Sunday, July 5, 2009

Running Between Great Lakes

For someone who prides himself on having been a lot of places and seen a lot of things – with all 50 States checked off – it’s nice to take a trip and break considerable new ground! Such was the case over the Memorial Day weekend with our trip to Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula (UP). The race (Bayshore Marathon and Half-Marathon on May 23rd) was actually in Traverse City, which lies at the base of the Grand Traverse Bay off Lake Michigan and about 75% of the way north in the “lower” part of the state. Although it was apparent the whole area has been very hard hit by the recession (read: Michigan and the US car industry), it was a very pretty area.

The race itself was along the coastline of a very narrow peninsula separating the East and West Arms of the bay and ranks as one of the more scenic courses we have run. It was also relatively flat and offered great running weather, with mild temperatures, good humidity and generally overcast skies. The result: it was an excellent race for me. I broke the 8-minute mile barrier again (
7:57) and tied my second best time (Springfield, MO, in November 2007) since restarting races with Karen.

As for the new ground, I don’t recall ever being in northern Michigan, on the UP (the surprisingly large part of the state between Lakes Michigan and Superior), or in northern Wisconsin. I also don’t think I’ve ever seen Lakes Superior or Huron, or the Mackinac Bridge connecting the UP to the rest of the state. All were well worth seeing.

We flew into Chicago and had Karen’s brother, Tom (who ran the marathon), and her Mother with us for the trip, which took us up the east coast of Lake Michigan to Traverse City – with the most scenic part being the northern part, to include Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and some pretty hamlets on the lake. The bridge is a spectacular suspension bridge – with one of the largest spans in the world. As for the UP, it was wildly scenic, but reminded me of
Alaska – very few people, spread out over a raw and unforgiving place – that sort of gives the impression these people are on their own (or getting away from something!)

Lake Superior was also impressive, esp. the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. From there, we drove down the western shore of Lake Michigan through Wisconsin with, unfortunately, less time than we would have liked to really enjoy it.

Now to those morsels of truth and wisdom. Hmmmm……have you noticed how time takes its toll on the clear recollection of events and facts? And have you perhaps noticed how age compounds this phenomenon?? Although this race was only six weeks ago, I would (likely) be inaccurate to now recite special remembrances, insights or wisdom learned.

That would tend to imply there weren’t any that were particularly profound – or that the impacts of age and time may be worse than I am willing to accept. We’ll go with the former. HOWEVER, that might be profound, in and of itself: don’t neglect to journal and record the events of your life! And don’t procrastinate doing it!! You will only live those events – with their associated thoughts and emotions once. There is no better time to record them. Someone will be grateful that you did.


Mythreesons said...

GORGEOUS pictures, Dad! What beautiful scenery. It always makes me wish it was easier to get back East. Everything is so green and lush out there. Plus, I don't think i've ever been to Michigan or Wisconsin. Sounds like a beautiful little trip.

Rachel's Mommy said...

Nice post, sweetie, and another fun trip. We need to think up another travel/running goal once we hit our 50! Love you.


Super Daysh said...

Good post Dad! I'm glad you blog so that you won't forget those events too quickly. I'm glad we all blog and get to share those events/experiences with eachother. Congrats on the race time and maybe one of these days we'll get to go with you to a race and get to enjoy the beautiful scenery too! Love the pics!