Race Recap: The Great Turtle Trail Race – Half Marathon

great turtle half marathon trail run map

Just wrapped up the Trio Series races on Mackinac Island by completing the Great Turtle Trail Race (half marathon distance). There was also a 5.7 mile race and a race walking division for this race. The Trio Series included a 10k and an 8 mile race prior to this.

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Gear set out for race (I ended up not wearing the gloves and wore the race jacket over the tops I brought)

I was not prepared for all the hills in this race. Someone at our hotel during the 8 mile race weekend told me that it was pretty hilly. I thought, “It can’t be worse than Nashville!” Well…it’s definitely up there! Total elevation gain: 504 ft. That’s less gain than Nashville, but it still felt harder at times. The hills in Nashville are not short steep hills, they’re long sloping hills. The ones during this race were much shorter, but they were so steep! That gain might not seem bad to some, but it was a real challenge for me. It felt like I had no time to recover from them. Definitely one of the toughest races I’ve ever done.

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The 5.7 mile distance started at 11:30am and the half distance started at 11:45am. The routes were different, and we ended up running different directions on the same road at one point. My mom and I actually saw each other during the race because of that. It had kind of late start times, so I ended up eating my usual race day breakfast of gluten free toast and a banana twice before the race started. The two races had different starting spots. They were close enough though that we were able to see my family start the 5.7 distance and then head down to the start of the half. With such a late start time, we ended up just staying in Mackinaw City and taking the ferry over in the morning since we had much more time that we normally would.

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It wasn’t raining when it started, but it had rained earlier so the road had puddles that everyone was jumping at the start. The rain started around mile 2. Please note, I don’t normally wear the race shirt to the race. Isn’t that like wearing the bands shirt to their concert? haha But, knowing it was probably going to rain I decided to wear the race jacket for another layer.

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Here comes the rain! You can see the 5.7 mile runners heading the other direction here.

The first few miles were along the paved perimeter of the island. Then you make a turn into the woods. The path footing changed, but most of it was just a sloppy mess because of the rain. During the race I heard someone say, “Isn’t it funny how we were all dodging the rain puddles at the beginning, and now we have no choice but to run straight through the mud?” haha! My parents said they were just about out of the woods portion of the 5.7 mille run when the rain started, so the half marathoners got the worst of the mud. Although I was focusing on the footing, I was able to enjoy the pretty scenery. Here’s my before and after race shoes:

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I didn’t take many pictures during the race because the course was so technical. I had fears of falling, especially after I heard a guy say, “This is where I fell last year.” Eeeek! It didn’t rain last year either haha! So thus my fears being high as it was slick out there. This isn’t a great picture, but it was pure mud!

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There was water stations about every 2.5 miles. I took a Honey Stinger energy gel at the 3rd water station knowing my energy was being zapped on the hills. I was so happy when we had reached the downhill portion that led to the paved road around the perimeter of the island. Finally out of the mud!

Yeeesssss! Relief is coming with just two more miles to go!

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The finish line was in the grass, and the area was lined with so many cheering people. It felt so amazing to finish with my family cheering for me :). Official finish time (and PR!): 2:18:31 (pace 10:33). I can’t remember how long it rained, but it did stop for a period of time. It was raining again at the finish though! Click the video screen shot below to view a video on YouTube of me finishing. TURN YOUR SOUND OFF or turn the volume down. My dad is cheering very loudly :).

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Video of me finishing the race!

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The gigantic Trio Series medal + the cute Great Turtle medal (which opens like a locket and says “2015 Finisher” on the inside).

My parents stayed on the island, so we were able to go back to their hotel and get cleaned up after the race before heading back to the ferry dock. It felt so good to put dry clothes on. I put on my second pair of Tiux compression socks to wear the rest of the day.

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We went out to eat at Nonna Lisa’s in Mackinac City like we always do, and then headed back home. Despite the weather, and it being such a quick trip, I had a good time! Will I do this race again? Probably not. But, I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to do all 3 island races this year. My husband and family are so supportive of me and I am so grateful!

Stay tuned, as I’ll be posting my review in the next day or two of the Tiux compression socks that I wore during the race and after for recovery. It’ll include a comparison with 2 other compression sock brands.

Anyone have suggestions for getting my shoes cleaned? I rinsed off the bottoms and took a cold wet rag and got off all the dirt I could, and then let them sit out in the sun. What’s the best way to get them looking cleaner now? I was thinking of trying a dawn/peroxide/baking soda scrub, letting them sit for a little while and then rinse and let them dry out again. But, I thought I’d ask and see if any other trail runners have used other successful cleaning methods. πŸ™‚

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2 thoughts on “Race Recap: The Great Turtle Trail Race – Half Marathon

    • Thanks so much, Ali! I love both of the new medals! Pretty bling is always race incentive for me. Glad you got a laugh out of my shoe picture haha! I’m currently working on getting the cleaned up. So far, machine washing and air drying didn’t do much. Moved onto what I was originally going to do (the scrub mix). We’ll see if that does much :).

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