Category Archives: Running

Jingle Bell Run Cleveland, December 8 at Legacy Village

Jingle Bell Run Cleveland, December 8

Jingle Bell Run Cleveland, December 8

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, I’m taking it easy this week with just one post. This is our last Thanksgiving before Scott’s parents move so we’ll be celebrating with friends tomorrow, then relaxing, holiday merrymaking, and attending Genghis Con, Cleveland’s underground comic convention, on Sunday.

Amid all that we’re also getting ready for Scott’s first 5K – Jingle Bell Run Cleveland on December 8!

In addition to throwing pretty awesome parties, the Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region, Northeast Ohio chapter raises money for arthritis support and research through their annual holiday run/walk.

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Why I’m Running The Gathering Place’s Race for the Place

UPDATE: Many thanks to everyone who helped me reach my fundraising goal for The Gathering Place’s Race for the Place 5K. It’s still not too late to donate.

Some quick blogkeeping: Congratulations, entry # 18, Sarah @ Cooker Girl – Random.org selected your entry in my giveaway for a $100 Provenance gift certificate. I’ll email you shortly to send you your prize.

Provenance Giveaway Winner

After packing my suitcases, I’m off for a 10 day drive around the Northeast. From New Jersey and Philly to Virginia, I can’t wait to catch up with friends and family all over the place.

The only thing that I’m a little sad to miss is Cleveland Marathon Weekend because I was hoping to run in the 5K tomorrow.

Fortunately, I don’t have to wait much longer for my next 5K:

Race for the place

 

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12 Days of Cleveland – Thankful for Too Much To Do This Holiday Season

This Thanksgiving, there were many things to be thankful for. I’m lucky to have a pretty swell husband (understatement), fantastic parents and sister, friends and even in-laws (congrats Laura and Max on your engagement!). From work to home and in between, there’s not much to complain about.

And even better, I get to spend my time in Cleveland. Whether it’s Downtown, east, west or the suburbs – there’s always something to do. In fact, if I had one complaint it’s that there’s sometimes too much to choose from.

However, I consider that a very lucky problem to have. Clevelanders are blessed with a city that not just offers us a lot of unique entertainment, food, art and shopping experiences, but more importantly is small enough that most of it is accessible.

As we head into the holiday season, Cleveland is bustling with even more activity. In honor of one of my favorite carols, here are my “12 Days of Cleveland” Picks.

Holiday shopping events make it easier to take the pledge to shop local

Day 1. Shop Local Showcase: On Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, get your holiday shopping done early with Room Service’s Made in the 216 Holiday Shoppe (today-12/31), Bazaar Bizarre Cleveland’s eastside show (today and Saturday) and Downtown Cleveland’s Winterfest (Saturday).

And if you’re a procrastinator like me, Yelp Cleveland’s Shop Local Pledge has a full list of shopping events throughout December like Bazaar Bizarre’s huge westside show (12/8-12/9) and Screw Factory’s Last Minute Market (12/15).

Day 2. Circle in the City: One of the things on my Cleveland to-see list is the inside of the Cleveland Trust Rotunda.  Every time I walk by it, I stare longingly wanting to get a glimpse of the murals and stunning stained-glass dome I’ve only seen in pictures. Thanks to the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and University Circle, my holiday wish has been granted with Circle in the City!

Every Wednesday between now and Dec. 12, the Ameritrust Rotunda will open from 11:30am-1pm for free cultural events sponsored by University Circle institutions. A food truck or two will be outside where you can grab lunch.

On my day off this past Wednesday, I stopped in for the first Circle in the City: a performance by Robert Cassidy, Department of Music faculty member and pianist for the Almeda Trio, The Music Settlement’s professional ensemble in residence. It was a harmonious complement to the Rotunda’s artwork and architecture whose beauty surpassed the photographs.

Circle in the City offers up beautiful sounds for the holiday as well as a rare opportunity to see the inside of the Cleveland Trust Rotunda

Day 3. Tinsel Town: If you have children, gather your family together to celebrate the holidays at PlayhouseSquare’s Tinsel Town Party (12/1). From 12-2 pm, the beautifully decorated Palace Theatre lobby will host holiday crafts, cookie decorating and of course Santa! Snacks and hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles will also be available. All proceeds benefit community engagement and education programs at PlayhouseSquare (Family Four Pack: $40; Adult: $8; Child: $14; half-price discounts for Pals Members).

