The 2012 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 5K on Saturday, May 19th snuck up on me. A few months ago, I had grandiose plans of getting in at least one run a week to help balance my yoga practice. Before I knew it, it was the week of the event. I managed a few elliptical workouts before heading downtown this past Saturday morning to fulfill my promise to travel those 3.1 miles around downtown Cleveland.
Hans dropped me off at Browns Stadium at 7AM where crews were starting set up for the races on Sunday. There wasn’t any signage for the 5K on the East side of the stadium so I took a guess and headed over to the Southwest corner. There I found packet pick up and my partner in crime, Amanda from Clue Into Cleveland.
I had my bib number ready via my iPhone so I was able to skip a longer wait - always come prepared, folks!! In a game time decision, Hans decided he was going to join us while Amanda’s husband Scott held all of our worldly possessions. God bless them both.
In the days before the event, Amanda and I finalized our plan for the race. We prepared to adjust as needed based on our lack of training and the hot temperatures. Knowing that the start up the hilly West 3rd Street tended to bottleneck, we decided to power walk until the crowd thinned out. When it did at the top of the hill, we started our run one minute/walk one minute strategy.
We got up East 3rd, took the right onto Lakeside and found ourselves in the Warehouse District. We were joined by some familiar faces as Christian from Training 4 Autism – Cleveland Style and his son Cal were along side us. Thanks again to Uncle H for hooking us up with our Run for Autism singlets!
Quickly down East 6th, we found ourselves in the Gateway District, running along side Quicken Loans Arena with Hans playing photog & DJing us along with a recently created Hall & Oates playlist.
At East 13th and Euclid, we were stopped by a traffic cop to allow RTA buses and traffic pass. I realized quickly that we were going to be there for awhile, so I stopped my Garmin and we started a dance party to the 80′s classic “You Make My Dreams (Come True)”.
And so began the taking of ridiculous photos, like when I attacked the water stop volunteers on St. Clair:
…and when we stopped in front of Amanda’s employer’s building:
…and when we ran by the Rock Hall:
…and the Science Center, along the Cleveland Browns Stadium:
…into an security access entrance and onto the football field!
As a part of our plan, I paced us run/jogging down East 9th (we were very grateful for the downhill pitch) and to the finish line with a few shorter walk breaks. Amanda did a great job pushing forward and putting up with my “we can do it” encouragements!
According to my official chip time, we ran the 5K in 40:39. Considering we were stopped at Euclid & East 13th for quite awhile, I’m sticking with my Garmin:
…which means we achieved one of Amanda’s goals of running a 5K under 40 minutes! Based on those photos, you can tell our “fun run” goal was so met!
Just past the finish line, I found the familiar faces of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon staff:
I can’t thank Race Director Jack (3rd from left) and our blogger rep Leigh (2nd from right) for all their support and for allowing me to participate as an Official Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon blogger for the second year in a row.
We stuck around an enjoyed our surroundings for a bit before heading out for a celebratory brunch. It’s very rare to see Browns Stadium this peaceful:
I should have busted out a few sun salutations! Anyone up for a yoga class on Browns Stadium field?
LONG STORY SHORT: I struggled when making the decision to drop from the half marathon to the 5K. While I knew I was doing the right thing, I felt like I was taking the easy option. While the 5K was the shortest distance, it proved to be so much fun and so worth adjusting my plans to participate. 5K is a great distance that almost anyone can do. If you’re looking for a new way to experience downtown Cleveland, I highly suggest putting on your running shoes and signing up for the 2013 race!
Disclosure: This post is part of my participation in the 2012 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon blogging series. Read my disclosure here.