The Most Cleveland Race Ever: 2016 Cleveland half marathon race recap

I look forward to the Cleveland marathon all year! It's by far my favorite race and although Cleveland is an hour from where I live, I consider it my hometown race. The past two years have been even sweeter to me because I was lucky enough to have been chosen as an ambassador for the race which means I get to blog about my training and basically get to hang out with some badass runners. I'd be lying if I said that these people didn't change my life. They get me and I can talk running and I just love them!

I was like a kid on Christmas Friday morning, I couldn't wait to get to the expo! It's always exciting to get to the expo because it's the wind up. Picking up my race packet is a thrill and seeing all the runners coming thru just makes you so excited to be a part of it all. Plus this year, my friend Stephanie asked me to help work the Sparkly Soul headband booth! Of course! I couldn't wait to get up there! It was just as great as I had imagined. As a former retail manager, it was just like home. I like helping people buy things and espically a product I use and LOVE. We spent all day talking to people and showing them how great they were. My mom took a ride up early with me since she'd be joining me at the VIP dinner that evening so even she got in on the fun! Stephanie's awesome cousin showed up just in time to take over the booth so that we could go get all fancied up for the dinner. 

The VIP dinner never disappoints. It's held at the Hyatt arcade downtown and it's just beautiful! The tables were all set up and live music was playing while the aroma of delicious food wafted through the air. And the best part was the people! One by one all of the ambassadors were there and it was like homecoming! We were all so excited to see each other! These people are like family and we were just soaking in all the time we had together! We immediately had a few large tables filled up and were chatting it up and enjoying the delicious food and drinks. This year the Marathon Martini tasted even better than last years! Tito's vodka never disappoints! One of my favorite new people to meet was Stephani's son Ben who had the same view on the chocolate cake that I did, eat it fast! 

We spent the evening visiting and taking too many selfies. And before the party winded down we all lined up for the annual group shot! It's like a big family picture and you can feel the love! It was an incredible night and I didn't want it to end. 

This is the first year that Cleveland did a challenge series which you can run an 8k race on Saturday and Half marathon on Sunday and receive a bonus third medal. Of course I was on board with that! Plus as the inaugural year, it just seemed like a really fun thing to do! The weather however wasn't on board with a race. On the way to the start, Lynanne (my running buddy) and I almost quit before we started but my dad, who was doing the 5k, said he was still going to do it.  So, we said ok and shut up. While we we're lining up I ran into fellow ambassador Joe, Melissa, Stephanie, and Andrew. They were all running too, so that made it fun. We watched the 5k-ers take off and then before we knew it, we were off too! I ignored all the weather advisories and packed shorts to run in. It was May after all but luckily at the last minute I threw in a few sweatshirts too. It was so cold, rainy, and the wind! By the time we hit the the last mile the wind was INTENSE! I think the wind would be similar if I was sailing a ship on the high seas! It whipped in your face and almost took your breath away! Despite the weather conditions, our time wasn't all that bad. It felt like a slower paced run but I had no idea that it would be preparing me for more to come one Sunday. 

After thawing out a little Lynanne, dad and I headed to the expo to get back to the Sparkly Soul booth! It was a fun day filled with lots of people stopping by that we knew running the race and helping people find just the right headband! By the time 6pm filled around we were pooped and headed back to the hotel room and ordered a pizza and crashed!  I love a run cation and staying in town for a race is such a wonderful luxury!

Race morning was filled with excitement, as it always is! I sprung out of bed and got dressed in record time, still paying zero attention to the weather advisories. I had gotten a cute new tank from my sister for Mother's Day that I was wearing no matter what. I threw on an old sweatshirt that I planned to take off by mile 2 but that never quite happened. 

We ran to the start and found some of the other ambassadors for a quick picture and then ran into one of my favorite co-workers and his family too. It's always fun to know that I have friends out there on the course. Before we knew it "Cleveland rocks" (God bless Drew Carey) was playing and I get goosebumps every time and we were off! I love love love the start of a race and this was no different! It was cold but I figured that it would warm up soon. I couldn't have been more wrong with the that thought.

By mile 3 I was in a groove and I was still COLD! The misty rain had started and the hail began. It was a slow hail but it was still hail and I couldn't believe it was May! In between precipitation, I thought about tossing my jacket off, but something made me keep it on even though it was the least ideal running jacket ever. Between mile 5 and 6 is where the rain and hail really picked up and it's where I began to loose feeling in my fingers and hands. Lynanne and I stopped for each fluid station and took little walk breaks. Considering the awful weather conditions, the miles seemed to tick by one by one. It was about mile 9 that the snow started and I was thinking what I the world. I remember telling Lynanne not to remember this moment when I ask her to run Cleveland again next year. As we made our way to the shore way we were greeted once again with some intense wind whipping at us. It was a short out and back to get onto the shore way that I was warned about and luckily the wind was at our back for the longer part of it.  Lynanne sprinted ahead to the mile 12 potty stop and I tried to slow jog to the break stop. She wasn't done by the time I got there and then for another 30 seconds o more so I had to keep going. I really wanted to hit my PR from two years ago. 2:25. I had the times I had to hit for miles 5 and 10 written on my arm so I knew if I was on pace. For most of the race I was at least 2-4 minutes ahead of what I needed to do but towards the end with the wind I wanted to make sure I hit my goal. During the last 5 minutes I ran into my sisters old college roommate Kate! We stuck together and ran it in. I was so happy to see the flags at the end signaling the race was just about done. I crossed the finish line and looked back and Lynanne was right behind me! We did it and with a new PR of 2:21:23!!! I got my medal from my friend Andrew's wife. For the weather and all of the stuff stacked against us it was the most beautiful sign in the world! As soon as we ended the race we grabbed some milk and snacks and a Mylar wrap and ran to the booth for the Challenge series medal. There I ran into the owner Jack, he said congrats and we commented on the crazy weather. Just then the hugest clap of thunder struck and you could hear everyone gasp. I was sure they would close the course but it was only one time so the race continued on. It was so windy and the hail was so awful at this point we made the decision to run straight to the hotel. I knew my parents were out there but I couldn't even use my hands to grab my phone to call them. We had about a  block walk to the hotel and the hail was so hard that we had to hide at a bus stop for a few minutes to take a break from the weather. We finally made it back to the hotel and finally warmed up about an hour or so later. Cold to the bone was the correct term to describe the feeling. 

It was a race for the books to say the least. People are calling it the Most Cleveland Race Ever and it's sticking! It was intense but I think it bonded us all together! I'm so proud to have finished and with a PR! I'm so proud of my friends who ran and really braved the elements earring PRs as well and anyone who braved to be out there! I know anyone running that day will never forget it! Also a huge thank you to the staff and the all of the amazing volunteers and spectators who were out there cheering us on in the craziest of race conditions I have ever seen! Cleveland, you have some serious things to work out with Mother Nature but I can't wait to run you again next year for the 40th anniversary race!!! 


Farewell Bane

By the time anyone reads this it will be the day, the day of closing on the house. Tuesday night I took the last load, my mattress and the cleaning supplies that I had left there to give it a last once over. As I scrubbed the tub for the last time, I thought about all of the baths I gave the kids, all the giggles and the splashed walls and when we put that new tub in and how I thought it was so luxurious until I sat in it and it was not even close to a soaking tub. But it felt awesome to me. I looked into the kids room and remember picking out that perfect shade of blue for my sweet Ryan to come home to. And I remember rocking him to sleep in that chair until my alarm woke me up. Walking out of my room for the last time I remember spending weeks painting the walls, getting all the trim bright white, making curtains that still hang there and making it my perfect haven to relax in after a long day. Walking down the steps I clearly remember all of the choo choo rides the kids and I took down the stairs at 6am, already late for work, but needing to take a minute to make sure their day started off in a happy way. I remember standing at the bottom of the steps calling my sister to tell her that Jack was on the way. The entry way reminds me of walking into that house the first time how overwhelming I knew that this was home and this was the house that I would bring babies home to and have parties on the deck. The living room that proudly displayed my grandparents Christmas tree in every corner of the room one year or another and the floor that hosted many campouts. The dining room that eventually turned into the full time play room. Mopping the floor in the kitchen for the last time brought back all of the party prep memories of mopping the floor early into the morning before all of the parties and holidays that we hosted. I love hosting parties and I was always so proud to have people over for a party or family get together.  Standing at the sink will forever remind me of the last time I talked on the phone to my aunt before she passed. 

I can’t say I didn’t know how great I had it until it was gone, because I did know how lucky I was when I lived there! I loved that house and painted pretty much every square inch of it in the last almost decade that I lived there.  I loved eating on the deck after work and showing the kids how to ride bikes in the drive. I love that what started out as a friendly neighbor relationship turned into a second set of parents to me and another set of grandparents to the kids. I love that when the fence fell down, it felt like our yard doubled and it was our collective yard with them and driveway dinners were a nightly tradition when it was warm out. I loved that they could peek into the back window and the kids would go running towards them. I loved the memories of both of my maternity leaves spending so much time at home with the babies and learning to be a mom within those four walls. 

I cried leaving the house again because of all the happy times but i know that home is where you make it and we will have another home that feels just as cozy. And I couldn't be happier with the people that will now live there. When I got the offer paperwork I googled them and they look adorable. They have hung in with us on this long process and I know that they are the right people to live in that beautiful house that I was lucky enough to call my own for a while.  So this weekend, when they stay at the address that I still write on paperwork as mine out of habit, they will be home, but so will I. Because a home, like life, is what you make it. 


I'm a Runner of Steel: Pittsburgh Marathon race report

This past weekend was the MOST FUN! Yep, I mean that IN ALL CAPS! I know it’s already Friday, but Lynanne and I had a blast running. She showed up bright an early on Saturday am about 5:45 and we were on our way! We got to Pittsburgh early, picked up our 5K bibs and headed back to the car to drop stuff off. It was a little chilly in the morning but we knew once we got going that we would be ok. It was a pretty sweet set up for a 5K!  We waited around for a little bit, but then we were off. My goal was to PR since it had been since December that I had run a 5K. I knew that even though my training had been on and off, I stood a pretty good chance to beat my current PR (29:57).  We started off strong and kept moving. I had never run in Pittsburgh before so it was a cool way to see the sights. We ran past her old college apartment and some bridges. We high fived at mile 1 and 2 and then before I knew it, we were at mile 3 and she yelled for me to go ahead. Then we sprinted to the finish line and we did it! We beat the time by more than 30 seconds! Official time 29:24! I was so happy!  It really gave me the confidence I needed to know that the half marathon was going to be ok!

After we high fived and caught our breath we headed over to the expo!  Being a runner at an expo is like Christmas to a kid!  It’s so exciting! And the coolest thing is that I was able to work it and represent the Cleveland Marathon! I couldn’t stay the whole time, but I spent a good chunk of the day there with Ralph the race director and we had fun! It was so great talking to people about a race that I love!  Lots of people had good things to say about it and the city! 


We left the expo and stopped for a late lunch and then I got in a quick nap. Being on the road before 6 started to take its toll on me! Later that night we grabbed some dinner at the casino and then headed back to get a good night’s rest! Let me tell you, getting a good night of sleep with no kids or cats waking me up was amazing! I was a little worried about the weather because the forecast was calling for thunderstorms in the morning.  Lucky for us, the weather held out and we got the green light to run!

Our hotel was right at the finish line so it was great to get right up and be able to walk a few minutes to the start line. I got chills at the national anthem and tears in my eyes when the wheelchair division took off! There is something about the quiet before a race that always gets me! Since we were back in corral D, it took us about 30 minutes to even get to the start line. 


The first few miles kind of flew by! And we hit the first 3 bridges right in a row! It was lightly sprinkling before we started and then it started to really rain hard at the end of mile 1 but it cleared up by the end of mile 2. I took a picture of us on the first bridge and then decided that I need to do that on all the bridges! So, we have the same picture on 5 different bridges basically! (You're welcome for that open mouth Grover shot of yours truely)


The crowds in Pittsburgh were awesome!!! The crowd support always gets me going and this race was a home run for that! I didn’t even bother bringing my headphones! There were people and bands and signs for every mile and we ate it up! It’s just what you need to keep going when the going gets tough!  We stopped for a few dance breaks and had a beer about mile 11 and damn did that taste good!

When some people peeled off to do the full marathon we turned left and headed back to the finish line and I thought I might have a twinge of regret that I wasn’t doing the full, but I was never happier with any decision! I was exhausted and ready to be done! When we got where we could see the finish line, we really took off and sprinted to the end. It was great! I was so proud of us! It’s been a rough training season and I can’t even sugarcoat that life really took a toll on me the last few months, but I did it!

It was awesome!  We headed to the post-race party and waited in line for our 3rd medal that officially deemed us “Runners of Steel”. We took some post-race pictures because they had some mad awesome props and then headed back for a much needed shower and lunch!

We were back in the car and no time and it felt almost like Cinderella after the ball.  This week I rested quite a bit and I’ll be taking is somewhat easy this week to rest for Cleveland! My saving grace is that Cleveland is a week away!  I cannot wait!!!! I love this race, I love the other ambassadors and it’s going to be an awesome CLE experience in 7 days! And I’m going to do what it takes to PR the course! I’m coming for you Cleveland!

Don’t forget to follow the other amazing bloggers  this week as they talk about their race day prep! And you can find me on facebook , IG, and twitter! Go ahead, you know you want to!