• is so unmiserable it hurts.
  • is the city that sleeps just the right amount.
  • is plum happy to be here.
  • loves Taco Tuesdays.
  • is a bothsider.
  • bikes to work every day. Yes, even in winter.
  • doesn't get cold in winter, just awesome.
  • plays by the lake.
  • loves CLE Critical Mass.
  • would love to see a Euclid Beach Park rebirth.
  • can't get enough of one of the world's best orchestras.
  • = way rad.
  • has no grassy knoll (but some pretty incredible Metroparks).
  • loves plums.
  • wants a bratwurst from the West Side Market.
  • was made in 216. Really.
  • is so happy city enthusiasm has made the Cleveland Marathon a race to be reckoned with.
  • thinks the river caught fire just to get your attention.
  • appreciates enthusiasm.
  • hearts long walks on wholly underrated beaches.
  • will try Lake Erie surfing this fall.
  • would host the Olympics, but is a little busy right now.
  • would never be a free agent.
  • loves you too.
  • is home.
  • can't pick a best pizza because they're all pretty damned good.
  • enjoys having all four seasons.
  • plays outside in winter and summer.
  • rides a bike to work.
  • needs to visit A Christmas Story house (again) this year.
  • understands there's so much yet to do.
  • loves it here.
  • high-fives others who love it here too.
  • gets the veggie dog with chorizo chili.
  • enjoys rainy days at the art museum.
  • thinks Ian Hunter rocks as well.
  • believes in the power of innerburbs, uptowns and downtowns.
  • gets excited whenever How I Met Your Mother refers to Ted's NEO origins.
  • believes Liz Lemon actually does heart Cleveland as much as we do.
  • wouldn't mind the return of streetcars.
  • loves to travel the world and then come home to the best place in it.
  • owns, perhaps, too many shirts that mention a love for the city.
  • could probably make a killer plum pudding.
  • always knows which way is north.
  • is really pumped about Collinwood and Gordon Square going awesome.
  • likes to ride the bus all over town.
  • has so much to say.
  • should be in movies, don't you think?
  • will host a bread-pudding tour of Cleveland this fall.
  • has never been to a wig shop, but could tell you where to find one.
  • has a big lake as its backyard.
  • can totally swim to Canada.
  • kayaks the Cuyahoga.
  • wants to make you so freakin' unmiserable you cry. Happy tears.
  • loves Boston cream pie and plans to spark the revolution that changes its name.
  • feels a little too happy about Presti's bringing back doughnuts.
  • puts the eastside-westside battle aside.
  • crosses the river.
  • sees smart people.
  • has access to some pretty serious health care.
  • doesn't have to pretend getting ripped off on rent is OK.
  • loves architecture.
  • is home to an impressive collection of universities and other higher ed institutions.
  • digs a grid system.
  • loves all of NEO equally. Mostly.
  • thinks you choose to be happy (or not).
  • believes in the magic of a good bread pudding.
  • feels no shame in loving polka.
  • has been to the Cleveland-style Polka Hall of Fame.
  • hearts polkamaster DJ Kishka.

Run, cheer, eat: Ultimate 2012 Cleveland Marathon Preview

With five Cleveland runners/bloggers on staff, we at Salty Running love our unmiserable city! And I am super stoked to kick off Marathon Week in CLE by helping you enjoy the most unmiserable of marathons — whether you’re running the full, half, 5K or cheering wildly from the sidelines.

Check out the before, during and after of how to rock this year’s 26.2 in 216:

If you’re reading this it probably means you (or someone you love) are about to embark on the experience of a lifetime, running one of the 35th Annual Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon races on May 20. But first things first: you have to visit the expo.

Downtown Medical Mart construction has pushed packet pickup to the I-X Center (6200 Riverside Drive), where you can nab bibs, shirts and swag from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Friday, May 18, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday May, 19. Racers and non-racers can stroll dozens of vendor booths, collecting freebies, food samples and bargains (who doesn’t love free stuff?). Time it right and you might catch the Salty Runners’ icon, Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first-ever women’s marathon Olympic gold medalist, who gives three talks at the expo this weekend. You can also take bus tours of the marathon route, beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Visiting? Catch a cab from Cleveland-Hopkins Airport to the expo or stash your suitcase and catch the complimentary shuttle service from downtown’s Hyatt Regency Hotel (420 Superior Avenue East), which leaves every 30 minutes before 1:45-7 p.m. Friday, 9:45 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Local runners might also want to take the shuttle from downtown (or carpool) — I-X Center charges for parking. Plan accordingly.

Carb-load? Well, your options are plenty. First, you can explore the city of Berea, which is not only smack-dab next to the I-X Center, but home of the Cleveland Browns training facility and Baldwin-Wallace College. Some of our favorite places to pasta:

Bucci’s (1 Berea Commons #1) is an upscale Italian eatery serves a tasty version of our favorite pre-race carbo-loaded dish: gnocchi! Open for lunch and dinner on Friday, open at 4 p.m. on Saturday).

Café Ah-roma (38 West Bridge St.): Need a caffeine fix along with the carbs? Stop by for a cup o’ joe and a bagel, muffin or a sandwich. Salty Running’s Clove recommends a pre-race croissant. Ooh la la!

Cornerstone Brewery Co. (58 Front St.) is the perfect stop for liquid carbs, if like Pepper you’re into that kinda thing. But Cornerstone boasts a tasty sandwich, burger or pizza too.