Day 4. Holiday CircleFest: Ring in December at the Holiday CircleFest (12/2). From 1-5:30pm, spend your day in University Circle experiencing more than a dozen of Cleveland’s cultural treasures free of charge. Meanwhile, enjoy live music, craft making, historic displays of holiday toys, storytelling, a singing Santa, live reindeer, the city’s best gingerbread house competition, and more.

Wade Oval will also be busy with free horse-drawn carriage rides, ice carving demos, and ice-skating at the Oval’s Rink. At 5:30, the celebration concludes with The Cleveland Museum of Art’s Winter Lights Lantern Procession.

A Cleveland holiday tradition returns to PlayhouseSquare with Cleveland Orchestra and Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker (11/29-12/2)

Day 5. The Nutcracker on Stage and Screen: The incomparable pairing of the Joffrey Ballet and the Cleveland Orchestra returns to PlayhouseSquare with their annual run of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (11/29-12/2). Audiences will delight in the breathtaking costumes, magical music and spectacular dancing.

Although nothing compares to a live performance, if you can’t make it to the Cleveland production, Fathom Events will present the Russian Imperial Mariinsky Theatre’s The Nutcracker (12/3) at ten local movie theatres. Performances are at 2 and 7:30pm. Find your closest location here.

Day 6. Warehouse District Holiday Tour: Each December, hundreds of people descend onto Warehouse District for their annual Neighborhood Holiday Tour. Now in its 13th year, the popular tour (12/5) features a behind the scenes look at the Warehouse District’s beautiful residential and office buildings as well as a feast from the neighborhood’s restaurants.

This year’s tour includes stops at the Bridgeview Apartments Atrium, 425 Lakeside, the Bradley Building, the Cloak Factory, Old Stone Church, the offices of Rieth, Antonelli & Raj, plus a construction tour of the Flats East Bank Project.

Guests will then enjoy holiday treats from Barley House, Bar Louie, The Blind Pig, Blue Point Grille, Bob Golic’s Sports Bar & Grille, BRGR 9, Constantino’s Market, Charkha Exotic Indian Cuisine, Gillespie’s Map Room, Johnny’s Downtown, John Q’s Steakhouse and Taza Lebanese Grill. Proceeds from the tour benefit the Historic Warehouse District Development Corporation.

A special Santaland Diaries YP Night on 12/6 features a pre-show reception and tickets to the performance

Day 7. Santaland Diaries: PlayhouseSquare is serving up some not-so-family-friendly holiday fare when David Sedaris’ classic Santaland Diaries comes to the E14th St Theatre (11/28-12/22). Produced by Cleveland Public Theatre, Santaland Diaries recounts the hilarious (and sometimes horrible) stories of an out of work actor who takes a job as Crumpet, the Macy’s Christmas elf.

And on 12/6, join me at a special YP Night at Santaland Diaries. $30 gets you a ticket to the performance and unlimited drinks and light appetizers at a pre-show reception hosted by PlayhouseSquare Partners.

Day 8. Howard Hanna’s Chow Chow: If you’re downtown on 12/7 and  looking for a good deal on lunch, stop by Howard Hanna’s Chow Chow Fundraiser. From 11am-2pm, enjoy food from Blue Point Grill, Brennan’s Catering, John Q’s Steakhouse, Mr. Chicken and Marigold Catering for only $10. Proceeds from the event’s tickets, silent auction, and bake sale will go to the Children’s Free Care Fund which supports local Children’s hospitals including UH Rainbow Babies, Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, MetroHealth and Akron Children’s Hospital.

Work off those holiday goodies at the Jingle Bell Run (12/8)

Day 9. Jingle Bell Run: Lace up your running shoes, pull on your santa hat or reindeer antlers and help raise money for the Arthritis Foundation with the Cleveland Jingle Bell Run/Walk (12/8). Jingle Bell teams and solo runners are raising money and participating in the 5K which kicks off at 9am in Legacy Village.  Register to run/walk here or make a donation.

