When I decided to run the Tremont Steeplechase, I thought it would be fun to invite along some of my friends to join me. I attend Scranton Road Bible Church, a non-denominational church located on the western edge of Tremont at the intersection of Scranton and Clark, and a large number of my friends attend this church as well. Unfortunately, my church didn’t make it onto the course of the Tremont Steeplechase even though it is over 100 years old.
I love my church! (Photo courtesy of Parkside Church’s Flickr site)
Unfortunately, none of my friends who are runners were able to join me on the Tremont Steeplechase. Maybe next year! I am hopeful that my story will inspire others to give running a try, and I’d love to complete the Steeplechase along with a few first-time runners next year. We’ll see!
Shortly after I decided to run the Steeplechase, my friend Rachael sent out an email asking if any of us wanted to run the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Run For Justice. I knew a few people who ran this race during law school, but at the time my definition of running was limited to dashing from my illegally parked car to my professor’s office to ensure that my legal writing papers would be time-stamped before the deadline. When I received her email, I thought that running a race with friends would be fun and my interest was piqued. Even though the race was a week after the Steeplechase, I figured that I’d be doing some sort of a run on this date anyway and that my body could easily handle another 5K—after all, 3.1 miles is 3.1 miles whether I run it by myself in my neighborhood or in downtown Cleveland along with hundreds of other people!
Most of the race recaps that I read are a bit like the song November Rain—they start off a bit slow, gradually pick up steam throughout the post, and end on the glorious note of a PR for time or distance. Unfortunately, this isn’t that type of race recap. A variety of challenges before and during the race meant that I clocked in at 28:41, which was 33 seconds longer than my time in the Steeplechase.
Having never needed to learn how to simultaneously rest and recover from one run while preparing for another, I did two runs during the week in between the Steeplechase and the Run For Justice. My first run on Tuesday went very well. My second run on Thursday, though, was a different story. I drove along the course for the Run For Justice on Wednesday and ascertained the location of the inclines on the course. The hill on the Steeplechase was grueling, and I wanted to get in some hill training in the hopes that I wouldn’t slow down so much on the hill in the Run For Justice. Unfortunately, I didn’t run the hill properly and my foot was sore on Friday morning. As the day progressed, I felt slightly better, but doubts still lingered.
Consequently, I went to bed on Friday evening feeling pretty nervous and unsure about my chances in the Run For Justice. This was a marked difference from my mental state on the night before the Steeplechase, when I felt 100% confident that I could bang out the 3.1 miles. I was still a bit nervous when I took off on Saturday morning, and I ran a very tentative race for the first 2.75 miles. Although I was grateful to have energy to sprint hard at the end, I wished that I had run a little harder throughout the entire run. The following picture, which was taken at the Browns\Ravens game in November, captures a large portion of the course. Unfortunately, the rain kept Sheila from getting any other pictures.
Not the best picture, but it captures a good bit of the course.
Another factor working against me was the fact that this was the first race in which I had to run in the morning. I had never run in the morning before, and my schedule during the week completely thwarted me from sneaking in a run around the same time as the Run For Justice. In retrospect, I probably needed to warm up a little bit more before the event.
Lastly, the weather was completely awful. The rain and high winds that characterize a fall morning on the shores of Lake Erie were in full effect, and I had never previously run in these types of conditions. Dealing with the high winds as I trekked up the West 3rd Street hill was not fun. By the end of the race, I was dripping with sweat under my windbreaker and completely soaked with rain as well.
Having said that, the day wasn’t a total wash (no pun intended).
I like to find the silver lining in life whenever possible. Any Browns fan will tell you that you’ll lose heart really quickly if you can’t learn how to find the positive elements amidst the countless losses that we endure on a yearly basis. Because I’m a Browns fan, I’ve become an expert in extracting every positive note possible from every type of loss imaginable, so I’ll apply the same skills to my running.
First of all, I’m grateful that I learned how to deal with weather-related challenges. I was very blessed because my first two 5Ks were in near-ideal conditions. The Lakewood Summer Meltdown was held on one of the coolest days of an otherwise scorching summer and the Tremont Steeplechase took place on a picturesque fall day. However, I’m not naïve enough to think that every race I run will feature idyllic temperatures and no rain. The weather in Cleveland during May is a crapshoot, and I could be attempting to conquer 13.1 miles during the Cleveland Marathon in either shorts and a sleeveless shirt or long pants and a windbreaker.
Secondly, I had fun. My friend Alex, who ran more marathons in 2012 than many people do in their lifetime, reminded me not to lose sight of the fact that running should be fun. While I may not have PR’d during the Run For Justice, the experience was very enjoyable. As a Browns fan, I also had a blast running around Cleveland Browns Stadium. I enjoyed running with my friends, and the fact that my friend David (who finished in 24:55) sacrificed his own time to run along with me at the start meant a lot. Here’s a picture of all of us who ran:
Old and new friends gathered after the race in The Galleria to celebrate the completion of a brutal race!
Although the race didn’t go as I had hoped that it would, I am glad that I ran the Run For Justice!