Thursday, May 8, 2008

Holland Days

This past weekend we drove around the southern bend of Lake Michigan and up to Holland, Mich. for the Tulip Time Festival and the Tulip Time 5K run. As you can see from the photo, I collapsed after I crossed the finish line, onto a bed of the town's signature flower. 

After a harrowing five and a-half hour drive through a torrential rain and a 30-minute stop in Michigan for road construction, we arrived at the DoubleTree in Holland about four hours before we were to wake up for the race. So pretty much I got the same amount of sleep as I usually get on a Friday night. As for the run itself, I had my best time ever (well, of the three timed races I have run in so far), coming in at 35:09, mainly because Stephen ran with me and wouldn't let me stop to walk. Yeah, I was heaving air at the end, but I wasn't nearly as bad off as the 9-year-old boy who threw up as soon as he crossed the finish line (he did however tell his buddy and an adult who was telling him to suck it up and stand up that he had some sort of Reese's candy as his pre-race snack -- apparently they don't have bagels in that part of Michigan). 

After about a 12-minute nap at the hotel, we hit the town for lunch and general touristy walking around. I torpedoed whatever health benefits came from the run by filling two plates with salmon and steamed veggies at a German-themed restaurant, then with a small ice cream at Ben & Jerry's (I'd never actually been at a Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlor, so I allowed myself to indulge a bit). It was nice to wait out the rain at an independent coffee shop, but the town was teeming with tourists (as if we weren't) and it's pretty much a one-industry town, and the industry is playing to the whole Dutch thing and thereby drawing tourists in. A lot of little galleries, fudge shops, 'resort'-type clothing stores, etc. Not that it's a bad place, there's just not a whole lot to do there. It was nice to get lost on the way out of town, where we found the semi-gated area, with houses that looked as though they belonged in Glencoe or Winnetka. What wasn't so fun was getting lost on the South Side of Chicago a couple hours later after I lost US 41. I have never been happier to see the Midway Plaisance at the University of Chicago campus.

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