Day 10. Christmas Carols Old and New: While one of Northeast Ohio’s favorite holiday traditions returns to the Hanna Theatre with Great Lakes Theater’s A Christmas Carol, the Cleveland Play House is helming a brand new carol at the Allen. Both shows run 11/30-12/23.

Great Lakes’ adaptation of A Christmas Carol takes place in London on Christmas Eve as the Cleaveland family sits down for their annual reading of the story. Children and adults will enjoy a fresh take on Scrooge’s tale as they see it unfold through the imagination of the family’s youngest son.

Down the street at the Allen Theatre, Cleveland Play House presents the world premiere A Carol for Cleveland. Written by local playwright Eric Coble and author Les Roberts, A Carol for Cleveland is a love-letter to the city and the determination and spirit that make it unique. With my love of Les Roberts and after last year’s stunning The Game’s Afoot, you know that A Carol for Cleveland is top of my list for holiday shows.

Have you been naughty or nice this year? Who cares at Emerging Chefs’ Naughty Claus Dinner Party! (12/20)

Day 11. Emerging Chefs’ Naughty Claus: It doesn’t matter if you’ve been naughty or nice this year, Emerging Chefs has a party for every boy and girl (well, man and woman since you should find a babysitter for this holiday dinner).

At Naughty Claus (12/20), Chef Adam Lambert will make the holidays merry, bright and delicious with festive cuisine at Cleveland’s Speakeasy.

From 8pm to midnight, the NY Times-featured prohibition-era-themed lounge will play host to a 5-course meal paired with libations. If you’re not already in a holiday mood, creative courses like Snow Globe Ornaments (with oyster, Douglas fir, juniper and tonic), XXX-Mas Cookies, truffle Snowballs, Who Ham for One and Kosher Khristmas will get you in one. Plus everyone will leave with a bit of “coal” for their stockings. If only for one night, it’ll be good to be bad.

Day 12. Ale, Cookies and Ugly Sweater Party: The Cleveland Foodbank’s YP Pantry hosts its first annual Ale & Cookies party for Cleveland young professionals.  Join them at Bier Markt-Bar Cento on Dec. 17, 6-9pm for some Christmas Ale and holiday cookies while helping the hungry. 15% of the group’s bar bills will go directly to the Cleveland Foodbank and donations of canned goods are always welcome. Best ugly holiday sweater wins a prize!

This list is only the tip of the gingerbread house when it comes to holiday fun in Cleveland. Share your picks in the comments below!

Disclosure: In exchange for previewing and reviewing Emerging Chefs’ Naughty Claus, I was offered one ticket to the event. I am also on the board of PlayhouseSquare Partners and the YP Pantry which are hosting Tinsel Town, the Santaland Diaries YP Night and Ale and Cookies.

The Cleveland Marathon 5K: Learning to run just for fun

Alicia and I before the race – we have our bib numbers and are ready to go!

Months ago I had a huge plan for this past weekend – I made a calendar and thought I had all the time in the world to train, train, train for the Cleveland Marathon’s 5K.

Then life got in the way.

While I was able to squeeze in a run on the treadmill most weeks and kept up with strength training, Jump Back Ball, weddings and the occasional muscle pull got in the way from really getting outside this Spring to run.

Because of this, I decided to approach the Cleveland Marathon’s 5K differently. Instead of completely giving up or pushing myself without proper training, I was just going to have fun.

The perfect accessory for any fun run, my Spongebob SquarePants toe socks

Doing something “just for fun” is a completely foreign concept to me, but I made a conscientious effort to put aside my competitive streak, not worry about my time and just go out there and enjoy the run.

Fortunately, the organizers behind the Cleveland Marathon made it easy to enjoy.  Their 5K course winds its way through downtown Cleveland – all the way from the Cleveland Browns stadium, up W. 6th, down Huron and Prospect, and even by my office on E. 9th.

While there are some inclines, it’s not too daunting (even for this newbie runner) and the last half of the course is primarily a fast, downhill dash.

