Ballet Shoes & Mickey Ears

The happenings of this Disney-obsessed runner and dancer!


My First Half Marathon Race Recap!


Wowza. Like for real guys. The Cleveland Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon has officially come and gone. And you know what? I totally rocked it!! Whew! I still can’t believe it is over. My first half marathon. Now, keep in mind…. My definition of rocking it does not mean I was breaking any records here. I not only finished the race, I finished under my goal time! Not knowing what to expect, I aimed for trying to complete it in under 2:45. Now for anyone that knows anything about half marathons, that is no where near considered a fast time. The woman that came in overall first had a time of 1:23. Crazy! I ended up coming in at 2:37. Not bad people!!! I was incredibly proud of myself. I actually felt pretty strong until around mile 9-10. This course had a lot of hills. I was not expecting this. Anyways here is my overall race recap!

The Race Expo:
It was nice! Compared to the Cleveland Marathon Expo, this one was fairly small. It was held downtown at our new Medical Convention Center place. There were various booths set up offering clothing, GU gels, sunglasses, Therabands, etc. Brooks was one of the main sponsors, so they had a large assortment of running gear on display for purchase. I decided to pass, seeing as their clothing was pretty expensive. I did however, come across a booth from one of our local running stores, and the had a pair of Brooks running shorts that I ended up buying. They were the exact color I needed for my race outfit, and they were 50% off! Can’t beat that. I also picked up my 13.1 magnet for my car. I really liked the Expo. I went around the last hour of it being open, and still found a wide selection of products available. Packet pickup was a breeze. Everything was very organized and well spaced out. I picked up my packet right away, and then changed my corral. This was also very simple to do. I then headed over and picked up my race shirt and swag bag. The shirt is awesome. It was made my Brooks and the design on it is cool! We even got a little backpack as our swag bag. Pretty neat! Overall a nice Expo! The only downside was that you had to pay for parking. It was only $5, but I would have preferred to not have had to pay.

The Race:
The weather forecast leading up to race morning was less than ideal. They were calling for isolated thunderstorms and rain. No bueno. I got up around 4:45am to find it unusually warm. It was still a little chilly, but not chilly enough for race day. Runners, you get this. My one friend was driving down with us and met us at my house. We left around 6:10am and got downtown around 6:30. We found quick parking, and cheap too, only $5. We drove through some light rain, but it wasn’t raining when we got there. We hung out in the car for a bit, gathered our things and headed up to the start area. Holy cannoli was I nervous. The start area was already bustling and full of runners and spectators getting ready for the race. We had some time to relax, use the bathrooms, and stretch before getting into our corral. We met up with my other friend, Legal Ballerina, right before we got into the corral. There were so many runners! This was by far the largest race I have participated in. I even made my own shirt for the race letting other runners know this was my first half marathon.

You wouldn’t believe how many runners cheered me on during the race! Hearing people yell out your name and cheer you on is the best feeling. The running community really is amazing. Everyone is so supportive. I even got to chat with some other runners. Such a great experience! LB started the race off with me and stuck with my slow butt until around mile 4. Then she took off like the experienced runner she is! I’m glad she got to run with me for a little bit! I then ran into my other friend (no pun intended there lol) and ran with her for a few minutes. The weather was crazy. It was so muggy and hot. It was easily 70 degrees when we started and it was almost 80 when I finished. Yikes. Lots of sweat! I surprisingly did very well. I kept a pretty steady 10-11 minute pace through the first 8-9 miles. The last few miles kicked my butt. It was hot, muggy, and my left IT band was pretty sore. I kept chugging along though and walked for a few seconds when I needed to.

I couldn’t be happier with my results. I wasn’t fast, but I finished, and that’s the important part. I finished quicker than I thought I would, which was an added bonus! It was a tough course due to the hills and heat. The communities we ran through though were very supportive and cheered us on! This race series provided live bands at almost every mile marker on the course. Pretty cool! They also had local cheerleading squads on the course cheering us all on. Also very cool! All in all, I really enjoyed this race. I think the Rock n’ Roll company put on a great inaugural race!

Overall Pros and Cons:
~ Easy race day parking
~ Plenty of bathrooms
~ Nice corral starts
~ Plenty of water/Gatorade stations
~ Great volunteers
~ Challenging course
~ Awesome Finisher’s Medal and tshirt
~ Nice assortment of post race snacks (water, chocolate milk, fuel bar, banana, ice cold towels)

~ Challenging course
~ Expensive Race Entry Fees

I picked up this Finisher tech shirt after the race. My mom also bought me the glass pint and shot glass. Since we bought $50 worth of merchandise, I got a free Brooks tshirt! It was a nice shirt too! It’s the dark blue one on the left.


