Friday, June 21, 2013

11th event of 2013: Run For Life 10K in Marquette, MI

The Upper Peninsula in Michigan: Run for Life and a run into Bay Cliff Health Camp

Thursday, June 13th at 10:15pm:

It's the night before my flight and I'm still rushing to get everything done before the crazy 2 weeks ahead of me. One thing I need to do is to make my GBU sign tonight so I will have it in case we get the interview we're hoping for upon my arrival in Marquette. My flight leaves at 6am but I am landing in Green Bay, WI to get my rental car and make the 4-hour drive north to Marquette. If flights all go according to schedule I should make the 4pm interview with 2 hours to spare but just in case I want to be ready with my sign already done.

The reason I'm posting the below details is because we have a contest on Facebook now where we're asking our friends to make their own GBU signs and take fun photos with them to win cash and prizes. Many people have asked me how I make my signs so I'll post the details here but for the record: There are no restrictions or requirements for the contest other than the sign should say "Get Back UP Today!"  Anything goes! 

However, if you want to make your own sign...for races or events where you're supporting someone...the following tips will help you create a sign that's weather-resistant and easy for everyone to see!
Foam Core, or Foam Board, is the best option I've found for my signs. This is a durable, lightweight, large (20"x30") and readily found product. It's cheaper to purchase foam board at art supply stores but when I'm traveling I can usually find this brand at any major drug store chain.

I travel with everything here, with the exception of the Swiffer mop head, in a small zipper-case kit: Swiffer telescoping handle or screw-together handle, duct tape, PERMANENT markers with extra-wide tips, pencil, Sharpie permanent markers with fine tip, scissors, streamers and Exacto-knife.

I usually free-hand my signs but when TeamUP met in Greensboro we printed each word on 11x17 paper. I created stencils from these (don't forget to leave your "bridges" when you cut out letters with openings in them: P, g, e, b, a, o & d) and will use them for this tutorial. Feel free to freehand your own letters though--the "hand made" look seems to convey more sincerity.

Usually I don't trim the large foam board because "the bigger the better" applies when you want maximum visibility. However, when the wind is really strong it's better to have a slimmer sign and, as in this case, when you want to pack your sign in a suitcase for travel it needs to fit into it! Marking trim line with my pencil here...

If you don't have an Exacto knife a pair of scissors works great. This pair is actually a child-safe version but still works well: score the line along your pencil mark, making several passes going a bit deeper each time...

...or use an Exacto blade to get it done in one pass.

Either way, after you score the board you can bend it back against your score-line to open the seam.

Then take your scissors to make the last cut.

Peel your sticker off before drawing!

Lay out your stencil or quickly freehand your letters for EVERY word before you start to draw!! You want to make sure everything will fit on your board before you begin or you'll kick yourself when your sign says "Get Back UP Tod". '
Trust me, I've done this before.

Once you have your letters sketched, choose your colors and begin to fill them in with the permanent markers. Sure, you can use paint, crayons, regular markers or colored pencils but if you use something water-soluble you may be sorry if your sign gets wet!

The wider-tipped your marker is the quicker you'll get this part finished.

I like contrast in my sign so I always use at least 2 colors but that's totally an artistic choice.

Finally, I like to use black Sharpie markers to outline my letters. Again, not a necessity but it adds a bit of definition to the words.

The next steps will have to wait until I get to Michigan or I won't be able to pack this in my suitcase. I pack the duct tape and Swiffer handle along with the sign so I can attach this later for the race event. Also, I pack the streamers with me because they tear easily in transport if they're added too soon. Note: the streamers are used to create a "moving part" to the sign which makes it so easy to spot along the course for both the runner and spectator.

Friday, June 14th:

I was up at 4am to get to the airport where my first flight from Greensboro to Chicago went off without a hitch. Upon arrival at O'Hare airport I learned I'd have a 2-hour delay on my flight to Green Bay, WI. I had to call our PR team to ask the Marquette reporter if he could meet me a bit later, I'd never make it even if there was no other delay from this point on...I still had a 3.5-4 hour drive from Green Bay to the U.P.

Racing from the plane, to baggage, to the rental car desk, to the car and on to the highway I was determined to make it in time for my interview. I knew I was finally back "home" when I saw a moose on the side of the road--used to see these when we spent summers here as a kid.   

