Here is how it went. Brian has raised $1,600 for miraclefeet. Thanks so much for your support and interest along the way! Brian, you are amazing.
"I got up early after not sleeping well - I usually don’t the night before a race, I think because I worry I’ll oversleep - got dressed, and headed downtown. I had carbed up the day before, and felt good. Fortunately, the rain held off, and as I came downtown, the sun was even starting to peek out a bit. It was a bit humid, though, and probably 10 degrees warmer than I would have liked it. There was a good turnout for the race, and at 8 AM, they started the first corral. Being slower, I was toward the back, in corral 7 out of 8.
The first three miles through downtown Cleveland felt good, then it was down the hill on St. Clair into the Flats, across the Center Street Swing Bridge over the Cuyahoga river, then up the Main Ave. hill, where I finally slowed to a walk for part of it, around mile 4.
We continued west down Detroit Ave to the Gordon Square area, where it was fun to see my high school alma mater’s cheerleaders out in force, cheering us on. I shouted “Go Eagles” as I approached, which got them even more fired up. We turned south at West 65th, then back east onto Franklin Blvd, then south on West 25th street, past the venerable West Side Market on one side and Great Lakes Brewing on the other, taking us past the halfway point. I was still (mostly) running, taking the occasional 20 or 30 steps of walking as my thighs started feeling the distance and reporting back.
There were several bands and DJs along the course, and as we headed southeast on Abbey Ave toward the Tremont loop section of the race, we past my favorite, DJ Kishka, wearing his old man hat and fake beard, playing classic polkas by Frankie Yankovic. You can’t be anything but happy when polka music is playing!
At this point, I was really starting to ache, feeling it in my thighs and feet. I had one of my Gu energy packs as I ran down West 11th. I ran through the sprinkler at the water stop at Lincoln Park, which helped.
It was a very packed course - even up to about the 10 or 11 mile point, I was kind of fighting the crowds and hitting slowdown points where a wall of people running side by side were running slower than I was, and had to dance around to get past them.
I twisted my left ankle on a combination of cobblestones, loose sticks and leaves going down the steep narrow hill on Castle Ave, and again on the crumbling road by Clark Fields (the City of Cleveland really failed here - a quick afternoon of a road crew and some hot patch could have REALLY helped all of us, and done something that needed doing anyways).
Checking the published splits, I was doing well up even around the 10 mile point. But that was the big hill at West 7th and Starkeweather, and I think it was around there that the bottoms of my feet started hurting. At that point, I slowed to a walk up the hill, and found myself walking for probably most of the rest of the course. If I could have continued running even just at a normal 5K training pace that I ran at every day, I would have been maybe 10 minutes faster.
At mile 12, in the middle of the mile long Detroit Superior Bridge, a stage was set up and a local Irish band, Craic, was playing one of my favorite Flogging Molly songs. I picked up the pace and ran singing past them.
And of course, a half mile before the finish line, my son started texting me about when am I was going to be done so I could pick him up from a sleepover he had with his buddy! Nothing like trying to pick up the pace to finish strong, while texting your kid that it will be another hour at least!
I emptied the tanks for the last quarter mile, and ended up finishing with a time of 2 hours, 48 minutes, 59 seconds. That’s 12 minutes slower than my personal best, and seven seconds slower than my half marathon time for the Cleveland Marathon this past spring. I had hoped to do better, but still, I ran a pretty strong race, and felt good about it. Not a personal best, but then again, the personal best was from New Orleans, where the elevation variation for the entire marathon course was about 12 feet. So I think I did really well, considering the hills, the heat, the humidity, and the 10 pounds I’ve put back on since then.
I can’t say enough about how well this race was run - the Rock N Roll people really have their acts together! Lots of bands (good bands!) throughout the course, along with high school cheer squads. There were lots of water stations, and towards the end as it heated up, a medical tent started using up their ice by passing handfuls of it out. Even starting in corral 7 of 8, when I finished, everything was still up, there was lots of food and drink (bananas, power bars, pretzels, Gatorade, chocolate milk) AND wet towels soaked in ice water to help cool down.
The music headliner, Gavin DeGraw, didn’t start playing until 10:45, so I managed to catch that, and they had a merchandise booth at the end, along with food trucks (though I didn’t bring my wallet, so no souvenir pint mug for me.) And it seemed like many who finished before me stayed around for the music and the beer tent and maybe even the casino. I really hope they do this one again next year
Thanks so much to everyone for your support! Even though the race is over, you can still donate to miraclefeet via my page, and help give children the gift of walking.