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Friday, October 1, 2010

Race 6: June 6—Ann Arbor, MI

With wedding planning--and now a huge pile of thank you notes to write--I haven’t updated this as often as I would like. But with my first race of the fall season tomorrow, I decided I needed to post about my last race.

The Illinois Capitol Building

On June 4, my husband, our dog, and I packed up our car and started the 8 hour drive from St. Louis to Ann Arbor. We took our time driving there because we wanted to stop in Springfield, IL to visit the capitol. We were being tourists for the weekend!

Our trunk was full of camping gear—we were going to stop in Indiana and spend the night in our tent. But we both got too tired before we made it to the state park where we had planned to camp. So it was the iPhone and to the rescue! We found an inexpensive room and stopped for the night.

The next morning, we got up and drove to Michigan. We decided to take a slight detour –we went to Lansing to see Michigan’s capitol. It was pretty, but not nearly as impressive as Illinois’s. We made it to Ann Arbor to the Dexter-Ann Arbor Half Marathon expo with an hour to spare! My husband walked the dog around a grassy field while I went and picked up my runner’s packet. We then had plenty of time to explore Ann Arbor.

The Michigan Capitol Building

Downtown Ann Arbor has several food options with outdoor seating, so we decided to have dinner outside at a Japanese-French fusion café. The food was very interesting and delicious. While sitting and eating, numerous people stopped and asked us about our dog. She had just been to the groomer for a haircut, and so many people told us she looked like a young black fox! She received so much attention that weekend!

Part of our dinner at the Japanese-French cafe

After eating dinner, then dessert (ice cream and cupcakes!), we wandered around downtown and attended an African American Heritage Festival. Again, the dog received a lot of attention—and a hot dog! She was in doggie heaven!

Samoa cupcake

Toasted coconut ice cream

African American Heritage Festival

After a couple of hours, it started to rain, so we decided to go drive to our campsite and set up our tent for the night. When we arrived at the campsite, the park ranger informed us that there was a tornado headed in our direction. She suggested that we find a hotel instead of camping. By this time, the rain was pouring and the campgrounds were all soaked. We agreed that a hotel would be a better option. Once again, the iPhone and rescued us. We found an inexpensive, pet-friendly hotel room, and crashed for the night.

I didn’t sleep well because our darling dog is terrified of storms. She wanted to be as close to me as possible, and her trembling kept me awake. But I did manage to get a few hours rest before I needed to be in Dexter.

Looking tired in our hotel on race morning

On race morning, my husband drove me to the township of Dexter and dropped me off. (He then went back to the hotel to sleep some more!) Shortly after I arrived at the starting line, the race officials announced that the tornado uprooted a tree, and the tree was now blocking the course. We had to wait an extra 30 minutes before starting. This threw a lot of people off because they had already consumed their pre-run energy drinks and bars.

Once the tree was cleared, we all took off. The course was beautiful. We ran alongside a river, which was bursting with water from the storms. The scenery was lush and green—very serene. The only negative about the course was the actual road that we ran on. We ran from Dexter to downtown Ann Arbor, and the road was filled with potholes. I tripped several times, and saw others stumbling in the holes as well. But, overall, this was a lovely course with a surprising number of race supporters.

The sign for the race near the finish line in downtown Ann Arbor

The race ended in downtown Ann Arbor, where the Taste of Ann Arbor Festival was being held. I met my husband near the recovery tents (I had called him when I reached mile 10 to make sure he was awake). After a long run, I went and enjoyed some Indian food at one of the festival tents. Yum!

My medal and race number

Enjoying the Taste of Ann Arbor