Unfortunately I had no time for photos along the gorgeous drive because I didn't want to lose any more time. I made it to Lower Harbor Park in Marquette, MI (the town where I was born!) with 5 minutes to spare before the reporter showed up. Jim (who flew in/out of Marquette due to his schedule restrictions) met me at the park when I got to town.

Thanks to ABC10UP's Mike Hoey for meeting me for the interview despite my delay and his rough bout with the flu! Here's a link to the story (if it isn't still an active link please comment on blog and I will try to link to another file once we get the original from the station):

Mike, thank you so much for accommodating me and for sharing this message with your viewers. I got an email from my Dad's cousin in a town an hour south of Marquette saying she saw the story there--totally shocked to see me on her TV! The great news is that many others saw the story too and started calling to get more information on the brace I wear...hopefully more Yoopers will be Gettin' BackUP soon!

And, for those who don't know...

So after the interview I felt I finally had a chance to breathe and enjoy my arrival in my birth-town. Jim and I set out to walk around Marquette, the most populous city in the U.P. ("yoo-pee", go ahead and giggle, Jackson and Joey!) Jim has never been to the UP during the summer so I was really excited to share with him the beauty of the land and the people here. As the locals like to say about the seasons in the UP, "Summer is a Wednesday in August". True to form, we'll see temps in the 30's while we're here but with the first day in the upper 60's since last summer it's a perfect evening to walk around.

In case you want more background on Marquette...,_Michigan

Downtown Marquette with Lake Superior way in the background.

We stopped for an appetizer along Washington St for locally grown fare...

Here's the link to the menu:
This sign pretty much sums up my favorite food memories of spending my summers in "da U.P." as a kid!

City Hall building.
After a quick bite we made our way the few blocks to the race check-in for tomorrow's Run For Life 10K. I am so excited to meet race organizer, Amy Harju, who is an organ transplant survivor and is now paying it forward through her fundraising and awareness efforts.

This is the venue for the race "expo". It's 7pm when we arrive but the sun is still high in the sky this far north.

Amy Harju! I am so excited to meet her in person, what a wonderful woman. She had a kidney transplant and now is an active role model and advocate for organ donations. Thanks, Amy, for welcoming us to your event!

I love the "slow food" and "buy local" movement across the US.

Big smiles greet us at check-in.

The theme for the event.

Jim is smiling so big because he only has to run a 10K tomorrow.
Don't worry, Jim, we'll be back to Half Marathons in 7 days.

Another view as we walk downtown towards the Harbor for more food. It's 8pm now and probably won't be dark until 10pm...another perk of summer when I was a kid up here!

Another great restaurant along the waterfront on Frontage St. 

The menus at L'Attitude shows that da Yoopers have more to offer than deer meat and whitefish these days!

Interior of L'Attitude.

Fresh local cheese and honey.

Whitefish tacos...YUM!

L'Attitude from the outside.
Upon finishing dinner we made our way back to the hotel. It is 10pm now and it's been a really long day. I've been in and out of time zones all day and I have an early meeting with a reporter from the Mining News Journal (local paper) at the race site early tomorrow morning...bed time now for Beth!

Note: Michigan boasts one of the better time zone anomalies with the example of the U.P. where one can travel due East and have to turn a clock backwards rather than forwards which is opposite than what you'd normally expect. See the link and scroll to "Anomaly in Michigan" for better info.

Saturday, June 15th--RACE DAY!!

We woke up to a cloudy, cool morning but the crisp air is a welcome change to the 92-degrees, 85% humidity we left in NC. The Run For Life U.P. is being held in Lower Harbor Park along Lake Superior here in Marquette.

Race organizers are setting up when we arrive.

I meet Abbey from the Mining News Journal at 7am before the race start. We had a great conversation this morning, it's wonderful to hear how people like her move to the U.P. and discover they never want to leave.

Abbey asks so many great questions and really seems to understand how important it is to "get back up". Thank you, Abbey, for helping us share our journey and our message in the U.P. (and thanks to Jim for going on a coffee run on this chilly morning!)

I love all the new friends I get to meet on this journey...

