Monday, May 28, 2012

Perfect Saturday and my 1st Run 4 Rabies

Memorial Day 2012. Old Glory is just outside my door at half-staff to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and will be raised to full staff at Noon today. For me, I'll be in my very, very white Summer Whites uniform this morning for my small town's Memorial Day parade where I'll judge again. I did it last time two years ago before I deployed. The rest of the day will be spent with fellow service-members, friends, and family.

The last few days have been pretty fantastic. Saturday was wholly with family and was just about perfect. We started the day at Kent's Haymaker Market where lots of locally made goods are sold along an old brick road and up above the Cuyahoga River. We picked up some things, snapped some photos and were off to head north towards Cleveland. 
Fresh produce from Birdsong Farm
Just west of Cleveland is a community called Tremont where their annual GreekFest was going on. I wasn't sure what to expect...a full-fledged festival outdoors or something extremely low-key. The latter was the case and all of it was within an Annunciation church. Some art stuff but the best part was homemade gyros which we all enjoyed immensely. We picked up some fresh pastries including three variations of baklava and headed on further north to the shore of Lake Erie in Edgewater Park. It wasn't what I expected as far as being a safe environment for my kids to play but we did enjoy our treats while sitting on the pier, looking over towards downtown Cleveland. Here's a pic I snapped before we headed out.
Downtown Cleveland from the west on Edgewater Park pier
Given that our day was moving along pretty quick and we had no schedule or time to be home, I've been wanting to take everyone to see The Avengers which I had already seen. We made the 2:25pm showing and amazingly, we all loved it. Now tell me how many movies are out there where everyone loves? Not too many. No wonder they've killed every Box Office record in existence. After the nearly 2 1/2 hours in the theater, we headed back up to Cleveland and across the bridge into Ohio City. Ohio City is the home of Great Lakes Brewing Company since 1988. Fantastic food, outdoor dining, and an evening perfect in every way from the temps to my company. What.a.day!

Yesterday was great, too, which was kicked off at church and lunch afterwards with my brother and his family. Relaxing defined the majority of the rest of the day until 6pm, at least. Last night, a few friends and fellow trail runners put together an official, un-official trail marathon on the Buckeye Trail, dubbed the Run 4 Rabies FA Trail Marathon...the 3rd Annual version. At 6pm, between 14 and 16 folks gathered at the Pine Lane trailhead, received a few announcements about the death rate of those bit by rabid animals and we were off! Race swag was simple...a black rubber wrist band. Here it is atop my 2nd pair of Brooks PureGrits that I christened last night.
It was warm, humid, and perfect training for July's Buckeye Trail 50K. I was equipped with three Hammer Gels and four portions of Hammer's Heed electrolyte. That's it, except for my Garmin to track the distance and my iPhone for any emergencies like rabid raccoon or coyote attacks. All in all, the run went very well. BUT, my goofiness got the best of me. We were about 8 miles in and on a steep decline and therefore cruising pretty well. I saw a "launch pad" up ahead where if I hit it just right, I could leap into the air, tap my feet together over to my left then land beautifully. Normally, I reserve this for Marjie but last night, I thought it was time. Here's the thing: it's quite one thing to be on flat land and moving slowly while doing this. It's quite another to be flying downhill with a LOT of kinetic energy at my back. I had not fully thought out the landing sequence of my flight. Normally, I just plant both feet down and I'm good. No such luck here...but I did give it a valiant effort. Graceful as a swan, I launched, did my tap off to my left (thinking how awesome it must look as I must have been 4 or so feet off the ground given the downward slope of the hill and launching pad) and attempted to stick the landing. Stick it, I did....right onto the ground. I don't really think I realized how hard I fell until I woke up this morning. Visibly, I right elbow was cut up but today, my back is bruised, upper left arm, right hip, and the visibly laceration. To be 100% honest, the only thought I had after getting up was "Is my tattoo OK???" Yes, it is. :-) Anyway, I got up like a champ, picked up my water bottle, and carried on down the trail. At the halfway point/turn-around at exactly 13.1 miles, we donned our headlamps as night was falling on us and headed on back. Little did I know, but Mr. Moon (crescent-style) was high above with the stars. It was a gorgeous, humid night in the mid-70s. At 12:37am, we arrived back at the parking lot and said our goodbyes after mixing up some recovery drink. Such a GREAT time on the trails and time like I've not had for at least a year. It was good.

Well, it's that time where a parade awaits. Happy Memorial Day, everyone. Remember, this is the day that we set aside to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Freedom is not free and it's paid by our brothers' and sisters' blood nearly everyday so we can continue to have it.

Have a great week and Happy Trails!

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