|Ambassadors lined up for the picture, on our best behavior. Or are we? Check out the shenanigans in the middle row.|
|Our traditional picture of a selfie in action|
|Pam and I are glamming it up.|
The next day I visited the Expo very briefly before reporting to work at the Information Booth. The Expo was full of cool stuff, but I only had time for a quick picture with Marta.
|I look like I want to throw up here.|
|I'm not happy here.|
I dropped my gear bag and headed to the bathrooms, picking up Marta along the way. Bathrooms are my second worry in races, and I already knew that this was a non-issue with the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Portapotties everywhere, plus Quicken Loans Arena was open to runners.
The Ambassadors took some pictures at the starting line.
|We are the Ambassadors!|
|This is the best one for obvious reasons.|
Photographer: You. Come out front and hold this medal.
Me: Really? I must be the most important.
Photographer: No, you're short and wearing fluorescent yellow.
Ok, here is what I remember about the race. I'm going to try to distance myself from the emotional part because that will be another post. This time I want to talk about the fabulousness that is the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.
The course was mostly as I remembered it. I loved the bridges, although they were slippery. I even loved the hills because what goes up must come down, and I really enjoy exerting myself on a hill when I know that I can relax on the downside.
Marta (I will write about Marta next time; she deserves her own post) and I discussed the possibility of taking the beer miles. I was hesitant because I feel like I'm not that good of a marathoner, but when I saw the sign saying Beer and Bacon, I said, "Hell, YES, we are doing this!" It was the best piece of bacon and the best shot of beer EVER, and I really think it helped my race that day. I definitely said NO to the Fireball Shot Mile.
I loved running on Lake Ave. with the beautiful houses. Many people don't like out-and-backs on a race course, but I do because I can look for my friends. I saw Pam and Eric, fellow Ambassadors, and I saw Steve and Ryan, badass Pacers. They were all super encouraging as we crossed each other.
Battery Park was an interesting part of the course; I don't remember if it was part of the course last year, but I enjoyed it.
The course had plenty of water and fuel stops. New this year was the Honey Stinger Waffle, which I ate at Mile 17, and I LOVED it.
I tried hard not to focus on my time. I spent most of the time talking with Marta or looking at the scenery. When things got overwhelming, I would scan my body and count my breaths.
Seeing the flags at the end of the race, I got very excited, and Marta and I kicked it up for the end. And we finished together.
|We finished! I don't know what the heck I'm doing with my swollen hand.|
I got my medal and grabbed some food, and I met Marta in the Beer Garden. I was in some pain, and I was emotionally spent (more about this in next post). Pam and Steve had waited for me at the finish line, and it was nice to see them, although I could barely speak to them.
|I love them all, but I was faking happiness here.|
I drank half a chocolate milk, but I couldn't eat any food. I drank my beer, and all of a sudden I just wanted to go home. Normally I was supposed to go out and celebrate with Pam and Steve, and I JUST COULDN'T EVEN.
Why am I so numb? Well, some of it is shock. Remember when I told you that I was secretly hoping for 4:45? Here is my result:
Holy Shmoly! A 7 minute PR!
I have a lot to say about this accomplishment, of which I am very proud, but that will be for another post. For now, I would like to say that I will DEFINITELY run the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon next year. I loved the volunteers, the bands on the course, the support, the accessibility of bathrooms and fuel, and mostly the beautiful city course.
This is my third year as a Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador, and it has been a privilege for me to represent this race every year.
Next post will be about my experience running this marathon. Today I wanted to honor the race and the wonderful people who work so hard to make it happen. Thank you.
And thank you for following my posts! What races are you prepping for? Until then, run happy, Peeps!
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