I really had a great time at this race. I’m proud of my accomplishment and I look forward to planning my next half marathon! Here are the pictures of my race shirt, swag bag, finishers medal, and magnet:



Post Race:
They had a post race concert for runners and their spectators. Gavin Degraw was the headliner. We didn’t stay, but we heard him playing as we were leaving, and it sounded good! They also had a few bands playing while all the runners were racing. My husband said they were pretty good! It was very easy to find your family and friends post race. They had large letters on the poles, so you could plan to meet up with your loved ones after the race. I’m so glad my husband and mom were there to support me!! They got to see me around mile 2 and they saw me run in across the finish line. My husband even got a bunch of pictures of me crossing the finish line! So awesome!! I’m so glad my first half marathon was such a positive, good, experience.

And here are my before and after pictures! Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos with Legal Ballerina 😟




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Downtown Willoughby 5k Race Recap


Since I find myself with some time today, I figured I would write a little race recap!

First off let’s talk about registration. This race was brought to my attention by a fellow co-worker. She insisted me and husband sign up for it. It was the first race for this organization and they promised some awesome goodies! This was a 5k race throughout downtown Willoughby. It only cost $15 to sign up and with your registration you got the following goodies:

  • Tote Bag
  • Tech T-Shirt
  • Pint Glass
  • Free Cupcake at Finish Line
  • 3 Free Beer Tickets to Local Bars

This is amazing considering the low cost of the race! So of course, I registered. Who wouldn’t run for a free cupcake and beer?! This race actually sold out. I believe they had around 2000 runners? So good for the community!

Race Day. This race started unusually late in the morning…10:15am. By this time in most races I have already completed the race and having breakfast at my favorite place. So this was a little weird, but ok since it wasn’t hot out. Husband and I parked our car, which the parking was super easy and very available, and we made our way down to the race area. We needed to hit the bathrooms one more time before the race, so we went over to the port-a-potties to find an extremely long line with only 4-5 toilets. I think since they knew the race had sold out ahead of time, they should have at least got a few more port-a-potties. We eventually made it through the line and we still had about 15 minutes until race start. We ran into some other co-workers that were walking the race and just there supporting the community. We then made our way to the middle of the pack and waited to start. They had an Irish bag-pipe band get things started and then we counted down! And then the crowd was off! Well, in front of us that is. There were so many people that we actually had to walk up to the start line. There was no room to run. And even once we passed the start line and our timers began, it was a gridlock. There were so many people at varying speeds, and some people even walking, that it was almost impossible to get moving. I lost at least a solid minute on my time here which was very disappointing. People running, including myself, took to running on the sidewalk just to get past people. I’m sorry, but the information for the race clearly said that the walkers needed to line up behind all the runners. People need to adhere to this. It is dangerous to have walkers in a running crowd. It wasn’t until the first mile was complete that the crowd started to thin out. We were running on the street too. So many people!! They had one water stop around the second mile I believe. I did not stop to use, trying to make up for lost time at the beginning. This race also had no mile markers along the course. I run with my Garmin watch, so knowing my distance isn’t a problem. But for people that don’t, not knowing where you are in the race can be very upsetting. My husband had to deal with this and he did not like it. There were many locals standing and sitting in their driveways cheering everyone one along the route which was awesome. I love seeing people support us runners! It makes me keep running!

I ran pretty well considering I had just run 10 miles the day before this race. My legs felt good, other than some tightness in my left IT band. My finish time was 30:03. I’m happy with this considering my long run on Saturday. Had I not been held up at the beginning I know I could have finished under 30. That’s ok though! Husband finished at 31:34. I’m so proud of him! I love being able to see him cross the finish line.

So here is my overall Pro/Con List for this race:


  • Nice race swag (bag, shirt, glass, free cupcake, free beer tickets)
  • Flat course
  • Nice, friendly, atmosphere
  • Instant race results online
  • Very easy and straightforward website for info and registration


  • Not enough bathrooms
  • No mile markers on course
  • Too many people running
  • Walkers not being in the back
  • Late start time
  • Large Age Brackets (mine was 21-29)

Given the race was so cheap and the awesome stuff you got with it, I would probably run this race again. Unless there was a different race going on lol. Overall, I think Willoughby did a good job being that this was their first race. Hopefully next year things will improve and make this race an even better event!