Finished in 1:57:42(official time); no new PR
Overall place: 71/205
Overall men: 50/81
Men(40-44): 5/12(my last race in this age group)
First time running the Glen Arbor Solstice Half marathon. This was a well organized race with a well marked course. This was a tough elevation and one of the largest hills I've ever run. My goal was to keep my 1/2 road marathon sub two hour streak alive and I was able to accomplish that(just barely). The weather could not have been better for a late June race.
Registration was very easy as the race company has their own website and within minutes I was registered. Total cost was $57 and they don't charge any online fees which is great!
My running buddy, Kevin and I, decided to make our way over to Glen Arbor on Friday evening to get our race packet since it was an early start with the half starting at 7am. The packet pickup was at the Glen Arbor fire station and it literally took two minutes to get our packet. The fire department had a piece of the twin towers outside their station which was very moving to see.
After pickup we decided to drive the course. It's a nice course around the lake and while it does not have lake views the entire time, we could see the lake in parts. We also got to see the huge hill at mile eight. It scared us! Hah! The view from the top was incredible. After the course preview, we drove into Traverse City to eat and ended up at Mackinaw Brewing Company for a little carb loading. From there we went back to my cottage in Gaylord to get some sleep since it was going to be an early morning.
|Pickup at the Glen Lake Fire Department|
|A piece of the twin towers|
|Preview of the top of the hill at 8.6|
We got there about a half hour before the start of the race and the race was getting things together. There were only a couple hundred running the half marathon so we was a pretty relaxed starting area. Things were very organized, they had plenty of port-o-potties and just a few minutes before the races, we got lined up and ready to run. I love running smaller races like this.
|On the way to the start|
|Port-o-potties with Kevin modeling|
|Getting the start area set up|
|People in front of me|
|People behind me|
The course had over 400 ft of elevation gain so you could say that it was a hilly course. I was feeling pretty good so I was able to keep my pace fairly strong. I knew I was going to need to bank some time because that hill at mile 8 was going to kill me. As you can see by the splits, I was right and was significantly slower in that mile than any other mile since I had to walk part of the hill as most runners I saw there were doing as well. I was able to recover pretty well and actually ran my fastest mile of the race in the last mile.
|Map per Garmin|
|Pace/elevation/Heart Rate per Garmin|
|Splits and weather|
Note: When I take pictures during the race, I don't change my pace or stop in the interest of safety. I just keep running and I get what I can get from the pictures. Some come out better than others but they give you a great idea of what the course is like.
While the course map looks like you would see water all the time, you don't see it the entire race but there are parts when you can see some of it and then there are parts where you get some awesome views of the lake. The Glen Arbor area is a really nice area to run but does have some hills too.
|A little blurry due to the clouds|
|In a neighborhood first|
|Runners spreading out|
|Well marked course|
Most of the road we ran on were major roads that were open to cars so you needed to stay on the left side and watch traffic. Many of the roads had large curves like you see below.
As we passed the car below, there was a little girl cheering for runners which was really cute.
|Cheering from the car|
|Port-o-potty on course|
|Sun was coming out|
|Mile 8 - entrance to Sleeping Bear area as well|
|The big hill starts|
|And keeps going up|
|And going up and up and up|
|And yet still up|
|Finally at the top|
|Back to the views at the top of the hill|
We continued to see parts of the lake as the last few miles were better views of the lake. Some of the homes around the lake were awesome!
|View of lake again|
|Heading towards town|
|View over the bridge(dune in the background)|
|Water on both sides|
|More pretty views at mile 11|
|Another nice view|
|Course marshall here|
|Almost to the finish|
The aid stations were well stocked with Gatodade, water and they had GU at the aid station at the big hill. They had several volunteers at each aid station and all of them did a great job helping us! There was plenty of stuff for all the runners.
|Top of Inspiration Point|
After finishing, you would get your race medal and there was finish line good. It was your fairly standard fair of bananas(although they were not ripe to eat), orange slices, and bagel pieces. They also offered watermelon and was a nice treat after the race and something different. The race was also selling shirts and sweatshirts with the race logo on it. Had I knew, I would have brought some money to buy a shirt since they had a nice cotton one I wanted. Alas, I didn't feel like walking back to the car to get money so I just skipped it.
|Gatorade and Water|
|Bananas(green), oranges, watermelon, bagels|
|Relaxing finish area|
I paid $57 for the half which was a reasonable price. For that, you got a well marked course with course support on the aid stations. The course was open completely to traffic which always makes me nervous but they did have police support in areas and there is not a lot of traffics at 7am in Northern Michigan.
You also received a race tech shirt. This one only has the race name on the back which is nice not to see a ton of sponsors on it. It's made by A4 and unfortunately these shirts are not very breathable so they're not good for running. In addition, they are almost always too big and this was a large as well. I would prefer it if every race would buy brooks shirts because they size correctly and they are good quality. At the very least, it would be nice for the website to mention the brand so you can choose accordingly. Since Sleeping Bear had Leslie Jordan, I figured they would be the same but were not. The shirts are a billboard for races so it's important to get shirts people will wear. This shirt will get used when I bike so I do like them for that. In fact, I've already used it for a ride. I do like the color since it's something I don't have.
You also received a nice medal with a custom ribbon too. I like the bigger medal of their Sleeping Bear race but this was good as well. The bib is also a nice custom bib with the race name.
|Medal with ribbon|
|Medal close up|
The organization was good. They had clear instructions on their website with answers to your questions. The start area was set up nicely as well as the finish area which was the same. The course was well mapped and the distance was accurate as we past mile markers. They should have never served bananas that were not ripe but, other than that, it was organized by a experienced race company.
Overall, it was a great race. It was a challenging course and had some great views. This is a great race to run if you are looking for a nice weekend away as I did for it. The Glen Arbor area and the town is a nice area and it's nice and close to Traverse City too. It's fun to say you ran around Glen Lake. The race was well run and you were informed of any changes that occurred.
While I enjoyed the race, I'm not sure I'd run it again but not because it wasn't a good race. The only reason I might not run it again is that it's a whole weekend away and I'd like to get in a variety of new races if I'm going to go out of town. Since I'm getting into trail running, I think I'd like to run the race company's trail race in April, the Traverse City Trail Running Festival. I will be back for more of their races since they go a great job.
Note: Race entry was paid with my own funds. All opinions are my own.