Friday, April 29, 2011

Looking for a great fall run?

Last fall I completed my fifth half marathon in my adopted hometown of Lansing, MI. The Capital City River Run (CCRR) seemed like the perfect fall race to insert into my training schedule before my first marathon.
I love fall races – they are really my favorite. There is generally a chill in the air, but it’s still warm enough to enjoy the race. The race expo was held at the Lansing Center on Michigan Avenue. I found the expo to be a little disjointed, but I am a huge fan of the long-sleeved dri-fit shirt.  That basically makes up for it.
Race morning was, as advertised, a chilly fall morning. The run starts in front of the Lansing Center.  Being a fan of downtowns I found this the perfect place to being our 13.1 mile jaunt. 
In the Lansing Center before the CCRR
 We ran down Michigan Avenue and onto Michigan State’s campus.  I love running on campus – the beautiful buildings, the Spartan spirit. It was a great transition onto the Lansing River Trail.
I am a huge, HUGE fan of Lansing’s River Trail. The trail contains about 13 miles of paved trailway in the Lansing area. I do a lot of training runs on the trail (most of my training runs over 5 miles are on the trail) so it felt very comfortable to complete the half on my usual training course.
The race went around Hawk Island County Park, a great Lansing area park with tons of amenities (including a great dog park that my pups love) and through the outskirts of Potter Park Zoo. Although the race didn’t go through the Zoo itself (although there’s an idea for future years race organizers!) it is important to mention that Potter Park is an extremely accessible and affordable family attraction. And now that I’m thinking of it, I love the idea of the race going through the actual zoo…but I digress.
We continued on the River Trail along the Grand River until we ended up on Michigan Avenue again en route to the race finish at Riverfront Park on Shiawassee Street. The course was fast and flat, leading me to my half marathon PR of 2:12:30. That time won’t qualify me for Boston, but I’ll take it.
 I really consider this race one of my favorites.  It was a relatively small race, and it felt very comfortable and familiar running along the River Trail. The course highlighted some of the best things about the Lansing area including downtown, MSU, the River Trail, Hawk Island and Potter Park.  It was also nice to see people I know in the race and as spectators. I don’t often like to repeat races because I am always interested in trying new ones, but I am intending to do the Capital City River Run again this fall.
How would I rate this race? A (hey, I’m doing it again, aren’t I?)
How would I rate Lansing? A (we’ve come a long way…and the CCRR highlights the best!)

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