Day 23.

Day 23 - Cleveland, OH, to Pittsburgh, PA

Run - Deer Lick Cave Loop, Brecksville, OH

From the eyes of Bailee.

We woke up in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the place of Nico’s dreams. He was so excited to be here, but honestly, I don’t think I really understood why he loved it so much. Sometimes I wish we did have more time in each place on this trip. When you’re only there for one night, it’s really hard to appreciate where you are because you only get a tiny snapshot to judge a place by. My snapshot of Cleveland? It seemed pretty basic and college (although Nico would loudly disagree - sorry friend).

Sadie, Nico, and I went to Dunkin Donuts where we proceeded to get free donuts off of the coupon receipts Nico had saved from his time at school. (We made Sadie get one for us, and Charlie stayed home to sleep a little longer). When we got back, we did our usual packing and then headed out.

The run was awesome. We finally got back on some dirt with a few rolling hills. I’ve honestly been disliking the city running a lot. I think the cement is harder on my legs, it’s not as scenic, and it is less enjoyable than trail running. But this trail was the stuff of dreams. (Well not quite, then it would need to be longer with more climb, but it was a nice break from the monotonous bike paths). Post run, we drove to Mars, Pennsylvania, to stay with another of Nico’s track friends.

After unpacking, and settling in, I finally had a big chunk of time to practice my violin. I’ve found half an hour to an hour here and there on the trip so far, but I finally got a full two hours of practice in and it was glorious. It’s weird, because it seems like I finally reached that minimum bar of practice, but to my non-musical compatriots, I practiced a long time.

Practicing was great. I started with scales, moved on to double stop etudes, then regular etudes, and worked out some of the rhythm and notes to the piece I’m currently working on, before ending with some finger exercises as a cool down. It might not seem like the two are similar, but I think that violin and running have shaped me in similar ways and are responsible for the way I focus and work today. Right around the time I started running, I began to take violin more seriously. I poured myself into practicing and running and improved rapidly in both. In college, I started as a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance. But violin is all consuming and if you aren’t careful, it can eat you up. It demands perfection and to constantly be critical of yourself. You can agonize for hours over a single note. Was it clear enough? Was it in tune? It also demanded my full attention, something I was never truly able to give it. I’ve always been torn by my love for too many things and in the end, I decided to pursue violin but to a lesser degree. That decision has been somewhat a relief as I don’t feel as stressed by this trip when I don’t meet my quota of practice (although I make sure to push myself to practice enough so I won’t disappoint my teacher). Sometimes, I still question that decision. When I practice, and practice well, it seems like I chose wrong. Like I should have worked harder and put in more hours. It’s something I love, but I know deep down that if I want to be happy and live a more balanced life, this is the decision I need to make, at least for now.

After practicing, we got ready to roll and headed to Pittsburgh for our fun run. Throughout the afternoon, we had been on hold. There were thunderstorms and we weren’t sure if the event would be cancelled or not. But in the end, the storms and threat of lightening passed before we had to head out.

The fun run was in conjunction with Fleet Feet. We met the group at the store, this time it was a training group mostly made up of older runners. It was a smaller group because of the earlier rain, but it was nice because we had the chance to really connect with everybody about our project. We even received a couple of cash donations for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and were able to pass out our business card with the CAF/Running Road Trip donation platform.

Post run, we headed to a late dinner and then it was back to Mars (Pennsylvania, not the planet) for bed. Tomorrow is our longest drive yet, around eleven hours. Since we ran tonight, we made a group decision to skip our second run in Pennsylvania in order to get on the road at an earlier time. Well, I’d better go now. Sleep is important and I have to make some playlists for the car and download some more podcasts! Bailee out.

Facts/stats of the day:

Miles driven: 216

Miles run: 38.1

Elevation gained (feet): 4455

Speed of car when Charlie had to reach through the window to get his shorts off the roof: 55 mph

Percentage of dementia caregivers who also care for a child under 18: 25%