My two-part Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon recap continues!
Here is Part 1 in case you missed it!
Mom and I woke up at 5:00am and got ready to be at the starting line by 6:00am. I had a blueberry bagel while I got ready, mom wrote “Embrace the Suck” on my calves and then we headed out the door.
It was in the 40’s race morning so it was chilly but luckily the wind was not bad. A lot runners were huddled in groups to keep warm.
The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is known as a flat and fast race, which I LOVE. Check out the course map:
I decided to start out with the 3:55 (8:57 minute/mile) pace group so that I would not start out too fast in the beginning of the race. It was nice to have a group to run with I have to admit! I didn’t want to run with my camera in my hand the whole race but I did snap these pictures the day before showing the view from the Lorraine-Carnegie Bridge at around miles 2 and 3:
I hung with the 3:55 group for about the first 5 miles and then went on ahead of them but looked back every now and again just to make sure I didn’t get too far ahead.
At around mile 10.5, the half-marathoners went right and the marathoners went left. I made the left, was all of a sudden by myself and ran through some beautiful residential communities (Lakewood, Tremont, Rocky River and Ohio City) for the next 11 miles (11-22) which were predominantly on the west side of the city. The crowds were awesome for those 11 miles! I got a lot of comments on my shirt: “Go mom!”, “Go beast!”. In the past, the marathon would go past the airport and that was a long, boring stretch of pavement with no crowds. I LOVED this new course!
After mile 22, it was time to head back to the city and run over the Shoreway. TORTURE! In the past during the marathon, we would run over the Shoreway at about mile 9-11: not this year. They saved the best for last! The Shoreway is a lovely (sarcasm) bridge with rolling hills and very little crowd support. Miles 24-25.5 were hard on the legs but I got through it! Fall Out Boy’s “Light ‘Em Up” got me through that stretch.
After exiting the Shoreway you are immediately in the heart of Cleveland and the crowds lined the streets. It was an amazing feeling and I sprinted to the finish. I finished in 3:52:31! I was so happy to set a new PR and break from the 3:55 I set in 2010.
After indulging in all of the finish line treats (water, chocolate milk, popsicles, chips, bananas) it was time to hit the showers and hit the road.
The last three times I have run the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, it has been tradition to stop and have a post-race meal at Blazin’ Bills. Can’t stray away from tradition!
We started off with Sweet Potato Fries, then I ordered the Half BBQ Chicken Dinner with baked beans and cole slaw. There is always room for dessert so I finished with Carrot Cake.
I took a quick nap at my mom’s house and got on the road to Virginia around 6:30, got home around 12:30am. Chris and Cody stayed up waiting for me and we immediately went to bed.
This had to be the most fun I had during a marathon. Not because I PR’d. I think this year’s Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon was more special to me because I was a Blogger/Ambassador for the marathon and I felt that I represented a small part of it as well as the awesome city of Cleveland. The race was very well-organized and I know I said it before but the new course is amazing!
Thank you to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon organizers for letting me be a part of the marathon this year and fingers crossed I am back in 2015!
Now it’s time to foam roll….again!