Tag Archives: run CLE

10 tips for 10 days

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Race day for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is almost here! We are 10 days out, so it seemed appropriate to share 10 tips for the next 10 days.

  1. Pack for any and all weather scenarios! We all saw what happened last year – ice, snow, rain, sleet, thunder, wind. And the year before that turned out to be crazy hot and humid. This is spring in Cleveland, and you don’t know one day to the next how the weather will behave. Do yourself a favor and plan for anything, so you’re not rushing to the store trying to buy clothes to accommodate.
  2. Don’t try anything new on race day. It doesn’t matter if it’s clothing, shoes, food, race fuel; just don’t do it! One year, I made the rookie mistake of wearing my new compression socks I had never raced in because I heard that were great for running. After one of the worst race experiences (not entirely from the socks but they certainly didn’t help matters), I swore I wouldn’t do it again. Although it’s enticing to want to try the goodies you bought at the Expo or things that just shipped from Amazon, save yourself the trouble and race how you trained.
  3. Check out this year’s race course maps. It’s important to know where you will be running, as well as elevation changes, water stops, gel steps, first aid stations, and bathrooms. Also, the Shore way is out, and the new finish at the renovated Public Square is in! For those running the 5K and 8K, it’s no longer at Edgewater Park but downtown like the rest of the events. Like me, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the changes.
  4. If you’re looking for an easy carb-loading solution for Saturday night, try the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Pasta Dinner! The dinner will be held May 20 from 6:00-8:00PM at the Hyatt Regency in the Arcade. Tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for children, and it’s an all-you-can-eat dinner with salads, various pastas, rolls, beverages, and desserts.
  5. Know the packet pick-up times at the Expo. If you’re running the 5K or 8K, you can pick up your packet on Friday, May 19 anytime between 11:00AM and 7:00PM, and there is race-day pick-up option on Saturday beginning at 6:30AM. Running the 10K, half, or full? You can pick up on Friday or anytime on Saturday, May 20 between 10:00AM and 6:00PM. There is no race-day pick-up for Sunday’s races. Make sure you bring your ID, and if you can’t pick up your own packets, someone can do it for you as long as they have a picture of your ID.
  6. If you’re gunning for a goal time in the half or full, consider running with the Pace Teams! Pace teams are there for motivation and to help you meet your goal. Why not take advantage of them?! I used it last year to help me get my first sub-4:00 marathon and plan on starting with the Pace Team again. Pace Team members carry a sign to make them visible along the course, so you can’t miss them. There’s a whole slew of them for various times ranging from a 3:00 marathon to a 5:25 marathon. For the half, pace times range from 1:30 to 3:00.
  7. If you’re spectating, get a plan together. On the Marathon’s website, they list the best spots to watch the race and list the neighborhood parties. Plan where you need to be to help motivate your runner when he/she needs it most. Seeing your smiling face may be the best part of the race!
  8. Know the official energy gel and sports drink sponsors. If you’re like me, you can only use certain gels, or your stomach officially hates you during the run. Know what will be provided along the course to help you prepare. This year, the official energy gel is Honey Stinger (can I get an AMEN!?), and the official sports drink is PowerAde. Gels will be available at mile 8 and before mile 19. As for hydration, there are 18 stops along the marathon course, 8 for the half, and 3 for the 10K. Each will have water and PowerAde.
  9. Get your race morning schedule together. If you’re staying downtown, this should be easier, but if you’re traveling into Cleveland on the day of the race, pay attention to which roads will be closed and when. If you’re running Saturday, plan to be in Cleveland by 7:00AM at the latest, as the races start at 8:00AM. On Sunday, get into the city before 6:00AM because that is when roads start closing. Sunday’s races start at 7:00AM.
  10. Prepare to party your butt off and celebrate your accomplishment! Join runners and spectators at the Great Lakes Brewing Company 26.3 Mile Finish Line Rock Party at Public Square that features live music, food and beverages, and a beer garden for those 21 and over (ID required). It’s open to the public, so everyone can enjoy it.

