I am very honored to have been selected as one of the guest bloggers for the 37th annual Cleveland Marathon this year!!
Here is my story…..
I am originally from the Cleveland area. I was raised in a Summit County suburb, and later moved to several different suburbs on the west side of Cleveland, finally settling on a suburb on the east side of Cleveland. As soon as my son graduated high school in 2000, I moved down to the Sarasota, Florida area because I was very tired of the gray days of Cleveland (October through May of each year). My parents had moved to San Diego several years earlier, and I couldn’t really afford to live there. Since my son was staying in Ohio, I really couldn’t expect him to afford traveling to and from California to visit, so Florida seemed like the logical place to go. At the time of my move from Ohio to Florida, I happened to be at my heaviest weight pushing nearly 200 pounds and I was a full-time cigarette smoker of nearly 30 years.
Flash forward to 2007, I had finally quit smoking, had lost about 50 pounds and had begun my running career in “flat and fast” Florida. I had become an officer of the local running club and had 14 half marathons under my belt. My son had been married for a few years when in 2011, I was scheduled to come up for my annual May family visit and to see my beautiful new grandson. I “coincidently” scheduled the visit to coincide with the Cleveland Half Marathon – aka “race-cation”. I hadn’t really trained for the distance, but I tied my running shoes on, showed up, finished the race and collected my bling!
I absolutely LOVED the course that year – running through several West side areas that were actually my old “stomping grounds” and it was really fun. I’m pretty sure it rained the whole time, I wasn’t wearing contacts then, and my glasses remained foggy the whole 13.1 miles. Even though it was chilly by Florida standards, I had a blast. I loved seeing the scenes of Cleveland as I passed through the suburbs. I immediately came home and signed up to do the 2012 Cleveland Half Marathon knowing that I would be coming up to Ohio in May again because it’s when the weather finally broke. Now that I had a grandson to visit, there was nothing keeping me away from an annual Ohio visit!
Unfortunately, life had other plans in store for me and I ended up not being able to do the event due to a cancer diagnosis in my immediate family. I then signed up for the 2013 Cleveland Marathon once we were blessed to be be over the cancer hump. As most of my regular readers know, I was involved in a near-fatal car accident on August 28, 2012 that rendered me wheelchair bound for several months. (See “My Story” for all the details.) The marathon officials were very kind and offered me a medical deferral when I wrote them. I’d already been told I’d never run again, but accepted the deferral to the 2014 race nonetheless.
Now, flash forward to 2014 – When I started writing this blog post, I was going to write about how I’ve been training for the race and what I’ve been doing by way of training, but instead I think I’ll just wrap that topic up by sharing the fact that I am doing 14 half marathons this year. I’ve already done 7 in four months (since January through April is racing season here in Florida). The 2014 Cleveland Half Marathon will make 8. My grandson is now almost 3-1/2 and I can’t wait to see him (and his parents too)!!
To prepare for this race, I’ve already started gathering some of my running gear and I always use my “Race Day Checklist” so I don’t forget anything. Since this isn’t my first out of state race, I’ve honed in my packing skills so I don’t forget the things I need for races. Trust me when I tell you it’s been a road I’ve traveled while making a ton of mistakes and forgetting too many necessities. I took the time to make a written list and it really took the guesswork out of packing. (I’m thinking maybe I see a future blog post with my checklist revealed might be coming soon.)
I’m also super excited because I’ll be flying into Cleveland just in time to drive over to the I-X Center for the Cleveland Marathon Expo on my way!! I will be able to shop around the expo with no time constraints to see if there’s anything I must have!! I’ll also be able to meet the SureSport representatives who have graciously provided me with a Running Ambassador spot. I first discovered this Cleveland-based company at the Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon expo when I bought a CUTE pair of PINK calf compression sleeves in January of this year for almost HALF of the price of the other brands out there. The quality of these is so much better – they are actually hospital grade. I loved them so much that I contacted the company to tell them how awesome their product was. I can say I am now the proud owner of these sleeves in FOUR different colors! They are also coming out with a several fun colors for their arm sleeves soon, so stay tuned to their developments via my blog site!!
Since I started blogging, I’ve joined different blogging groups and I’ve been lucky to meet tons of runners from the Cleveland area. They are either Cleveland Marathon Bloggers themselves , or are participating in this race. I’m hopeful that I will be able to meet these bloggers and runners “live” with whom I’ve become virtual friends due to our common allegiance to Cleveland and the Cleveland Marathon! If any of you are reading this, message me and we will schedule a meet up!
I’ve already started planning my registration for the 2015 Cleveland Rite Aid event, but I keep thinking to myself, “what could be bigger than 14 in 2014???” I know 15 in 2015 might be the reasonable answer for a Half Fanatic like me, I am instead thinking of going for 2 or 3 FULL marathons for 2015……. (I’m already registered for my first FULL Marathon in January, 2015, so May would be enough time in between…….and then maybe the Space Coast in late November……feel free to follow the continuing story here on my blog!)