The best part about the course, though, is the finish line – not just because it meant I was done running :) , but because you end the race by running onto the field in Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The 5K’s finish line on the Cleveland Browns field

Seriously, there’s nothing cooler than running through the players’ tunnel and feeling the turf beneath your feet as you run the last few yards across the finish line.

With this in mind, I snuck in a little bit of prep last week – getting in a yoga session at Nishkama in North Olmsted (where my yoga intention for the session was to enjoy Saturday’s 5K) and a practice run in my neighborhood (my first outdoor run since fall).  I was as ready as I was going to be.

Also in my favor this time around: I had a running buddy who was looking to enjoy the race. Because she’s been focused on her yoga teacher training, Alicia from Poise in Parma opted to join me in our game plan of doing a fun run together (you can read her recap here).

Scott doing his best impression of my coat closet (thanks for holding everything while I ran!)

With Hans DJing our run and Scott doing his best impression of my coat closet, Alicia and I laughed and sang our way through 3.26 miles, not really caring about our time (even when we got held up for 30 seconds at an intersection).

Not to say I didn’t work hard – the 80 degree heat was definitely a challenge. And although my legs held up, I got a huge side cramp about 3 minutes in.

Fortunately, Alicia was fantastic at pushing me when I thought I couldn’t run any further and kept track of our walk breaks. If her guidance during our run was any indication, she’s going to make an excellent yoga teacher.

Silly photo opp in front of my office building!

When I finally checked my chip time this week, I was happy to see I actually PRed (even if only by 8 seconds). However, I didn’t need to see my time to know I had met my goal for this year’s Cleveland Marathon 5K.

I knew it as soon as I crossed the finish line on Saturday morning (here’s the video from Brightroom):

I learned how to just run for fun.

Hans, Alicia and me after a well-run fun run

That’s my story from Marathon weekend and there are lots of other great ones out there (all from much, much better runners)!  If you’re interested in checking out other bloggers who ran the 5K, 10K, half or full, Alicia has a full rundown here.

However, I wanted to give a shoutout in particular to one of the 5K runners — Christian from Training 4 Autism – Cleveland Style.

The 2012 Cleveland Marathon 5K was presented by the Organization for Autism Research, whose Run for Autism events raise funds and awareness for autism research.  Through his work as the Cleveland chapter president of Train for Autism, Christian was a huge supporter of the races — running in the 5K and marathon and organizing one of Sunday’s water stations.

All of the runners at the 5K’s starting line – I’m much (much) farther back

He runs not just because he enjoys doing it (the guy’s clocked A LOT of races), but also as an amazing advocate and fundraiser for the cause.  Saturday was a special run because he ran it with his son Cal. It was great seeing them out there and you should check out his recap of the weekend to see how every mile was a memory.

I also recommend if you’re interested in getting involved to check out the Train 4 Autism Cleveland page for future events and showing your support for autism research by donating at The Heldawg’s T4A Fundraising site (his next big race is the Ragnar Relay in October, a 200 Mile team relay in the Appalachian mountains – yowza!).

There are no 200 mile relays anytime in my future, but I am thinking about moving up to the 10K at next year’s Cleveland Marathon (2013 registration is already open). Of course, that’s only after I get a few more 5Ks under my belt this summer.

Any suggestions for 5Ks this summer?

Spreading Holiday Cheer with the Liver Life Challenge and Alzheimer's Association

In addition to giving gifts to friends and family, this time of year is an excellent reminder about the importance of giving back to the community.

Thanks to avid Cleveland blog reader Lindsay Meggas and HungryinCLE for the heads up about these two opportunities:

Blondes vs. Brunettes benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland

In Spring 2012, the Cleveland Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is bringing the first annual Blondes vs. Brunettes flag football game to Cleveland. 

Other cities have hosted these Blondes vs. Brunettes games before and raised a lot of awareness and money for Alzheimer’s research. Most recently, Washington DC’s 7th annual game raised $123,000.

Blondes vs. Brunettes is a women’s powder puff flag football game where both women and men can join the fight to end Alzheimer’s. Not a blonde or brunette? Then, you’re a free agent and can choose your team.

The Cleveland chapter of the  Alzheimer’s Association is recruiting women and men in their 20s and 30s to not just play, but also help with practices and coaching, event planning, sponsorships, marketing, recruitment and more.

