Well, it is official, if you want to guarantee bad weather for a race, just invite me. First it was River Bank a few years ago that started with a deluge of rain 5 minutes before the gun went off. Then it was the heat wave in Chicago 2007. And now, the Ludington half marathon was canceled because of torrential races in Mason and Manistee counties that closed roads, the state park, and left many house under water. The rains came down on Thursday night and we were oblivious to the destruction until we were there and checked in. At that point, all we could do was make the best of it. The race wasn’t a total bust though. All of the runners were able to compete in the 5k race and the half marathoners had their times recorded separately than the original 5k group.
I was, understandably, pretty disappointed when I found out the half marathon was canceled. It was sort of poor communication from the race directors though. I found out about the cancellation from a worker at the local bike store and didn’t hear anything "official" from the race crew at the packet pickup or anything. Beyond that, I really wasn’t prepared to run a 5k; I haven’t done any speed work at all in the past weeks. It has all been endurance and distance to prepare for my first triathlon in July.
Come race day, I figured I would give it my best and go out hard. It was only 3 miles and I figured that even if I went out too fast, it would be over in 20 minutes. I forgot my watch on the trip, so I was only able to get my first mile split (6:24) at which point I knew I was in pretty good shape. I thought I would be able to keep it up and possibly break 20:00 for the first time since high school. Unfortunately, after the first mile, we turned into a campground and ran on a dirt/gravel road for about a half mile which slowed me down a bit. There was no one calling splits at mile 2, but I thought I was still in good shape because I was doing more passing than getting passed. However, the final mile had two fairly good sized hills that I didn’t anticipate. I ended up finishing in 20:48 which actually earned me 3rd place in my age group. Medals went three deep in each age group, so I ended up with a 2nd place medal; 2nd rather than 3rd, because 1st in my age group was 1st overall. The medal is actually for the half marathon, so I guess 20:47 is a great PR for a half marathon (I have the medal to prove it)!
Other than the race, we had a great time and would definitely go back to Ludington. We left on Friday afternoon, stayed two nights that Lodging and Breakfast (www.lodgingandbreakfast.com) coming back Sunday afternoon. At first we sort of struggled for things to do because the beaches were closed due to a sewage problems caused by the rain (how pleasant), but we ended up just spending a lot of time relaxing. We drove around Friday night to get oriented with area and stopped at Meijer to pick out some reading material for the weekend; The Last Templar for me and My Sister’s Keeper for Jennie. After that we parked in the downtown Ludington area and walked around a bit. We ended up at a 50′s dinner called House of Flavors which also makes their own ice cream. Dinner was great and we ended up eating too much to have ice cream that night, but we would be back.
On Saturday, we started with the race which was over by about 10:00 leaving us the rest of the day to explore. We brought our bikes with us, so most of our exploring was done on two wheels. Lunch was at the Plaza Cafe, a restaurant specializing in organic foods. It was amazing. We both wish there was something like it in Gaslight Village. After lunch we actually spent some time at the library. Nothing spectacular, but it was quiet and we were able to just relax.
Dinner was at Luciano’s a wonderful pizza place downtown. Like the other restaurants, we were seated immediately, but they all filled right up. We had pizza and breadsticks and it was all fabulous. We basically had to be rolled out afterwards. As we were leaving, the skies were clouding up and looking quite ominous. We drove down to the beach to watch the store roll in which seemed like the thing to do because the parking lot was full of people doing the same thing.
On Sunday, we got up early so that I could get a long run in for the weekend. We headed out, Jennie on the bike, to run as much of the half marathon course that we could. We were able to get into the State Park, but couldn’t get all the way through because part of it was blocked off still. It was very nice to have some different scenery on a long run and running along the dunes was very peaceful. We even got a few pictures running along the dunes, biking along the dunes, and the dunes in general.
After we got back, it was time to pack up and head out. All in all, it was a very relaxing weekend. Probably not exactly what either of us had planned, but sometimes that is part of the fun.
Overall Place: 29 / 394
Gender Place: 24 / 188
Division Place: 2 / 12
Total Pace: 6:42/M