Earlier this year I ran the Shamrock 'n Roll 10k in Plymouth, Michigan and loved the race. I decided to head back to Plymouth last weekend for an encore in the Wicked 10k. In March I raved about the organization of the race, but this time I was less impressed.
For starters I was running a little behind which is very unusual for me. Usually I'm an hour early for a race forcing us to wander around and find something to do. There is a random shooter along I-96 between Detroit and Lansing, and I found myself paranoid about taking I-96. Granted I've taken it a dozen times since the shootings started but I was feeling unusually anxious. As a result we took a different route adding another 15 minutes to our trip.
Parking was a zoo, and by the time we parked it was 7:45 (the race started at 8). I headed to packet pick-up, grabbed my stuff and was pinning my number on as the National Anthem was blasting through the loud speakers. After a quick kiss to my husband I jumped into the crowd of runners. My watched beeped that it was 8 a.m., and we were standing in the cold watching a local dance company perform. Look - the kid dancers are cute. How about if they perform BEFORE 8 a.m. or for those waiting for the 5k? I couldn't even see them from where I was standing, so I was not thrilled to be just standing there waiting.
I love downtown Plymouth, but I may love the surrounding neighborhoods even more. There are some just beautiful houses, and there's a great mix from charming cape cods to stately colonials. Even the new builds (of which there are many) have character and charm. Running through the neighborhoods I found myself getting into a steady pace and just enjoying myself.
|Finishing the race in Kellogg Park in Plymouth|
I've set several PRs this year, and I've gotten away from just enjoying races. I settled into my pace and thanked volunteers and high-fived kids along the course. I just had fun. It wasn't my fastest 10k (it was about a minute and a half off my PR) but it may have been the most fun one I did all year. After the Shamrock Run in March water and snacks were in a pavilion just past the finish line. This time they were in a heated tent. I get the idea of putting them in a warm space, but it was very annoying. I waited in an extremely long line getting handed random advertisements and papers I didn't want just to get a water. I'd recommend going back to putting the water at the actual finish line.
|Posing in lovely downtown Plymouth|
After breakfast in Brighton (another cute downtown) I took Grand River Avenue back to Lansing (again avoiding I-96). I drove through several vibrant downtowns including Howell and Williamston. There was a busy farmers' market in downtown Howell. There were people enjoying a crisp fall day at brunch in downtown Williamston. I found myself wondering what makes a person want to buy a house in the middle of nowhere by the freeway in McMansionville instead of in a dynamiccommunity. How has that become the American dream? In the bustling cities in Europe people live in the city. The suburban McMansion is a uniquely American creation. And it's disgusting.
|This makes me throw up a little bit.|
I drove through the small communities along Grand River Avenue and back into my own neighborhood and was thankful for our little neighborhood where I can walk to a nearby shopping center (it's not perfect but it's there and it's something). I can run along the river in the surrounding neighborhoods and on the Lansing River Trail. There are two schools within walking distance, and parks everywhere. Yeah I'll take our little neighborhood over the McMansion cul-de-sac any day. On the bright side, there are several great houses for sale in downtown Plymouth.