You know you love running when you’re just as happy going to cheer on your friends at a race as you are actually participating in the race! Once again, I played the role of race mom at the Bayshore Marathon and Half Marathon this Memorial Day weekend. I knew lots of people that were racing that day – some coming back from huge setbacks, some running their first marathons, some looking for BQs. This race is a Michigan favorite, and even as a spectator, I could see why!
One of the best parts of going to this race was that it was the beginning of an awesome Memorial Day weekend with my friend Kendra. Kendra and I have been best friends since we were in high school (we figured out this weekend that we have officially known each other for longer than we haven’t known each other!) and have recently been able to see each other a lot more than we had over the last 10 years due to Kendra living out of the state. I wanted to introduce Kendra to being a race mom and was delighted to have her meet my running friends.
We woke up bright and early to head to Traverse City Saturday morning. I promised Kendra two stops at Starbucks, but unfortunately the first stop was a bust and we had to compromise with Biggby. I was pretty impressed with their cup sleeve (coffee is my birthstone) and Kendra and I were both intrigued by their neufchatel cheese. The drive to Traverse City from my parents’ house is very pretty. As I was directing Kendra where to go, I noticed that we were following a truck most of the way there. Finally at a corner I looked closer at the stickers on the truck and realized that we were following my friend Maggie and her boyfriend Chris! I called Maggie and we stopped at a gas station. They took off before us to see some speedster friends finish up the half, and we took our time… making sure to stop at Starbucks before ending up at the race!
We got there just in time to see our friend Nick finish the half, speedster. Not long after Nick finished we saw Matt’s photogenic self cross the finish line. We met up with Crissy and her son to wait for the next finishers to come in. Eventually Matt and I went to find Paula, who was running her biggest race since her marathon. On our way out to get her we saw the first marathon finisher and cheered on others along the way. When we saw Paula she was looking amazing! She said she felt amazing. She was going to finish in a better time than she anticipated and it was awesome to be able to run with her towards the end of her big comeback race!
We all gathered in the stands again, knowing that it would be a little bit before our next friends came in. We laughed, chowed down on Doritos (the ultimate race mom snack!) and enjoyed each other’s company. Eventually Matt and I headed out again with Nick not far behind us to help run in our friends Brandy and Anna – this was Brandy’s first marathon! We picked up our friend Ed and the boys headed out far to meet up with the girls… I knew they would be running at a pace that I wouldn’t be able to hang with for long, so I stayed closer to the finish line, near a corgi! While I waited I saw another Michigan Runner, Amie – she shouted my name and pointed to me as she ran by. I was so glad she called out to me and wish we had gotten to meet in person! When the other girls came in, they were hauling butt, as I expected! Anna was keeping Brandy pumped and they pushed hard to their finish.
We all met up at the race finish celebration to hang out with Anna and Brandy and happened to spot one of our Michigan Runner members, Ken, who we had not yet met in person. It was awesome to have such a big gathering of our group all together and we got some great pictures together. Once everyone was feeling a little more recovered, we went back to get Kendra and sought out a shady spot to sit in. There was more laughter, even more Dorito eating, and fun times shared by all.
Then it was time to go meet runners again. Although I had come to support all of my friends that were running the races that day, there was one friend in particular that I was extremely proud of and couldn’t wait to see her finish. Christine was running her first marathon after much peer pressure from her friends. I had to be there for her first 26.2 since she has helped me to so many PRs this year! While we waited for her, quite a few of our other friends finished up the race. Kari came in strong with her friend, followed by Krista who I ran with for a little while. I saw a couple of my local running friends, and then came Christine. She was looking great, accompanied by some members of our local group as well as some Michigan Runners. I yelled at her “You’re a MARATHONER!” – such a proud race mom moment! As we got closer to the finish, she saw her son with her dog and was crying. She kept on going though and I ran with her until she hit the track. Just after her came my friend Melinda who was accompanied by our friend Joe – who had run the marathon himself, then went back to get the girls at MILE 17! Talk about a friggen champ!
After the race we all headed out to the Jolly Pumpkin for lunch where Kendra and I split a delicious BBQ chicken pizza and she bought me an awesome tank top. After lunch we went to Right Brain Brewery for a couple of adult beverages and ran into my local running group who had gotten a party bus for some bar hopping. Us runners know how to celebrate right!
We left the brewery and drove to the beach – the dirty beach, darn humans. After a few walks on the beach, getting my feet wet and lots of ridiculous selfies, we made our way home. While I would have loved to have run this race – from what everyone said it was an incredibly beautiful course – I actually think I enjoyed being a race mom much better! I loved seeing all of the runners – friends and strangers – and loved being reminded of why I run, because of the amazing supportive community. I may be super excited for my next race (Cedar Point 5k next weekend) but I’m also dying for my next race mom opportunity!