My 2013 Bucket List included making plans (and following through on them!) to see people I normally only connect with on social media and to connect with other runners. So, when some of the Cleveland Rite Aid Marathon runners brought up meeting in person for a group run and brunch, I was excited to jump in. Fellow blogger, Jessica, helped organize plans, including a tour of the St. Malachi 5 Mile course. I won’t be running that race this year, so it was great to go downtown and get to see the course first hand.
My training plan called for 12 today, so I planned ahead to wake up early, run 6 and then drive downtown to run a second 6 with the group. This is not the ideal long run-who takes a 1 hour break between halves of a run?-but it would have to do. I planned ahead to set the clocks, deal with freeway closures and still make it to do the six miles with this group. It took a little bit of work, a little sleep deprivation, but it was well worth the effort in the end. I woke up at 5:30, had some coffee and a snack and headed out to beautiful temperatures (50ish in Lake County) but high winds. After 3 miles or so, I finally escaped the head wind and turned back toward home. I wrapped up my first six, came home, cleaned up and had another quick snack (my favorite!) and headed downtown. An accident involving a dump truck and a bridge has the main access west shut down right now, so I took a long detour and made it downtown with a few minutes to spare. I pulled in to a rather desolate looking parking lot and hoped that the people in the car nearby were fellow runners. I hopped out and had the bizarre experience of introducing myself with my Twitter handle and blog name, imagining that even 5 years ago, such an introduction wouldn’t have been possible.
Jessica led the group through the course and I got to chat with Emily, another runner I met through Twitter and the Cleveland group. I also discovered that Brian and his neighbor Nick live right down the road from me, so we compared notes on local routes and the joys of running right next to the lake. The wind was high and I felt sluggish from my earlier run, but it was great to get out of my comfort zone and meet some new people. At one point, as we passed St. Malachi Church and the Stella Maris center, I recalled my Dad describing the AA work he had done there and I was grateful for the few minutes of feeling connected to him, no matter where I am.
Finally, we wrapped it up and headed out to brunch at Latitude 41N. Great restaurant. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, and try as I might, I couldn’t finish the gigantic stack of pancakes I ordered. A couple of other Rite Aid runners joined us and it was nice to talk to them as well. Matt and I compared notes on our Fairport Harbor triathlon experiences. I hope to wave hello to him as I skip the swim portion this year and substitute paddling my kayak.
Came home and took a nice nap and have been enjoying the beautiful Cleveland day ever since. Got some exciting news about a fall marathon in Lake County to wrap up the day. Here are some of the awesome people I met today and their respective blogs. Hope to run again with them before Rite Aid!
Jessica: Moja Mala Marathon
Brian: Lake Effect Runner
Emily: Emily Runs
Stephanie: Hungry in Cleveland