Kelly Yauk, an MRG contributor, took on 13.1 in Lansing earlier this fall, and she shares her experience here. Her last race recap was about the Harborun in Elk Rapids, which you can check out here »

When a child offers you a high five, take the high five. This is just one of the many important things that I have learned since I became a runner.

I’ve learned that a city is best explored on foot. I’ve learned to listen to my body when it tells me to rest. I’ve learned to not change my planned race day outfit on the morning of the race. I’ve learned that the center of the sun is 27,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

That last bit I learned at the recent Lansing Capital City River Run Half Marathon.

Race start. /photo courtesy Capital City River Run Facebook page.
Race start. /photo courtesy Capital City River Run Facebook page.

Other things that I learned during the course of this race include:

  • The planet Venus is yellow
  • A skunk’s spray can physically reach 3 feet, but can be smelled downwind from over 1.5 miles away.
  • A topaz, like a diamond, is hard enough to scratch glass.
  • Neptune is blue.
  • Mercury orbits the sun in 88 earth days.
  • The sun will die in about 5 billion years.
  • A cat has about 140 different vocalizations and a dog has about 20.
  • The world’s largest mushroom is about the size of a picnic table.
Michigan's Capital.
Michigan’s Capital.

The Capital City River Run benefits Lansing’s Impression 5 Science Center. According to their website, “Impression 5 Science Center is a dynamic, interactive space for families to play, create, and challenge their understanding of science. Our mission is to facilitate learners in scientific exploration through hands-on exhibits and participatory educational programming.” Impression 5 gives back to runners that support them by contributing yard signs with facts like the ones above along the course. I absolutely loved reading these signs as I was running.

You never know what a sign might say on a race course...
You never know what a sign might say on a race course…

I have seen some pretty amazing race signs during the course of my running career. Some were funny, some were inspirational, and some were terrifying. But the signs at the CCRR were by far the most instructional.

The Capital City River Run offers a full and half marathon option, I ran the half marathon and there were signs all through the course, which started in front of the Lansing Civic Center in the shadow of the Capital. After the start, the race course ran four straight miles down Michigan Avenue toward the campus of Michigan State University.

Sparty On!
Sparty On!

At the far edge of campus the course turned and took to a path along the Red Cedar River. At that point we were really on the campus of MSU and the route guided us past dorms, brick campus buildings, past Sparty, even Jenison Fieldhouse until linking us up with the Lansing River Trail. It’s in this portion of the race that I learn the fun fact about skunk spray.

The River Trail section of the race was shaded and woody, and calm after the four-lane mayhem of the section on Michigan Avenue. Just before the course looped toward Potter Park Zoo, it briefly detoured us into a nearby neighborhood lined with charming houses. I learned about planet coloration in these miles.

The stretch toward the Zoo turned out to be a false promise. We ran right up to the gates before turning back toward downtown and the River Trail. (As a former Lansing resident I do recommend returning to the Zoo when not mid-race.)

The remainder of the course was back on the Lansing River Trail and it took us into downtown Lansing, past the institution we are raising money for, Impression 5, past the RE Olds Museum, past Riverwalk Theater and past the Lansing City Market. Once past the market we could see the final straightaway in the half marathon course, the Lansing River Trail Bridge, a rust colored former railroad bridge that is now a footpath that connects the Lansing River Trail to Adado Riverfront Park.

Lansing River Trail Bridge.
Lansing River Trail Bridge.

The finish line is just across that bridge, a finish set-up that I love because it makes me feel faster to hear my feet booming as I race across the water and toward the finish.

In the finish chute!
In the finish chute!

Even across the finish line the Capital City River Run has one more bit of fun in store for me. All the usual post race bananas, bread and Gatorade with one crucial addition: big boxes of hot pizza.

Which reminds me, did you know that the pizza industry is worth more than $30 billion yearly in the United States? Pepperoni is the most popular pizza topping. Fun Fact.

Kelly, savoring her finish of another 13.1!
Kelly, savoring her finish of another 13.1!

Have you run the Capital City River Run in Lansing? What do you think of this race?

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