Carrie suggested that I should consider partaking in one of the events at the Noquemanon Ski Marathon (referred to hereafter as just Noque — somewhat for the purposes of brevity but mostly to sound cool). The aforementioned maiden ski attempt had taken over an hour to cover less than one mile on relatively flat trails. More so than skiing, it was a battle between yours truly and formidable laws of gravity and friction that the latter two won in a merciless beatdown. Given the sheer lack of information, expertise and/or experience, the chances of me surviving the wild and presumably treacherous Noque trails let alone making it out alive were very very slim … if not non-existent. So, it didn’t happen in 2014.
It was the Spring of 2015. If you know where I am local and the weather therein, italicized Spring should be self explanatory. Teaching responsibilities for the academic year 2014-15 had long been wrapped up, and the preparations for the then upcoming Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon were about being wrapped up too. With qualifying for and participating in Boston Marathon being far too distant and far too difficult to even dream about (sub 3:10:00 finish, 7:15 min/mile or faster) and with over a dozen half marathons in the rear view mirror, I started doing some literature search (read: google-ing around) for Boston’s equivalent of half marathons: a race that didn’t just let me in for fun but expected a little more by requiring qualifying standards in spite of having to pay the registration fee. Several days and many combinations of keywords and phrases later, Google led me to exactly what I was looking for: Race Raves‘ article on an inaugural qualifiers only half marathon event … in November … in San Diego!
the highest peak in the entire state, 1,500 ft doesn’t sound all that bad. Unlike the real mountains elsewhere, this one (with a handful of its siblings/cousins) is right in our own backyard. And quite importantly, it (and each of one its siblings/cousins) offers the same lessons my favorite wilderness prophet talks/writes about in his 1901 book.
Haven’t you done enough half marathons? Are you ever going to do a full? If so, when?
Seven (one each in Detroit, Marquette, Porcupine Mountains, and two apiece in Green Bay and Madison) of the 17 half marathons I have had the good fortune of participating in so far since 2013 had featured a full marathon as part of their festivities. The course for many of these seven aforementioned half marathons had partly, if not entirely, overlapped with that of the corresponding full marathon. The often interesting and inspiring but always entertaining and hilarious signs that people held along the side for the marathoners, as such, were quite hard to miss. And so were the aforementioned questions that many a friend, in and outside of my community, frequently and caringly put forth over the past many months to put me outside of my comfort zone, and in turn, make me better — a whole lot better.
All of my familiarity with the Swedetown Tails, at least until the beginning of this Summer, had to do with cross country skiing as part of the The Great Bear Chase festivities. And by skiing, I mean my desperate attempts to stay upright and minimize the number of falls/wipeouts. With 25+ falls/wipeouts in 2014 (2:13:26 for 10k) and 7-8 more in 2015 (1:22:18 for 10k), it’s safe to say I have been on my behind and back more on these trails than I have standing up on my feet.
It was about a year ago that I had the first opportunity to be actually a part of Copperman Triathlon festivities, as a (slow running) member of Two Wolverines and a Badger, from inside rather than just looking on in from the outside. And if you have been fortunate enough to be in the start (or transition or finish) area, you would be quick to know that there is more than just the colloquial meaning to the previous sentence. It was quite the experience, a memorable one at that, and it did motivate me to some day do it all by myself. I’d be completely lying if claimed that I knew that that some day would be during the very next edition of the event.
Hancock Canal Run signals the completion of two full years since I took to running half marathon distance and marks the beginning of year #3. Reasons to participate in this event haven’t really changed over these three years: a very well organized and attended race in my own backyard, potential to see and be with a lot of friendly faces from the awesome community I am so fortunate to live in and a chance to sleep in my own
bed couch the night before, and show just about everyone in this community that has ever helped me run (better) that their investment in me wasn’t a wasted effort. Additionally, how the event spreads the event-awareness through social media outlets and periodic reminders, invite local running groups to contribute articles and gives back to the community helped the cause as well. So, including this event in the planned list of races for 2015 didn’t cost any brain cells, and neither was signing up for it as soon as the (mail-in/paper) registration opened.
Run The Keweenaw, A Festival of Trails marks the first multi-part running event — trail or otherwise — in its entirety that I have had the opportunity to progressively and continuously build an additional stage each year. The last two editions of this event, 2013 and 2014, had gone on to teach me quite a bit about myself, bringing in me touch with a plethora of wonderful people from around and outside the region, and making the uphill portions of Hancock Canal Run course the week after seem flat or even downhill.
Had everything I planned for 2015 — life and running events alike — panned out as I had planned, this particular journal entry should have been seeing the light of internet a few days later, and I should have been just about done exploring the wicked(ly awesome) wilderness in Forever West and Big Sky Country planned around a half marathon each in the vicinity of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks: witnessing stuff that I have only watched in various Ken Burns’ documentaries (Roosevelt Arch, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Old Faithful in action, Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin, Tower Falls, Willow Flats and Teton Range, Moose Junction, Snake River Valley, Jenny Lake and a plethora of wild flora and fauna), hanging out with friends (Sara and Dustin) I haven’t seen in quite a long time, tracing and living many a fond memories of dear friend Kyle‘s 2008 adventures, re-tracing and re-living many more of my own from the 2010 Great American Road Trip with buddy Nils, visiting the Stickelmyers (Kari, Steve, Anna and Tommy) and Stenvigs (Tom, Annie and Alexa) in South Dakota — the birthplace of my pesto obsession during the aforementioned 2010 Great American Road Trip, adding some more photographs to the somewhat stale portfolio, flooding the instagram feed with images of food and beverages, and making more friends and memories to last few more life times.