Race Weekend Recap

Week 3 of the weekend recap and my most consistent posting schedule ever. Huh.

How do I wrap up this busy, emotional weekend? I’m not sure, but I’ll try.

This was to be the big Cleveland Marathon Weekend. The one Mark set as his goal when he downloaded the couch to 5k app nearly 2 years ago. The one to commemorate his 40th birthday, which he celebrated a few weeks back. In the last 2 years he has inspired me. He has run consistently, logging mile after mile on the streets of the eastern suburbs. His training went so well he actually ran his 1st marathon last year. The kids and I have become professional race cheerers; getting our practice in at several 10ks and half marathons. But it was all just the preparation for this past weekend. A party was planned, emails were secretly sent asking for support, big plans were made.

Of course, after 2 years of running 4 times a week without fail, he got his first injury. One week after his 20 mile training run he called me during a 12-miler and asked me to pick him up mid-run. His ankle was feeling weird. By Wednesday he was limping and made an appointment to see a doctor. The verdict: nothing broken or torn, but major soft tissue damage in his ankle – a repetitive-use injury, caused by tightness in the calf. The doc said to stay away from running for 2-3 weeks. He may or may not be able to run on May 20th. Over these last 2 weeks, Mark has faithfully iced, rested, foam rolled, stretched and hoped for the best.


On Saturday we headed down to Browns Stadium where Matilda was to run the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Red Nose Children’s Run (seriously, that was the official name). She was so excited and even requested a “runner shirt” (tech shirt) like her daddy’s. She picked out neon yellow so she’d be easy to find in the crowd. Apparently she has learned a few things while cheering at all of Mark’s races. The event was somewhat poorly organized and a bit confusing. They started with a speech about war veterans losing limbs from IEDs… not really the kind of thing that’s easy to explain to a curious 5 year old while sitting in a football stadium. There were a few more speeches I didn’t catch because I was busy trying to calm Matilda down after a clown siting. The kids run was sponsored by Barnum & Bailey so of course there was a clown there. The problem is that Matilda is TERRIFIED of clowns. Like, almost to the point of hyperventilating when she sees one. We had warned her, but she wanted to run the race no matter what.

On the Rapid, heading to her race

Anyway, after all the long speeches were done they finally let the littlest kids down on the field. After so much time, all the kids in the stadium were antsy to run and get their medal. Finally, Matilda’s age group was called down. Since the clown was the starter we positioned her as far away as possible towards the sideline.

Just shut up and let my sister run so I can get home for my nap, please. 

He group was running 100 yards – end zone to end zone. She ran super-fast and never stopped. But she also got a late start because she was “hiding behind some kids so [she] didn’t have to see the clown.” She was so excited to get her medal at the end and was happy to pose for pictures.

A running medal, just like daddy

 Mark did a quick test run that afternoon and was still worried about his ankle. Saturday evening I had to work, but my parents arrived for the weekend and took the kids out. After work Mark and I headed down the street for a carb-loading pasta dinner with some neighbors who were running. I then stayed up way too late trying to get party-ready. We were expecting about 30 people on Sunday.

Marathon day started early with Mark getting up around 4 and taking the train downtown for the 7 AM start. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do: try to run the full, drop down to the half or 10k, not run all? I was planning to get up at 6 and wake Matilda up so we could go cheer. The car was loaded with signs, cowbells and pompoms along with snacks and course maps (I told you we’re professionals). Then I got the text at 5:40. His ankle was throbbing, he wasn’t going to run anything.

I know he was disappointed. He had been building up to this for TWO YEARS. People were in from out of town to cheer him on. People had been sending him cards and notes of encouragement. He was, understandably, pretty emotional.

However, something you need to know about my husband…about 3 months ago he quietly decided that his milestone race didn’t need to be about him. He decided to make it bigger and better by raising money in honor of our friend’s son, Aidan, who has Cystic Fibrosis. This birthday, this race, was bigger than “just a race”. We’ve been friends with Aidan’s parents for a dozen years and they have become fierce advocates for the funding and support of CF research. Mark wanted to help. Through the generosity of family and friends – some old, some new, some only known on Twitter – Mark was able to leverage his support network to raise $1300 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

In my book, without even stepping a foot on the marathon course, he won the day yesterday.

Thank you to everyone who donated. Best gift ever. Seriously.

The party was fantastic. Thanks in large part to my parents, the house and backyard were ready for our family and friends to come celebrate. It really was an amazing day. Since our house isn’t finished, with very visual renovations (think bare-plaster walls) in progress, we don’t entertain very often. So it was so incredibly nice to be surrounded by family and friends. There were friends we met back when we were still dating, and friends we have just met this year. The yard was filled with shouts and giggles from a dozen kids throughout the day.

In fact, it was so fabulous to sit and enjoy everyone’s company that I didn’t snap a single photo until the end of the day. But trust me: we shared stories and laughter throughout the day. We celebrated Mark’s running accomplishments past and yet to come. We caught up with old friends and chatted with new ones. And, most importantly we celebrated $1300 raised for CF research.

Dirty, sticky, tired, happy kids. Proof of a perfect day.

Mark, I’m so incredibly proud of you. For how far you’ve come with your running. For teaching our daughter to love running. For using your birthday to support CF and our friend’s cause. I love you. Happy (belated) 40th birthday.

3 thoughts on “Race Weekend Recap

  1. Kelly says:

    I know Mark was disappointed not to run, but like you said what matters is so much more. All his training and the incredible support for CF, which is also near to me. There will always be more races to run, but not as many chances to dedicate your 40th bday to something so special. Thanks for having us over Sunday!

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