On Saturday morning May 13, I (Sue) had the luxury of waking up in my own bed, eating breakfast from my own kitchen, getting ready in my own home, and driving only a few minutes through my own town to join a small group of runners for the half marathon portion of the Hope Starts Here Challenge, a fundraiser for the Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center. The race was rather routine for me as we headed out and down the local bike/multi-use path I run regularly. But routine doesn’t necessarily mean boring. The majority of this portion of the path runs along the shore of majestic Lake Superior and we even ran the loop around Presque Isle Park. Although the portion around “the island” is quite hilly, the entire route is gorgeous and I never tire of this route. Around mile 8, I started to feel the right hip/glute discomfort that began to bother me during the Mainly Marathons Independence Series a couple weeks earlier. The pain was minimal enough that I was able to continue using my normal run/walk intervals and finished in an average time (for me) of 2:19. This had me placing 24th overall out of 26 runners…the consequence of running a small race. I stuck around for an hour or so to see my daughter-in-law, Sarah, finish the 10K and visit with a few friends before heading home having chalked up #57 of my 60 half marathons for ALS.
Six days later, the afternoon of May 19, I was at our local airport picking up my Best Running Buddy!! Woot, woot – Rhonda and I were back together again! On our way back into town, we made a stop at the local running store to pick up my new Oofos (no, they are not the most attractive sandals, but work wonders for recovery). If ever in Marquette, MI, Queen City Running Company is a must visit. Kevin, his father John, and all the staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful and accommodating to the quirkiness we runners often exhibit. After chatting with John a bit and trying on a couple pair of shoes, we headed to my house for meatloaf dinner. Yes, that is what Rhonda requested – homemade venison meatloaf. It was an early night since she’d been up since wee hours of the morning to catch her flight.
At noon on Saturday we picked up Sarah and the three of us embarked on the three hour drive to Green Bay, WI, where we would run the Cellcom Green Bay Half on Sunday. This is a familiar/favorite race for all of us. Rhonda and I have run it the past two years and this third year in a row was the culmination of the medal trifecta. Three individually beautiful medals that, put together, create one large image of Lambeau Field on the back. Since we wrote about this race in our blog last year, there’s no need to go over all the details again. The difference this year was that we had a third Sole Sister with us (I just knew those two would get along swimmingly); and then of course, the weather. This has been the year of weather cancellations and wet runs for us so far and this weekend held that possibility. It poured most of Saturday and by 8pm, organizers had already posted that the race would begin at EAS level yellow. All we could do was hope there wouldn’t be lightning and the rain would end by start time.
There were a couple downpours outside the hotel windows while we were getting ready on Sunday morning, but in the end, only a fine mist a few times during the race. Other than the fact that the air was heavy due to the wet conditions, it was a perfect day to run. As has become routine for us, the miles ticked by; we talked, laughed, and ran silently; we danced to the music of a couple bands; had pictures taken with Darth Vader; and most importantly were thanked by several who had a personal connection to ALS. Soon it was time to enter the tunnel and make that special loop around Lambeau where the three of us had spread out some; each keeping our own pace to the finish. We gathered our medals, water, and Tru Moo then headed to get the traditional beer/root beer and brat before heading back to the hotel for the traditional nap.
That evening we met Sarah’s nephew and wife at Caliente La Fiesta Mexicana for some tasty margaritas and Mexican food with the mandatory fried ice cream dessert. After some shopping on Monday and an impromptu stop at Hinterland Brewery we made it back to Marquette in time to feed Rhonda a traditional Upper Peninsula pasty from Lawry’ for dinner.
As always, our time together slipped by way too quickly and it was soon Tuesday afternoon and time for her to board the plane again. (But only after a Pilates session at Bird on a Perch, bruschetta at the Vierling, chocolate and caramels from Doncker’s, and a quick ride through Lakenenland.) We said our goodbyes, knowing we’d be back together in just a week….to run our last two of the 60.