A Long Weekend on the Lakeshore of Michigan

As an oblivious East Coaster, I never thought to consider Michigan as a vacation destination until meeting a girl from Traverse City at the Healthy Living Summit — eight years ago. How was that eight years ago? What is time, even?

My best friend/partner in crime Meg’s family lives in Holland, MI and she suggested we head there for Memorial Day, since the beaches here aren’t usually warm enough this time of year anyway. Why? The? Hell? Not? (2018 motto?)

I went for a quick run since our flight didn’t leave until noon, and if I was going to be hanging with someone’s parents, the me who has run is a preferable version to any other Theodora.

We flew into Grand Rapids, whose call letters are GRR, something that brought me infinite amusement.

Boatwerks Holland

We went to the cute Boatwerks restaurant on the water. Obviously I found the tacos on the menu. And something to know about me — beyond that I will always order the tacos — I will always find “reading material” anywhere a place offers up a free magazine or newspaper and stockpile it.

True story 1: one of my internships was at one such magazine writing hard-hitting articles about bar openings in D.C.

True story 2: I was reading another such paper on the train on the way home the day my mom died. It’s still in my room at home.

Weird asides, back to Michigan.

Lemonjellos Holland

By this time, having run and flown to Michigan my wings (yup, went there) and legs were tired, and we were in need of caffeine. My mom’s favorite drink was Limoncello (followed closely by Riesling), and I saw there was a coffee shop named LemonJello (which, um, is also how she pronounced it!) and requested a stop.

Laketown Beach Holland MI

Is there a word for the feeling you feel when you first catch a glimpse of the water? It’s one of my favorite feelings, and here’s a shot of it at the beautiful Laketown Beach.

Ottawa Beach Michigan

We also lit sparklers on the beach, and it reminded me of this night, and I hugged my best friend, forever thankful for her.

Especially as we explored antique stores and gift shops — with so much reminding me of my mom. This couch is almost exactly the same as my favorite couch at my parents’. I can still see my mom sitting on it, with her coffee, making her to-do list for the day, on the phone with Joan, her best friend.

I’d be lying if I said big parts of this weekend weren’t incredibly difficult being around someone else’s family when mine is irreparably changed, but I appreciated the duality of it also being a fun weekend and was so appreciative of Meg’s family taking me in for the weekend.

Windmill Island Holland MI

We also explored Windmill Island, home of the only working Dutch windmill in the U.S. (Dress tied up until I get it shortened…)

De Zwaan Windmill Holland Shoes

And tried on wooden shoes…

Windmill Holland MI

And just took in the scenery from the ‘mill.

Ottawa Beach

We spent our last day on Ottawa Beach, and I couldn’t resist a dunk in the balmy 53-degree water.

Royal Typewriter — Zeel Peddlers Market

We went to a market in Zeeland whose hashtag was #FeelTheZeel, and I totally regret not buying this typewriter for my desk.

Saugatuck Village Hall

It felt appropriate to be in a place that oozed so much Americana on Memorial Day.

Founders Brewery — Grand Rapids

Finally, what would be a trip to Western Michigan without a brewery stop?? We stopped at Founders en route to the airport for a flight before the flight. My favorite was the Nitro Rubaeus, a fruity little fucker. I’m just obsessed with anything served on nitro. (P.S. I don’t update all the beers I have, but I am on Untappd on if you’d like to follow me.)

How was your Memorial Day weekend? Vacation or stay-cation?

Stepping Into My Strength

In case I haven’t mentioned, I really like to journal. I journal the SHIT out of life. And honestly, I find it every bit as helpful as therapy. Both are similar in just open-ended time to talk/write through your problems.

I often come to really strong messages in my journaling that I take as something to work on until I arrive on my next mission from myself.

Earlier this week, I told myself: Step Into Your Strength.

I’m largely on the other side of most of the shit of the past year. I am alive when that seemed to be unsure several months ago. Not only am I alive, but I am fucking thriving. I’m working for myself, just as I wanted to be. I am learning SO much about myself, about the way I interact with the world, about the world in general. I will forever carry this baggage with me, but it no longer defines me.

I have long been insecure and unsure, but I’m learning to move past that and stop letting it hold me back. To stop giving so many fucks about anything other than those who care for me most.

I had coffee the other night with the amazing Liv fromBox + Flow. I told her how her studio, her workout were such a big part of that story of my last conversation with my mom. Of how much I craved that yin and yang.

“What do you really see yourself doing?” She asked me. I hemmed and hawed and stuttered and stammered “writing and run coaching.”

Her question rattled around in my head that night as I waited for sleep to come. What DO I want to do?

I want to help people, and I want to succeed. But at the core: I want to give people the information they need to make their lives better, whether through writing or coaching

At Write Doe Bay, we talked about making life happen rather than letting life happen.

I woke up the next day and made a list of my dream sites to be published on, and I wrote several thousand words for my book.

And then I designed a half marathon training program. I almost started throwing in a bunch of qualifiers here, but no: if you want to run your first half or improve your speed, I’m your girl.

With 30 half’s, 7 fills, years of coaching experience + years of writing about running, I know what’s up. More importantly I’ve been where you are and understand your struggles, and therefore, what you need to succeed.

I’m still finalizing the program, but the gist is that it will be a 12-week program culminating in a fall half (Newport Half, if you’re local.) You’ll get a plan, unlimited email support, monthly group runs if you’re in the nyc area, weekly emails with tips on nutrition, gear and more, and, oh yeah, swag. Email me at theodora@preppyrunner.com for more info.

What power have you been afraid to step into? What would happen if you tried and SUCCEEDED?