Lindsey’s images of running in Michigan caught my eye, and I am so happy she agreed to share some photos as well as her running journey with us. You can follow Lindsey on Instagram at otisarmstrong »  Enjoy! ~ MRG

If my running career were a story, the Huron River would be one of those inanimate objects that become a central character to the plot.

River canoe.
Spotted along the Huron River.

The Huron River originates out of Huron Swamp in Indian Springs Metropark in Oakland County. From there it runs 130 miles long, winding through 13 parks, game and rec areas, and a large handful of cities throughout southeast Michigan. It boasts 24 tributaries totaling 370 miles, and hits five counties before ending at Lake Erie. The Huron River is my favorite Michigan running route buddy.

Huron River 5
Blue skies along the Huron River.

I’ve been running since I was 15, but my relationship with the Mighty Mighty Huron started in 2008, in my mid-twenties, when I moved to Milford with the guy I was (supposed) to marry. I spent three years there, running embarrassingly short routes up to Central Park, which the Huron runs through, or along the paved Y path, which the Huron weaves itself alongside and underneath.

Golden glow.
Golden glow.

The relationship fell apart, in one of those devastating ways that leave you a little off kilter for a while. So, now in my late-twenties, I moved back in with my parents to regroup. I spent a little over two years there, rebuilding, and running, running, running. Several of my daily routes ran over or along the Huron. I ran dirt roads, trails, road races. In 2012 I ran with my sister, we made a pact for a race a month that year, and ended the year around 20 races. 2013 was my year for distance, I formed a running group at my local gym and we trained together. I ran 15Ks and half-marathons, my favorite of which being the DXA2 half (Dexter-Ann Arbor Run), the majority of which runs down Huron River Drive, with the river winding and weaving its way alongside the road for miles.

River reflections.
River reflections.

I turn 30 this year. Recently, I moved to downtown Ann Arbor. It’s the first time in my life living sans any type of roommate–save for my dog. Not one to take changes too well (I love me a good routine, and crave repetition, order), I’ve had to adjust to “urban running”–things like stoplights, traffic, and seeing actual other human beings on my run. It’s a far cry from the hilly, tree-canopied dirt roads I’d spend the last few years traversing.

River sunshine.
River sunshine.

The other day was one of those optimistically-warm Michigan March days, the sidewalks had cleared, and it was still light out. I took advantage and went for my first outdoor run in my new city. I went out blind, with no real route in my head, just decided to take whichever crosswalk was set to “walk” until my Garmin read 5 miles. I ended up on the north side of town, directly over the Huron River. It was completely unintentional, yet so fitting.

Captured during a run near Lindsey's new home in downtown Ann Arbor.
Captured during a run near Lindsey’s new home in downtown Ann Arbor.

I stopped, took this picture, and just contemplated life for a moment, how it is all connected, and how some things will never change. For the first time in a month, I felt at home–and a lot less alone–in my new city.

Where do you love to run? if you are interested in sharing a beloved Michigan running location, wherever it may be throughout lower Michigan or the Upper Peninsula, email a picture and a description of the area (and why you like running there so much) to: michiganrunnergirl [at] gmail [dot] com (Please try to keep your story/description to 300-400 words). I’d love to feature a variety of routes, from city landscapes, rocky or sandy shorelines, wide open hills and meadows, tree-lined trails…you get the picture. I can’t wait to see your running route!

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5 Responses to “My Michigan Run: The serenity of running alongside the Huron River”

  1. Tracey

    What a perfect time for me to read this story. I just relocated from Georgia and have been wanting to run the Huron River but I am not sure where to run… any suggestions as far as trails are concerned? LOVE Ann Arbor and look forward to exploring it more! Thanks!

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