Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pro Football Hall of Fame Gold Jacket 5k Recap

Saturday I ran the Gold Jacket 5k in Canton, and it was a great time!  The race started at 8:00 AM, and there was plenty of parking, so Joy and I were able to leave my house at 6:30 and still get to the Pro Football  Hall of Fame in plenty of time to use the bathroom a few times and warm up.

Hanging out before the race

There was a drone hovering over the race, taking pictures, and that was extremely cool.  Here is a picture from the drone at the start of the race:

Can you see me?
Photo Credit:  Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon
Let's get to the review, shall we?

The Good:  There was a lot of good here.  The course was fabulous for a 5k.  The first two miles had a lot of downhill, and there were a few slight rises in the third mile.  It made for a fast run.  We had the whole stadium before and after the race, so there were plenty of bathrooms.  The medal was FABULOUS:

It's a Hall of Fame ring, and it weighs as much as a can of your favorite beverage.  When my husband saw this, he told me to sign us both up for another Gold Jacket 5k.  Win!

The day started a bit chilly, but running hard is a great way to warm up!  At the finish we got a high-five from Dan Marino, and that was incredible.  Let me just tell you (before my husband does) that I am happy to high five Dan Marino because I loved him in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.  Shhh.  Don't judge.

To sum up the good:  drone (way cool), medal (wow!), course (fast), bathrooms (more than enough), Caveman bars (yummy), and Dan Marino (#starstruck).

The Bad:  It's difficult to really identify something bad about the race.  The weather was chilly at the start, but nobody can control the weather, and we had a warm place to stay.  The awards were held outside the Hall of Fame, which normally would be awesome, but I started to shiver, so I had to go inside to warm up.  Again, nobody can control this.  I'm going to say that for an inaugural race, this was very organized.

The Ugly:  

The ugly has nothing to do with the organization of the race, but with certain groups of people who participate in theme races.  The slogan for this race is "Walk, Run, Jog, Compete," and I think anyone who wants to sign up for a 5k should do so.


At the start, Joy and I tried to jockey into a position with the middle-of-the-pack runners.  We don't like to anger the elites and really fast runners, and we don't like to dodge slower runners and walkers. There should be a middle ground, and most of the time there is a middle ground.  Unfortunately, there were walkers scattered all over the starting line: front, middle, back.  It was impossible to avoid them.  Normally that would be ok because most walkers in a race know to start at the back of the pack and walk on the side.  In fact, the race instructions include a page on runner's etiquette which spells this out.  It was obvious that the runners/walkers from this race paid no attention to etiquette because as soon as we crossed the starting gate, the walkers spread themselves out from one end to another.  Sometimes they held hands or linked arms.  Joy and I had to go from one sidewalk to another to get around massive walls of flesh who refused to move, even when we said, "Excuse me."

I'm not going to go on about this (much), but I have to get this off my chest:  My first mile was more than 30 seconds slower than my second and third miles because I had to dodge walkers or stop dead behind them.  I wasn't trying to PR at this race, but I COULD HAVE, PEEPS.  Anyway, I am preaching to the choir here.  If you are reading this blog, you wouldn't have started at the head of the line and then linked arms to block every other runner.  I don't know what to do about this because obviously the ugly is my problem.  I need to relax when I'm running a theme race, so I guess I am the ugly.

I may be "The Ugly," but I look pretty good with my medal here.
I intend to run more of the Gold Jacket 5k series.  Click here to see the schedule of upcoming races.  You can also see what is on schedule for 2016.

My husband and I are wondering if we can get a trip out of town in. . .and I'm hoping to get the kids trained to run/walk a 5k.  Of course we will run/walk from the back and the side!

I want you to join me, Peeps, so thanks to Jim Chaney, race director, I am giving away an entry to a Gold Jacket 5k.  If you have already purchased your entry, I can't reimburse you; this is only good for one person, one 5k.  Enter the Rafflecopter and follow the directions to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Turtles and Taper

Today was an eleven mile run on the Towpath with Joy.  I didn't tell her we were doing eleven miles until we reached the turnaround at 5.5 because I'm sneaky that way.

Despite the fact that I am enormously suffering from seasonal allergies, I am really enjoying this weather.  Normally April in Ohio blows. . .usually literally.  It is so nice to run in capris and a tshirt and soak up some vitamin D.

This is what we saw while running on the Towpath:

Hello, leetle friend!
If you look closely at the brown blob in the middle of the green sludge, you will see that it is a beaver.  This was about a quarter of a mile away from the Beaver Marsh, where they hang out, but it is right next to one of the many beaver dams on the Towpath. (A quick digression--This week I was teaching my students about Oscar Wilde's use of the pun as a satirical device, and I had to share this example with you, Peeps:  Two fish swim into a wall.  One turns to the other and says, "Dam!")  The family next to us on the Towpath told us that this is in fact a river otter, but I don't think so.  I'm going with beaver.

