What a WEEKEND! I never thought when I texted some girlfriends to see if they wanted to run the Grand Rapids Half Marathon with me that they would say yes. Then never thought that it would have turned out to be the incredible weekend that it was!
Flashback to 2018. Our neighborhood crew got a wild hair to run a half marathon together and 10 of us set out and ran it. It was so cold for North Carolina, but we all finished and were so proud! When I did the You Can Run Program on Peloton a few months ago, I decided I’d love to run another half. I texted my neighbor crew from NC and 2 of my girlfriends said yes, they’d come run with me! They flew in on Thursday and we literally had an amazing weekend.
Thursday, I picked my friends up from the airport and tried to convince them of how awesome Michigan is. It was cold and they weren’t buying it much, but we had fun checking out our grocery stores that sell liquor, having dinner together and walking around our little town.
Friday morning, I made them my newest obsession veggie burrito (I’ll have to share this recipe soon!). We took a long walk, stopping for coffee and shopping at some local shops. My local girlfriend brought me the best basket full of race essentials and I was really feeling the love!
We decided that night was our only night to really let loose, so we hit the big city of Grand Rapids. I really love our city here. It’s small enough to get there easily, yet big enough to have everything we could want or need. We started the night at my favorite spot, IDC. A speakeasy with a monthly password and pretty city views.
We made late night dinner reservations at a place I consistently find myself choosing, Butcher’s Union. It may or may not be for the chicken sandwich and cheesecake! Since it was about a 15 minute walk away, we decided that riding electric scooters, even in the drizzling rain, was a great idea. We had the time of our lives crossing the Grand River and I ordered my current staples.
We slept in on Saturday for our race prep before heading to get our packets! It was super windy and terrified us all of the conditions we were going to run in the next day. But we pumped ourselves up, made amazing pumpkin pasta to carb load and prepped ourselves for the next day.
Saturday was race day! We brought our friend, flat Kari, who wanted to be here with us and she was a great cheerleader. Haha. So thankful that the forecasted rain decided to not make an appearance! It ended up being right at 40 degrees with very little wind, so it was wonderful running weather!
The race itself was super crowded. My first mile was the slowest of any first mile I’ve ever run because of the crowds! But the energy was high, the crowds were cheering and the scenery was gorgeous. We saw the sunrise between mile 1-2, ran over the Grand River and back and I loved running through the city. At mile 7, we were on more quiet roads and running along a trail. I had told The Hubs I knew this would be my hardest stretch, if he could end up there to cheer. Around mile 8, I saw him and the boys and it literally gave me so much life to keep going! They must have moved quickly, because they were there again around mile 10 and then right before I crossed the finish line. I was so happy to see those smiling faces cheering me on!
All of us girls run at different paces, but we met up at the finish line. There were laughs, tears, hugs and smiles. We all accomplished what we set out to do. This was my second fastest half, with a time of 2:05. My training struggled a bit in the last few weeks with travel, so I was really just hoping to finish under 2:30. I was pumped to crush that time and just might need to set out to break that 2 hour mark again!
We drank our celebratory beers and headed home for some serious R&R. We cozied up and watched Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You and Senior Year. Ate cheese and crackers, pumpkin roll and laughed until we all fell asleep on the couch. I couldn’t be more grateful for these lifelong friendships of mine, my families support and the strength this body was able to muster to run the 13.1!