What.a.weekend. Believe it or not, we left Leelanau County for the weekend for a camping trip and The Great Turtle Half Marathon on Mackinac Island. It was the maiden voyage of the camper we bought a couple of months ago (aka The Friendship 14!) I have never camped the night before a race, so I was a tad nervous that my usual race-day routine would be thrown off.
And of course, it was thrown off tremendously. I ate camp food and slept in twelve layers to combat the 40 degree weather of Michigan’s upper peninsula. I didn’t have electricity to charge my phone and feared it would die and I’d have no alarm clock. We didn’t pack breakfast and planned to wing it once arriving on Mackinac Island. As someone who has race-day anxiety, not having my race day routine was harsh.
But to no one’s surprise but my own, everything worked out perfectly. I was happily standing in the sunshine at the race starting line on time. The race went off without a hitch. The cool weather contrasted wonderfully with the sunshine. In fact, I even got too warm in the first two miles.
The race starts and ends at Mission Point Resort. The first two miles head east along the shoreline before heading inward on the island. This is where the hills begin. I wish I could explain the twists and turns that take runners literally all over the island, but it was all I could do to just follow the markings along the course. Instead, I’ll include the map of the race. We ran on trails, past the airport, up hills, down hills, past mansions and beautiful cottages, and along the stunning shoreline of Lake Huron.
It rained off and on throughout the race. I finished wet and cold. But was it ever a beautiful, fun, and challenging race. We celebrated for awhile on the island, then headed back to our campsite for a bonfire, post-race beverages, and even more camp food. This was a glorious weekend. Many components were outside of my comfort zone and that turned out to be the best thing possible.