If you asked me to describe this past weekend’s race experience in Cleveland in one word, it would have to be: INSANE!
But, before I get to race day…
Just like years past, I drove home last Friday, picked up my mom and headed to Cleveland where we checked into the Brownstone Inn. This year my mother and I attended the VIP Reception and I was finally able to meet some of the other ambassadors face-to-face. Some I have been talking to for the last three years on social media but have never met them. They gave me such an amazing welcome and that made me even more proud to be a part of this talented group of bloggers/runners:
Dinner was delicious and the race directors were not only getting runners excited for this year’s Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon but next year’s as well: the big 4-0! Afterwards mom and I walked around the city:
Saturday, it was business as usual as I headed to the expo to pick up my race packet as well as Tim’s and any other necessary items. That included, throw away gloves (for both of us) and a long sleeve shirt for me. Yep! It was May and I was buying gloves and a warmer shirt. The weather report for Sunday was looking cold with a chance of a wintry mix. Only. In. Cleveland!
This shirt sums up Cleveland weather nicely:
All day Saturday it rained off and on and the wind off of Lake Erie did not let up. Tim arrived into town so the three of us indulged in some goodies from the West Side Market (can you see my hand?!):
We drove and walked around the city checking out the sites and Tim and I agreed on our race goal: Hit or beat 1:50.
After dinner as I laid out my outfit for race day, Tim texted me, “Whatever you do, don’t look outside.” I immediately went to bed.
I woke up the next morning at 4:30am, got dressed, ate my bagel and yogurt and downed some coffee before mom and I left to pick up Tim. There was snow and sleet on mom’s car! All we could do was laugh. A race was going to be ran no matter what. Because what’s my mantra?! “EMBRACE THE SUCK!“
Leading up to the race there was just a fine mist falling from the sky. Tim and I walked past Lebron and into Quicken Loans Arena where we could use the restrooms at Tower City and stand inside until we absolutely had to make our way to the start. 10-minutes to 7:00am: we walked outside.
At the start of the race, the weather was actually perfect! Breezy but nothing falling from the sky. At mile 2 however: Mother Nature had other plans
At first Tim and I thought stuff was being thrown at us. Turns out, that “stuff” was hail! We headed over the Lorraine-Carnegie Bridge towards the West Side Market and all we could do was laugh as hail bounced off of us. All of us runners said, “That’s Cleveland for you!”
The miles flew by on the flat half marathon course but soon the hail stopped and then came back. Then it changed to wet snow and then rain. At times the weather would let up and then it would come back with vengeance. I preferred the hail because at least we weren’t getting wet. But soon we were all soaked and trying to dodge puddles.
Tim and I kept a great pace throughout: about a 8:09-8:15. I had been dealing with a bad cough leading up to the race and around mile 11 I could feel my chest tightening. Also, I was getting that “feeling” in my hip. After Tim and I belted out the chorus to Jimmy Buffet’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise” I told him to go ahead of me. He was feeling great the whole race and I cheered him on as he ran ahead.
At mile 12 I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see that damn Shoreway! I remember fist pumping the air multiple times as I heard “Thunderstruck” being played as I started the climb up and over the Shoreway. By that point I was soaked to the bone, rain was hitting me in the face and all I kept on telling myself don’t slow down. That 1:50 was mine.
I sprinted across the finish at 1:50:23 and immediately started dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” as I got my medal. Well to me it was dancing but I am sure my leg’s weren’t moving the way I thought they were!
I immediately found Tim who finished two minutes before me (so happy for him!) and mom and we made a beeline for the warmth of the car! Unfortunately I got into an insane coughing fit immediately following the race. (Monday after the race I would find out I have a respiratory issue and allergies. I have never dealt with either and am now using an inhaler and an antihistamine. #luckyme)
Despite the insane conditions, it was an amazing race. I hadn’t originally set out to “race” it but I am glad I did and glad I had Tim there to challenge me. Cleveland is a city full of surprises, hope and heartache. But on race day it was filled with determination. I’ll be back in 2017 you can bet on it!
Today, I am a little stiff and the hip gives me trouble every so often but I can’t complain: I got through one more race!
Tim and I have agreed that after running through Hurricane Joaquin last October, running in the cold in Philly last November and now this: we are headed to a tropical race and taking our spouses!
I have to give a huge THANK YOU to each and every volunteer out on the race course. All I saw were smiling faces along the course looking to help out the runners in any way possible. You are all rock stars!
And last but not least: a shout out to my mom. It was her sixth time cheering me on in Cleveland!
What crazy weather conditions happened at a race you have run?
Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday!