Some of the other Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon bloggers and I had a great opportunity on Wednesday night. The marathon coordinated an official blogger meet-up at Bar Louie in downtown Cleveland! I was extremely excited about attending because it would give me a chance to meet some of the others in real life (I already felt like I knew them from Twitter and their blogs) and see some of the peeps I already knew from running. Raymond, being my trusty supporter, was able to attend, too.
We went to Cleveland early because I had to make a stop by Cleveland Clothing Company, one of my favorite stores. I won an amazing clothing prize pack from Glam Karen a few weeks ago, but some of the shirts were a little big. The store let me exchange them with no issues, and I was even able to swap out one that wasn’t quite my color (paleness is an issue for me) for one that was a little more… fabulous.
Raym and I were able to find a great street parking spot (he credits this to his “good parking karma”) and started walking to the restaurant. Another person parked in front of us, and she looked like Jessica Humphrey but I wasn’t sure. I always get nervous about approaching people, just in case they aren’t who I thought they were. When we got to the door, she recognized me and asked if I was Stephanie. I was right; she was Jessica. I was very happy to meet her in person because we’ve had Twitter conversations and comment on one another’s blogs. She’s super cool, if you didn’t know that already, and a busy mom like me.
Jessica, Raymond, and I were the first people to get there, and the Bar Louie staff took us back to the party room where we were going to have the event. How nice! I didn’t know we would have our own private party room! We grabbed a table and ordered some drinks. I earned a Summer Shandy after a day home with a sick little one.
More people started coming – Brian Michal and his fiancée Katie, Jessica Bagwell, Matt Beal, Renessa Banks, Joe Fell and his wife Sheila, and Jamie Johnston. Unfortunately, some of the other local bloggers and those living out of state couldn’t make it. We even got a chance to meet Mark Lindsley, who virtually attended from Texas (and shared with us that he was wearing shorts and a t-shirt when we were still freezing our butts off in Cleveland).
We also had a chance to meet some of the great people who put this entire race and blogger opportunity together. Joan Freese, Race Coordinator with the Cleveland Marathon, was there and presented us with some great goodies as a thank-you for being bloggers. Leigh Greenfelder, Vice President, and Bethany English, Assistant Account Executive, from Highland PR came too, and they are the official PR people for the marathon. I was very happy to finally meet Bethany, who has been coordinator extraordinaire for the official bloggers and has had to endure countless emails from me. I was extremely impressed when she went around the table and named every single person there, even spouses/girlfriends/boyfriends. This just proves that Highland PR and the Cleveland Marathon see this blogger thing as more than just another job. They genuinely read and care about our posts. Thanks, ladies!
Jessica H., Renessa, Brian, Mark, Joe F., and Jamie – So great to finally meet you, and I hope you know how much I enjoy reading your blogs. Best of luck with your training and can’t wait to see you all again.
Jessica B (soon to be M.) and Beal – It makes me smile whenever I get to see you! So glad we have this opportunity together. You are inspiring to me, as always.
Michelle, Heather, Joe R., Krissy, Thomas, Amy, Mary, Christian, Alicia, and Evan – Sorry you weren’t able to make the event, but I hope we can connect before the race. I also love reading your blogs and hearing about your lives. Best wishes for successful training!
All Marathon Bloggers – I love that we all have unique journeys and reasons for running, but the one thing that brings us all together is the Cleveland Experience. Reading about your training and runs has helped me when I needed a motivation boost, made me laugh out loud at some of the hilarities that have ensued, brought me to tears when I read about your struggles, and more than anything, solidified my belief that runners are an excellent group who are there supporting each other, regardless of speed, experience, age, gender, race, etc. I am so proud to be part of this. Thank you! Keep calm and run on!
And Readers – It doesn’t matter if you’re a runner or not; the official bloggers have great stories to share. We are all different, so you should find someone on the list of 19 people that you can connect with. Give the Run. Train. Blog. page a look and see what we have been up to.