Soooooo, good luck, enjoy these last 10 day, and get ready to run CLE!

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my cle marathon history

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If you’re like me and counting down the weeks until we run CLE, you’ll know that we are just about 7 weeks from the big day! The time is flying by, and race day will be here before we know it. At least we are finally moving from winter to spring and getting some nice weather for outdoor training. I’m pretty much over the treadmill.

Over the last two or so weeks, I started thinking about my experience with the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. It goes deeper than the 5 years I have been an ambassador. Here’s a little Cleveland Marathon by the numbers.

2009: This was the first year I participated in a RACM event. I was fresh into running, having just started in February, and wanted to dip my toes into something besides a 5K. A friend at the time was running the half, so I tagged along with her to run the 10K. I felt nervous and out of place around all of these people who looked like “real runners.” That feeling went away quickly after I started running and kept receiving words of encouragement from the participants and crowd alike. I crossed the finish line in 1:02:08. This race lit a fire under my butt to run longer.

2010: To date, this is the only year I have not participated in some fashion. Personal life got in the way, and I actually took a break from running.

2011: My very first half marathon, a running milestone! This was also one of the first races where I felt confident in my training. I was by no means fast, but I was consistent and ready. I had a feeling of euphoria when I hit the 11.5 mile mark with not having run anything farther than that before. It was like venturing into uncharted territory. My legs felt great, I wasn’t tired, and I didn’t have to walk. The only thing that took away from my happiness was a dreaded bathroom break around mile 12. I should have known this was a foreshadowing of things to come in CLE. Finish time – 2:17:45

2012: This was the year I ran my very first Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon! (I completed my first marathon in Honolulu in December 2011) I won a free race entry from Jessica McCartney, and I thought, “What the hell?!” With a free entry I might as well go big. I had some IT band and knee issues during training that set me back a bit, but I felt like I was up for the challenge of 26.2 miles. Unfortunately, my stomach had other plans. Everything felt pretty good aside from the warm weather, but once I hit the half split, I was a hot mess. I can honestly say I hit up every single port-o-potty from the halfway point to the finish and made my way through the miles with a run-walk combination. Each step was a struggle, and I cried when I hit the finish line, thankful to be done. That was 5:22:22 on the pain train.

2013: I couldn’t let my absolutely awful race in 2012 break me, and I wanted redemption in 2013. This was also my first year as a RACM ambassador (official blogger back then), so I joyfully signed up for the full again. Training was going well, and I was getting faster. Impinged fat pads slowed me down a bit during training, and I went to the start line feeling a little unprepared. Although super hot, the race went well for me…until the damn second half when stomach trouble reared its ugly head. Although not as bad as the 2012 race, it still slowed me down, and I remember crying on the course. I thought I had this under control but apparently not (it would take until the next year for me to get smart and take Imodium before the race). I finished in 4:49:20, not as well as I had hoped but a whole hell of a lot better than the year before.

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2014: My 3rd attempt at the CLE marathon and Dan’s first. We trained together for this race. I needed him to help me get faster, and he needed me because I had marathon experience. On race day, the weather was cool and crisp, and I was well prepared for this race both mentally and physically. Miles clipped by, and this was the first time I made it past the halfway point without a bathroom break! This was also the first time running 26.2 miles where it felt, if I dare say, easy, and this was probably my most enjoyable race to date. I crossed the finish in 4:24:52 with a leap across the line and a smile on my face! 2014 was also the first year I tried something new and added a race on Saturday. My parents, Dan, and I walked the 5K, and I loved that even though my parents are not runners, they still participate and support me.

