Sunday, May 26, 2013

My Adventure in Cleveland

Collecting my thoughts @ Cleveland Marathon starting line

Hey Everyone! 

Sorry it’s taken so long to put up this blog, I have had state finals at school this week, so it wasn't till this weekend I finally had the time to sit down and write this blog up.  Thanks for the patience. J

          Wow, last weekend was crazy! Let’s start with Friday, as my trip started that afternoon.  First off the hotel that we stayed in was crazy (in a good way)!  It was originally like a mall that was turned into a hotel with buildings built on both sides to add more rooms, so the thing was really cool as the first 2 floors still had shops in them.  Anyways after we got to the hotel we went down to the elite athlete check in and I got my number along with extra info I needed.  Turns out they now give out clear plastic bags that we use to keep our running gear in at the race, in order to prevent another Boston happening; pretty smart if you ask me.  That night I appeared on the local news’ 7 o’clock news program to answer a few questions about the race and how I felt about running it.  It was really fun and kind of weird at the same time seeing myself on the TV in the corner of my eye.  But the people at the news station were so nice and made me feel very comfortable.  Afterwards dad and I went to the VIP dinner the race had at the hotel; let me just say that the pasta they had was absolutely delicious!  During the dinner dad and I met Mark Lindsley (a blogger for the race) and his son Cairo (who was 17 and also running his first marathon).   I also had the pleasure of meeting Jack Staph, the owner of the Cleveland Marathon.

          Saturday was another eventful day as I started of with me trying to do a short shakeout run in the morning in the fitness center.  However it had been more than a year since I had last run on a treadmill so after only 5 minutes I got mad at the treadmill and instead ran around the block outside a whole bunch of times, by the end of my run the doorman had started cheering every time I ran by. J After that I headed back to the NBC news station with the Cleveland marathon’s PR person Leigh Greenfelder and my dad to appear on their morning news as well.  It once again was a nice interview and experience, though I never knew before that the news doesn’t use camera men anymore, they have cameras that are on wheels and are remote control.  It kind of scared me at first because I was just sitting in my chair and when I looked up a large camera is rolling straight for me!  Afterwards we chilled in our hotel room until we went down to meet with Salty and Ginger from Salty Running Blog along with Salty’s little baby, her daughter was adorable!  After that we headed down to the elite athlete room to grab some water but instead ended up having an hour conversation with Toni Reavis, which was awesome by the way, he knows so many top runners and has great stories as well. We also met and chatted with one of my dad’s runners Kristy Hill as she lives in Cleveland until we headed off to church later that afternoon.  The church we ended up going to happened to be having confirmation at that mass so the bishop was there.  After mass the bishop shook my hand as we left and told me to have a good Sunday, which made me feel pretty special.  Then we went back to the hotel and had dinner at the race’s pasta party, again it was delicious and plus they had giant brownies there that were just amazing.  Man I love food! Hahahaha J

          Sunday morning I was awoken at 4 o’clock to one of the most annoying alarms ever on my dad’s iPhone; I have since then gotten him to change the alarm sound.  Anyways after I got up I ran a couple minute shakeout because I am NOT a morning person at all, I think it might be a teenage thing but then again it might just be me.  After that we went down to the athlete breakfast so I could eat, we ended up sitting there for an hour just talking and relaxing with John Tope before I had to go get ready for the race.  We ended up walking down to the starting area and saw Trisha Drobeck on the way, whom we had met at dinner the previous night and ended up 4th female in the marathon.  Getting warmed up for this race was a little weird as I didn’t need to do the normal 2 or so miles I normally do before a race, I only ran about a mile to get ready with only one repeat  of high knees and butt kicks rather than 2.  Before I knew it, it was time to get on the starting line.

          The start of the race was somewhat relaxing as no one sprints out in the beginning of a marathon. The goal was to try to get into pace and just click off the miles and that seemed to work for the first half of the race as I tried to find the pace that felt right.  Everything seemed to be going fairly smooth until after the half way point when I turned a sharp corner and hit a pot hole awkwardly with my right foot causing a twinge in my hamstring.  As I tried to keep up my pace I was running before, my hamstring just felt worse and worse.  But I knew I had slowed down a lot and that my hamstring felt horrible, so hitting my goal time was no longer realistic, but I told myself there was no way I was not finishing this race.  I then focused on getting to the next aid station, that’s what I needed to do to focus myself to keep going.  Each aid station was great, filled with so many smiling and cheering volunteers, each person was so supportive.  Running from aid station to aid station worked well up until about 22 miles, from then on I had to keep it every mile.  Along the way I had a few runners who were also struggling to finish running along side me encouraging me as we ran.  Around 24- 25 miles I was hurting really bad but I had to continue I had a new goal at that point to finish the race and to finish in less than 3 hours.  When the pacer for 3 hours came by me, I knew I had to go with him, there just wasn’t anyway I was going to let the pacer beat me.  So I just went for it; I was tired and my hamstring hurt but I just kept going finally with less then a mile left the pacer told 3 of us to go for it and said “it’s down hill from here just go”.  And that’s what we did, we just kept running knowing with every step we take, that’s one more step to the finish line.  Going around that final turn and crossing the finish line I was incredibly happy, yet vaguely disappointed.  I was happy to be done and happy that I finished after what had happened, but also disappointed that things hadn’t gone the way I had planned.  I will definitely learn a lot from this race and use my new found wisdom going forward in training and in races. 

          I would now like to take the time to thank everyone who has sent me well wishes and congratulations on my race.  I appreciate all the encouragement and just wanted to say a massive “THANK YOU!!!!!!”  ©©©©©© J