The day began at o’dark-30 on Saturday morning with a 45-minute drive from our campground in the great metropolis of Beulah to Traverse City Central High School to meet up with the other runner chicas.
Tip: Look at a map before you book your hotel/campground so you are not surprised on race morning that you have to drive FORTY-FIVE minutes at 5 a.m.
My friend Vicki was her usual wonderful self and picked up my packet on Friday night so I could just board a school bus to take us to the finish line, about 20 minutes away.
Tip: Arrive early because the parking lot gets super busy and you don’t want to miss the bus to the starting line.
We arrived with plenty of time to
freeze use the port-a-potties twice, take lots of selfies and catch up with friends.
Tip: Be prepared to wait to use the aforementioned toilets. The lines were super long.
While there are no pace groups for the half marathon, Bayshore does provide markers so you can line up by estimated pace. The crowd is huge, but we didn’t have any trouble finding a good spot to start and quickly got into our 2:1 interval rhythm.
Tip: Be sure to line up with your proper pace group because you don’t want people to shove you out of the way like a certain president.
I should note that the race begins with a significant incline and continues with many smaller hills. Train appropriately.
Tip: There are also 10k and full-marathon options.
Vicki, plus our friends Jen and Lindsey, and I easily got into a great rhythm, mostly following the pre-programmed timer that told us when to walk and when to run. While I prefer to just run, I followed Dr. Awesome’s advice to try the intervals as a condition of being able to actually run this half.
Tip: Try the intervals if you’re building up your mileage. It’s a great way to run further distances without dying.
We had already decided that we would enjoy this race, no matter what, so we did stop a few times to take photos.
The vineyard and lake views are really why many of us signed up for this particular race, so we made a point of enjoying them.
We also enjoyed the amazing course support, from the organized water and Gatorade stations to the random set ups from people who live on the course. There were a few particularly fun ones, including the stop where everyone was wearing red, blue and white onesies, the one with the ladies holding signs that read “If Trump can run, so can you!” and the group that was blowing bubbles across the road.
Another fun feature were the chalk messages on the asphalt, including the usual “good job” and “keep going,” plus our names in front of the Team Playmakers tent around mile eight.
Tip: Make sure you’re paying attention when grabbing a cup because some tables held beer in addition to water and lime Gatorade.
It was heartwarming to see just how many families set up in front of their homes along the course, blaring music, yelling encouraging words or just making a racket with cowbells.
Despite some whining, Vicki, Jen, Lindsey and I finished strong. We were tired, yes, but there was Moomers ice cream to be had, so we perked up right away.
Tip: Spend a little bit of time at the tents. In addition to soda, chocolate milk, the ice cream and cold water, there was a ginormous tent full of homemade cookies — the chocolate-cherry oatmeal cookies were to die for.
In the end, the race was fun, well-organized and definitely worth the trip. I plan to repeat it and hope to see y’all there!
Have you run Bayshore? What did you think? Would you do it again?