2015: Again a CLE ambassador, my plan was to run the full, but I switched down to the half before race day. No worries, I suppose. On Saturday, I ran the 5K with all four of my kids. Yes, ALL FOUR…even my daughter who hates running. They all had a great time and liked getting medals and snacks at the end. On Sunday, I lined up for my second CLE half marathon, which made me laugh considering I had run the full three times already. Everything was going well, and for me, I was running fast. I ran out of steam a little near the end, slowing down a bit, but I still managed to run a race I was proud of. 1:55:54 and it was my first time running a long distance race under a sub-9:00 pace. PR party for me!

2016: The. Most. Cleveland. Race. Ever! The terrible weather conditions started on Saturday when my absolutely awesome parents joined me in the wind, rain, and cold for the 8K/5K. Dad and I walked the 8K, running at times because that’s how he does it, and Mom and our family friend Julia walked the 5K. I remember just about crying to my dad that I put in so much work training for the marathon to have it derailed by weather. He told me to just go out and do my best. And that is exactly what I did. My plan was a sub-4 hour marathon. I had quite a few people tell me it would not be possible, and I kept using that as fuel when the weather got worse and my legs got tired. I ended up having to walk for a hot minute on the dreaded Shoreway, but through my happy tears, I mustered the remaining leg strength I had to cross the finish in 3:57:19. I did it! My first sub-4 hour marathon!!!!

So what will 2017 bring? I was dragging my feet a bit with signing up. I knew I was planning to run the full marathon but as undecided about the Challenge Series. Mom and Dad agreed to walk with me again, so that made my decision easy. Full Marathon/8K Challenge Series it is! I’m trained up to 18 miles and feel pretty good about where I stand with my training cycle. It’s true I was better prepared last year, but I don’t feel as though I am too far off. As much as I want to run CLE all out and see how fast I can go with the new course, I need to play it smart with having the Green Jewel 50K about 3 weeks later. An injury in CLE means no ultramarathon, which is a bucket list item for me. For the next 8 weeks. I need to remain focused, continue to get my training runs in, and step up my nutrition game. Seven more weeks. We’ve got this.

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20 (running) questions and a GIVEAWAY

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Let’s play a little game of 20 (running) questions, shall we? Here it goes!

  1. When did you start running?

I first laced up a pair of beat-up shoes in February 2009. I left my house wearing entirely too many layers, made it about half a mile, and thought I was going to die. But I kept running, and I’m so happy I didn’t.

  1. Where do you usually train?

I’m lucky enough to be able to train around my house. We live in a subdivision, and although it doesn’t have sidewalks, I feel safe running on the roads. Right in my backyard is a township park with an oval-shaped paved path, so the kids play while I run. I also have a membership to Planet Fitness (hey, don’t knock it! They have the best treadmills around!) and an older treadmill at home that help me get the miles in.

  1. What’s the farthest distance you’ve run on a treadmill?

22 freaking miles! It was during one of my Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon training cycles. I ran it at World Gym and got many weird looks from staff and other gym-goers like, “This lady is bat-shit crazy!” And it was kinda awesome.

  1. What’s your go-to carb loading meal?

One word – CHIPOTLE!!!! My usual is a scoop of brown and white rice, chicken, black beans, mild salsa, corn salsa, and cheese. Honestly, I’m hungry just typing that.

  1. What’s your favorite distance to race?

I go back and forth between the marathon and half marathon. Just when I think I picked one as my top choice, I find another reason to love the other more. The things that lures me to both races are the mental and physical challenges.

  1. What was your first race?

St. Malachi 2-miler in March 2009. At the time, it was my longest run to date. I’m pretty sure I still have the shirt saved somewhere.

  1. What are three items you can’t be without on a run?

This one is really easy – a Sparkly Soul headband, Oiselle Mac Roga shorts, and my Garmin.

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  1. Do you run alone or with a group?

I much prefer to run alone. It’s really the only time I get to myself.

  1. What do you use for fuel during a long run?

I’ve tried a lot of things. Some work for me, and some definitely don’t. My favorite run fuel is Honey Stingers Gold gel. I’ve also tried Accel Gel, and that works pretty well, too. Also, never underestimate how great honey packets are for fueling. If I’m at Chick-fil-A, I usually grab a few extra to stash in my running bag. Sorry I’m not sorry, Chick-fil-A.

