Thursday, May 28, 2009

Race Report: Cleveland Marathon

The Cleveland RiteAid Marathon fell on the Victoria day weekend for Canadians, meaning Hubs and I had the Monday off work, so it was the perfect opportunity to escape for a marathon holiday. This was my first time running this course, but Hubs had ran this last year as part of his 5 marathons in 5 weeks series. He was in the promo pamphlet this year carrying his guitar across the finish line. What a ham!

I packed everything meticulously the Friday night, and we left our house a little after 7 am the following morning. Hubs nephew, Scott came with us, so it was nice to have some family along for the ride and marathon adventure. We were also meeting some good running friends down in Cleveland for a pre and post marathon feast!

Our drive went really smoothly and it wasn't until the we arrived at the hotel a little after 1:00 that I realized I left my marathon bag at home!!

My immediate response to Hubs was that "I can't run this". OK, I will confess that a small part of me felt uninspired to run the marathon. Cleveland didn't particularly excite me, and having run Mississauga only one week ago, I didn't feel fully recovered. Hubs insisted that I run it, and suggested that if my new shoes didn't work (yes I had to buy brand new shoes), I could always just run the half since the course is basically a bow tie. Plus, I had already paid my registration fee.

So off to the expo we went to shop. Normally I love shopping for running clothes, but I felt under pressure to get, well, everything. I went straight for a shoes booth and managed to score a pair of Asics Gel Kayanos 14 for 107$. I normally wear Saucony Paramounts, but I have worn Kayanos in the past, so I thought they would work. I also bought shorts, sports bra, gels, salt tablets, socks and a hand-held water. I tried to make decisions quick, but it seemed to take a long time, and it was rather exhausting! I felt like I kept handing over my credit card again and again, starting from scratch sure is expensive!! I wore the Cleveland shirt they gave out at the expo so at least I didn't have purchase that. Oh well, at least I will use the items I purchased, and for the most part they worked out fine (more on that later).

For dinner we met up with our friends and drove to Little Italy area of Cleveland to a whole-in -the-wall type restaurant called Mama Santa. Although we had to wait in line for over an hour, the food was delicious, and it was wonderful to relax with friends before the marathon.

Mama Santa

(Photo: Rob Patterson)

Hubs and I at Mama Santas

(Photo: Rob Patterson)

(I had issues with my eyes squinting that night, this was the third attempt to get me to take a picture without my eyes closing!! LOL)

Marathon morning was one of the least stressful I have ever experienced due to the location of our hotel. We stayed at theCrowne Plaza which was right by the start line, so that meant we could relax in our hotel room until right before the start, and better yet, no porta potties!! I had scored the hotel on Priceline for 90$ and we even had a view of Lake Erie!

The only problem with race morning was that I was wearing my new Garmin 405 so I had a steep learning curve. It was lucky I had it actually. I put it on my wrist so I could tinker and learn more about how to operate it on the car ride down to Cleveland. I didn't give myself enough time to properly load the satellites at the start, but after getting started it worked out fine.

Starting out, I felt tired and well, not ready to run a marathon. I felt like everyone and their Grandmother was passing me, so it was kinda of defeating. I probably lined up too close to the start, but I saw the 3:50 bunny and standing right behind was the 4:15 bunny, so that where I lined up. I had no plans for running a PR, I just wanted to finish.

After the first few miles, though, I found my pace group and I started to warm up. I was really enjoying the course. There were a few minor hills, but we were running through some really pretty tree-lined streets and nice neighbourhoods and I just felt myself relax. At each aid station they played music from the Rock and Roll Hall of fame inductees, which was a nice touch. There were a fair number of spectators out too, which is always nice.

Past mile 10 we headed onto to a closed highway and toward the downtown core. What an amazing site. The lake was on the right, and cityscape was before us. It was stunning. I know stunning is not a word typically used to to describe Cleveland, but from this perspective, it was, and I felt like I was able to experience and appreciate the city in a way I am sure I wouldn't have as a typical tourist or business person. I felt strong but kept running conservatively. I wanted to feel good throughout the run this time. My knee also was fine this week, it had really bothered me the week before at Mississauga.

At mile 12, the half marathoners veered off and we headed away from the downtown core in the opposite direction. We travelled along a flat stretch by the Airport. I had my ipod on, and found myself lost in classic rock tunes from Queen and Fleetwood Mac, which is different then the typical pop fare I listen to. In fact at mile 13 an element song came on. This song is only a minute long and the singer repeats every element on the periodic table in less than two minutes. I play this for my students when we are studying elements. Anyway, I was about to switch the song, when I ran past the science center. How appropriate. Anyway it made me smile and I listen to the song with a huge grin on my face (I am a total science nerd) and before I knew it I was at mile 15 and feeling great.

Miles 15 to 18 we travelled along the lake and although it was slightly windy, I found the temperature to be perfect, and the breeze felt good.

It really wasn't until mile 21 that I started to really feel tired. We could see the amazing cityscape again, although it felt a bit like a mirage that I would never reach. I ran into the finish line feeling strong and overall the marathon felt pretty effortless. Well maybe not effortless, but relative to the week before, much easier, and I ran 10 minutes faster.

At first my time was posted to be 4:13:47, but there was a clock error and they added a minute to all of the time, so final time was 4:14:47. Not a PR, but my second fastest marathon to date. Thats right, my two fastest time have both been my second back-to-back marathon. Weird, huh?!



