I know that this post is supposed to be about my weekend trip to Ohio, but my adventures actually start in Michigan, on Friday evening, when I saw a childhood friend I hadn’t seen in almost thirty years.
That’s Shay. He lived down the street for one year when we were in middle school, and we became good friends. Then he had the nerve to move to Florida, that jerk! Anyway. We reconnected on Facebook, and got to catch up when he came to town for a family function. It was a great way to start a great weekend.
From there I drove to Sandusky, Ohio, home to the greatest amusement park on the planet. I checked into a budget hotel, and I’m so glad I didn’t bring my swimsuit, because they filled in their pool with gravel. It makes for a snazzy view from the lobby!
But they did have some statues on the premises, and I can’t resist a selfie with a statue. So I growled with a bear…
…yawned with a hippo…
…and snuggled with a dinosaur.
On Saturday morning I woke up bright and early… for a 5K race! My bib was lucky number 41615.
The race was the Run & Ride 5K at Cedar Point – the aforementioned awesome amusement park.
I was so jazzed when I heard about this event from my friend Jocelyn, because the route was around the parking lot and through the actual park, so I got to run by roller coasters, and even underneath them.
(I did a similar run at Six Flags Magic Mountain a couple years back, and that run was equally fun.)
Even better, the registration fee included a ticket to the park!
The run was great, and because I grew up going to Cedar Point, I knew the route pretty well, so I didn’t have to think about where I was or how much was left. As a result, I did really well. In fact, I crushed my previous 5K personal best by 51 seconds, and finished this race in 28 minutes, 24 seconds. Holy crap!
This was my 21st race in my #40years40races challenge.
I celebrated my victory with my new pal Snoopy!
I relaxed in my car for about an hour until the park opened. Time to ride some roller coasters!
My personal history with Cedar Point has some ups and downs. I loved going as a kid, and then experienced a humiliating moment in college when I was kicked off a ride for being too fat. I didn’t go back to Cedar Point for over a decade. Then, in 2011, after I lost 160 pounds, I proudly went back, and rode every single roller coaster I wanted to ride, including the coaster that I was booted off of. It was a day I will never forget.
That was my last visit to Cedar Point, and in the eight years since, they’ve added three new coasters, so those were my priorities. And I rode all of them! Gatekeeper:
And Steel Vengeance. (I forgot to get a picture with the actual coaster, so I took a picture with the amazing 1/40th scale model at the Town Hall Museum.)
And I also had time for five more coasters! Eight coasters, on a Saturday in June, in a park where lines frequently are at least an hour… that’s a good day.
Breakfast that day was standard pre-race fuel: bananas, coconut water, and a protein shake. I indulged in some deep-fried park food for lunch. I ordered a chorizo empanada, with some plantains on the side. It was delicious.
I also used my Garmin to measure the distance that I walked around the park: slightly over four miles! Add that to the 3.1 miles I ran during the 5K, and that’s a very active day. I left the park around 4:30pm, and stopped for dinner at a Bob Evans restaurant on my way out of town. I made a good choice to balance out the fried food, and ordered a chopped salad. I barely touched the dressing because I didn’t like it, and such a loaded salad doesn’t really need dressing anyway.
I then headed to Cuyahoga Falls, near Akron, to visit my friend Jocelyn, a friend from middle school all the way through to college. I hadn’t seen her for 18 years, and had never met her husband or kids. I had a blast with the whole family, including Sunny (16, in the mask), and Tristan, 6.
We went to bed early, because it had been a long day and we had to get up early. Sunny lent me an Adam Levine pillow, and when I took a photo with Adam, Leonardo the cat photo-bombed us.
My alarm went off at 5:30am on Sunday, and at 6:15, Josh and I left to go compete in a stair race in Cleveland. I already wrote a lengthy blog post about that race, so I’m not saying any more here!
Jocelyn and the kids came down a little later, and we went to lunch at the Winking Lizard Tavern, a block away from the race skyscraper. We got some popcorn and mac and cheese bites for the table (and yes, I got a kids menu so I could solve the computer-generated maze)…
…and I ordered the Mediterranean wrap, with broccoli instead of fries.
We went back to Jocelyn and Josh’s house to relax after lunch, and later in the afternoon, we headed to downtown Cuyahoga Falls, and had a lovely stroll along the series of boardwalks and viewpoints that look out over the river, which plunges over little waterfalls and rapids, and through a beautiful gorge.
Here’s me and Jocelyn:
We ended up at Pav’s, an ice cream shop, where I had a single scoop of blueberry cheesecake ice cream, along with a little maple candy that I purchased at a store next door.
I ate some of the ice cream with a finger hand, a little novelty gift that Jocelyn gave me, which reminded me of the finger sporks I blogged about last year.
Shortly after that, I hit the road for the roughly 3.5-hour drive home. I arrived back in Michigan around 10:30 at night, exhausted from a fun and exercise-filled weekend that included three races, but had to wake up early to pick up JJ, who was staying with my friend Lynn, about an hour away. And then, since I had already seen two childhood friends in the past couple days, why not see two more? I met my friends Mike and Debbie for lunch. Debbie lives not too far from me, and I see her regularly, but Mike was visiting from Dallas. (I hang out with Mike when I visit Dallas.)
I ordered a California omelet, with fruit instead of potatoes, dry rye toast on the side. That’s salsa in the smaller cup.
That was enough photos, right? Right?
Keep it up, David!
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