Marathon #5: Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City Michigan last Saturday
The course was an out-and-back along the shoreline of the East Grand Traverse Bay, so it was incredibly scenic and definitely the prettiest full marathon I’ve ever done. I loved running next to the water, and I enjoyed the peaceful yet exciting semi-seclusion of the gorgeous route with 2500+ other marathoners.
It was flat relative to most other marathons but had small rolling hills along the entire route and hardly any turns. Temps were in the high 40’s at the start (7:15am) and increased to the high 60’s by the time I finished.
I set my alarm for 5:15am, but I slept really well and woke up ready to go at 5am. Here’s the view from our lake house porch in the wee hours of the morning. I had no idea it was light outside at 5am!
I got ready, ate a bagel, and hopped in the car with Erin, Stacy, and Mike to drive to the local high school where the race started. Mike and I were running the marathon, and Erin and Stacy were the cheer team–they’re both speedy runners/marathoners who weren’t able to run on Saturday due to injuries, but they’re awesome friends for coming to cheer anyway.
My goals for this race were: 1. finish, 2. try to enjoy it, 3. finish in an okay time, but don’t stress over time. I lined up somewhere between the 8-minute and 9-minute signs and made two friends: one woman with whom I bonded over our excitement for a flat course, and another woman who turned around and told us that the entire course was a series of rolling hills. She was right, but I’m glad she gave us the heads-up.
Miles 1-10: These felt awesome. I fell into an easy 8:20-8:30 pace and cruised along for the first 10 miles, enjoying the marathon experience and the lake view. I actually ran these with the first woman I met at the start line–she talked to me while I kind of grunted, but it was nice to have her company. I took water or Gatorade at every aid station, and I had a Shot Blok at mile 8.
Miles 10-18: These felt okay. I maintained an 8:30 pace, though I struggled more with it. The turn-around was at 13.1, so that was a high point because I could mentally cross off the half marathon mark, AND I saw two friends (shout out to Lauren and Chase!) who had already passed the turnaround. Stacy and Erin were cheering at mile 16, and their high fives boosted my energy. I drank water or Gatorade at every aid station and had another Shot Blok somewhere in there (still haven’t mastered taking in enough fuel), but the weather really warmed up, and I was starting to feel dehydrated.
Miles 18-25: These felt terrible. Everything in my body and soul was tired of running, and I started getting goosebumps and chills despite the super warm weather (a beginning sign of heat exhaustion, according to this). I kept an 8:30 pace until mile 20, and then I stopped at the next water table and downed like 6 cups of water. It wasn’t even a race aid station, but a family along the course that had generously set up a water table with ICE(!!) water. I stood there for probably 30-40 seconds while someone refilled my cup over and over (and over and over) again. I thanked the woman for saving my race. I stopped 2-3 more times at aid stations to drink multiple cups of water/Gatorade, and twice during these miles I stopped and walked for about 10 feet (I’m not sure if that even helped because it was hard to get going again). I repeated motivation mantras (thanks for the suggestions!), told myself to “run to the next tree…now the next tree…”, and reminded myself of “Just  more easy little miles.” Somewhere in there I choked down another Shot Blok.
Mile 25-26: This mile felt super terrible but I couldn’t stop because: 1. before the race, I asked Ryan what mile he wanted and he claimed this one, and 2. there were people cheering all along the sides of the street. I struggled through, and those 9-minutes were rough.
Mile 0.2: This felt like joy. The race ended with 200-ish meters on the high school track, so I knew I would be okay once I reached the track. I heard my name over the loudspeaker, crossed the finish line, and said a few Hallelujahs that I was finished.
Finish time: 3:46
This race uses clock time (3:47 for me) as your official race time, but I’m using net/chip time for my personal running log because that’s how long I was actually on the course.
Not my fastest, but I was really proud of myself for pushing through those last few miles. I got my medal, drank 3 full water bottles almost immediately, and hobbled off to find my friends. BIG BIG BIG congratulations to THIS speedy lady, my college friend Lauren, for an amazing race, PR, and BQ. She is incredible.
Overall thoughts and takeaways for me:
- I struggled with the heat. I drank at least 1 cup of water or Gatorade at every aid station, but I still felt dehydrated, got scary goosebumps, and my face was covered with large chunks of salt after the race.
- The last 8 miles were difficult, as expected, but in future training I might consider running the day before long training runs to practice running on tired legs.
- I raced with my garmin for the first time and have no strong feelings on using it versus not using it. I didn’t look at my pace very often, but I checked my distance quite a bit.
- I drank a protein shake within 30 minutes of finishing (I swear by this for recovery) and walked around for the rest of the day with my friends, and I think both of those helped recovery.
- I’m not sure how I feel about destination races, but being able to visit with Michigan friends and have a getaway weekend with Indiana friends made the hassle of packing worth it. I would consider doing this race again.
I would definitely recommend the Bayshore Marathon if you’re looking for a late spring race with a small-town feel and beautiful course!