Race Recap: The 2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon (My First 10K)

It’s hard to believe that a year has come and gone since I spontaneously decided to sign up for the 2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 10K. Months went by and I sort of forgot about it. Then the new year came and I started to get really focused and created a training plan (which was also my guest post for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon – how cool!). I hit some speed bumps along the way, including a work trip, getting sick, and a minor injury. My training didn’t go as planned but I was still determined to finish the race without worrying about my time – instead just enjoying the experience. As the days got closer to the race, I was nervous without a doubt. But more importantly, I was determined. Determined to do something I had never done, something I had committed to a whole year ago, something that pushed me.

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Race day morning did not start out the way I had envisioned. Any guesses? Yep, I woke up with a migraine.
I could almost laugh because that’s just so typical – I swear my migraines come at the worst possible times on purpose. I was really upset, I didn’t know what to do. Should I grin and bear it and hope it goes away? Should I not do the race – which I will definitely regret? What if it doesn’t go away and I’m stuck downtown?

So many questions for 4:45 in the morning!

I got out of bed, took my heart pill, an allergy pill, and some pain medicine, got dressed, then made my Shakeology and hoped for the best. I will admit – I did consider not going. It’s hard to tell with migraines how bad they will turn out to be. I knew I couldn’t miss this race though. Even though my training didn’t go as planned, this was something I had been looking forward to for so long. I would never forgive myself for not at least trying. Luckily, getting my Shakeology and some quick food in my system seemed to help. The aura went away, and while there was still some lingering migraine pain – it wasn’t severe at all. I was so relieved!

My boyfriend Mike signed up to do the 10K with me after some persuasion, but he didn’t train at all. We went into race day expecting to walk 90-95% of the race and I wasn’t expecting to finish in 2 hours or less.

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It was a COLD morning (which we were expecting to last all day), so I wore a long sleeved shirt, my new 2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon shirt that I got at the Health & Fitness expo, plus a track jacket and pants. Mike didn’t have pants so he just wore shorts, a tee shirt, and a hoodie. We decided to avoid trying to park downtown by taking the RTA – which was a breeze! The RTA took us right to Tower City which was in walking distance to the starting line for the race. It was such an amazing feeling being surrounded by all those athletes and people just like me – whether they were competing or this was their first race, you could just feel the excitement in the air!

My goodies from the Health & Fitness Expo!
My goodies from the Health & Fitness Expo!

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We decided to stick to Corral F, which is right before the Walkers corral, since we weren’t expecting to do as much jogging as we originally planned. We didn’t run the course beforehand, and we didn’t run outside hardly at all, so we were just kind of winging it. Taking a 6.2 mile stroll through downtown Cleveland, if you will (haha). I found myself really energized by the whole experience though. I jogged when I could, I took advantage of downhills for sure, and I walked when I had to (which was still most of the race, but way less than 95% – maybe more like 75-80?).

The view as we got up to the starting line! Pumped and ready to go!
The view as we got up to the starting line! Pumped and ready to go!

We didn’t listen to music – just enjoyed each other’s company and the surroundings. I was thankful for the water stops and the music every so often. Once we got going, we weren’t cold at all. I was still comfortable in all my layers for most of the race, but definitely during the last mile I could’ve taken my jacket off. I didn’t though because I had my bib pinned to it, but it was still fine. Once it got warmer, those cold breezes were welcoming instead. It was truly a gorgeous day – the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It really couldn’t have been any better.

The inclines weren’t as bad as I thought they’d be, but I definitely had to walk them. I stopped for a picture or two along the Hope Memorial Bridge because after all, I am a #fitblogger haha.

Getting ready to walk the hill up the bridge.
Getting ready to walk the hill up the bridge.

