2015 Race Goals Recap 2- Lakeshore Miracle Run

Check out my first recap of the Lake Michigan 1/2 Marathon here if you missed it!

Again, these were my planned races going into the 2015 season:

June 27- Lake Michigan Seaway 1/2 Marathon or 15K (we’ll see, this is coming up quick!)

July 18/19- Either the Petoskey Bear River Crawl 10k or Chicago RnR 1/2 Marathon (These two are still VERY tentative) DID NOT RUN

August 15- Running Between the Vines 1/2 Marathon

August 29- Hard Cider Run 5k  DID NOT RUN

September 12- Holland Haven 1/2 Marathon DID NOT RUN

September 26- Tough Mudder!!! I’m actually already registered for this one with a team and borderline terrified for my life!

October 18- Detroit Free Press MARATHON! {oh hey, did you hear I signed up for a marathon? ;)}

As you can see, I didn’t end up running the Petoskey Bear River Crawl 10k or the Chicago RNR 1/2 Marathon. I can’t remember why, but I’m guessing it has something to do with not being able to travel that weekend/not wanting to spend another weekend away because our summers fill up FAST!

I did, however, end up signing up (on a whim once again) for the Lakeshore Miracle Run (now the Lake Michigan RTS – Road, Trail Sand) and called the ‘toughest race you’ll ever love’. This beast is a 10k that takes you through 2 miles of road racing, 2 miles of trails and 2 miles of sand…one of which is straight up a sand dune (yeah, ouch). It was hot, humid, and I’d run in sand a whole ZERO times in my life, so it was extremely challenging.

It started on the road, which was fine and just like pretty much any other race. It was relatively small, so there weren’t a ton of participants, and I didn’t think it would be tough navigating around people if need be. I proved myself completely wrong once we got into the trails about a mile later, as the course became a single lane ‘follow the leader’ style run. So if you ended up behind someone who was running a slower pace, you were stuck until you got out of the woods (or until they were nice enough to step aside). Additionally, it was literally in the woods, so I had to hang onto my sunglasses that I started with (and knew I’d need for the sand portion) since it was so dark and I was desperately trying not to break my neck on a tree branch or root. It wasn’t my favorite part of the race, but I ended up appreciating the little break in pace before we got to the sand.

I was warned to wear tall socks and old running shoes since the terrain was not forgiving and would leave sand/dirt/mud EVERYWHERE. So I dressed accordingly in knee-high compression socks, shorts and an older pair of shoes that I didn’t mind getting ruined. This was definitely GREAT advice because the socks prevented me from flinging sand into my socks with ever step I took, and I didn’t care about my shoes getting SOAKED within the first 5 seconds running along the beach. The lakeshore had a tilt to it, so everyone ended up running as close to the water as possible to get some relief. Plus, it was a lot more packed down and ‘trail like’ versus the soft, deep sand that was further a way.

3

And then came the dunes…. I’d say about 1.5 miles into the sand portion and about 2.5 miles into the race.

2

The picture doesn’t even do it justice. It felt like we were on a straight vertical climb for HOURS. It once again turned into a ‘follow the leader’ style run because everyone tried to stay in the previous person’s path/footsteps where it was a little more packed down, bit I didn’t even care and thanked the little breaks that I was ‘forced’ to take when someone stopped ahead. I tried not to look up or down, because every time I did it felt like I hadn’t made any progress. Woof.

We finally made it to the top and I have never been more excited to see a water station (the first and ONLY ONE of the race!!!).fullsizerender1

After a much longer than normal water stop (where they would only let us have one small cup because they were afraid of running out… didn’t love this poor planning aspect) we began the descent back down the dune. This part was actually kind of fun and I felt like I was flying. You just had to sort of jump down because there was no way you could run, especially someone as clumsy as me who would have for sure broken their neck.

4

We got back into the woods with probably 1.5-2 miles left to go in the race at this point. My legs were EXHAUSTED but the shade felt great. It was even harder to see this time since my eyes had adjusted to the bright sun that we’d just been running in for the last few miles, so it was even trickier to navigate around anything that may be lying on the trail. We finally got back to the pavement with maybe 1/2 a mile left in the run. There was not a lot of crowd support (mostly due to location), so you really had no indication of whether or not the finish line was close. We turned a corner and saw a fire truck spraying runners as they went by- this was probably the greatest feeling ever because I was drenched and way overheated and dehydrated at this point.

I crossed the finish line at 1:18:05. I didn’t even care a little bit about my time for this race as it was all about finishing. It felt like one of the hardest workouts I’d ever done and I was just so relieved to be done running. I’ve never had so much sand on me before or been so relieved to shower.

I definitely recommend this race to someone looking for a fun but challenging run. Don’t go into it with any time goals in mind, just have fun and get ready to sweat! And definitely bring a water bottle with you!!! I would have done it again this year had I not been pregnant, and I’ve definitely got it on my radar for 2017.

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