Exploring new cities, parks and neighborhoods is my favorite aspect of being a Michigan runner. Michigan is such a beautiful state and travelling through area on foot can be the best way to learn more about what it has to offer. There are so many unique and fun races available in Michigan. You can run across the Mackinac Bridge, on the beach of Lake Michigan, into another country or on an island-the list could go on and on.
Choosing a “destination” race can also help as motivation during the weeks of training leading up to it. You train knowing that once the race ends, you’ll not only have accomplished a goal, but have the opportunity to explore a new place.
In October of 2016, I ran the Little Traverse Half Marathon. The 13.1 miles starts in Bay Harbor, to Petoskey and finishes in Harbor Springs. It was my first time experiencing all three cities! It was a small race, which gave me time to take in the surroundings and get to know my fellow runners. Before the race started, my head was not in a good place. It was warmer out than I thought it would be and I was worried I had too many layers. It also hit me how small the race was and I was nervous about being at the end of the pack.
Once the race started, I could tell I needed to get out of this funk or it was going to be a long couple hours. After a few miles, I met three runners who came from Illinois to run the Little Traverse Half every year and I ended up running with them for 5 miles. They had a strong and steady pace going and it really helped me focus. Eventually, they took a break when they found family members cheering on the sidelines. I kept going, and at this point I knew I could finish strong.
The best part though, was a few miles through Petoskey State Park. I was tired and it started raining. It can be so easy to lose sight of why you started running in the first place, and instead worry about silly things like running slower than in past races. Petoskey State Park is such a beautiful place even on a dreary day, and being in the park helped me remember why I was running: to be outdoors, explore and accomplish my goal to reach the finish line.
Written by Rebecca Snay, 2017 Fitness Ambassador