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  1. What’s your bucket list race?

I have dreams of someday making it to Boston, but I know that will take a lot of hard work and dedication that I can’t honestly put in right now. I would also like to run the Big Sur International Marathon because it looks beautiful.

  1. Have you ever been on a race-cation?

Yep! I ran my first marathon in Hawaii. How’s that for a kick-off to marathon running?! And I try to sneak in some running/racing when I visit my brother and sister-in-law who live near Seattle.

  1. What songs power you through a tough run?

No matter how many times I’ve heard them, “My Body” by Young the Giant, “Ten Tonne Skeleton” by Royal Blood, “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance, and “Ride” by twenty one pilots always help motivate me.

  1. What’s the craziest thing you’ve had happen to you on a run?

I was attacked by a Canadian goose when I first started running, and a guy in a truck had to scare it away. I was also chased by a threesome of wild turkeys while running in Westlake. Scared the crap out of me!

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  1. What’s your least favorite race distance?

5Ks are my least favorite, but I love running them with my kids. Give me a 10-miler or half marathon any day.

  1. How do you recover from a long run?

A hot bath and a cold beer! If it’s the end of a race, I love chocolate milk.

  1. What are your PRs (personal records)?

Marathon – 3:57:19 (2016 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon)

Half Marathon – 1:54:45 (2015 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon half)

5K – 23:28 (2015 Downtown Willoughby 5K)

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  1. Have you sustained any injuries from running?

Knock on wood, I have been healthy for the past few seasons, but I’ve had IT band and knee issues in the past.

  1. What’s one piece of advice you would give new runners?

Running is a tough sport, but it only gets easier the more you do it. Take your time, be patient, and go at your own pace. The only person you’re competing against is yourself.

  1. If you could only race one distance, what would it be?

I would probably say the half marathon. It offers the challenge, which I love, but the training schedule isn’t as grueling as a full.

  1. How has running changed you?

Running has helped me realize I am stronger and capable of more than I thought possible. I never imagined I would run 3 miles, and now I run 26 for fun. Running has brought me confidence, friendships, and a healthy outlet for stress, and I can’t think of how my life would be without it.

 

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Whew, that was fun! You know what else is fun? Giving away a free entry to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race of your choice, so you can be part of the 40th anniversary celebration! As an ambassador, I receive a free entry for myself and one to give away. Head over to my Instagram account (stephplusfour) and check it out! The giveaway starts today, Monday, March 6 and goes through Saturday, March 11, and there will be an opportunity to enter every day. The winner will be randomly selected on Sunday, March 12, and he/she has 24 hours to claim the prize before another winner is selected. Unfortunately, if you already registered for a CLE Marathon race, you aren’t able to win to recoup your cost, but you can run a race on another day (for example, you can run the 5K or 8K on the Saturday before the 10K, half, and full). Good luck!

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do something that scares you

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I’m sure you’ve heard that if you want to conquer a fear and grow as a person, you need to do something that scares you. Something, anything. Just do it, as Nike says. Well…I did something scary and exciting and crazy, something that has been a bucket list item for a few years now. I registered for my first ultramarathon – the Green Jewel 50K on June 10! If you’re wondering what’s an ultramarathon, it’s anything over the 26.2-mile distance in a standard marathon (haha as if 26.2 miles could ever be considered standard). Fifty kilometers (31.068 miles) is like the gateway drug, the first foray to ultramarathoning, and I’m jumping in.

I’ve been eying this race for the past 2 years, but there have been a few reasons why I never pulled the trigger. One was the timing. The race had been held in March, which fell during a really bad time in my training cycle. There was no way I was remotely close to being trained up enough to run this race. Not even close. The other was weather because March can be so damn unpredictable. Cold, wind, and rain? No thanks. Throw schedules and family commitments into the mix, and it just didn’t work.