And I get to award Abbey with the GBU medal for her efforts in spreading the word! See below for the link to her fantastic article:

Jim is ready to run!
Note: I forgot to take photos of attaching the Swiffer handle and streamers to my sign but I will do so for the next sign!
Amy Harju deserves way more than this Get Back UP medal for her advocacy efforts. Today is a perfect example of the many ways she gives back.

The runners start to arrive just as the rain starts to fall.

The rain may be affecting the balloons but not the spirits of the runners here!

Hundreds of runners come out to show their support for the Donate Life campaign during today's Run For Life U.P. 5K and 10K.

And we're off! I made a conscious decision to enjoy the scenery along this run and stopped for numerous photos along the way.
Most of the runners were opting for the 5K while a handful of us went on to do the 10K. Here the runners are at the 2K mark before the turn-around.

Marquette Maritime Museum along the harbor.

More runners make their way around the Maritime Museum.

The crowd thins out after the 5K turn-around spot. Jim

Another park along the race course.

Jim runs towards the 10K turn-around spot with the Ore Dock in the background.

A waterfall in the background is a barrier for the small lake behind it. We're almost to the Ore Docks where we turn around.

A perfect day to run. The rain stopped and the temps are now around 55 degrees.

Jim enjoys the views of Lake Superior on his left...

...As do I!

What a great water stop!!! The rain stopped but the kids weren't convinced yet. Thanks, volunteers, for making this a great 10K!

The rocks along Presque Isle as we head back towards Harbor Park.

It's shaping up to be a beautiful morning as the sun starts to peek out of the clouds.
My phone died on the way to the Finish Line so I didn't get photos of the celebration afterwards but we had a great time with Amy Harju and her friends and supporters at the finish line festivities. Please consider this run next year if you plan to be in the's the link to this year's event which you can check for updates and info on next year's:

Also, with my phone not charged I left it in the hotel room while Jim and I enjoyed the Marquette area for the afternoon and evening. We also did laundry due to the short amount of time either of us would be home before taking off again, it was great to have a guest laundry room at our Holiday Inn in Marquette. We went to sleep early tonight to make sure we were up early enough to sight-see on Sunday.

Sunday, June 16th: Marquette and Munising adventures

Jim only has a short time to explore with me since he leaves tomorrow before I head up to Big Bay. Here are some photos of Sunday adventures:

My birthplace to the left, my Grandma's house and my dad's hometown to the right!

This mobile home park is still here! It's the address listed on my birth certificate... my parents rented lot 29 while they were both students at Northern Michigan University. My older sister was already here 1 year when I arrived (she was born in Milwaukee while my younger sister and I were born here).

A bit of brief info for you on the U.P., see the note about the Scandinavian history:

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is the northern of the two major land masses that make up the U.S. state ofMichigan. It is commonly referred to as the Upper Peninsulathe U.P., or Upper Michigan. More casually it is known as the land "above the Bridge" (above theMackinac Bridge linking the two peninsulas). It is bounded on the north by Lake Superior, on the east by the St. Mary's River, on the southeast by Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, and on the southwest by Wisconsin.

The Upper Peninsula contains almost a quarter of the land area of Michigan but just three percent of its total population. 

Residents are frequently called Yoopers (derived from "U.P.-ers") and have a strong regional identity. It includes the only counties in the United Stateswhere a plurality of residents claim Finnish ancestry. Large numbers of FinnishSwedishDanish and Norwegianemigrants came to the Upper Peninsula, especially theKeweenaw Peninsula, to work in the mines, and they stayed on and prospered even after the copper mines closed.[1]

Ordered by size, the peninsula's largest cities areMarquetteSault Ste. MarieEscanabaMenomineeIron Mountain, and Houghton. The land and climate are not very suitable for agriculture because of the long harsh winters. The economy has been based on loggingminingand tourism. Most mines have closed since the "golden age" from 1890 to 1920. The land is heavily forested and logging remains a major industry.

SISU is a saying, cheer, mantra and way of living in "da yoo pee". 

This is for you, Peter Allard!

Looking away from the lake on Washington St.

The view from The Vierling looking out over the lake.

Inside the Vierling, a restaurant with an amazing history.
Check out the history of the Vierling here (and come for the food when you're in town!)

I had the local goat cheese and beet salad.

Jim had the spinach and bacon salad.

