In the months leading up to my first IRONMAN 70.3 — northern Michigan’s first IRONMAN event, held in Traverse City in 2019 — I realized a couple of things especially boosted my confidence about tackling what would be my most ambitious endurance race to date: meeting up with fellow
As the northern Michigan race scene gets back on its feet with pandemic restrictions loosening, those of us who have greatly missed toeing start lines, cheering one another on through the miles and triumphantly crossing finish lines are eagerly anticipating summer events — road and trail races, and maybe more low-key “races/runs” we take on with a few of our running friends.
There’s no better way to see a city, and to feel the character of an area, than by foot. The smells, the sights, the scenery—you get it all when you go for a stroll. Here are a few pedestrian-friendly spots we recommend the next time you’re looking to experience the Traverse City vibe.
Go for a bike ride or head to the beach. Hike the dunes or stroll through a quaint coastal downtown. Here in northern Michigan, the day’s possibilities truly are endless -- especially when the sun is shining and the landscape beckons us outside to explore. We want to do it all.
Having our four-legged companions join us on the trails makes the experience all the sweeter—there’s just something about being outdoors, watching our tongue-wagging canines so deliriously happy as they sniff and run and check out every turn in the path. Here are a few of our favorite pet-friendly spots to get out in nature and explore:
Overcast, drizzly days and it’s-not-letting-up-at-all kind of afternoons definitely can dampen plans for outdoor excursions. And while I’m all about curling up on the couch with a great read and staying warm and dry inside, sometimes it’s just good to get out and about, regardless of what Mother Nature is dishing out.
Getting out on the trails come winter is its own kind of beautiful experience. A quiet path blanketed with snow, sunshine piercing through the ice-encrusted branches, snowshoes crunching along the path the only sound I hear … and, oh, the fresh, cold air. It’s crisper and cleaner during our most frigid months.
We’re standing in the middle of a closed street, at times jumping up and down a bit, shifting our weight from side to side, and holding our crossed arms to our chests to warm up on this brisk late May morning. We’re checking and re-checking our watches, adjusting earphones and iPhones, chatting with one another, or maybe just staring straight ahead, alone in our thoughts as we wait for the final countdown to the race start. The excitement and nervous-tension is palpable.
In the midst of the morning rush—breakfast-making, backpack-grabbing, everyone scattering in different directions for the day—I remember to pull out a favorite pair of black running shorts and a red short-sleeve top to take with me. And shoes. Don’t forget your running shoes. While I often log miles from my house on the east side of town, I like mixing up my running routine and will head to favorite routes throughout Traverse City.
It’s sticky-hot, one of the final days of summer, and my feet have a mind of their own -- they’re taking me past my parked car and toward the sparkling waters of West Bay. Water. Cold, refreshing water.
I come to the end of Maple Street, the sweet bakery smells greeting me as I run past Bay Bread