The racing gods were looking out because the date changed from March to June. I will already be trained up because of running the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon on May 21. It’s also on a weekend the kids are with their dad, and we have no family commitments on the calendar! Win, win, win, win!!!! The only thing left to do was register. As I typed in my information, my heart raced. Could I do this? Am I able to run that far? What if I fall apart at mile 27? Would I fail miserably? Then I told that negative voice in my head to shut the hell up, clicked the register button, drew a long breath, and smiled. Thirty-six sounds like a great year to be even more badass.

Have you ever run an ultramarathon? Do you have any tips or words of wisdom?

#shareCLE – akron marathon relay recap

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Awesome. Amazing. Fabulous. Those are some of the words to describe my Akron Marathon Relay experience. I was fortunate enough to run the relay with a few of my Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon ambassador friends (Andrew, Melissa, and Jill) and Dan, who has kinda become an unofficial ambassador for CLE due to the fact I drag him around to lots of events. I’ve never run a relay before, like most of my team, so I was a little nervous about signing up and, frankly, worried about whether or not it would be fun. The race exceeded my expectations and then some.

Dan and I worked Friday but were thankful that they race expo was open late. Not being an Akron regular, I was impressed by how clean the city was when walking around and the organization of the expo. We got our bibs, made the rounds through the booths, and picked up our shirts. I was happy when I saw Joan and Ralph from the CLE marathon and made sure I stopped to chat and snap a pic. Seriously, they are both great people, and it’s always a pleasure running into them at races. And a special thank you to Joan and Mary for coordinating CLE marathon shirts for our relay team!

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Dan and I planned to meet up with Andrew for dinner, but the recent rounds of sickness at our house coupled with Andrew’s desire not to share our germs (can’t blame the guy) kept us in. After a not-so-quick dinner at Bob Evans, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for race day.

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We woke up bright and early Saturday morning, and I was relieved that Dan wasn’t feeling as crappy as he was the night before. I did my usual pre-race ritual, which included perfectly securing my side braid and Sparkly Soul headband and applying makeup. Yes, I always wear makeup for races, so laugh at me or call me a prissy runner or whatever. At least my race pics usually look decent 🙂 When we left the hotel, I was so happy that the weather was cooperating. No rain and mild temps. It was going to be a good race.

The ride to downtown was a quick one, and even though we didn’t make it early enough to miss all of the road closures, we had no trouble getting into downtown and finding a parking spot. Free parking?! Yep, free parking in one of the surface lots. That was greatly appreciated. Thanks, Akron!

We walked the start as I texted our relay team and some of the other fabulous CLE ambassadors to try and meet up. We haven’t seen each other in a while, so the Akron Marathon was a little mini-reunion. Slowly, our group assembled. Unfortunately, not all of us were able to meet up, but seeing Melissa and Jill (two of my relay partners), Melissa B. (who ran the half), Stephani (who ran the half), and Jamie (who completely CRUSHED the full) made me a happy girl and lifted my spirits and excitement levels. I was a little worried about not seeing Andrew, as he was the first leg of the relay, but he seemed to have it under control, even though he had a bit of a bathroom snafu and was worried he was going to miss the start.

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4 out of 5 of team #shareCLE

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some of the lovely CLE marathon ambassadors! (Steph, Jamie, Stephani, Melissa C., Melissa B.)

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It’s rare that I get to see the start of a race, as I am usually standing in the corrals hoping was a great race and praying I don’t need to make one last bathroom trip. It’s was a great experience and exceptionally motivating! After the start line hoopla died down, Dan, Jill, and I talked for a bit and walked to my start for leg 3, which was right down the road. Bonus for me because I am directionally challenged! At my start, we saw Randy from Active Runner and chatted a bit. He mentioned that leg 3 was the hilliest one of the course and asked who was running that one. “That’s me!” I knew Akron was a hilly course but didn’t know that my leg was considered the hilliest by a super awesome and speedy runner. This was going to be fun. Jill and Dan left to take their respective places at their starts, and I settled in. After a few bathroom stops, I knew it was going to be about time for me to run. I was worried I wouldn’t hear my relay bib number called, and I was right. I didn’t hear it, but I saw Melissa speed in from leg 2 and look around for me. I shouted out to her, ran into the street, grabbed the slap bracelet, and bolted. I was so happy to see Andrew on the side yelling for me, and he gave me a little pep I needed after feeling like a failure for not being completely ready to take the bracelet from Melissa.

