June 18, 2005
32nd Marathon, State #26 (Age 37)
This was a long weekend road trip for the whole family. Actually the
first road trip and first marathon for my new baby daughter. We left from
Ohio towards Minnesota via the upper peninsula of Michigan on Wednesday evening.
Our first stop along the way was to visit Grandma Whitt since she had not seen
We spent the night in Ann Arbor and headed north and couldn't resist stopping
in Frankenmuth, Michigan, a little German town. We drove through the the
downtown area and made two stops. First Bronners, the largest 362 day a
year Christmas store and Zenders, an authentic German restaurant.
We continued further north and crossed the Mackinaw Bridge to the upper
peninsula of Michigan. We drove along Lake Michigan taking in the beauty
of the coastline until we were tired of driving. We had packed our
mountain bikes and baby trailer so, biked about 20 miles along some back roads
and out to the coast for some photos.
We ventured on having dinner and trying a "Pasties". These seem to be a
northern Michigan thing. Depending on which side of the peninsula you live
there are different condiments to complement the glorified pot pie. We
pushed on and made it to the home of Northern Michigan in Marquette. This
set us up for the next morning to find the highpoint of Michigan. For more
on this adventure see my
Finally rolling into Duluth on Friday afternoon we checked into our hotel and
headed to the expo. Downtown was super busy with the nearly 15,000 runners
plus families. There was a 5k Friday night next to the expo which added to
the chaos. The expo was large as well as the pasta party. I picked
up my packet as we headed back to the hotel which was across the river back in
Wisconsin and had dinner at a steakhouse next door.
Race morning came quickly and because of the point to point course and the
crowds it was recommended not having your family and friends at the start line.
A shuttle stop was next door, so two hours before race time I boarded the school
bus and headed 26.2 miles out of town. The start line was full of
excitement as busload after busload of runners unloaded. I sat down with a
group of runners and relaxed to pass the time. This is when I realized I
forgot to put on my championship chip. Opps. I stopped by a booth
for support, but they said tough luck. I found a cell phone and called my
wife at the hotel and asked her to bring my chip to the finish area. Bags
were well organized to transport morning clothing to the finish line.
The start of the race was prefaced with two F-16's flying overhead and a DJ
playing great music. There was also an old train with VIP's next to the
starting line that headed back to town when the race started. The start
line was fenced off which you would think it would be hard to cut, but ends up
it was pretty easy as I made my way up front to not be penalized as much by not
having my chip. I started only 1:25 back. In addition to not having
my chip, I had sent my heart rate monitor in for battery replacement and didn't
bring a watch for my own splits. I was excited to see giant yellow
balloons in the sky as mile markers the whole race. The course was
relatively straight, so always easy to see the next mile marker way off in
The course was along Lake Superior pretty much from start to finish.
Very scenic. Slight rolling hills were not too much of a burden. The
only clock along the way was at 13 and 15 miles, which was a bummer without
having my watch. Support was terrific along the way with lots of fans,
especially the closer you got to town. Once in town the streets were
completely lined with cheering fans.
I met up with my wife just shy of the finish line, picked up my chip and
crossed the line, received my finisher shirt and medallion. I was beat and
rested for a bit. Great snacks at the finish line. Massage was
packed and I didn't feel like waiting in the sun so made my way to the nicely
organized meeting area and met my family. The whole finish area was jam
packed with people supporting their favorite runners. We found a little
pizza place along the course downtown and had a nice lunch on the patio and
watched the rest of the runners come through downtown.
After an afternoon nap we headed out to a bike trail that was a converted
railroad track and did an out an back route. After a shower we went back
to the finish line where live bands were playing all night. We found a
great Italian restaurant for a relaxing late dinner.
On a scale 1..10 this race was a 10!
On the way home we found Wisconsin's highpoint. For more information on
this adventure see my highpoint blog
. We made it as far as Madison Wisconsin where we got the bikes
back out and biked around town and around the lake downtown.