Okay, okay I know what you're thinking. Cleveland - that Cleveland? "Kidnap City" as some call it? (btw, my personal feelings on that are that crazy things happen in every city, from drugs to kidnapping, you can't have that stop you from living your life!).
But yes, Cleveland, Ohio! I had a great time and my only regret is that I didn't pack for the cold front that moved through over the weekend!
I knew my eatting wasn't going to be great - okay, not even good, so I made it my mission to get some activity in this trip too. I started out by going to the JCC. Techinically, it is in the eastern suburb of Beachwood. The facilities were VERY nice. The pool itself was just okay. It reminded me of YMCA B because there was just one pool and it had lap swim, water aerobics and swim lessons going on that the same time, so the water was much warmer than I would have liked it to be. I got an hour in at the pool and then indulged in the steam room for a bit before meeting up with my friend for some gossip while getting ready for the rest of our day. Luckily my friend is a member, so I got a free guest pass!
The rest of that day included some walking and stroller pushing as well as some running - the rain would loom forever and then start to downpour!
It was clear for a little bit in the evening and near sunset, so we decided to see the sunset on the beach. (Cleveland is on Lake Erie, if you didn't know). It wasn't tropical, but it was prettier than I expected! Here are a few pics:
(ugh, Blogger and my pics are not cooperating right now. I will try to fix it, but post this now!)
I think we were at the Rocky River Reservation, but I am not 100% sure (details marred by margaritas!). That is a western suburb, so clearly I was allll over town this weekend.
The next day I was up bright and early for a 5K! I only signed up a few days beforehand. I was looking online for a 5K and found 2 options. One, which was downtown, was a Marine Corps 5K with obstacles along the way, and the other was on the near west side benefitting a school. I have enough trouble with a 5K, so I decided to pick the one benefitting the school!
I think this was the third annual 5K for the montessori school, so it was pretty darn small! They were SO excited to have 250 participants for their 1 mile fun run and 5K. It was pretty chilly that morning, 45 degrees when I woke up, probably in the 50s during the race. But luckily no humidty and no wind made it near perfect conditions! I only packed shorts and a long sleeve tech tshirt, so that is what I was stuck with. Luckily, I was able to stay in the gym until 2 minutes beforehand, plus access to the bathrooms, it was great!
The little school choir sang the national anthem and there were only 16 kids in it. For only being 16 kids and some edging close to puberty, I think they did a fantastic job. Seriously, children singing the national anthem, it makes me tear up! We then went to the starting line. I got nearer to the back, and I heard some guys in front of me saying that they were slow and needed to move back. So they got behind me. They promptly passed me in the first 100 feet! haha made me laugh. Because it was such a small race and I am the turtle of the pack, things spread out pretty much within the first 0.1 miles! My running wasn't feeling fantastic and I just told myself I had to run the first mile and then I could walk. I could see where the course turned and was just focused on getting there. As I approached it, I could see it was the 1/2 mile marker. I heard some young boys shouting and running behind me. Then the volunteer told them they were at a half mile and it was time to turn back for the 1 mile fun run. They responded with "oh, already?". It was one of those things where I mocked them in my head :)
At this point, there were two people around me. One lady was walking and whenever I would pass her, she was start running until she passed me. Ask me how long it took for that to get old! When we got to the 1 mile marker, the volunteer was calling out the time. When I passed she said "12:35". I said "oh, that is fast for me!". I had gotten into a groove by then and was just enjoying the houses along the course. The weather was great, it was beautiful albeit overcast, and the birds were chirping. Very, very soon after I passed the 1 mile marker, I saw the lead runner coming back with the "pace car" (a police car). ha! I kept trucking on and walked at about 1.3 miles. I thought "uh, I was feeling fine, why am I walking?". Oh those mind games thinking I needed a walk!