The first mile came and went, and my watch beeped at 7:44. Crap, that’s a little too fast, but I was feeling great. Then came the climb on Market Street (I think that was the name; I told you, I’m directionally challenged). The hill, though not steep, seemed to go on forever, and I was tired by the time I got to flat ground. Once my watch beeped, I was pleased to see that it was right around 8:20s so not too shabby. Miles 3 and 4 weren’t bad at all with a great pace, and I enjoyed the crowd support and high-fiving the little kids on the course. It’s amazing how a high-five from a kid can pump you up! Around mile 4 was a little less awesome. There was a steep hill that led up to Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, and by the time I made it up to the top and turned into the drive, my legs were depleted. That shit was hard! I tried to gain my strength back and push on, as I knew there wasn’t much distance left in my leg of the relay. Although I was feeling tired, I made sure I smiled for the camera!

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I gained back my leg strength fairly quickly and felt great for the remainder of my leg. Coming into the home stretch, I saw Jill waiting for me, ready to take off, and I smiled! I passed the bracelet, patted her on the back, and stepped off the road. My leg of the relay was done, and I was happy to know that I ran it as best as I possibly could. It was, by far, the most challenging course I’ve run (obviously, I’m a flat race kinda girl). I know it wasn’t the official time, but my watch said 5.6 miles at an 8:00 pace. I’ll take it!

I hopped on the shuttle to go meet up with my team at the finish but decided at the last minute to get off at the leg 5 start to see Dan. He told me not to stop, but I don’t always follow directions. It was nice to see him, tell him about my leg, and wish him good luck. Then I grabbed the shuttle and finally made it back to the stadium for the finish.

When I was arrived, I was happy to see Andrew and Melissa (who dominated legs 1 and 2 of the relay), Stephani, and Melissa B. Then we were joined by Jill and Mary, who works for the CLE marathon and helped get us looking fab in our CLE gear after the race. We had a prime spot near the entrance to the stadium because we wanted to cheer on Jamie as she finished her full and Dan as he brought home our relay. Let me give a little plug for how inspiring Jamie is. Over the past few years, she made a decision to get healthy and lost more than half her weight the old-fashioned way with diet and exercise. She started running, and now, no one can stop her. Girl’s fast, and her determination and work ethic are impeccable. I dare you to find someone who works harder because you would be hard-pressed. We saw her come into the stadium, and our group erupted in cheers. Jamie – we are all so proud of you, and congrats on your awesome PR.

The goal for our relay team was to run a sub-4 hour marathon, and as the clock got closer to 4:00:00, we saw Dan enter the stadium. He looked like he was on a mission and sprinted to the finish as we cheered him on. We did it! Our relay team hit our goal! Official time was 3:57:59.

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After the race, Dan grabbed our medals, and we celebrated! I’m never one to turn down free pizza, chocolate milk, and beer after a race, and it was nice to visit with friends and bask in the awesomeness of the race.