Even though the game’s not until the Spring, Blondes vs. Brunettes involves a season of events leading up to the big day, including a draft party and happy hours.

First up: The BvB Kickoff Party next Wednesday, Dec. 14.

Join the Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter at Around the Corner in Lakewood.  The party starts at 6:00PM and costs $20 at the door for 2 hours of unlimited food and drinks. There will also be information about how to get involved.

RSVP here.  And contact Sheryl at sheryl.berman@alz.org or 216-231-1466 with any questions.

Sponsor HungryinCLE in the Liver Life Challenge

When I started running, Stephanie at HungryinCLE was one of my inspirations.

She’s an amazing runner and is participating in my dream running event: the Walt Disney World Marathon to support the Liver Life Challenge.

In addition to running 26.2 miles, she has a fundraising goal of $3400. I could never run a full marathon (maybe a half marathon one day in the distant future, but never a full one), so seeing Stephanie do this is incredible.

All donations will help the American Liver Foundation provide community-based education, research, support, and advocacy related to preventing and treating: 

  • Liver cancer, one of the few primary cancers on the rise in the United States.
  • The approximately 5.4 million Americans chronically infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C (about 65% and 75% , respectively, are unaware that they are infected).
  • The 25% of the U.S. population who could have Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease – a condition that can lead to life-threatening damage.

It’s a cause personally important to me so head over to Stephanie’s fundraising page and sponsor her with a donation. You can also follow her @HungryinCLE to see how her training is going and read a Q&A with her on WhyCLE’s blog to learn more about the Challenge! 

Spread some holiday cheer to others this season by supporting both of these great causes!

The Independence 5K and a New Race PR

Pre-Race Photo of Kali, me and Alicia (photo by @Hansmatic)

The thing that surprised me the most about running my first 5K in July was how much I enjoyed running. So after Run for the Pierogies, I decided I wanted to keep up with it and started asking around for other race recommendations. 

When Alicia told me she was going to celebrate her one-year anniversary of running with this morning’s Cleveland Clinic 5K in Independence, how could I say no?

I confess that as much as I enjoyed running, I fell off the training wagon a bit after Run for the Pierogies.  Between a horrible sinus infection that put me out for a week and other projects picking up, I was having problems finding time.

That’s why, when Scott and I woke up early this morning to drive out to Independence, I didn’t think I’d beat last time’s PR of 42:23.5. I had done a little treadmill running at the gym and crammed a few 5ks into this last week leading up to the race. However, that didn’t fill me with too much confidence and I figured I’d be happy if I beat 45 again.

I was beyond surprised when I got home this afternoon after a Yours Truly post-race brunch, looked at the race results and saw a finish of 40:47.88 — an improvement of more than a minute and a half!

Sean, who’s been a most-excellent personal trainer for the last few years, had told me I’d do better the second time around but I wasn’t so sure.  That’s why he’s the professional, though.

My next goal?  Beating 40 minutes by my next 5K. And after comparing Hermes’ race schedule to the vacations and weddings we have coming up in the next few months, I think I found the one I want to do: the MidTown Cleveland Classic on October 15.

With proceeds going towards MidTown Cleveland beautification projects and a post-race keg and eggs party, I’ve even convinced Scott to run!  I guess it’s time to get back to training.

Thanks to Team Poise in Parma, Team FinishingFirsts and Scott for the support and photos when I crossed the finish line.

Have any upcoming 5Ks you’d like to recommend or plan on running the MidTown Classic in October? Leave a comment below!

Crossing the finish line with a new PR (thanks to Alicia for the photo)

Run for the Pierogies – Blogger Meetup and My First 5K

"Run for the Pierogies Day" at Cuyahoga Community College's Western Campus.

When I woke up on Saturday, it felt like Christmas morning.  However, the excitement and adrenaline weren’t for unwrapping presents under the tree.  It was raceday – my first 5K.

After Alicia at Poise in Parma announced that July 9th’s Ohio Blogging Meetup would be The Run for the Pierogies, it was the motivator I needed to try running for the first time in ten years.  So, for the last couple of months, I’ve been cluing into getting active in Cleveland

I upgraded my crosstrainers to running shoes (they feel so much better!).  I started walking and jogging around the neighborhood and dedicating part of my weekly personal training sessions at CSU to running on the treadmill and the indoor track.

