City Sights: March

Welcome to City Sights! We’ll each talk a little bit about where we’ve been running in the great city of Cleveland during the past month and why we love it so much!

In March, K ran in the Lakeview Cemetery and R took in some downtown sights. Keep reading for some musings and photos!

Lakeview Cemetery

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It took me a long time to get the courage to run through Lakeview Cemetery. I was living in Cleveland and going to school right next door to this landmark for at least 3 years before I did any exploring. I think this was because I was afraid of getting lost among the hills and winding trails, but it also felt sort of…disrespectful. It’s not unknown that I have an appreciation for grim and strange things, but running through a cemetery seemed a bit too much. Once I jogged through those gates, though, everything changed.

I don’t feel unwelcome when it comes to running in the cemetery because I feel like I run differently here. I take my time. I run in awe. Manmade construction on runs isn’t always my favorite (I prefer nature’s creations on my runs), but the gravemarkers, mausoleums, and monuments here work with nature in such a beautiful way that I end up breathless (and not because of the run or the massive hills that are wonderful for training). My favorite spot is down by the Lakeview dam. Once you get down there, the whole place opens to a clearing among the trees and landscaping that is absolutely surreal (photos can’t do the feel of the area justice). The peace, the nature, the mausoleums separated from all of the other gravesites–it’s all just perfect. Even during the not-so-green months in Cleveland, the Lakeview Cemetery is a treasure.

-K

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Downtown

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Oh, manmade construction isn’t your favorite? That’s okay IT’S MY FAVORITE. Seriously, I’ll never say no to nature (we are the Forest City after all), but I get my biggest highs from zigging and zagging between pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks during rush hour. My typical route takes me down past AsiaTown, Tower Press, CSU, and other such Cleveland strongholds, but today I’m going to feature my runs through the heart of downtown.

Living in Reserve, all I have to do is turn a corner to be in the middle of the hype and excitement of Cleveland’s revival. On one of my recent runs, there was a show getting started at Playhouse just as I was going past on Euclid and 14th. The crowds were filling in, getting in lines, looking into restaurants, taking pictures of the chandelier. It was a reminder that our city, and our downtown, is still something novel, something to be taken in and experienced. And running through the streets, with visitors stepping aside to let me through, makes me feel very much a part of the city and the experience.

This run ended on St. Clair with a beautiful view of Cleveland’s present and future. On one side, the Fountain of Eternal Life, framed by the silhouettes of Key and Terminal towers. On the other, our new Hilton Hotel being built alongside the Cleveland Convention Center. I could take the same route every day and not get bored, while the city changes and grows around me.

-R

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4th Annual Lakewood Jig and Jog

Saturday, March 20, 2015
45°F, 9:30am at West Park Station

Hi everyone! This is our first race recap, so our format is subject to change as we figure out what works for us and for you as readers. Let us know what you’d like to see in the future in the comment section! Continue reading 4th Annual Lakewood Jig and Jog

My Goals as a Runner

I don’t remember how I got interested in running. I think every now and then I’d trudge along behind my far more athletic friends in high school. The first couple years of college, I tried Couch-to-5K, with little success. The first time I really remember enjoying it was the summer after my sophomore year of college. I was working during the day and studying for the MCAT at night. It was a busy, but fun, summer. And after a long day, nothing felt better than going for an evening run around University Circle. I’m still not sure what sparked my interest, but I do know when I became a “runner”.

On setting goals:

At the end of 2013, as everyone was setting resolutions, I was thinking about what my own would be. It happened to be an episode of Modern Family that inspired me. In this episode, Phil Dunphy was powering through the miles on an elliptical. He had set a goal to travel (symbolically) from his home in LA to Canada, via elliptical. Even though his efforts were subject to ridicule in the show, I thought this was a fantastic goal. So keeping in the spirit, I resolved that in 2014, I would run 300 miles: the distance between Cleveland and Toronto. At the time I wouldn’t have dared calling myself as such, but that was when I became a runner.

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On failing:

My first road race was hard. I had only been on a treadmill up till then, and once I got outside, I realized I was using completely different muscles. At mile two, I slowed to a walk. That is, until an older woman passed by me and shouted, “You’re almost done, don’t stop now!” Thank you for the encouragement, complete stranger. I won’t let you down. I picked it back up and finished the race at a run.

From then on, progress was good. I bought winter running clothes! I actually wore them! I got up early most mornings, and ran through the wind and the ice.

At the beginning of the year, my pace was encouraging. According to my RunKeeper stats, if I kept it up, I would finish by September. I thought that maybe I’d picked too easy of a goal! Luckily, Kaitlin and I had set another – to run one race per month, the entire year.

And while we kept up that goal, I let my other one slide. I slowed down in the summer. Maybe the comfortable weather made me lazy. But for one reason or another, I got off track. And by the end of the year, I was immensely off course.

Around November, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to pull it off. It was kind of a load off my shoulders, thinking I could take it easy for the rest of the year.

Unfortunately, my stupid running partner had to go and ask me how much more I had left. How many more miles per week would I have to put in to finish?

At that point, it was eight. Then ten. Then twelve?

Up until the end, no matter how big that number got, no matter how much I wanted to say “it’s hopeless, I quit”, Kaitlin would tell me no. “That’s hard, but it’s still doable. Do it.” Fine, stupid running partner. I won’t let you down.

I ran an amazing amount (for me) those last few weeks. Nearly 50 miles in the first two weeks of December! But then the next two weeks, almost nothing. For various…reasons? Excuses? I couldn’t keep up the pace.

By New Year’s Eve, I had run 285 miles. I didn’t make it.

On succeeding:

It took me until three weeks into 2015 to finish those last 15 miles. The last mile was a little bittersweet; it felt great to hit 300, but it was a bummer that I couldn’t do it in a year. It felt like failing.

And it felt like that until a couple hours later, when I decided that by the end of 2015, I will run 350 miles. Maybe I fell short last year, but I can sure as hell do it this year, and with the stakes raised.

On paper, my goal was 300 miles. But what was I actually trying to achieve?

I was trying to be healthier and more active.

I had succeeded.

I was trying to spend more time with my friends.

I had succeeded.

I was trying to get to know my city, its streets, and the people in it.

I had succeeded. In 2014, I ran 10 5K’s and two 10K’s, in neighborhoods all over Cleveland.

I became a runner when I set my goals. When I followed through. When I fell short. When I set more.


And as of yesterday, I set another. This May, I’m going to be attempting my first half-marathon. I had intended to do another 10K at the Cleveland Marathon, like last year. But… I did that last year. And I’m not quite at the point to be upping my pace (I’ll explain later), so I have to step it up somehow. I mean, what good is a goal if it’s going to be easy? My training is starting a little late, but if I stick with the plan, it should be possible. That’s what K tells me, anyway, and I guess for now I’ll believe her.

Who knows if I’ll make it, but I’ll still be a “runner” just the same.

-R

Hi! We’re K & R!

Hi! We’re K&R! We’re young-ish, grownup-ish, and we…run-ish?

Last year, a series of exciting events led us to running a race a month (that’s 12 races)! Those 12 races made us better friends, better at running, and better Clevelanders. Here, we’ll share with you our thoughts, lessons, and silly stories related to running, life, and Cleveland.

We’ll keep in touch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. See you soon!

-K & R