It wouldn't be the New Year if the Cleveland Marathon weekend wasn't on my mind. I do one of the events that 3rd weekend in May every year and usually its the half, except 2016 where I ran the full.
But something was different this year. For some reason last summer I started feeling an urge to do the full again in 2018. Usually I don't repeat full marathons. All five that I've done have been different, mainly because I'm trying to do all 50 states. Plus last time I did the full the weather was absolutely insane: snow, sleet, hail, 30+mph winds, rain, waterspouts on the lake.... And then last year in the half I got heat exhaustion pretty bad.
I knew I'd do some event during that weekend, since I always do, but I decided I needed some big sign to convince me to do the full. Then about a month later, I got an email saying I was selected as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador this year! I was so pumped!
The Cleveland Marathon is so special to me. When I ran the half in 2013, it was my first ever race and the start of my running career. I've seen 2 half PRs and a full PR on that course. It's my hometown race and I love seeing friends on course and cheering. And it's just an incredibly fun race weekend. Which is why I do it every year despite the fact that the weather can be unpredictable. There is no other race that I have repeated more than twice, but 2018 will be my 6th year at the Cleveland Marathon.
As soon as I got the Ambassador email, my mind was made up. That was my sign. I would be doing the full in 2018! My training kicks off in a couple weeks but let's talk about why you should join me for one of the events on May 19th-May 20th (and not one of them has to do with bling, although there's plenty of that too)!
#1 - You have your choice of distances. You can run the 1 Mile, 5k, 8k, 10k, 13.1 or 26.2. Even if you are new to running, you can do this and it's an awesome way to get your start and you couldn't ask for better scenery for it.
#2 - One race not enough for you? No problem. There's a challenge where you can run the 8k and 13.1, 8k and 26.2 or the 5k and 10k.
#3 - You travel through some pretty cool places. If you live here, you know. Cleveland and the surrounding areas are pretty amazing. In addition through travelling through downtown, you hit Ohio City, Gordon Square, Lakewood, Edgewater, Rocky River. All very fun and trendy places. If you choose one of the Saturday events you run at Edgewater Park which has unbelieveable views of Lake Erie and downtown.
#4 - New Course. Well mostly new. Last year, the race directors re-vamped and re-did the course. Spoiler alert: it's even flatter. Just a couple hills here and there on a mostly flat course. And my personal favorite? They took out a nasty beast called the Detroit-Shoreway, aka a four mile, spectator-free, windfilled stretch of hills that used to make up the end of the course. It's gone! Now you travel down Detroit, past restaurants and bars and a street full of spectators!
#5 - Crowd Support. If you're like me, you need spectators when the going gets tough. This race is great for that. With the Shoreway gone, you're hard-pressed to find a part of the course without people cheering. Even in the crazy weather of 2016 there were tons of people out there cheering for us. Although maybe they were there to see the crazy runners? Either way Cleveland's fans rock!
#6 - Post-race fun. There's always a great party at the end with music, good food, and free local beer! And you can bet rain, or shine, or freezing cold, people will be out there celebrating their finish.
So what are you waiting for? Come RunCLE with me in May! It's gonna be great!
Happy New Year! It's hard to believe 2017 is over already, but I'm actually kind of glad to have a fresh start in running and many other areas of life.
2017 was a big running year for me in terms of numbers. I raced more than I ever have. 16 times to be exact and 8 distances: 2 fulls, 4 halfs, a 25k, 10 miler, 15k, 10k, 5 miler, 3 5ks, and a 2miler. I ran in 5 different states and had two PRs (5 mile and 25k). I had several firsts: I ran a marathon for fun, I ran my first race with Bentley, I completed my first 10k and 15k, and I won my first race. Most importantly, my IT band fully recovered and I trained and raced CIM without any issue.
But I can't help but feel like I fell short of the goals I had for 2017. I didn't PR in the full, the half, or the 5k. And in most of the races, the times I ran were well off of my PRs. Granted, I had some issues outside of my control, but other times I just didn't feel like I was capable of running my previous times and was bonking way earlier in races than I ever had. CIM was the exception to that, but I had my weird side stitch issue show up half way through and derail my race.
The big race on my schedule for 2018 is the Cleveland Marathon (and I get to be an ambassador this year!) so I have plenty of time to train. So with 2018 beginning, I've come up with new goals and new plans for how to acheive those goals.
January of 2017 to December 2017
My 2018 Plan -
There are several elements to my plan for 2018 but they all center around one big change I want to make...keep reading to find out.
Cross-training - I've said this every year for the past 3 years. I'm going to cross train this year, I'm going to cross train. I swear I'm going to cross train. And the same thing happens every year, I cross train for a few weeks at the beginning of each training cycle, and then I drop it for one reason or another. But this time WILL be different. How? Well for starters, I've already been cross training for the last 3 weeks straight for at least 45mins-1hr each day. I figured that by starting while I'm not training for anything, it will become part of my routine. The second thing I'm trying are different types of workouts. I rarely do the same lifting/core work/etc each day. That keeps it interesting and makes it more efficient.
More Mileage - After talking with other runners in my club and seeing the kind of mileage other runners I know log, I've come to the conclusion that I do not log enough miles in my training to run the times I want to run. I know I need to do this carefully to prevent injuries, but I plan to slowly build up and to add more runs per week to safely increase the mileage.
Physical Therapy - I've been going to Healthsource of Avon for 3 weeks now and I haven't had a side stitch since getting adjustments and starting PT with them. Their workouts are also helping me to strengthen my obliques, which I'm working into my cross-training. And I'm learning to breath properly which improves my running and prevents the stitch.
Nutrition - Starting with my CIM training, I completely switched up my diet and while I was being more strict on myself than I previously was, I didn't even notice so its not like I was miserable. But the payoff was incredible! I dropped about 12lbs in my training and I had so much energy. So I plan to continue that diet permanently, but I also intend to work on improving it even further, with better nutrition through more fresh fruits and veggies and good sources of protein. I plan to hit the Cleveland Marathon at my ideal race weight.
Coaching - My biggest change for 2018. This year I am hiring a run coach. I've done all of the above in some shape or form but I've never had a real coach before. My training partner has served as an unofficial coach for the past couple years but what I need out of a coach, I can't ask him to do and he doesn't necessarily know how to form daily and weekly training plans, provide cross-training, diet and nutrition plans, and adjust to my needs/performance. From seeing other runners succeed with coaches and talking to other runners, I think that a coach can provide a big payoff for me in 2018. And since running is such a big part of my life, I'm going to make this investment in it this year.
So those are my plans for 2018 in a nutshell. I don't start my Cleveland Marathon training until late January but my cross-training is in full swing. What are your goals for 2018 and do you have any plans to mix it up this year? Have you used a coach before?