I knew going into it I wouldn’t wake up one day and suddenly be able to run. When  I started training, I clocked in at 50 minutes and could hardly jog for more than 30 seconds. Although I didn’t want to set a difficult goal for myself, all I knew was that I wanted to at least beat that.

Pierogies - the perfect motivator

Over July 4th weekend, I got my time down to 44 :55 (a personal best). But then two days before – due to a combination of stress and a shoe mishap – I had a horrible run, coming in at 48:30. 

I was discouraged and went into my default mode for dealing with things like this — I started worrying. After some helpful advice and motivation from Alicia, my trainer Sean and Kali at Finishing Firsts, my anxiety faded a bit.  Regardless, though, when I woke up on Saturday, I could feel the nerves. And on the drive out to Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus in Parma, they intensified. 

Once Scott and I got out of the car, I realized it was a lot hotter and more humid than I had expected. The sun was beating down and I started reliving Thursday’s horrible performance in my head. 

Then I saw Alicia, HungryinCLE and WhyCLE’s friendly faces and reminded myself I had come out to Parma to have a good time and hang out/meet some local bloggers.

Hans, Poise in Parma, WhyCLE and me at the start line.

 In addition to Poise in Parma, Hungry in Cleveland and WhyCLE, here’s a rundown of who was there:

Get ready .... get set .... go!

After meeting everyone, we took our places for the race.  Whether it was the distraction of meeting new people or the adrenaline I had been told so much about, my nervousness turned to excitement as we lined up at the starting line. 

When they told us to go, the crowd lurched forward all at once.  I usually start my practice runs with a 5-minute warmup walk, but this was raceday and nothing could stop me from keeping pace.  Well, nothing could stop me for 2 minutes.  Usually I fizzle out after 1 and a half minutes of running but thanks to the adrenaline I pushed myself to 2 minutes straight. 

As I knew I would going into this, I soon fell behind the other bloggers. The heat and the sun were zapping my energy quick. However, I was surprised when I looked at my phone to check my status and realized after a mile I had shaved 4 minutes off of my normal time. Now I just had two more miles to go.

My personal paparazzi (Scott) stalked me down.

The track was a double loop through part of the Tri-C campus and as I was heading back for the second half of the run, the actual runners were starting to arrive at the finish line. Not letting that discourage me, I focused and kept moving, alternating every couple of minutes between walking and jogging.  

I saw a couple of bloggers who had already finished  or were nearing the end and got a boost of motivation from being cheered on.  And when I felt my worst around the 2 mile mark, there was Scott all of a sudden. 

Perfect timing! Scott had apparently camped out near the 2 mile marker for a couple minutes waiting for me to run by.  Seeing him for just a moment was all that I needed for the last stretch. I could finally see the finish line and despite how much my legs were screaming at me and my chest was heaving, I knew I was going to run it in.

As I crossed the line, I looked up at the clock and was floored. 42 minutes and 28 seconds.  A personal best for this non-runner on her first 5K!  

After cooling down, I grabbed a banana and my pierogies. “To the victor belong the spoils” and all that.  The pierogies were cooked up fresh by the Little Polish Diner and Krakow Foods. And if you’re going to run for something, I can’t think of anything better than delicious pierogies!

The finish line! Time to get those pierogies.

I know that if it weren’t for the help and motivation I got from friends and my fellow bloggers, I wouldn’t have been able to do the 5K. The emails, tweets and cheers along the way from everyone listed above and others like @MildlyRelevant and @TheHeldawg  were the best motivation. And Sean Grasso who has been an excellent trainer for the last couple of years helped me re-learn how to actually run and pace myself.

Most importantly, though, thanks to Scott — who put up with my training and cheered me on — especially when he popped up during the race. As usual, that guy has impeccable timing.

Even though I didn’t expect it when I first signed up, this month’s Ohio Blogger Meetup has been my favorite yet. I learned I actually enjoy running. While I know I’m not going to win medals anytime soon, preparing for the race and competing against myself was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to my next 5k on August 6 — the Independence 5K Run/Walk to A Healthier You.

