Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Danny's Trip to Cleveland

This past weekend, my parents and I took a trip to Cleveland, Ohio in a whirlwind long weekend. After cheering Amber on at the first mile of the Rock N Race on Thursday(she would end up finishing 10th overall, first female with a blistering 17:38), we drove down to my aunt's for the night since we were flying out of Providence at 6am the next morning.
Amber Rockin the Rock N Race!
In this three day weekend, we had planned to visit my adopted grandmother from Bethlehem, go to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, celebrate my college friend, Brooklyn, birthday and run in the Cleveland Marathon.
My dad along the Lake Erie's shore
We arrived before 8am in Cleveland and heading directly into the city hoping to get an early start on the day. The Hall of Fame didn't open until 10am but we explore the downtown, walked along the lakeshore, and visited the Cleveland Brown's stadium.
Cleveland Fire Fighter's Memorial

At 10am, accompanied by about 400 high school students, we entered the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. I am not sure what I was expecting but I was definitely pleasantly surprised by the variety of displays and the wealth of information that they provided. I'm sure you all know that Phil Collins replaced Peter Gabriel as lead singer of Genius but did you know that they auditioned over 300 singers before they let old poor Phil sing? Or that Waylon Jennings gave up his seat to the Big Bopper on the day the music died?
My parents in front of ZZ Top's hot rod

We thought allotting three hours would be enough time to see the Hall, but when my alarm buzzed indicating time to go, we had only made it through the first of six floors. Definitely give yourself a full day if you want to let it adequately do justice.

The plane we flew in on.

My mom with Mrs Meyer
Across town we then drove to meet up with Mrs. Meyer, my grandmother-in-residence from Bethlehem. although not related, she has been a part of my life since I was growing up in Bethlehem, driving herself from Brooklyn to NH every summer and spending it with us. Some health issues have since prevented her from coming to NH anymore and she moved to Cleveland to be closer to her daughter, but she was still able to come out for Amber and my wedding a few years ago. She showed us to a nice little dinner where I downed an excellent vanilla milk shake before we headed over to a nice deli for dinner.

Cool Rack for your bike
 While visiting with Mrs. Meyer, Brooklyn(the friend not the borough) arrived from Cincinnati. He drove up to join us for the weekend to celebrate his birthday and to run the half marathon. He ran the Flying Pig Marathon in 2010 with me and my cousin Joey.

He, my dad and I spent the evening at the hotel bar watching the Celtics blow a huge lead to the 76ers.

The next day, my parents, Brooklyn and I all went out for a big breakfast(carbo load the morning before not the night before), then parted ways for the day. Brooklyn and I went to the marathon expo while my parents joined Mrs. Meyer at the Cleveland art museum for a special exhibit on Rembrandt. If it were Renoir, I may have been more inclined to join them but Rembrandt just doesn't do much for me.

After beating Brooklyn at the pullup contest put on by the Marines at the expo(16 to 15), Brooklyn exacted revenge on me in the form of chess and swimming. I did take a W with the breath holding contest. Other than that Brooklyn and I just spent the afternoon lounging in the pool, and catching up.  We met up again with my parents and Mrs. Meyer's family for dinner.

With a 7am race start, Brooklyn and I got a relatively early bed time to make sure we got into the city before six when they said they would close down the streets. The race both started and ended at Browns stadium so there were plenty of bathrooms and space to stretch. Even still, with over 15,000 marathoners and probably another 5,000 half marathoners it did get pretty crowded.

I had brought shorts, T-shirt and hat for the race but before it had even started I had discarded my shirt and within the first mile also my hat. To say it was hot was an understatement. The course is definitely a fast one with multiple places for spectators to cheer(my parents were awesome and cheered me on at three different locations). However, with the heat/humidity, I didn't expect to PR. Which I didn't. Like the Mt. Washington Road Race, the whole marathon was a game of bargaining. At first it was just get under 2:40 which quickly turned into 2:45 and after I had started gulping down Popsicles it became 2:50. At mile 19, I figured I could average 8 minute miles and still go under 2:50. By mile 20, I was sitting on the porta-potty. 11 minutes later at mile 21, it occurred to me that I may not go under 3 hours. Having run a 3:01 at Cincinnati, I didn't want another "just over" marathon in OH, so I pushed myself(i.e. didn't let myself walk) and crossed the line in 2:58:11 good enough for 42nd place. Unfortunately for the first 16 miles, I was solidly in the top 20. Brooklyn met me at the finish line where he stated that he had won the contest overall for the weekend because although he also didn't get his goal time, he didn't get it by less than me.  Good news was that with all my slowing down for water and bathroom breaks, I wasn't all that sore which was a good thing, since we had to rush to the airport to catch our flight.

5 hours after the marathon ended, we were back in New England, where my parents and I had one more dinner together before parting way. An amazingly fun weekend that was packed with friends, family and food and, of course, 26.2 miles of fun.

At Mile 19

Up Next: Mooseman 70.3 for Amber and Danny(June 3rd)