1/2 course was going to be beautiful. I also noticed that the first 2.5 miles were going to be a bitch … because of the hill.
It’s more than a hill. It’s a frickin mountain followed by three other hills. While it was nice to have the downhill approach into the road along East Bay … it also zapped a whole lot of energy out of me. Later in the day, as we were heading back home, Angela basically told me “If you ever say the words Bowers Harbor again, I will hurt you!”
Once the buses dropped us off at Bowers Harbor park, it was about an hour wait until the gun. Fortunately, the sun came up and made sure that the 49 degrees that the thermometer read didn’t feel all that bad. Angela truly appreciated the fact that there was about 50 porta-potties available in the park. This is a good thing considering there were about 2700 runners in this year’s 1/2.
Despite the hill, I felt good about the first 5k of the race. In what might have been a mistake, I really pushed myself on the downhill parts of the course. I wanted to go as fast as I could comfortably go so I could get ahead of my pace. I wanted to finish in 2:30 and figured if I could be ahead of that for the first 8 miles, I’d be OK.
The awesome thing about the hills in the first 5k, they come down to the bay. The view is awesome, even when other runners (and friends like Jamie) photobombs the Bay! 😉
There were 4 perceivable walls that I felt myself hit during the race, at 5, 7, 9, and 12 miles. The one nice thing about the walls, they were usually followed by a water/Gatorade station shortly thereafter. There was also so pretty good signs that I decided I would take a picture of, including:
But I think the best sign that I saw, right around the 11 or 12 mile mark was this one:
My final time (according to the chip) was 2:37, about 9 minutes slower than what I did in Grand Rapids … but not too bad considering I did miss some training due to colds and work getting in the way.
But time aside, this is what I came for and this is what I got!
Can’t wait until the next one, whether it’s Detroit or Grand Rapids or something else!