It’s been a fun summer, but it’s been a crazy one too. We’ve been to three weddings, three graduations, countless social gatherings, and much more.

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Our friends Joyce and James got married just a few miles from the Towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park! (The officiant is Pastor Che, who was the man who helped me get into My Fitness Pal and who played a major role in helping me start my weight loss journey.)

The past few months have flown by and I can’t believe that July is almost half over!

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Butters enjoying our balcony and his bone during the July 4th weekend!

Fortunately, running hasn’t fallen by the wayside. Even though the weather in Cleveland has gone from being extremely hot and humid to cold and rainy in the span of a few hours, we’ve managed to keep up the miles.

You’ll note that I said “we” and not “I”. Why’s that?

Sheila has recently started to pick up the sport of running again! Read the rest of this entry

2013 Towpath Ten-Ten: Race Recap

After two great “long” training runs, I was pretty pumped for the Towpath Ten-Ten.

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I’m not sure why I enjoy everything Towpath-related so much, but I do. Perhaps it is because the entire area is so calm and serene and very close to my house, which means I can shoot over there and sneak a daytime run in during the week. Maybe it’s because the area seems like Narnia in many respects. Once I park my car and step through the “wardrobe” of the trailhead, I instantly find myself in a quiet area in which wildlife are constantly speaking, cars are happily absent, and green lushness is everywhere. Perhaps it’s because I feel very safe there; even when I was running there at night last weekend, I felt completely at ease.

Anyhow, I got a great night of sleep on Friday night because I don’t ever sleep well on the night before a race, and I headed down to packet packup early on Saturday before the wedding that we were scheduled to attend.

The wedding was fun and I enjoyed chatting with several folks who I don’t get to see very often.

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My friend Steph took this picture – I had one plate this size with Indian food and one plate this size with Chinese food. Throw two egg custards and other sweets into the mix and you’ll see why I was afraid I’d need to be wheeled across the finish line!

Unfortunately, I ate way too much Chinese and Indian food at the wedding and I was afraid that I was going to pay for it on race day! Read the rest of this entry

Towpath Ten-Ten Training: Week 2

Following a great first week of training for the Towpath Ten-Ten, I launched right into another busy week. Fortunately, this week was a bit more enjoyable than last week!

Some of the highlights of the past week were my brother’s graduation festivities. On Monday, he graduated from Bay High School. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the evening for me was thinking about how the common thread of running winds through our family and helps us understand each other.

When I walked in, I saw the following arrangement of cups on the counter:

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Some people may look at that and wonder what’s going on, but I looked at that and thought, “That’s so smart of him to set out his pop days in advance so that all of the carbonation is out of it by the time he needs to drink it for energy on race day.”

Read the rest of this entry

Towpath Ten-Ten Training: Week 1

I thought that the past few months leading up to the Cleveland half were as crazy as life could get.

Boy, was I wrong.

Life since the half marathon has been absolutely insane!

I’ve had major freakouts over the past two weeks because we have events almost every night through the end of June.

I’m not big into defining myself by personality tests or labels—to quote R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe response when he was asked about his sexuality, “Labels are for food”—but I have spent a decent amount of time in recent years figuring out whether I’m an introvert or an extrovert.

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Thank God for Michael Stipe or else I would have felt completely not OK about marching to the beat of my own drummer during high school. (Image obtained from commons.wikimedia.org)

Read the rest of this entry

Adopt A Forever Friend Today!

Every week, my mom sends us a letter containing newspaper comics that she has found interesting over the past few days and updates about what’s going on with her life.

Many times, these comics are humorous and often involve lawyers behaving badly or dogs doing endearing things.

Last week, though, was a different story. As we were processing the mail that had accumulated while we were visiting Sheila’s family in DC, Sheila came across the following comic and had to put it down because she was about to start crying:

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Shortly thereafter, I read the same comic and I actually did tear up a bit.

Most of you who have read this blog already know that the real star of the blog is our pup Butters. Read the rest of this entry

I honestly don’t even know where to begin.

Cliché, I know.

Trying to adequately sum up the culmination of some of the most transformative and amazing 12 weeks of your life in a few paragraphs is nearly impossible, but I’ll give it a shot. This is a long post, but c’mon…it’s my first half marathon! Read the rest of this entry

My last training run—a nice 2 miler—is in the books!

I ran in the same area in Tremont in which I struggled to run 2 or 3 blocks back when I started running in June 2012. During those days, running 1 mile seemed like an enormous accomplishment that I might never be able to do, and the fact that I’ve been able to go from 0 to 13.1 (Lord willing) in less than a year’s time still blows my mind sometimes.

More than anything else, this entire experience has been a great reminder that I can accomplish great things in my life with hard work, dedication, tenacity, prayer, and perseverance. It has been a great reminder that the truly greatest accomplishments in life are not easy and that nothing worthwhile comes without sacrifice and investment. Running has been a great reminder of how I can achieve my goals if I refuse to give up and refuse to allow temporary frustrations and obstacles to deter or distract me.

Greater Cleveland has a great community of runners, and I don’t think that’s an accident.

Why? Read the rest of this entry

I always hope that the last week or two before a race will be tranquil.

I have visions of heading into a race feeling fully rested, relaxed, hydrated, and confident.

How many times has that happened?

Once.

Ironically enough, I wound up having my worst race ever (the Run For Justice) when I headed into a race feeling great about everything. I do recall that my foot did hurt a bit the day before that run, but I do remember heading into the race feeling well-rested, stress-free, and excited.

If history repeats itself, then I’m shaping up to have a fantastic half marathon on Sunday at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, because last week was a heckuva week! Read the rest of this entry

The winner of the VIP Brunch Ticket Contest is…

Jenna!

I also realized that I had two other tickets to the VIP Brunch that I was given because as part of my goodie bag for being an Official Blogger that I am not going to use. I did another drawing, and the winner of those tickets is…

Emily!

I’ll be contacting both of you via Twitter to get your addresses so that I can mail you the tickets today.

Thanks to all who entered! Race day is almost here–I can’t wait!

The 2013 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is a week away!

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I’m so excited! I’ve got one more “long” training run left to go and then a shorter run or two before a few “rest” days which will undoubtedly be spent taking every step with great caution so I don’t injure myself before the big day.

The race organizers have a great weekend of festivities lined up for us. I am looking forward to meeting some of the other Official Bloggers. Additionally, I’m excited for my very first Expo!

On that note, I’m excited to announce my first-ever blog giveaway!

I have two tickets for the VIP Brunch that will take place at the finish line. The VIP Brunch takes place inside Cleveland Browns Stadium, and you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a spread of delicious food and celebrate a race well run. One lucky winner will receive both tickets!

Here’s how to enter:

1.) Leave a comment telling me which race you’re running during the Cleveland Marathon weekend! If you’re not running a race, please share a fun Cleveland-related memory.

2.) Tweet “I want to win two tickets to the VIP Brunch at the 2013 Cleveland Marathon from @ClevelandJoe! http://thefrolickingfells.com/2013/05/2013-cleveland-marathon-vip-brunch-ticket-giveaway.html” (Make sure to leave me a comment letting me know that you did too. You can tweet once per day!)

3.) Follow @ClevelandJoe on Twitter (and leave a comment letting me know that you did that too!)

The deadline for submitting entries is 11:59P.M. on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. I’ll choose a winner Wednesday morning using random.org and get the tickets in the mail to you by Wednesday afternoon so you’ll have them by Sunday. (The ticket says that you have to RSVP by May 1, 2013, but since I didn’t get these tickets until last Monday I don’t think it’ll be a problem.)

Good luck!