If you’d like to read other bloggers’ recaps of the race and how they did, check out posts from Mollyberries’ Hodge Podge (she placed 2nd out of women — congrats!), Finishing FirstsMojomala2, Poise in Parma, and WhyCLE.

And if you blog — or are thinking about blogging — join us at our next meetup on August 11 when we take in a Cleveland Indians game.

The best cheerleader anyone could ask for.

Clue Into Being Active in CLE

HermesCleveland.com offers way to get active in Cleveland

By no stretch of the imagination am I an athlete. If you’ve been following this blog even for a short while, you’ll know my huge loves are food and the arts. And although I enjoy watching sports, I don’t often participate in them.

A huge reason for this is that I’m just not that good at it.  Combined with the fact that I can be overly competitive, I tend to beat myself up when I don’t do well and end up not having a good time.

Despite this, though, I’ve recently started pushing myself to be more active. It started by joining Hungry in CLE‘s kickball team For Whom the Ball Rolls.  Part of the Hermes Sports and Social league, we meet every Tuesday at Tremont’s Clark Field to play kickball.  And it’s a lot of fun (even if I am too hard on myself)!

I haven’t played kickball since grade school and have quickly realized how little I remember of the game.  But I’m learning, and even if I still can’t figure out how to kick the ball so that it’s not a pop-up out, I’ll get there eventually.  In addition to Hungry in CLE, fellow bloggers @MildlyRelevant and Why CLE? are on the team.

Thanks to OH Blogging Association, I'm running my first 5K on July 9th

I can also thank blogging for introducing me to the other sports activity I’m undertaking this summer.

When Poise in Parma announced that July 9th’s Ohio Blogging Meet up would be The Run for the Pierogies, I initially planned on cheering everyone on and meeting up for brunch after the race. The last time I participated in any sort of running (and I use the term loosely) was over ten years ago.  And even then, I grudgingly walked it as part of the mandatory fitness tests in high school.

However, another one of the great things about the Ohio Blogging Association is being able to learn from other bloggers’ stories and take motivation from what has motivated them.

After these bloggers – Poise in Parma, Healthy Heddleston, WhyCLE, HungryinCLE, Finishing Firsts, A Slice of Kiwi, Mojamala2 – shared their experiences about running or getting fit (whether it was ten years or just a few months ago), I realized I could stop joking about my lack of athleticism and lace up my sneakers at the Run for the Pierogies.

And if nothing else, there is the promise of pierogies at the end of it.

Pierogies!

For once, though, I’m not setting a lofty goal.  I want to have fun while doing this and figure if I push myself too hard, I’m going to discourage myself from doing it at all.  So after clocking myself walking a 5K at a little over 50 minutes, I’m hoping to end up somewhere between 45 and 50 minutes.

Between getting winded quickly, the shin splints and hamstring strain, I’m taking it slow and confess it’ll be more of a “Speed Walk for the Pierogies” than anything else.  But it’s ok. I’m having fun and looking ahead to future 5Ks.

If you’re likewise trying to find small ways you can get more active in Cleveland, check out Hermes’ Cleveland Sports and Social activities. They offer leagues throughout the year, including volleyball, bowling, softball and skeeball.

You can also join me at the Run for the Pierogies in Parma on July 9th (a Hermes Road Racing event). There is a 1 mile and a 5k option.  Registration is $20 each and benefits the American Cancer Society Parma Area Relay for Life. The American Cancer Society is an organization that’s personally close to my heart, so I’m glad my first 5K is going to support it.

Since I’ve needed to kick myself into gear, I’ve found that Active.com and Cool Running’s Couch to 5K program are excellent resources for training.  Although I’ve had to modify some of Couch to 5K’s tips because I’m ridiculously out of shape and have a shorter time frame for my training, I’m planning to continue working on this after the 5K is over.

Have your own suggestions for how to get more active in Cleveland, including any 5Ks after July 9th you’d like to recommend?

Share them in the comments section below!

(Images from HermesCleveland.com, OHBlogging.com and Facebook.com/OHBlogging, respectively)