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Mary, Andrew, Jill, Steph, Melissa C., Melissa B., Stephani

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finish line celebration with the guy who puts up with my crazy running crap

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team #shareCLE in all its glory (Andrew, Jill, Dan, Steph, Melissa)

All in all, Akron Marathon was a great experience, and I was so thankful to be part of the amazing #shareCLE team. The race was beautifully run, and I can’t even fathom the coordination that goes into a marathon and half marathon let alone a marathon relay! Akron, you were a well-oiled machine, and I look forward to more races. Team #shareCLE – you rock at life!!!!! Thank you, Andrew, for being our leader and putting together the team. This wouldn’t have happened without you. Thank you, Melissa, for being so positive and upbeat and for not freaking out on me when I wasn’t in the road ready to grab the bracelet. Your positivity makes me smile. Thank you, Jill, for kicking butt on your leg of the race and being our self-proclaimed “slow runner.” You are as much a runner as any of us and have even more heart. Thank you, Dan, for anchoring our team and bringing home a sub-4. With being the last leg, it all fell on you, and as always, you didn’t disappoint (P.S. I love you). Lastly, thank you, Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, for supporting us and letting us represent your organization. I hope we made you proud.

the countdown is on!

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Anyone else out there feel as though they blinked their eyes, and the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon was here?! What seemed so far away when we were busy battling the cold and digging ourselves from the mountains of snow is less than a week away. Thousands of people will come to our great city to prove the months of pain, sweat, and miles were worth it. It is a very personal test, as it’s different for all runners. Some are eyeing a Boston qualifier. Some are hoping to finish. As a middle-of-the-pack runner, I’m shooting for a new half marathon PR. No matter the goal, we will all take our place at the start line together.

I attended a leadership training last Friday called Leadercast at a local host site, and as I was listening to the speakers, many of their comments struck me. The theme of this year’s event was The Brave Ones. I guess my head was tuned in to running and racing, and I started thinking that we as runners are leaders. I think it’s the nature of the sport – we are constantly supporting and driving others to take up running, to run just a bit faster, to achieve what was thought unattainable. I dare any runner, whether elite, middle-of-the-pack, or slower paced, to say that he or she hasn’t inspired someone in some way. That makes you a leader in my eyes.

That being said, here are some takeaways from the training that I hope will motivate you like they did me.

Andy Stanley: Bold leadership/leaders have these four characteristics – clarity, focus, stubborn, resourceful.

  • This one made me laugh because running requires clarity and focus and being resourceful, but you also have to be a little stubborn to want to continue. The run won’t beat you; you win and keep coming back for more.

CMDR Rorke Denver: Make bold corrections to get bold results.

  • A runner can’t expect to run a great race by taking small steps. In order to excel, you need to make some major changes in the way you train. While it may be hard, the payoff is worth it.

Malala Yousafzai: Bravery has no limit.

  • The fact you are making a commitment and taking your place at the start line shows you are brave enough to take the first step. How many people on the couch can say that?

Peyton Manning: No matter the outcome, don’t look back.

  • Not every race goes the way you want despite all of the months of training. Remember that one bad race does not define you as a runner or a person. If that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t be writing this as a CLE marathon race ambassador because I would have given up after my horrible marathon in 2012.

Peyton Manning: Learn to thrive with being uncomfortable.

  • Great things were never accomplished by staying in one’s comfort zone. A race is exactly the same way; it’s supposed to be hard and uncomfortable. That’s what makes it so great.

Aja Brown: Brave leaders aren’t superhuman.

  • Everyday people like you and me can be leaders. Keep that in the back of your mind as you start your race, but that’s not to say you won’t feel superhuman after your accomplishment.

This was my personal favorite from the day, and I will close with it. Think of this when you feel yourself hitting the wall.

CMDR Rorke Denver: Pain is one of fear’s tactics. Lean into the pain. Recognize it is a growth opportunity, and that is where bravery lies.

Be brave, CLE runners, and best wishes for a great race. I’m excited to take my place with you on Sunday.

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my dress rehearsal – hermes cleveland 10 miler recap

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This weekend marked the start of my 2015 race season, and I kicked it off in style with the Hermes Cleveland 10 Miler! As much as I wanted to run this race, I didn’t register due to having the kids with me, but because my awesome boyfriend Dan was willing to stay home with the kids that morning, I was able to run. Game on!