We took a moment during brunch at the Vierling to write postcards to friends and family.

Some of the original stained glass at the Vierling.

Yes, I'm a Yooper and proud of it!

Father's day is today... greetings to my dad and stepdad!

I don't know if you can read the small print but the message on both sides of the theater's marquee is totally appropriate for the Yoopers: "Coming Soon... SUMMER".

Jim and I pop into the Huron Bakery...FOR COFFEE ONLY...on our way to Munising today....

Sigh. These treats looked so good but after our run yesterday and healthy brunch we opted for the hot coffee only as we made the drive over to Munising.

Maybe I'll come back when Jim heads home. :-)

Jim enjoys the sun and, dare we say it, Summer in the U.P.!

I wanted to send my dad his very original greeting from his old stomping ground. Happy Father's Day, Dad!
(Bob, Happy Father's Day to you, too but we got to celebrate on Fisher's Island last week so it's dad's turn now...
I love you both!

Jim enjoying the magnitude of the water and majestic views on a calm day on Lake Superior.

Ever as cold as I remember Lake Superior!! I can't believe my sisters and I would beg to swim in this every summer. My days in NC have made me soft, I could only stay in long enough for Jim to take the photo.

Perfect area for a nap I'm thinking.

We made it to Munising, a charming little maritime city. Here we stopped at Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore for lunch.

Great sandwiches and coffee at this local favorite.

We're number 2! I love their table markers, real UP birch.

Jim gives the cafe a thumbs up.

Very comfy, cozy, friendly store and cafe.

Jim got the fresh smoked whitefish salad, which he shared with me. YUM! I really miss fresh whitefish.

I got the homemade Lentil Soup and Rye toast...equally delicious.

Goodbye, Falling Rock... we're off to Pictured Rocks.

The UP has some of the most beautiful National Parks and Forests in the US. We didn't have enough time for some of the things we'd have liked to explore but we hit the park HQ in Munising to learn more about the area and to get an idea for how to best spend our time here.
Here's the link for more information on how to enjoy your time in the Munising/Pictured Rocks area:

These aromatic shrubs are everywhere we turn.
With our limited time in town we took the park ranger's advice and got tickets on the Shipwreck Tours boat so we could see the Pictured Rocks from the water. There are better Pictured Rocks tour boats but we missed the last one today. The ranger suggested the alternative, Shipwreck Tours, where the focus is on seeing ancient Lake Superior shipwrecks on a glass bottomed boat but where you also get some good views of the distant Pictured Rocks.

We couldn't get great photos of the shipwrecks but we had fantastic views of them from the glass viewing ports! Here are a few shots we took from the boat:
A perfect day to be on the water.

Heading out on the harbor.

We loved this tour and saw some fascinating shipwrecks... the tour was everything it claimed it would be. Here's a link that provides a video and info on the shipwrecks, if you get a sunny day here this is a fun thing to do here:
You can also get information on the wrecks and landmarks by clicking on the appropriate tabs on the site, very cool history we learned while on board!

Back to Marquette and over to the Superior Dome. Looks kinda like an alien space ship, doesn't it?

Dad and Mom both were in school here back in the day...

I wanted to see these Ore Docks up close so we headed to the Cliffs for a better view. You may not see it clearly here but the ship that's pulled up to the docks is HUGE and the "tiny" cars on the very top of the docks are normal-size railway cars. They are full of loads of Iron Ore which get dumped down metal shoots onto the ships.

A better view and a better sense of how huge these docks are. A train is loaded above with about 25 cars full of ore.

The trestle bridge over the highway where the ore gets transported from the holding operation to the docks for unloading.

For over 100 years this particular ore dock has been in operation.
 After the Ore Docks we head over to Presque Isle to enjoy the park:

And then it's back to the Wild Rover on Washington street for dinner... I had a great homemade veggie burger but the pretzel bun was too big to eat.
 I've been having issues with my Mophie (extended battery device for my phone) and so I wasn't able to get photos from the other spots we visited Sunday night. We went to the Ore Docks Brewpub to hear some fun music and also visited another local favorite spot, Black Rocks Brewpub. Then we headed to our new hotel, the Ramada Inn close to the university.

