I was up in Cleveland anyway because I have a newborn niece and the reunion of Daily Kent Stater employees at Kent State University all happened to fall on the same weekend. So I was home but not really home -- I was up and running around the entire time.
I'll get to the reunion in a second, but to stay on topic, first: The marathon. Cleveland is a big one, so I wanted to make sure the runners I knew could see me. So I got a bright green posterboard, a bright green backpack and Mr. Fox in Socks.
The posterboard turned into this... 15 names in total on the sign, and turns out I forgot a few:
Note to self: Next time, don't skimp on the magic markers: My hands were covered in cheap ink by the time we left!
My fellow pace coach Richard B. was also in town to cheer so we met up and headed to Tremont, a really cool town with lots of shade. We tried to catch our runners at Mile 9.5 but the crowds were so thick that we missed quite a few. We yelled after Deb M. but I don't know if she saw us. A very peppy Michele H. bounced over and gave us high fives. The 10:30 coaches Randy and Jill breezed by, I had no idea they were running! I saw a long lost friend from high school run past, my sister's sister-in-law looking strong in her first half, and college friend Kali, who blogs here.
|Runners in Tremont.|
This part of the race was fun. There was good crowd support and the temperature wasn't too bad. When we saw our last person, we headed over to Mile 22 on St. Clair and E. 55th street. Here, things were different.
Despite it being advertised as a "neighborhood party", there were only a few other spectators out. The sun had come out in full force, runners ran up 55th Street where there was virtually no shade. I was miserable standing there cheering, I can't imagine what it would have been like to be running. The first group of runners came through looking strong, but this quickly changed. They were fading fast as the 9 minute pacer came through. They were starting to walk as the 10:00 pacer passed us, and by the time the 11:00 pacer came around most were walking. Ambulances were whizzing by. Our runners had slowed substantially, because of the heat, so we had a long wait until they came around, and when they did many were struggling. All finished. Few were happy about the way the race went.
Cleveland was my first marathon in 2011, so then I had nothing to compare it to. No offense to my home city, but I much preferred the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, which I ran May 6. There were more aid stations, more medical tents, and the crowd support and entertainment was much, much better throughout. Even Tremont -- the Cleveland suburb that was billed as having the most crowd support -- was nothing compared to Mariemont, the Cincy neighborhood that helped us rally through Miles 15 to 18 of the Pig.
The night before I shook up more memories visiting my alma mater. Three of my old professors were retiring, so the former employees of the student newspaper, the Daily Kent Stater, had a send-off for them.
I was a little worried about the party, given that it was buffet-style and I didn't know what there would be that was Gluten Free. I made out ok with a plain burger, some fresh fruit and a glass of wine, but before I left Lakewood I used the Find Me Gluten Free app on my phone. I ended up at The Root, a vegetarian cafe right up the street from my parents', and got a really good lunch -- hummus and mushrooms on a bed of spinach with a side of sweet potatoes.
Every time I go back to Kent these days it changes. The downtown is built up wonderfully now, and they've made a ton of changes to campus. I won a door prize I was very pleased with, a mug from a local haunt :)
Exhausting weekend! As for Mr. Fox in Socks? After protecting him for two days, he met the usual fate of any stuffed animal entering my house.