As I’ve been sharing on the Michigan Runner Girl Facebook page recently, I’ve been taking it pretty easy running-wise following my fourth Bayshore Marathon about two weeks ago. I headed to the trails yesterday for my first post-race run (yep, my legs reminded me that I am still in recovery mode; they were perfectly content to go slooow) and prior to that, I’ve been on my road bike quite a bit, which has felt really good.
As it happens after each big goal race, I’ve been processing and reflecting on the experience. Here’s what I shared hours after the marathon:
Around the halfway point, when my oh-so-familiar tightness in my right Achilles decided to say hello, I thought to myself, OK. I remember you. It was disheartening. But, I quickly told myself that I was NOT going to let anything get in the way of feeling happy today, of believing that I can do hard things–and running a marathon most definitely falls into this category. Going into this race, my 8th marathon, I have, thankfully, learned some truths, like the importance of having A, B & C goals (and maybe D & E). 
Today I reached my C goal. “A” was re-qualifying for Boston. “B”: finish under 4 hours. “C”: Finish the race, with a smile. A real one. I am proud of myself for pushing through, for not giving up…and most importantly, for truly feeling good about my finish of 4 hours, 14 minutes. What more, really, could I ask for?

Well, I didn’t ask for this, but life is lovely and interesting and surprising. Just past mile 22, Joe was just there. Standing on the side of the road, looking for me. “I’m going to run with you. And Emma is up ahead waiting for us.” Then, after running (shuffling) to Emma, the two of them kept me company and I could have nearly cried at how happy I was to be with them. And when we saw Olympic marathoner Desiree Linden and her husband Ryan running on the side of the road ahead of us, Emma did something amazing: she ran ahead to catch them and ask if they’d take a quick photo with us. Desi and Ryan were so kind and gracious. And Desi took a look at my MRG tank and said, “Hey, I recognize this!” (She’s a Michigan Runner Girl, just like us!) This was a memory I’ll always treasure.

And my family! They had great races, too! I am so grateful to share running with them. (Getting up early on a Saturday morning to run isn’t always easy, but they do it. And today, as always, they ran with such heart. I’m so proud of them.)

I want to thank all of you for your heartfelt good luck wishes here and the words of encouragement shared with me out on the course. Today was a really amazing day. I hope all of you who ran and raced today had a great run and that it was everything you needed it to be.

Feeling excited-nervous the night before the race.

Around mile 22-23, when Joe met up with me.

Highlight of my race: meeting up with Olympic marathoner Desi Linden!

Today I can say I remain proud of my hard-earned finish and of my decision, particularly in the final miles, to embrace the race for what it was—most definitely different from my ideal and disappointing in some ways, yet a gift nonetheless. There was a real moment in the race, probably around miles 16-18, when I realized my “A” goal wasn’t going to happen. And perhaps even my “B” goal was shot as well. And in that moment I instinctively knew, maybe because I’ve been running and racing for awhile now, that I could choose the story of this race. I could decide how I was going to handle this change—and I knew then that I wanted it to be positive. I didn’t want to wallow or beat myself up mentally for not accomplishing what I had thought I would accomplish this day. I was running a freakin’ marathon…26.2 miles! I was going to finish, and no matter the clock time, I would feel great about crossing that line, of pushing myself toward that line, and cheesy as it may sound, just not giving up. Because of course that thought crossed my mind.

I’ve also been thinking about my training leading up to the marathon. I followed the advanced Hansons Marathon Method for the second time, and I believe this plan did help me stay strong both mentally and physically throughout the race. I battled various injuries throughout this training cycle—my right achilles early on, then tightness in both calves and more recently, my left ankle—and I took time off and missed some crucial workouts. Still, I did my best to rest, listen to my body. I found some relief with Active Release Technique, too, thanks to visits with Dan Z. at Zemper Restorative Therapy. In the end, I do feel that this less-than-great training this time around affected my ability to crush my “A” goal. But would I change the experience? No. Each training season, each race, helps us learn more about ourselves. I think this time around I learned that I have more mental strength than I maybe thought possible. I’ll take this to my next race, whether it’s a 5K or a marathon, and that’s only going to help me in my ongoing quest to become the best runner—best person—I can be.

Emma, who had already run her own race, the 10K, jumped in to help me in my final miles.

So happy to see my people.

At the final turn, to go onto the high school track and on to the finish, I saw my boys. Andrew held out his hand for a high five here. Then Alex, who had run the 10K as well, jumped in and ran with me to the finish.

Finished!

I am excited to share the latest podcast episode with you guys. I decided to record a special Bayshore show, featuring interviews with those involved with this longtime northern Michigan race tradition. More than 5,000 runners finished the Bayshore races and during this special podcast episode, I check in with Daniel Siderman, race director of the Bayshore, as well as Lisa Taylor, a Michigan Runner Girl Show regular who was recently named executive director of the Traverse City Track Club, which oversees Bayshore. {Listen to this episode by clicking on the player at the top of this post}

In the first part of the show, Daniel and Lisa give a behind-the-scenes look at the Bayshore, which marked its 35th anniversary this past Memorial Day weekend. They share how this race got started in the early 80s (it began as only a marathon and 10K; the half marathon was added later), how its evolved and grown in popularity (races typically sell out fast when registration opens in December each year), and the impressive impact, financial and otherwise, it has on Traverse City and the surrounding areas. We also talk about this year’s races and the new things runners experienced in 2017 (free race course photography, for example).
We also talk about two notable runners who took part in Bayshore this year, one of whom was a complete surprise on race day (hint: she’s an Olympic marathon finisher). The other famous runner? David Willey, editor-in-chief of Runner’s World magazine, who was a guest on the MRG Show a couple of weeks ago. (He and I talked all about his ties to Michigan, his 14-year career as editor-in-chief, his plans to step aside from this position later this month, and of course his inspiring “moonshot marathon” quest of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. David did in fact achieve his long-held goal at Bayshore, finishing with a time of 3 hours, 28 minutes and 55 seconds. He needed to finish in under 3 hours and 30 minutes.)
In the second part of the show, I am joined by runner Dave Taylor, who shares his marathon experience at Bayshore—he was aiming to qualify for Boston, and he did just that. Lisa Taylor, who is married to Dave, sticks around for this part of the show and talks about supporting Dave in this goal. Dave just might have a running partner to join him in Boston next April, as their college-age daughter Ellie is hoping to get a BQ at her first marathon this June in Charlevoix, Mich. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to run Bayshore, this episode is sure to answer all of your questions. And if you were there yourself running the marathon, half marathon or 10K, you’ll have fun re-living your Bayshore experience.

“When you run the marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time.” ~ Haile Gebrselassie
This year’s finisher medal. So proud to receive this!

*If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. 

A special thanks to Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show. Check out this studio’s work here.

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