Monday, June 17th:
Today was a work day for both Jim and myself. I had a lot of computer work to catch up on plus a conference call to plan for the Philly RnR run in September. With phone and internet service being touch-and-go in the U.P. I had to stick close to the hotel to get everything done. Then I had to drive Jim to the airport, about an hour-long roundtrip, before returning to the hotel to get everything ready for my drive to Big Bay in the morning.

 Tuesday, June 18th:

I enjoyed a leisurely morning, sleeping in until 8:30am, and spent some time watching TV while I downloaded my photos for the blog. I have an hour's drive up to Big Bay today where I'm meeting another reporter then spending the evening at Bay Cliff Health Camp. Then I have to drive all the way back to Green Bay tonight since my flight leaves at 5:25am tomorrow morning. I'm enjoying every bit of rest I can get right now, it will be a crazy day!
I get a great grilled veggie sandwich on homemade gluten-free bread at Babycakes on Washington Street to fuel me for the trip to Big Bay.

Goodbye, Babycakes...thanks for the great food and coffee!

Goodbye, Marquette!

A view on a road just off of County Rd. 550, I took the detour to try to see the beaches along the lake.

Resting on a stack of birch trees after a short trail hike on the way to Big Bay.

Hmmm...not sure quite what to make of this.

I made it to Big Bay with an hour to spare before I had to meet Kelsey from FoxUP at Bay Cliff Health Camp. I took some time to enjoy the peaceful shores of the bay on Lake Superior. The weather is about 74 degrees with just a bit of wind and zero humidity...perfect.

The famous Thunder Bay Inn, setting for  Jimmy Stewart movie, "Anatomy of a Murder".
Check out the link for the history of the murder and the inn:
 And NOW I remember another part of my summers in the U.P....Mosquitos!! I haven't seen them until today, I guess I've been along the coast where the wind had been driving them inland. Once I get off the water and into the "town" of Big Bay I am fighting them off by the hundreds. I pop into the general store for some relief...the proprietor was generous enough to let me have a few squirts of this homeopathic repellant for my day here:

 I meet reporter Kelsey Niemisto at the parking lot of Big Bay Health Camp at 3:30pm for a short interview before I spend the evening with the campers. Camp program director, Mary Leopold, shares her views about the incredible camp before assembling the campers for my run into camp in another hour:

I have totally loved the fact that our sign has the "UP" in it while you see "UP" everywhere here in the Upper Peninsula. The GetBackUP sign is hangin' out with the FoxUP sign on the side of the vehicle.

Kelsey gets a medal for her joyful spirit, talented reporting and for getting our message out once more throughout the U.P. and northern Wisconsin. Thank you, Kelsey, YOU ROCK!
Here's the link to the story she put together (in record time!) for the 7:00pm newscast:

And last but not least, I want to share the story of Bay Cliff with you. I first learned of this camp when they applied for a grant from the Dralla Foundation 2 years ago. They were a unanimous selection by our review committee since they fell so perfectly in line with our mission of "providing those with disabilities the opportunity to have the best days of their life". I was so moved by the campers and the staff and volunteers here that I have few words to say exactly how special this place is.

I was (understandably) not permitted to take photos or video while in the camp but I was given a tour of the facilities by the teen campers then had dinner with all 135 campers. I sat at a table with the 5-8 year old girls and thoroughly enjoyed my time with everyone. After dinner we had the Flag ceremony and then I met with the older campers to share my story and to make Get Back UP signs for their cabins.

I truly hated to leave but I had a 5 hour drive back to Green Bay and it was almost 9:00pm when I left Big Bay.

Please check out their website and if you know anyone in a position to donate items or monies to this organization I can tell you it will all go to great use:

Thank you, Bay Cliff, for making me feel so special. I was so inspired by the campers and the rest of your team...I will not forget my time here. You are all heroes and I am so grateful for what you do!!!

Luckily my drive back to Green Bay went smoothly, especially since it stayed light until 10pm, I only had to drive in the dark for 2 and a half hours. I made it to my airport-area hotel by 12:30 in the morning (gained an hour going into Wisconsin!) where I slept for 3 hours before going to the airport to return my car and board my 5:20 a.m. flight back to Greensboro.

I will be in Greensboro for 12 hours before boarding my next flight to Seattle for the Rock n' Roll Half on Saturday. Hope to see you there!

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