Last weekend I travelled to Celina, OH for the Grand Lake Marathon. I have been planning this trip since late March and was really looking forward to it. Like most of my racecation adventures I was going to try to put as much activity into those few days as possible. My plan was for this to be a solo trip, nobody from my area was going to run the race so I had settled for driving alone. The week of the race the opportunity arose for a friend to come along, all he needed was a little peer pressure and a free ticket to a baseball game.
Day 1 – 655 Miles
We hit the road early Thursday morning and drive north through Alabama, Tennessee, & Kentucky to Cincinatti, OH. We made it to town in time for dinner before the Reds game. I had to take the chance to introduce Matt to Skyline chili! We parked about a block away from the stadium and walked over after dinner. This was my first time at the Great American Ballpark. (MLB park number 10!) It’s a beautiful park and super cheap tickets thanks in part to the Reds hopes of postseason play being long gone. The mets were in town playing to lock down the NL East and they were aggressive in the game. We spent the first 5 innings at our seats on the second deck then walked around to see the stadium.
I found the Mickey statue from the 2002 All Star Game! Always a high point of visiting a new stadium.
Day 2 – 133 Miles
We slept in on Friday and left town around 10am. It was a quick 2.5 hour drive north through Cinicnnatie and Dayton to the small town of Celina. We went to check out our house for the night, about 9 of the Pacers rented a big house on the lake for the weekend.
After a quick lunch we made our way to the race expo. I had to work the MM table for a few hours so we visited with each other and met runners, telling them about the Maniacs club and how the pace teams work. I caught up with a few Maniac friends and made some new ones. It really is the best running club around. There are some pretty incredible people hanging around. The race provided the pacers with a new set of Hoka Clifton 2 shoes! Great color and a super comfortable fit. I wasn’t going to chance using them the next day at the marathon, but they are definitely going into my training shoe rotation.
While I was working at the expo Matt was wandering around the building killing time and to my surprise he signed up for the 5k! With no training or preparation he had signed up for his first race ever and it was happening in 18 hours. I guess that’s what happens after spending a few hours with a group of Maniacs. After a few hours of Pace Team shenanigans we all made our way back to the Animal House and then off to dinner along the lake front.
Day 3 – 303 Miles
We were up early and walked from the house to the start line, about a 3/4 mile walk. We ran the race around the lake and through the corn fields. (full recap coming later this week)
Post race I met up with Matt, proudly sporting his first 5k finisher medal.
After the race (and a quick shower) we were on the road heading west to Indianapolis. We made a quick stop in the city for dinner and a few drinks with a few members of Jonnie’s GoodGuys and Team Ritter. We talked of plans for the NYC Marathon next month and for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend. It has been over 2 years since I’ve spent time with my GoodGuys team! I can’t wait to see them twice over the next few months. We hit the road south after dinner and made our way to Evansville, IN for the night. My fraternity from college has their national headquarters there and Matt & I stayed there in a cottage for the night. The walls are lined with t-shirts from chapters as they visit the HQ, I found a couple that I had put up almost 10 years ago!
Day 4 – 619 Miles
The big motivation for stopping by Evansville on this trip was for Tri-Con. It was a small convention with only a hand full of guests, but one of them was Steve Cardenas. He played Rocky in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers & Power Rangers Zeo. My only goal for the day was to meet and greet with him and snag a picture. I was telling him about my Red Ranger Run and he posted about it on his instagram, officially endorsed by the Red Ranger! How freaking cool is that?
Then we made the long trip back home. The cold and lonely highway through Memphis and Jackson until we made it back home. Totaling just under 1800 miles in the four days we were gone! That my friends is how you properly plan a racecation.