I ran the Fred Meijer 200 mile relay race last August with a team of Mt. Pleasant Road Runners. We had a 10 member team that ran the 36 different spurs. I have ran several different races in my short running life but this was one of the greatest experiences so far. At our first team meeting we decided on our team name “Got the runs”. A very fitting name we thought. For most of us on the team it was going to be our first relay of any kind. The race starts in Comstock Park and is run on the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail to Cadillac and back. It’s a nonstop race meaning one team member is constantly on the course at all times.
My first run was the 10th spur so I was the last person on the team to run. That spur was 8.84 miles in the heat of the day. It was pretty humid and uncomfortable but the adrenaline of my first run was easily enough to push me through. It was roughly 5 hours later when my turn came again, this time I had to get my reflective gear and head lamp on as it was dark out. It had started raining a couple hours prior so we were all pretty wet by now. As a whole the team was still going strong but you could see that fatigue was starting to set in. I hadn’t had time to eat dinner yet and that was starting to play with my system as well. This was a shorter run at 5.5 miles so the time went by quickly and I was able to make 3 kills along the way. A kill is when you pass a runner from one of the other teams. We used this to help stay motivated when on the course all by yourself. After I finished that spur we had about 3 hours of down time so we decided to try and catch some sleep. I can tell you that I didn’t get any sleep but was able to at least lie down for a while.
At the finish, we all met our last runner about 100 yards from the end and crossed the finish line as a team. It was an amazing experience and I made several new friends along the way. Our team exceeded our expectations by finishing in 7th place overall with a time of 30 hours 5 minutes. I couldn’t have asked for a better team and can’t wait to see how we do this year. We hope that you will consider joining our team this year! We are meeting on Sunday, January 10 at 1pm at Runners Performance of Mt. Pleasant!
The worst part about training for a spring race in Michigan is running during the cold winter months. There were days when the wind chill was below zero and I opted to run inside on my treadmill. But most of the time I made myself run outside in the cold and snow. Once I had the right clothing, the cold wasn’t so bad. My training took a lot of discipline and I had amazing days and tough days. If I felt like my body or mind really needed a day off from running, I took it. I made sure I was foam rolling and was very conscious of what I was eating. I felt prepared for race day.
The few days leading up to the race I was surprised I was not nervous. The night before the race I laid out my running clothes, bib, belt, water bottle, Cliff shots and shoes. I felt good and ready to run! Even standing at the start line I felt very calm. It wasn’t until about a mile in that it hit me, “I’m running my first half marathon!” All of the training and hard work had brought me to this moment. I started to get a little teary eyed and had to tell myself to stop being so emotional and just keep running! But I also reminded myself to enjoy the moment because this would be the only first half marathon I would ever run.
I never felt like I was a “real runner” until I finished my first half. After that I desired to do more. I ran my first 10K at Bay Shore the weekend after. Then I was a Pacer for the 10 min. mile group at the Lake Michigan Half in Muskegon, ran The Fred 200 mile relay in August and the Fifth Third Capital City River Run Half in Lansing, MI. This is only the beginning of a lifetime of running for me. I will end with a favorite running quote of mine. “Running is not about being better than someone else it’s about being better than you used to be.”
This group has already gone far beyond what I thought it was capable of since being created a little over a year ago. I truly have the highest hopes for this group and I know that we are going to be able to accomplish amazing things to impact people's lives. This community has so much to offer and I want everyone to be able to enjoy it.
The Mt. Pleasant Road Runners was a vision of mine for so long and now it has become a reality. It's hard to put into words all the joy and excitement that this group has brought to me and my life. My focus will always be on bringing the community together one step at a time. So I ask you too, to take a step with me and consider becoming a member of Mt. Pleasant Road Runners and come and join us for nice run through our beautiful town.