Bale of turtles
I always know that warm, beautiful weather is coming when I see turtles sunning themselves on logs in the river.  It just makes me so happy to see the sun shining off their silver backs.  We must have seen at least fifteen today, and that was without really looking.

The last two miles of this run were particularly difficult, and I realized why when I checked the Garmin and saw that Joy had pushed us to doing our fastest miles in the last two.  She is a tricky one.  This officially starts our taper.  Joy and I are both running the Canton Gold Jacket 5k on Saturday, and we are each running a 10k leg on our relay team for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon, Half Marathon, and Relay on Sunday.  This will be my first time running a relay, and I'm excited.  By the way, Peeps, keep your eyes peeled for a Gold Jacket 5k giveaway on this blog.  It's coming up soon.  For information about the Gold Jacket 5k and/or the Pro Football Hall of Fame Races, check my other blog, From the Sideline.

I haven't run a 5k since September 2014, so I will be interested to see how I do in this one.  No matter what, Joy and I are going to have lots of fun, especially with our team, Beast Mode 5.  Does our name intimidate you?  NO????

This will be a great way to test my legs for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.

Until next Sunday, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Birthday Week(s)

Happy birthday to me!  Today I am 45, and I love it!

You probably know somebody like me: I'm the one who celebrates her birthday as long as possible.  It starts when I get my first card in the mail (thanks, Audra!), and it ends when I say it ends.

Here are some things that made my week so wonderful:

We didn't recognize each other because we were not in running clothes.
I finally met the #CLEMarathon Ambassadors this week, and they are every bit as fabulous as their blogs and tweets.  We had some treats, some drinks, some CUPCAKES (thanks, Stephanie), and we talked a LOT.  If you have not followed their blogs, it is not too late, Peeps.  Check them out here.

Starbucks gave me a free drink for my birthday.  Hello, Java Chip Frappucino!  Yes, I like being able to chew my liquids.

This isn't running related, and I'll talk about it on my education blog,, but I learned this week that I was selected to be a 2015 Lead PBS Digital Innovator, and I'm so pumped!  Here is the bio from their web page:

Stephani Itibrout



Read the Full Bio
Stephani is an English teacher and blended learning teacher at Medina High School in Medina, Ohio. Stephani knows that learning is messy, and Blended Learning is especially messy. She loves seeing the light bulbs illuminate above her students' heads when a seemingly chaotic project suddenly clicks into place.
Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Michael Palin’s Hemingway Adventure: Paris
The weather has been fabulous, and today I celebrated my birthday with a ten mile run with Joy on the Towpath from the Big Indian to downtown Akron and back.

Pre-run pic (while we still look fabulous)
When I got home, my family gave me beautiful letters and cards and a Stephen King novel.  Then the strawberries from Edible Arrangements arrived (thanks, Bill, Jess, and Ella!), and I stuffed one in my pie-hole.

Tonight I look forward to going to Bar Cento for dinner, where I will eat pizza and french fries because--hey-- my birthday.

Run sunny today, Peeps!

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

All by Myself

My Easter Sunday run was eleven miles on the Towpath.  The weather was fabulous--in the forties--and for once I didn't overdress and get irritated.  Also, because I didn't run on any roads, I got to wear all black, which makes me feel like a badass.

I started my run at Botzum Trail Head, which is also a stop on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad line.

Botzum Depot

I continued on the Towpath towards Peninsula, passing by the Beaver Marsh.

No beavers today
Today is a day for gratitude, and I've got a lot of blessings to count.  As I ran, I thought about my week of Spring Break, which I was lucky to get during the same week as my kids' Spring Break.  Unfortunately, the three of us passed a bad cold/bronchitis around all week, but nobody had to miss school, so that is a plus.  We did get one day of good health, where we hiked Whipp's Ledges in Hinckley.

My son conquered the Ledges like a boss.
I was able to run outside this week, and I was able to do it whenever I wanted.  On Wednesday I ran five miles in the evening with Shelby, and while I was grateful to run with her, it reminded me why I'm a morning runner, but there was no running at 4:30 AM this week, thank goodness.   I even re-visited my favorite training grounds and saw a harbinger of better weather:

You know it's Spring when the water fountains are back on Sand Run.
As I ran today, I took time to take pictures and reflect on how lucky I am to live near these beautiful trails.  The next pictures are all of the Cuyahoga River, taken at points between Peninsula and Hunt Farm.

At one point, when I started feeling tired around the eighth mile, a deer bounded across the path, just in front of me.  It was gorgeous, and it gave me the strength to continue with a smile.

All in all, this has been a great Spring Break, full of running and family and joy (and mucous--lots and lots of mucous).  Right now my legs ache (in a good way) and I'm looking forward to legs-up-the-wall, a nap, and some good eats.  In that order.

I am confident that my training is going well for the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon, and I look forward to meeting up with the other RunCLE Ambassadors soon.

Count your blessings and run happy, Peeps!  

See what I did there?

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