2015 Race #5: Rite Aid Cleveland 10K, Cleveland, OH

Date: May 17, 2015
Gun Time: 47:06
Chip Time: 46:30
Placing Overall: 88th out of 2483
Placing in Age Group: 13th out of 121
Theme Song: Running Down A Dream“, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

My son is not impressed with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He’s eight years old, so you can’t really blame him. His experience with music is pretty much limited to the likes of Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars, with a little LMFAO thrown in. None of these are what you would call particularly well represented at RRHoF. It seems Dad’s stupid dinosaur bands didn’t really rate with him, so this made for a lot of aimless wandering, and complaining. Worse still, Lori railed at the lack of Bon Jovi related memorabilia (I won’t say the RRHoF missed the mark on that one, exactly). Leaving aside the discussion of whether a museum could ever be considered “rock and roll”, I will say that I thought the Rolling Stones pinball machine contained therein was particularly badass.

All this sightseeing was possible because of my bumping down from the marathon to the 10K. This became fairly evident to me as we strolled downtown Cleveland in the afternoon as the last of the marathoners were straggling in, and I happened to note that everyone wearing a blue bib looked like they were in dire need of a rollator.

BEFORE.

BEFORE.

AFTER.

AFTER.

Perhaps this impression had a lot to do with sour grapes, given that I opted not to run the marathon myself. I don’t know, but those people looked like they were in some serious pain.

The weekend included a pretty large race expo and the kids had lots of fun roaming around picking up little freebies, as kids do. Pretty soon we had a bag full of odds and ends, and I picked up my shirt which was pretty nice (the 10K shirts were less so, but obviously I had already paid for the one that went with the marathon). Seeing the marathoners all stoked and raring to go was awakening the little voice in my head telling me I should go for it, and to hell with the injury. What’s more, I chatted for awhile with a couple of firefighters from Parma Heights who were planning to run the full 26.2 miles – in 40 pounds of gear, raising money for ALS.

Suddenly, I felt a little like I was wussing out.

However, common sense did prevail, and as for race day, I started with a quick warm-up on the bike at 5:30AM in the gym at the Marriott (which as you might expect was completely deserted at that hour) and went outside to join a stream of runners who were making their way toward the start area. Light was just starting to touch the sky in the east, and the day was dawning not particularly hot but very, very humid, with some ominous slate colored clouds roiling above. Passing a giant billboard of King James (as if we needed a reminder of who actually runs this town), we arrived in front of the Quicken Loans Arena where a large crowd was gathering. The organizers made a big show of proclaiming that they had 20,000 runners participating in the event, but it’s worth noting that this includes a fairly large division of walkers, and the 5K and kids race the day before, so the number of runners in the 10K, half, and marathon was rather closer to 10,000. Still, it was by far the biggest event I had ever participated in, and felt like it once we got into the starting corrals. The marathon organizers, doing credit to the great city of Cleveland and its storied place in the history of rock and roll, got us all pumped up with a rousing array of tunes, starting with, uh, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk“.

Yeah. That happened.

This image isn't from the 2015 race, but you get the idea.

This image isn’t from the 2015 race, but you get the idea.

Anyway, the skies opened up a few minutes before the start of the race, drenching everyone. Whether Trace Adkins had anything to do with this remained to be seen. I was at the lead edge of the B corral, and in front of me a couple of young guys were nervously discussing running their first marathon. Turned out they were 19 and 17. God. I hate it when my competition could be my kids. I should have been in the A corral, because after the gun I got pretty much totally boxed in by slower runners for the first 3/4 mile or so. I guess I should have figured out that would happen given the size of the race, but chalked it up to lessons learned.

All hail the king.

All hail the king.

Once things thinned out as we came around the back side of the Q and Progressive Field, I managed to kick things into a higher gear. I felt good and the groin seemed strong. We surged over the Cuyahoga at the Hope Memorial Bridge and at this point the 10K runners split off from the rest and headed past the West Side Market into Ohio City. The long straightaway down Franklin Blvd was generally quiet, but a few Clevelanders were out to cheer the runners on. Eventually we made our way up onto the Memorial Shoreway and started heading back into downtown. The legs were getting a little heavy by this time and it was obvious that my conditioning had suffered quite a lot with the month off. As we passed the 5 mile mark another runner asked if I had the time, which I didn’t.

“Oh, well, we know it won’t be more than another 10 minutes,” she said sunnily.

I was able to dig down and find a last reserve of strength as we came down off the Shoreway and the finish line was in sight. A young blond guy, maybe mid 20’s, came up beside me and started barking like a Marine drill sergeant down the stretch, exhorting me to sprint to the finish. I could see the clock just turning over to 47 minutes as we hit the line and I was pretty pleased considering my goal was to go sub 48 minutes with all the time off.

Given that it was still before 8AM, I didn’t expect Lori and the kids to be there, but they were, and Lori snapped a rather happy looking photo of me with my medal (which had a cool spinning guitar in it). Race run, off we went to find me some carbs.

SONY DSC

My results looked a bit more impressive than they maybe were; the almost 2500 runners in the 10K included the walkers, who were also timed. All in all it was a pretty nice return to form, I didn’t get hurt, and the dream of the marathon is still there. Better start pricing rollators.

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