Sweet Mango Thai Cuisine (54 Front St.): Cinnamon suggests mixing up your thai pre-race meal with pad-thai or basil fried rice.

TreeHuggers Café (1330 Bagley Rd.) brings organic, local, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free carbs to the table. It’s a cozy café with a full menu and plenty for carnivores too.

Other things to check out while you’re in the neighborhood: cross-training potential at Berea Bicycle & Scooters (300 N. Rocky River Dr) or Mountain Road Cycles (109 Front St). Comics and collectible enthusiasts will love Kid Force Collectibles (50 Front St.) and thrifty moms/dads should stop by Smartie Pants children’s resale shop (404 W. Bagley Rd). You can also log a couple warm-up miles at the north end of Cleveland MetroParks Mill Stream Run Reservation, whose bridle trails and paved all-purpose path are perfect for your pre-race shake-out run.

Other Cleveland carb-up stops? Our faves include La Strada downtown, Trattoria Roman Garden in Little Italy, Scotti’s Italian on East 185th and Peppers in Lakewood.

John Adams cheers on the Cleveland Marathon. Photo: Cleveland.comDuring
The Cleveland Marathon — full and half — starts promptly at 7 a.m., Sunday, May 20 at the Northwest corner of Cleveland Browns Stadium (1085 W. 3rd). 10K kicks off 15 minutes later.

For the Racer
Get downtown at least one hour before race-time: roads start closing within that hour and you don’t want to get lost in the million detours. Our favorite spot is the Muni Lot.

Just take your time. Sip your water or sports drink, relax and take it easy as you make it to the starting line, at least 15 minutes early to claim your spot. Do strides or any last-minute warming-up near the start. Cleveland Browns Stadium is littered with bathrooms — so there’s bound to be one without a forever-long line. When the gun goes off, take it all in and enjoy your tour de CLE. You’ll run along the Shoreway to Edgewater, wind through Gordon Square, Ohio City and Tremont, salute the traffic guardians on Lorain-Carnegie bridge, criss-cross downtown, tour the Cultural Gardens of Rockefeller Park, touch the lakeshore and run the homestretch through St. Clair-Superior’s renaissance (not to mention the Cleveland Asian Festival!).

For the Spectator
Since Salty‘s in the family way, I’m not racing this year. Instead I’m heading out to cheer on dozens of friends on their way to marathon (and half!) glory. But I’m a cheering veteran. Best spectating tip: arrive early (again to avoid road closures), know the course and plot out a few spots to station yourself.

Tip #2: Walk, bike or jog backward along the course until you find a spot that doesn’t have large crowds. Max your cheering impact! If no one is cheering near you, don’t be shy. Let it all out and give those runners some love! They need it and really appreciate it. Make signs, do coordinated cheers, yell encouraging things very loudly. I also suggest finding a spot along the second half of the marathon course because that’s where runners need you most.

You can also study the course map to find spots where the race crosses near itself for multiple vantage points. Cheer the Shoreway runners as they pass under West 49th Street, and then skip over two blocks to the Detroit straightaway. Or you can root marathoners into their second-half on Superior and East 13th, and then cross over to mile 25.5 on St. Clair. Setting up camp in Rockefeller Park (where the phenomenal Shaker Heights cheerleaders put those Wellesley ladies to shame!) for the late teens will make you a spectating superstar.

Tip #3: Bring refreshments. Cheering is no easy job. Granted, you won’t be burning the 1,000+ calories of full- and half-marathoners, but you still need to hydrate. It’s an early race, and nearby stores might not open until you’re too-far parched.

Each year the finish line to this 26.3-Mile Rock Party gets wilder and wilder, featuring live bands, DJs, snacks and a beer garden (so remember to leave your ID in your gear check!). Runners: just let the roar of cheers (not to mention the likes of Cleveland Indians drummer John Adams lining the streets) carry you to the tape. Take your medal, shake your groove-thang and head out for some real food. The second half of the marathon steers east, so we’ve picked some near-Westside spots for ease of access:

Johnny Mango (3120 Bridge Ave) is Salty’s all-time favorite post-race brunch spot. Suggested plate: huevos rancheros AND the waffles.

Grumpy’s (2621 W. 14th), Two words: Potato pancakes! Also, this Tremont brunch stalwart is BYOB.

Ohio City Burrito (1844 W. 25th): What marathoner can’t get down with a post-race burrito?

XYZ the Tavern (6419 Detroit Ave): Just get the chicken and waffles. Turkey and avocado sandwich also makes for good recovery grub.

Market Garden Brewery (1947 W. 25th St.) This beer-lovers dream is right next to the West Side Market. The weather’s looking warm so cool off with a Shoreway Cooler beer cocktail to wash down your waffles!

Sweet Moses (6800 Detroit Ave): What better time to tackle the Terminal Tower Challenge than after 26.2? It’s just 10 scoops of ice cream and toppings galore. You can do it!

Salty Running wishes every runner fleet feet, as well as a wonderful expo and race experience! Good luck! Have fun and see you at the finish!

Salty RunningSalty Running is a resource for women runners seeking to improve their training and racing. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, SR is here for women who take their athletics seriously and want to learn how to run better. That doesn’t mean you need to be at a particular level with your running. We cater to all levels of running, from beginner to elite and everything in between. If you just want to get better, Salty Running is for you.

Check us out at saltyrunning.com or follow Salty Running on Facebook.

Correction: We initially recommended the Great Lakes Brewing Company for post race celebrating. However, the brewpub is closed on Sundays.