I moved to Cleveland in April 2007 after living in NYC for nearly six years. I loved living in NYC. I know it's cliche to say but I do believe it's the greatest city in the world. It speaks to my personality and I'd probably move back there if the right opportunity presented itself. Therefore, moving to Cleveland when my company asked me to was not an easy decision. But, I did it. Two motivators influenced my decision. One, I wanted to grow within my company and hence my career. And two, I thought it would be good to see a different part of the country. The Midwest was a bit alien to me as I'd never visited so I invited the change of pace and scenery.
The move didn't go as smoothly as I'd thought. Now, don't get me wrong. Let me say this. In my opinion, Cleveland has a lot to offer. It does get a bad rap sometimes. But, it has fun neighborhoods (big fan of Tremont), great summers, and the cost of living is basically heaven on earth after paying NYC rent for six years. But, was it for me? Definitely not. And I think most who know me would agree. I'm a city kid and moving to Cleveland was a culture shock. It moves a bit slower than I like. Add to that a tumultuous relationship shortly after I moved there and it was a recipe for difficult times ahead. But, the one constant that I always really liked about Cleveland was the people. Cleveland has some damn fine people. I made a lot of very good friends. And two of them are getting married next weekend when I visit Cleveland to check off Ohio from my challenge.
One thing I'm really looking forward to is the feeling I'm going to get driving back into the city. I know. It's weird. I haven't visited Cleveland since last summer. So it's going to feel new all over again. To drive past old neighborhoods and places I used to hang out always feels a bit nostalgic. It's funny because Cleveland invokes some very good memories and then some not so good memories. There were times when I was really unhappy (mostly for one of the three years) and then other times when I finally started to enjoy time with my friends and the city. So to drive back in is going to be fun to bring back those feelings from over three years, and take it all in again.
Now the Half will take me along many of the routes I used to run on. I was speaking to my sister the other day and told her that it's going to feel almost therapeutic to go back and run along those very same routes I used to run on when I was down and would go to relieve some stress. I do think therapeutic is the best word. I actually can't wait. I'm going back now being in a much better place in my life. This may actually prove being the easiest run to date (barring a serious hangover). I'll have time on the road during those 13.1 miles to go back to "I remember that crappy day when I did this route" or "I remember this run through Edgewater right by the lake before heading to Bill's for a BBQ ..."
I think that's what I'm looking forward to the most. A visit to really appreciate Cleveland today in a way I couldn't when I was there. I can now. For three years there were times I just wanted to get the hell out and have nothing to do with it. Today, things are a lot different. I'm a lot different. And I can now say, without hesitation ... it's going to be real nice to see you again, Cleveland.