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WOW!  My journey to 13.1 for my THIRD year in Cleveland.  Seriously let me first pinch myself, my 3rd 1/2 marathon…..that’s just CRAZY.  I never in a MILLION years would have thought I would complete one, better yet 3 of these running events.  The weekend started off pretty great as my parents arrived in from Wisconsin Friday evening.  Not going to lie was so happy to see them but a bit bummed as I didn’t get to join my fellow race ambassadors at the VIP reception.  Maybe next year I could bring my parents??

Saturday I enjoyed sleeping in for once!  Usually Saturday mornings are my long runs, so this extra rest was sure nice.  I mean sleeping in for us is now 7am, but still I will take it (we don’t have kids, but have two furbabies that love to eat breakfast around 5am).
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After sleeping in we slowly started the day with some coffee and breakfast.  We slowly got ourselves together and made our way downtown for the AMAZING expo.

We arrived at the expo and did our usual wandering around.  Looking at all the great vendors, wondering what running gear I NEED at that point in time.  As we wandered I thought about the usual headband or running light BUT didn’t (odd for me), then something caught my eye.  The GARMIN stand……ekkkkkkkkkkkk!!

All my friends know I love a running accessory, and the folks at Garmin usually knock it out of the park.  I have been eying up a new running watch BUT haven’t really gave in due to the price.  Plus my 610 isn’t really that terrible, it works and gets the job done.  Looking at all the different watches I was getting pretty excited, then the garmin fella pointed out the Fenix 3.  A bit larger than I would usually go with BUT seriously that sucker is the Cadillac of watches.

Welpppppppppp after back and forth with the salesman, my husband said well why don’t you get it???  Seriously the price they were offering at the expo is the cheapest we have seen.  So it happened.  My fantastic husband helped push me over the edge to purchase this new watch.  I am now the proud owner of the fenix 3 (which I have already named cupcake).  Also I now need Garmin to make a pink band for it (pretty please Garmin).
My new running watch, nicknamed CUPCAKE...

My new running watch, nicknamed CUPCAKE…

After the expo I was on cloud 9, seriously I just got the Cadillac of running watches, my family is here from WI, AND I am about to take on the Cleveland 1/2 the next day.  The rest of the evening was pretty low key, had a pretty safe dinner and went to bed very early.  OHHHHH and my AMAZING HUSBAND did his usually baking, yep cupcakes for the finish.  He gets pretty fancy using my kitchenaide and cupcake apron =)
Dana, making the magical cupcakes!

Dana, making the magical cupcakes!

Fantastic looking and PINK!!

Fantastic looking and PINK!!

I couldn’t sleep, BUT this is always the case.  I did keep thinking of the weather, the fact that it was going to be hot, humid with a chance of rain was really on my mind…..over and over again.

The race day alarm was super early, 4am!  We always get up super early and make our way downtown, being sure to miss traffic and to stop at a portapotty or two 😉

 It was our usual race day morning, everyone shuffling about making sure to grab everything we need.  I had my gear all set out and ready to go.
Gear all put together!

Gear all put together!

However I did make a game day decision, I NEVER DO THIS!!!  I decided to wear a NEW tank top purchased the day before.  I bought this tank as it has birds on it.  Long story short birds remind me of my grandparents who have passed, and I always see birds during rough patches making me think they are watching over me. I ditched my usual all PINK and went for the orange with birds….WTHHHHHH I am a dang rebel!
Birds, representing my grandparents!

Birds, representing my grandparents!

The family is usually pretty quite on race morning as I can be a bit of a BEAR, ok I know I can be a BEAR on race day.  My nerves get the best of me and I am a complete A-hole but they are amazing out put up with me.

After getting downtown Cleveland we found a place to park.  This was a bit challenging for us, as even though I work downtown I am not the best downtown navigator.  We found our place and started to make the walk to the start.  OHHH the nerves!  At this point reality is setting in, IT IS HUMID omg it MIGHT rain, ohhh I know it will be hot.

My Mom was nice enough to help my crabby butt put my bib on (I am serious when I say I am a bear on race day).
with Bib in hand
Mom being a trouper and putting my bib on for me!

Mom being a trouper and putting my bib on for me!

We then make our way to outside the “Q” and take some much need photos with Lebron, I mean why not??
labron 2
After a few pictures we make our way to the portapotty.  I then make sure to eat my usual banana.  This is one of my race day routines however about 1/2 way through my banana it FALLS.  Yep onto the sidewalk.  In my head I thought 5 second rule and picked it up, about to eat it I see the look of OH NO YOU DON’T on my family member’s faces.  I then second guess the consumption of the banana.  I try to convince my family that this will be fine and is a good idea…..they basically talk me in to tossing it.  So my routine is already a mess and I LOVE a routine plus I am starting to regret not wearing my all PINK.

Oh no my banana fell on the ground!!

Oh no my banana fell on the ground!!

No worries, 5 second rule I will still eat it!

No worries, 5 second rule I will still eat it!

My family gave me the look of death, I should probably toss the rest :(

My family gave me the look of death, I should probably toss the rest 😦

We make our way to the start, as at 6:30 I have a date with my fellow CLE race ambassadors for a picture.  After a bit of gathering the majority of us are around for a picture.  This is where I start feeling better about the race.  We are all hugging, laughing, and encouraging one another…I NEEDED that.  I take in this moment and start to get a bit emotional.
I seriously LOVE this group, so supportive and AMAZING!

I seriously LOVE this group, so supportive and AMAZING!

I hug my family and make my way to corral A, this is where I start getting a bit emotional.  I see fellow ambassador Andrew, he makes a joke about me tearing up which breaks my emotional almost catastrophe  (thanks Andrew, I could have been a MESS).

As I stand in the corral I take it all in.  Here I am in Cleveland, about to take on my 3rd half in corral A.  This is where the fast folks are.  I mean I am a little on the fast side, BUT some of these folks are dang fast.  I almost wonder what I am doing here!!  However as the race starts, I smile and realize I am right where I am suppose to be!!!!
Saying my usual pre-race prayer.

Saying my usual pre-race prayer.

It's go time!

It’s go time!

CLEVELAND I am coming for you!

CLEVELAND I am coming for you!

Part 2- The actual race AND post race coming soon =)

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