My trip to Cincinnati was short – I was only in town for approximately 24 hours. The biggest highlight, of course, was the race (which you can read about here), but I made the most of the rest of my visit, too. Starting with… the American Sign Museum!
This place is awesome.
I went there right when I arrived in town, because I had a couple hours until my hotel room would be ready. This museum traces the history of signs and branding, and includes all sorts of neon, plastic, ceramic, electric, and other signs.
The fun begins in the parking lot!
The American Sign Museum isn’t huge, but I wandered for about an hour, and it is jam-packed with all sorts of historical and fascinating artifacts.
One of my favorites was their Big Boy statue, because it’s an original, when Big Boy had red hair (instead of black), and his uniform is striped (instead of checkers).
This version of Big Boy was a little hellion, too, as evidenced by the slingshot in his back pocket – another feature that he no longer has.
It was raining when I arrived to Cincinatti, which dampened my urge to explore, plus, with the plantar fasciitis in my foot, I didn’t want to walk around that much. So after I was done at the museum, I picked up a big salad at a local restaurant, took it to my hotel, checked in, and relaxed in my room, where I turned in early to get a good night’s sleep before the early morning race.
My hotel was literally across the street from the race venue, so I was able to come back to my room afterward and shower before hitting the road for the 4-hour drive back. But first I did a couple more things.
While scoping out my hotel and ballpark, earlier in the week, using Google satellite images, I saw something at a park two blocks from my hotel that definitely caught my eye: a labyrinth!
You all know I love mazes – and while a classic garden labyrinth isn’t the same as a maze, it’s pretty darn similar. For the record, a maze is a puzzle that you have to solve, and a labyrinth (in the formal gardens definition) is a long, winding path that you slowly walk for reflection and meditation purposes.
After I checked out, I walked to the park, and the labyrinth was simple and delightful. It totally reminded me of the stone labyrinths I found in the hills above Laughlin, Nevada.
It was made of concrete pavers, with grass in between. I walked the path until I got to the center, where there’s a pedestal that’s great for sitting… or standing on, to take a selfie.
The last thing I wanted to do before driving back was visit Kentucky. I had been staring at it all morning, since the race ballpark, my hotel, and this labyrinth were all with mere feet of the Ohio River, and Kentucky was on the other side. I wanted to drive across the Roebling Bridge, a suspension bridge that dates back to 1866 and was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened.
Alas, the bridge was closed for refurbishment.
This bridge, by the way, was the longest suspension bridge for 17 years, until the very famous Brooklyn Bridge opened. Both bridges were designed by the same engineer, John Roebling, and it’s commonly said that this bridge was a direct predecessor to the Brooklyn Bridge, since Roebling applied what he learned building this bridge to his Brooklyn Bridge design.
Since this bridge was closed, I took another bridge to Kentucky – the Brent Spence Bridge, a double-decker bridge that takes I-75 across the river. I got off at the first Kentucky exit, in the city of Covington, and planned to drive around a bit, but ended up making literally two turns, and found myself on another bridge headed back to Ohio. I tried to turn off that road to avoid getting on the bridge, but I was in the right-hand lane, and I couldn’t turn right at the one intersection before the bridge, because it was one-way in the other direction. D’oh!
So my visit to Kentucky lasted probably around three minutes. But hey – at least I went! After crossing back into Ohio, I got back on I-75 north, and started the drive back to Michigan. And when I got home, I was greeted by a crummy situation… another injury.
When I got out of my car, my right knee was incredibly stiff and, while it didn’t look swollen, it felt swollen. This was above and behind the normal soreness I feel after a stair race, which I’m very familiar with. I have full range of motion with that leg and no acute pain, so hopefully there’s no major tears or anything. I’m tossing back the ibuprofen and icing it, and I bought a compression sleeve at a drug store, which I’m wearing every day. It hurts the most after I’ve been idle for a long time and then get up, so I’m making an effort to get up from my desk at work every hour and take a lap around the office. After a few steps, the pain goes away, but the tightness remains.
My plantar fasciitis, by the way, is no better and no worse now that it was before my weekend trip, so that’s a good thing. I’m continuing to ice that foot as well. I’m actually typing this right now with my left foot in an ice bath, a huge ice pack on my right knee, and my laptop balanced on a pillow on my left leg.
The worst part is that I’m registered to compete in Cleveland this weekend, in another stadium stair race, but I can’t go. I need to keep healing. It’s a bummer, but it happens, and you know what? I don’t regret going to Cincinnati. With Cleveland off the table, I just hope I’m feeling good enough to compete in the stadium race in Detroit in about a month. We’ll see! Until then, I’m trying to be super diligent about my food intake, because I’m not exercising for the time being, to promote healing, so I’m not burning those extra few hundred calories every day.
Keep it up, David!
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