I woke up Saturday morning and was instantly nervous for a variety of reasons – first race of the year, hoping I would even have a bib that morning due to my super late registration, pressure to run well, driving to the race on my own, freezing my butt off (it still felt like winter in CLE that morning), having to go to the bathroom mid-race, etc., etc., etc. Even though I was using this as a training run for the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon, my mindset was geared more toward completely crushing my 10-mile PR that was set so long ago that I can’t remember the year.  

I arrived super early for two reasons – 1) to pick up my shirt and race bib and 2) in case I got lost I would have plenty of time. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I made it to Edgewater Park without a wrong turn AND my bib was printed and waiting for me. I sat in my car for a while and watched the other runners roll in as I tried to get myself ready to race. I didn’t really have a set plan for pace, but I had to be under 9:00/mile. Anything under 8:45/mile would be freaking fabulous for me. 

It was about that time to leave the warmth of the car and make the trek up the hill to the upper portion of Edgewater Park. I was really excited to get to the start line to see my college friend Allison, who made a trip up this way to run both the 10 Miler and the Half of Fame Marathon in Canton (yeah, she’s a badass mother runner!) I haven’t seen her in years, but we bond over running on Facebook all the time. Seeing her really made my race and gave me a little extra motivation to run well.

I wasn’t sure where to line up for the start, so I just picked a spot that looked near the middle of the pack. When the gun went off, I realized I made a small mistake of starting too far back. Nothing against the slower runners, but I was worried about wasting time and energy weaving to get out of the clump. Thankfully, I was able to break free sooner than I thought, and shortly after, my watch alerted me of the first mile. It read 8:20, and I was like, “Holy crap, you went out too fast!” But I felt fantastic! The smarter side of me took over, and I slowed my pace a bit. However, I decided that I was going to push it and try to run at a pace that challenged me. 

The first few miles were pretty easy, but things got a bit harder at the turnaround at mile 4 with heading back into the wind. Keep in mind I have been a treadmill girl during this brutal CLE winter, and although I have been running outside lately, the wind still messes with me. I started to get a little tired but felt instantly better after taking a gel. It was around this point in the race that I noticed a guy who was running near me and holding the same pace, although he made it look easy. I figured if I could hang with him, I should be in good shape. 

The miles kept coming, and I was almost giddy at the fact my pace was still holding steady. Providing I didn’t completely crash at the end, my old PR was going to get blown out of the water. The last bit of the race was harder for me. There were way more elevation changes than I thought, but I continued to stay with the guy I was using as my pacer. We chatted a bit after I was swearing about yet another hill, and I told him that if it wasn’t for him keeping pace, I probably would have slowed down. I was surprised when he said that he was using me as his pacer for the race. I didn’t think that I was the one being helpful, so that gave me a little boost to finish strong. 

The last mile was so much fun. Something about running through a tunnel makes you feel like a badass! The finish was in sight, and I kicked up the pace a bit to finish fast and with a smile on my face. I gave my pacer a high five and thanked him for helping me run a great race, and then I grabbed my medal, put it around my neck, and did a little fist pump in the air. My old 10-mile PR was 1:38 and some change. Today, I crossed the finish line in 1:25:09 with a pace of 8:30/mile! PR Party for me!!!!!

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I walked back to the car with a sense of accomplishment. I not only ran a great race and set a huge PR but I also gained a little confidence back. I’ve felt like my running has been on the decline this year with everything that has been going on, and this made me feel like I have made some gains again. It was just the dress rehearsal I needed for the Cleveland half on May 17. I’m ready! Bring on the 13.1!

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Thanks again, Dan, for making this race possible. I couldn’t have run it if you weren’t crazy awesome enough to watch the kiddles to allow me to take this time for myself. I owe you big time. Thanks, Allison, for motivating me. You’re a great runner, and I look up to you. Hope we can run a race together soon. And lastly, thank you, random running guy in the blue shirt, black tights, and glasses. You helped pace me for my fastest 10 miles ever.  

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