This time it was Emily and I making the dawn voyage across the border to the good old USA for the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon.
Before we left I just had to have my nails done....it's all about how you look when you run, after all, hence the Glam Runner Tutu made another appearance at this race as well.
Because Emily is an awesome travel partner, she had already planned out our trip. Not only did she have directions to everywhere, she'd scored tickets for the Indians vs A's at Progressive Field.Somehow despite working for the Toronto Blue Jays for 11 years, I've only managed to see a ball game in one park other than SkyDome. This made it two. Amusingly neither of us had researched if it was an open stadium, or planned how to be warm enough if it was. Whoops. Brrrrr....Cleveland in May isn't much warmer than Hamilton in May. Lesson learned. However, it was a great excuse to buy a new sweatshirt at the expo, and pants, and earrings....
There's a direct relationship between how much sleep you need and how long the game lasts. Not only did they manage to toss the A's pitcher in the second inning, a squirrel got lose on the field and caused quite a stir. You can read an interview with him here, complete with video replay.
THEN there was an after game fireworks show, set to 80's hair band music. They were amazing, about a half hour of incredible kabooms, which kept us there even later.
Finally we made it back to the hotel, and went to bed.
Dark o'clock comes WAY too soon when you're running...the good news is that the RTA was running at that hour and was so easy to use even I could (almost) not get lost. The bad news is that the local McDonalds made horrible coffee.
I took these photos on our way to the baseball game, don't for one minute think it was LIGHT out on our way to the race! Amusingly the night before the train was filled with drunk baseball fans and the morning found it filled with sleepy runners.
There's a lot you can say about the USA, but one thing I love is how well they do races. The pomp, the anthem, the rah rah rah. The course was great, the volunteers friendly and awesome, and the community support was fabu. Each neighborhood was out in force, cheering from their yards, there were banners welcoming the runners, and one group was even giving out BEER (Summer Shandy, quite nice).
All the aid stations stayed open 'till the end, (and had BLUE powerade, so happy!) the finish line was up, everyone was still cheering. That may be because the full marathon came along the same route, but I was still thrilled.
We took a moment to pose with some amazing firefighters who were cheering along the course. They were so much fun, supportive and happy to have runners invade their Sunday morning. Amusingly we kept seeing a squirrel on the course, I'm convinced it was the one from the baseball game.
I discovered that Cleveland has a ridiculous amount of bridges, and I think we ran over every single one. Every.Single.One. including that super long one behind Emily in the photo. We went back and forth over so many of them I had no idea what direction were were running, it was like being spun blindfolded right before you wack a pinata.
We also discovered that in addition to beer you could have water from a local church (we counted that as GOING to church, it was Sunday after all). Then a few KMs later Emily met the POPE. Feeling very blessed by the entire experience. I kept running into Half Fanatics who greeted me with their number, and I had NO idea what mine was. For the record I looked it up:
Fanatic #4595 (Neptune)
It wasn't my fastest half, it wasn't my wettest half, it wasn't my hottest half, but it sure was a fun, pretty, dynamic, amazing good time. I wish Cleveland wasn't so far from home. My Garmin did die before the finish, but I got some of it tracked, so I can figure out where the bridges were.
For sure I will be buying all the race photos, 'cause they were awesome! AND they did a finish line video too, you can see me at about the 10:45 mark of this video, on the left side. Yep,Cleveland ROCKS