I had a handheld water bottle with me, so I ran through the water stop that was at half way. At the turn around, I saw there were really only walkers behind me, but that was okay! I walked 2 or 3 more times in mile 2. According to my watch, my second mile was in the 14 minute range. The pace car had looped back to the end of the 5k-ers. At about 2.5 I could hear them on their loudspeaker saying "walkers to the sidewalk, we are going to open the street again". I just kept doing my thing. A while later I was contemplating another walk when I heard the car, closer. He said "all walkers must use the sidewalk, and joggers can stay in the street". #1 I was annoyed at "joggers". Dude, this is running for me! #2 There was no way in hell I was moving to the sidewalk! Mile 3 was allll running. My hip/IT band was starting to whine. I saw a cat saunter into the middle of the street and plop down lazily. I chuckled and told that cat that is what I felt like doing! Mile 3 was also 14 mins. I could hear the whooping at the finish line, so I gave it a little kick into the finish. 3rd 5K was done at 41:46!
I was very proud of myself for giving it my all. Some of my friends/family were acting like it was weird to run a 5K in a random city, but I was glad to have some time to myself on this vacation. It was beautiful and I loved it! The race itself was pretty good with parking and signage. The very few specatators were all amazing and there were cops at every light along the course (there were lots!) and they were all pleasant to friendly/very encouraging. Afterwards I grabbed a water, and one each of a orange, banana, and apple segment. I wasn't going to win any awards with my shiny new PR (btw, PR by 2 mins 17 seconds, nice!) so I packed up and left. My only regret was not stretching afterwards. My body is just over being sore! I got 14 out of 16 in my 20-29 age group and I think something like 167 out of 189 for the 5K :) I looked at last year's results and my time would have gotten me 3rd place in my AG :) I guess everyone really had trained from the year before, ha!
Then I did something I did twice in my trip...I went the wrong way on the interstate. I was trying to go east, but I ended up going west. I made it to the airport, which I knew was on the western side of the city and then I decided I was definitely going the wrong way! :)
That afternoon I made a stop at CLE Clothing Company on East 4th/Euclid (which is one of the most adorable streets ever). I wanted a Cleveland specific shirt (they have a lot that are Ohio themed as well. I don't like all of Ohio, just Cleveland). I ended up getting a purple v-neck with the shape of Ohio in little grey hearts and there was a bigger red heart by Cleveland. I was very happy with my purchase.
Then I made my way over the the West Side Market. Definitely a must for any Cleveland visit. I got some fresh strawberries, minneolas, and apples. I went inside and got a jumbo falafel with hummus and sriracha. I also got a mini cannoli. I happily wandered around and ate my falafel while taking in the sites. I love the market atmosphere that is hard to find here in the US. The parking was hard to find, but luckily there is pretty good public transportation in Cleveland. A variety of buses go by and there is a rapid stop (light rail) across the street. Or you could hoof it across the bridge from downtown :)
I met back up with my friend a couple of hours later and we split some small plates and had a couple of drinks at a chain restaurant. I also had 3 large waters and nearly peed myself before we got back to where we were going! A cup of coffee to sober up a bit and then we met up with some other friends in the evening for a night out of W. 25th street, right by the West Side Market. We went to Market Garden Brewery where I had many a Jack and Coke and the best sandwich I have had in my life. Obviously I had no business being super hungry, but this sandwich so so dang good I ate it all. It was their Fried Chicken Sandwich. I had a local whiskey and coke and that whiskey was sooo much better than Jack! Yum!
We then headed over to ABC Tavern which is more of my kind of place than the brewery. I was so freaking stuffed that I didn't drink alcohol or water for the first couple hours we were there, ha! We ended the night near 3am. The next morning, my body didn't feel the traditional hung over. My hip/IT band were still hurting, and my shoulder blades felt like they had been boxed in the night! Probably from me ridgedly holding my arms while running the 5K that morning.
The next day was a chill day where I hung out and shopped a bit before popping in the new Justin Timberlake CD (yes, CD. I hadn't bought a CD since probably 2006!) and heading home.
I had a great trip, despite coming back 3 pounds heavier (yes that chicken sandwich was TOTALLY worth it). Not only did I get some friend time and got to see different parts of the city, I got a new 5K PR! :) I feel like I touched the tip of the iceberg when I was in Cleveland. There are so many things to do and see. I would definitely love to go to the rock n roll hall of fame. I was there once for 4 hours and it was definitely not enough time!
Just because other people with blogs say things like this, I will too: No one paid me for talking about Cleveland/going to Cleveland. It is a really cool city and I'm jealous of those who live there (seriously, I want movies to film in my city!). Although I would have liked someone to pay for my trip...I did some serious damage to one of the credit cards I had paid off last month!