Having Mike there with me the whole time made the experience that much better. I couldn’t have a better partner in life, and I’m so grateful of how supportive he is. Having him by my side really made the miles fly by. That and just the excitement of the event and the spectators – it is truly something I won’t forget. During our last mile along the Shoreway, I stopped and got a quick video of some of the half marathoners:

Last mile of our 10K!!! Congrats to everyone out here today! Such an awesome feeling 🙂 ❤️💪🏁🏆

A post shared by oops… im now @jessmajeski (@teamhealthyishappy) on

The last mile or so going uphill on the Shoreway was definitely tough, but we powered through it and when we got to the finish line, we saw spectators lined all down the street, and there was even a drumline from St. Edward HS in Lakewood. It was so much fun crossing that finish line and feeling that overwhelming sense of accomplishment. We immediately grabbed a bottle of water, a banana, some pretzels, a popsicle, and some chocolate milk (hey – it was all free!). We got our finisher’s medals (which is SO cool that they had them for the 10K this year). We snapped some more pictures, took in the whole finishing area surroundings and excitement, then headed back to Tower City to head home (let’s face it, we were POOPED!).

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I’m so incredibly excited and proud to say that I’m officially a 10K finisher!

Once we got back to the apartment, we changed and took a quick snooze before going out to get some food to refuel. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and recovering and reliving an amazing day. I am pretty sure that my running form is off though, because my heels were hurting BAD the day after the race. Gotta get that looked at…

Here’s my race day photo & some stats from our race:

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Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 12.35.40 AMAs far as the results go, I’m so incredibly happy. I wasn’t aiming for a time goal at all, but I wasn’t really expecting to finish in under 2 hours, so for that I am impressed with myself! Between my heart condition and my lack of training and it being my first 10K, I couldn’t really ask for anything better!

All in all, it was an amazing experience that I’m so grateful for and something I can look back on and be proud of. I don’t know when my next 10K will be but I know I will definitely do one again. I want to slowly build up my endurance so I can eventually do a half marathon one day! Also, a huge congratulations to all those who participated in any of the Cleveland Marathon races over the weekend. 🙂

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  • That’s amazing! Way to go! You should be so proud of yourself =) So I recently got into running, and if you’re having some heel pain it might be worth going to a local running shop. I did that recently because I was having some running pains of my own and my shoes were pretty old. They assessed my gait and fitted me properly for shoes accordingly. I’ve been running pain free in my new shoes for the past 4 weeks, especially compared to the awful shin splints I had from my really old running shoes. Just a thought if you plan on making running a part of your work out permanently.

  • Congrats on finishing your first 10k!! There is seriously no feeling like crossing the finish line of a race; especially at a distance you’ve never run before. It only keeps getting better as you add mileage and/or your pace time improves. Keep it up!!!

  • Congrats!! Isn’t crossing the finish line and getting that medal the best feeling ever?? It was so nice following along with your training!

  • good job lady! i love all your pics and the video, I wish I would have stopped and taken more but I was just too focused! lol 🙂 great job again!

  • Congrats on your first 10K! I’m glad that you got to savor the entire race day experience – participating in a big race like the Rite Aid is always memorable!

    I agree with Courtney – going to a running shoe store like Second Sole (if you haven’t already) for a fitting might be a good idea. When I went, they discovered that I had archpronation issues that I had no idea that I had. A good pair of shoes can go a long way in eliminating post-run pain! Buying orthotic inserts can help a lot too. The Dr. Scholl’s ones at Target that are $5 are great. You don’t have to trim them or anything–you can just drop them right into your shoe.

    If you’re looking for a fun and relatively flat 10K, the Towpath folks have them on June 15 as part of the Towpath Ten-Ten and then another one on October 12 as part of the Towpath Marathon. The one in October goes through some really beautiful areas, and the one in June has the best postrace spread of any race in which I’ve ever run (assuming you like Quaker Steak and Lube’s food).

    • I definitely plan to visit Second Sole very soon! Ooh, I don’t know that I’ll be ready for another 10K in June, but I am definitely going to check out the October one!! Thanks 🙂

  • I’m so proud of you!! That is a HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT and is very difficult! You are such a rockstar!! And way to go to Mike, too!

  • Congrats on your first 10k! I have to say, it’s my favorite distance of all the distances I’ve done so far (up to a half marathon). It just feels like the sweet spot for me! Here’s to many more. 🙂

  • Congratulations on your first 10k! My first one was at last year’s Rite Aid Marathon.
    I agree with what other commenters wrote: 10k is the perfect distance!
    See you at next year’s race 🙂

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