Maggie Rettelle, a registered dietician who lives in Midland, is one speedy Michigan runner—she won the Martian Marathon this past April. But more than anything, she’s a runner dedicated to this sport and becoming the best runner she can be, for herself and also so she can give back. Maggie, 41 and mom of three—Maija, 13, and 9-year-old twins Mike and Jake—began running in her late 30s. She’s now racing as much as she can, both road running races and triathlons. Up next: this weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Steelhead in Benton Harbor, Mich. “I have a hefty schedule this year,” she says. “I wanted to experience all of the races that Michigan has to offer, big and small.”
A Memorable Mitten State Run: A 16.5 mile run on the Midland Rail Trail starting from the east side of downtown to the Tridge Trailhead, and then out to the Chippewa Nature Center and back. It was my “long run before the taper” only eight days after Bayshore Marathon, and 2.5 weeks before the Charlevoix Marathon. It was hot and humid. My legs felt like lead. I got through it by remembering all the times in the prior year that I had run that trail, and the number of people I have befriended over the year due to running in groups on the trail. I also thought of all the times that I saw my boyfriend Chris on a run before we actually met. It helped to push me to the end and remember why I love the pain of the long run.
Favorite Michigan race: Bayshore Marathon. A group of friends within the local running community did the full or the half and I had looked forward to doing this race since I first heard about it in 2010. I was on pace to PR at about a 3:17 finish time and ran 20 miles with a young but experienced runner named Emily who asked if she could pace with me since her Garmin was dead. I usually am a solo kind of marathon runner, but it was nice to have a partner to pace with, and it felt like just any other Saturday run. I enjoyed the course, seeing the half marathoners pass on the way out. The view of the shoreline along the way was breathtaking. The cheering and crowd support was energizing. After mile 20, I took my last gel and learned a valuable lesson, as I feel you learn in every race: I took it without water and at mile 21, I started to have GI issues. My running time ended up 3:17; my new PR only ended up at 3:20. But it was a race where I said I wanted to leave it all out on the course—and I did.
Favorite place to run in the Mitten: My hometown of Midland. But I love northern Michigan’s rolling hills.
Favorite race distance: 25K. I ran the Fifth Third River Bank Run in Grand Rapids and loved the distance. I usually prefer half marathon distance, but the extra miles posed the challenge of holding the pace of the half marathon for that extra 2.4 miles.
My running, in three words: Dedicated, Determined, Disciplined. (As for racing: beastly, competitive.)
The Allure of 26.2: I ran the Martian Marathon in April. It was my first of 2013. I was looking to run well, potentially achieve a PR, and just run “my race.” I had trained all winter in the cold, on the treadmill, and had just finished rehab from a repair of a complete tear on my rotator cuff in Dec. 2012. The course route was changed to two loops instead of an out-and-back due to flooding. That meant re-routing through neighborhoods and added hills I wasn’t prepared for. These loops, though, offered sight of the competition throughout the race. At the half point, an onlooker told me, “You’re second female. She’s a couple minutes in front of you.” As I entered the neighborhood for the second time around, at about the 15 mile marker, a girl next to me said, “Tell him you’re the new leader.” I said, “No, she’s a couple minutes ahead of me.” She replied, “I’m that girl. You’re the new leader.” I was utterly shocked and the crowd and other runners heard my surprised “Holy #%^*” comment and all laughed and cheered. I held the lead for 11 miles or so, with a man on the bike directing the other half marathon traffic through the neighborhood and trails. I accomplished my goal of a PR by 17 seconds, ran a consistent race at “my pace” and ended up WINNING the race! [Editor’s note: her finish time was 3:21:05] Amazing race, amazing day. I run marathons because it pushes your body both physically and mentally to a point of breaking. But the accomplishment is the best satisfaction ever. It’s something that everyone always says, “Oh, I could never run a marathon.” I know I’ve probably said it in my younger years and here I am at age 40 and 41 running marathons multiple times a year along with competing in triathlons. It just shows you can do anything you set your mind to.
Marathon Training + Tri Training: The Charlevoix Marathon in June was my third marathon in three months. It was my greatest challenge coming off of two other marathons the two months prior, and having started into triathlon season just a couple of weeks before. The extra biking and swim training didn’t leave me as “fresh” as I normally am for a marathon. In 2012, I ran the Charlevoix Half Marathon and at the half turnaround I saw the shoreline and I knew then I wanted to continue and run the full. So I accomplished that goal in 2013. It was a great run, not a PR, but my boyfriend Chris ran me in the last three miles and that was the most enjoyable part of the race even though I was at the point of exhaustion.
What does running mean to you? My running has been my “me time,” my calmness, my balance to my life that I never had at any point in my life up until I was 39 years old and started running. I have found “me” by creating the time for not only physical enhancement, but also enlightenment in my thoughts. I find that I figure out my problems and plan my solutions during a long run. I feel like I give more back to my community and my children when I plan the time to get in my running. It is a struggle at times with a busy work schedule and kids activities. But it’s all worth it.
Upcoming Race Schedule: I look forward to competing in the Steelhead Half Ironman. I am running the Chicago Marathon and the Marine Corp Marathon. Chris and I had planned to run both races together. I ended up getting into Chicago Marathon but Chris didn’t. Chris ended up getting into Marine Corps Marathon but I didn’t. We both are now running for charities for each of the races that we did not get into. We chose the same charity group called Team Salute of Salute Inc. So we both get to run for both races for the same charity. It’s a great charity that helps wounded soldiers and their families. We will end the year with our final race in November in Midland at the Mid-Land Half Marathon which has become a fast rising half marathon in our community put on by Hackett race management … I have a LOT to say about the race management groups that have put on some good races and some not so good. But all in all, it’s about how you race the course. Much of my races have become my training for other races.