Even though I didn't do the race, by the time we got home Saturday night I felt like I had! Getting up at 5:30 am, the heat, and walking on the beach as much as we did put a strain on my foot and left me worn out! I can probably blame part of that on having done a long bike ride Friday just before leaving (50 miles), then hopping in the car and driving over an hour, and then trying to track everyone down.
We did manage a quick swim when we got there. The water was fabulous! 77 degrees! You can't imagine what a treat that is for Lake Michigan, where the average summer temps are only in the 60s.
And the St. Joe/Benton Harbor area is a jewel of an area on Lake Michigan, with much of the shoreline either open and "wild" or privately owned, having lawns as big as a golf course almost. It truly is a beautiful area, and has become one of my favorites on the Lake Michigan shoreline.
A couple of comments about the race--it is a well run event and they did NOT enforce the mandatory 8 hour cutoff! I was surprised and disappointed about this, since this was one of the main things that kept me from competing. I figured with my less than up-to-par foot/ankle, there would be no way I could make that 8 hours. To my surprise, one of the guys in our group, who recently had knee surgery and walked the entire run portion, came in a few minutes after the 8 hour cutoff and they didn't make him get off the course! And I'm pretty sure there were others out there as well.
Reading through the race info, I was under the impression that they would basically tell you to get off the course at 8 hours. I was concerned about this, and now know needlessly so. After I rationalized it (fear and worry make us irrational it seems), I realized there would be no way anyone on the course could possibly know how much time you were out there due to the difference in wave starts, and in fact, the only ones that could know would be you and the chip timers! So while I was disappointed with this discovery, I was reassured as well for another possible event, and also returning to this event next year.
I will have more of a report and pictures later. I have a few things to sort out first!