What I remember most about last year’s Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon & 5K is OK, yes, the gigantic climb midway through the half marathon that is Inspiration Point, but even more than this, the strength I felt throughout this incredibly scenic course on the Leelanau Peninsula.

Looking back on my running in the past year, I realize that racing strong, particularly in the final miles, was a skill I’d begun to hone starting with my training for the Boston Marathon. I followed the Hansons Marathon Method for that race, and I’m certain this plan’s emphasis on lower, quality mileage and “cumulative fatigue” (i.e. learning to run well on tired legs) helped me finish strong at Boston as well as at the 3 half marathons I finished last summer.

solsticelogolong-1.jpgThe Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon, which this year takes place Saturday, June 18, is a favorite race of mine — not only because of my finish (not my fastest half, by the way), but because it’s a great early summer race that’s family-friendly (Joe and our kids all ran the 5K, and we made it a family stay-cation by camping nearby).

Endurance Evolution is behind this race, as well as several others including the Traverse City Trail Running Festival in April, the Traverse City Triathlon and the Sleeping Bear Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K. To provide a bit more insight into this race, I turned to northern Michigan runner Pamela Jean, who ran her first Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon last summer.

Here’s what she has to say about the race — and also a little about her running journey. (She has been training hard for this weekend’s Bayshore Marathon — this will be her 7th 26.2 and hopes to snag a Boston qualifying time at this race. We’re cheering for you, Pamela!)

Pamela, with husband Eric and their pooch, at last summer's Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon & 5K.
Pamela, with husband Eric and their pooch, at last summer’s Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon & 5K.

Why did you decide to run the Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon last June?

I chose to run this event mainly because it happened to be my birthday weekend and I was training for the Detroit Marathon — and this race was the beginning of that training. It was a very well organized event from the start to the finish. Packet pickup was very easy and everyone was so nice. The support on the course was great and the food at the end was great — just a very positive experience all around. From someone who used to promote races I notice everything and they did a great job.

Any tips you’d offer to runners thinking about signing up for this race?

Do some hill work because that Inspiration Point hill is a killer hill that never seems to end. I drove the course last year so I had an idea of what to expect and that was the best thing I could of done to get prepared for race day.

How did your running journey begin?

I have been a runner off and on most of my life. Had times where I would run quite often and did lots of races and also would go periods where I didn’t run at all. I had a friend who ran a marathon and felt if she can do it well so can I so I signed up with a Charity and did the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon in 1998. Didn’t have the best experience but got the bug. Two years later I ran in the New York Marathon which to this day I compare every marathon to that race. It was the best experience I have ever had for a race and is the best run race around. I didn’t do another marathon for 10 years and got the serious bug once we moved back to Michigan.

You’re training for the Bayshore Marathon right now (well, enjoying the taper this week now that race day is almost here!) — what is it about the marathon distance that you love so much?

I really have enjoyed the challenge of training for a marathon. This is the first time I have ever run with someone and that has been a challenge for me to unplug, rely on them for pace as well as distance, and then learning how to talk during the whole run. I have always run by myself and would just get into my own world so it has been a new way for me to train for this marathon. I always am looking for new races to compete in as I like going to new places to run.

Ready to sign up for next month’s Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon & 5K? Learn more, check out the interactive course maps and register here »

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