I recommend this marathon. Its a fairly easy course, and the scenery is really nice. Plus you can go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame afterwards!

Good luck to all you SD marathoners this weekend. I am running a half marathon (just for fun, no gunning for a PR), and then the following weekend I am running the Sunburst Indiana marathon. I also need to write a race report for Burlington, and I will soon, I promise. I hope to catch up with you all soon! Thanks for reading!

38 comments:

Melanie Tait (Mel Tries to Run) said...

Hi there Marci - what a great report. Congratulations on your time! What a great time in any case, and you weren't so sure you wanted to run!

I can't even imagine how you felt when you realised you'd left your gear. Grrrr. Yay to having new stuff though!

Carlee said...

Can't wait to hear about burlington!!! sounds like you did a great job in Cleveland even with a few issues! I think I would have just started crying if I found out I left my race stuff somewhere!

FLYERS26 said...

Nice job in Cleveland!
I run in the Kayano's and love them, they are the only shoes I will buy.
I can't imagine running marathons thatclose together.

Cheetah Girl said...

You make it seem so easy! Awesome job, sounds like you had a great race minus that tiny part about leaving your stuff at home! :)

Jenny said...

Wow! Nice job! I want to be like you when I grow up :)

lindsay said...

congrats! great race report. i'm glad you didn't let the lack of (all) your gear stop you :) hopefully you didn't have any major issues?

good luck in south bend! i ran that in 07 :) maybe you should string more marathons together to keep getting pr's, lol. i wish i could run as many (as often!) as you!!

chris mcpeake said...

Great job,
way to go

Heather said...

Nice job on the marathon - glad you survived with all the new gear. :)

Jess said...

Congrats on another great race!

Marathon Maritza said...

Congrats on another marathon!!!!!

OMG great recovery from missing your gear...I would've freaked out!!!

Also, send me your speed vibes...your time for this race is my stretch goal!!! I want it! :)

Great job!

Vava said...

Great report, and awesome race! I can't believe you can run so many marathons. Amazing!

Vava said...

BTW, this is unrelated to your post, but I thought I'd let you know that your blog keeps doing something weird with pop-ups where sometimes only one will come up (even though I have pop-up blocker engaged) and then other times it will just go nuts and keep opening new browser windows until my computer crashes. No biggie, but it is starting to make me nervous everytime I navigate to your blog!

RunningLaur said...

Great report! I can't believe you did back to back marathons at such a fast pace! I'll be thinking of you during long runs 'Marci runs way further way fast - you can do this!'. :)

Marci said...

Vava - that's weird. You are not the first person to mention this. I will e-mail blogger. I wonder if its because the "cutest blog on the block" template I installed. How annoying, I'm sorry, and trust me, its nothing I orchestrated!

D10 said...

Not having all my marathon stuff would have tossed me in to a frenzy. Glad you didn't let it get to you. Great job.

Marlene said...

Great race report! One of the guys from the clinic ran Cleveland and was also surprised that the city was nicer than he though. Sounds like you ran a great race and handled the unexpected mishap well.

Congrats again, Marathon Queen!

Have fun in SD. Man, you travel a lot. :)

Nitmos said...

Try not taking so many sedatives. That will help with the squinting.

Congratulations on another race in the bag!

Cal said...

Hi Marci, That is awesome! Congrats on another marathon!

Lacey Nicole said...

well that is def one way to run marathons!!!! back to back :) i guess that way you are all trained and ready to go for the distance!!!! now i just have to get over the hump of the first one... great report! and great pic! LOL about the eye squinting. i feel ya... i am usually SO unphotogenic= lots of re-dos. hah.

Marlene said...

Oops, I totally misread that - thanks for clarifying!

Hope to see you Sunday!

Jamie said...

I would have freaked out not having my marathon stuff. Way to take it in stride and have a great race!

Chic Runner said...

Seriously I would have flipped out not having my stuff, great job and great time! I hope I get the same one in SD !:)

Kim said...

Another marathon down! Great job!

And such a trooper when you found out you left all your racing gear at home.

Have a great weekend.

The Happy Runner said...

Yay! I still can't believe you ran in all new stuff. You're tough!

Hey, I almost always close my eyes in pics. Ugh!

Good luck w/the half!

Mel-2nd Chances said...

i continue to be in awe of you. Have a great time this weekend, so bummed I'm missing the half :( I can't imagine having to buy everything from scratch right before a marathon, but seems to have worked out! Well done on the time! BTW, got the gift card yesterday, thanks again!! Appreciate it :)

Shannon said...

Great Job!

J said...

I bet that by running a marathon back to back weekends, you go out at a more conservative pace on the second one so you don't burn yourself out as much....idk but great job! You really rock the marathon like usual! I dont know how you do it but you are a great runner!

joyRuN said...

How you run these back-to-back marathons & manage to post better times on the 2nd ones is AMAZING!

MCM Mama said...

Glad all that new stuff worked out for you. Great job on the marathon!

aron said...

awesome job!!!! i think back to back races are your specialty :) amazing job!

Dando said...

Wow! You make this sound so easy. After my 1st last December, I was hugging light poles and stretching at mile 13. Very well done. Thanks for the great post!

N.D. said...

You did a great time! love the report and great pics too!

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Marky Mark said...

Hiya-if you were deciding between Mississauga, Ottawa, Cleveland and Flying Pig, which one would you pick? I think Cleveland sounds like a good one.

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