A Trip I Will Never Forget

by tinareale on May 24, 2012

Why, hello there! Sorry to leave you hanging after my marathon recap. Peter and I got back in town Tuesday night so, between the travel and trying to get back to everyday life, I have had more important things to handle. You know me, though. I couldn’t stay away for long. Especially when I needed to come by and say a huge THANK YOU for your congratulatory comments. I have a post-marathon thoughts post I plan to share, but it will have to wait until next week. Right now, I need to tell you all about the rest of the fun I had up in the Cleveland area! Smile 

Let’s back up first to Saturday.

When people would ask me where I planned to run my first marathon, I would get a lot of the same question when I said Cleveland. “But….WHY?” I certainly had my reasons. It worked well timing wise. I enjoy traveling for races and getting to see different cities. Peter & I had always wanted to have the fun you will see below. And, I knew Cleveland was home to quite a few of my blog pals.

I not only had the support of Heather and Amanda at the race, but I also had the pleasure of hanging out with Alicia and Julie for my pre-race dinner with our guys as well.

photo courtesy of Julie

I had pizza the night before quite a few of my bigger mileage training runs and it worked well for me, so opted for it as my pre-race dinner. We dined at a local pizza spot that Alicia and Julie highly recommended called Angelos. It was really good! Peter and I shared a small with mushrooms, olives, onions, and pepperoni while chatting and hanging out for a couple hours before we all had to head our different directions. So great to see these ladies!

You all already know about Sunday and the marathon experience, so let’s move ahead to the rest of my trip.

One of the factors in choosing Cleveland? It was close to all of this…


Peter and I LOVE theme parks and roller coasters. We have both wanted to visit the Cedar Point amusement park for quite some time. We had to make it there…and we did. Walking around a theme park for 12 hours the day after running a marathon won’t be the most friendly thing to your legs, but it was soooooo worth it.

You just stop for stretching breaks through the day and it all works out.


After the race Sunday, we headed over to get checked in to the park’s hotel. We decided to stay on site to make it easier. Plus, it allowed early access to the park, which was really nice.


The first couple of hours, we had to deal with very little crowds and had the chance to ride a few of the main roller coasters with very little wait. By the middle of the day, things started to get more crowded. We stopped for some Subway for lunch (most expensive subway EVER – $23 for a footlong, bag of chips, and water to share).


Many of the bigger rides by that time had an hour plus wait time, so we took a pit stop to try to figure out a plan of attack for how to make the most of our time. As luck would have it, a nice couple noticed us sitting there and came up to us. At first we thought they wanted to see our map, but then they let us know they were leaving the park and didn’t want their “fast lane” passes to go to waste.


They just gave them to us to use for the rest of the day! How nice! And helpful. At first, we felt a little badly using them, but then realized they were our key to be able to ride everything in the only day we had at the park.

With those, we had the chance to ride all of the best rides quickly and easily.


Including two of the very BEST rides in the front row. Like this one called the Dragster that shoots you off to reach 120 miles per hour in less than 4 seconds so you can reach the top of this 400+ foot drop to zoom back straight down.


Talk about a THRILL! Peter and I rode it 3 times during the day and did the front row as our last ride of the day. When we reached the bottom, we looked at each other and busted out laughing. Apparently you get plastered with all the little bugs sitting in the front seat on that ride.


You don’t care about bug face when you’re having that much fun. We were so sad that the day had come to an end at that point. The park closed, so we grabbed dinner in the hotel and crashed for the night. The next morning it was time to head out. Although, I admit I was getting ready to come home. I missed Makenzie and Braedon!

When we got home, I scooped them up in my arms with the biggest hug and then looked up to see a special surprise that Makenzie wanted to give me to say how proud she was of me for my marathon.



She apparently wanted to get me the flowers and my mom and dad added on the cake and the card. I immediately got all emotional again. Without a doubt, I will never forget this past mini vacation!

Are you a fan of amusement parks and roller coasters? Are you often ready to come home after a certain time away on a trip?


1 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) May 24, 2012 at 9:34 am

I do enjoy the roller coasters, but I prefer the smooth ones. I hate jerky coasters that kill your head and neck. I think time away is great, but I do really start to miss my boys after about the 3rd day…really badly. I think they need to get away from us from time to time too. It just gives them a change to regroup and maybe appreciate us a little better. Congrats on the run Tina and I’m glad you’re back!

2 Laurie @Love, Laugh, laurie May 24, 2012 at 9:42 am

I’m so jealous you went to Cedar Point! I used to go every year from the time I was about 4, all the way through my senior year of high school (and a couple times in the summer during college). I miss it so much :( Glad you had a great time!!

3 natalie @ southern fit foodie May 24, 2012 at 9:52 am

How fun! I’ve only been to Cedar Point once, but it was AMAZING!! I love roller coasters – any and all kinds – and I can’t wait to take Daniel back to Cedar Point one day! I’m so glad y’all had fun together!

4 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries May 24, 2012 at 9:54 am

aww how sweet of makenzie and your parents! i LOVE rollercoasters too and have always wanted to go to cedar point. i’m so glad you guys got to go! :)

5 Heather @ Better With Veggies May 24, 2012 at 9:57 am

What a fun way to celebrate your AWESOME marathon. I’m not huge into roller coasters, I end up getting motion sickness after a few, but I still like amusement parks. :) And the flowers & cake to welcome you home are so sweet, what an awesome family you have!

6 Kaelin May 24, 2012 at 10:03 am

I have never enjoyed roller coasters, but I do like going to theme parks. Or water parks! I am a big time wimp about scary rides. That Dragster thing looks terrifying!!!

$23 for a footlong! Holy buckets Subway!! We just spent a week at Disney World, so I totally get outrageous food prices. Mickey Mouse must live in one heck of a house!

I am usually ready to come home and get back on a schedule after being away on vacation. My vacations tend to be high in activity and low on r&r. So I end up pretty wiped by the time we get home.

7 Sarah k @ the pajama chef May 24, 2012 at 10:19 am

so glad you enjoyed cleveland! yay ohio. :) p.s. i love those race shirts! was that the official one? if so, much cooler than last year’s, i think.

8 tinareale May 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Yep. Those were the official shirts. I love it!

9 Yellow Haired Girl May 24, 2012 at 10:25 am

How awesome is this?! What a nice coming home present!

The Dragster looks right up my alley. Fun!

10 Heather (Heather's Dish) May 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

how sweet about the flowers and cake and card! such a sweet little girl :)

and i’m TOTALLY a fan of roller coasters and theme parks, although i’m a lot more cautious about that stuff now. i always think about the worst that could happen!

11 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More May 24, 2012 at 10:31 am

I am not one for roller coasters so I’m not sure the bug face would be okay with me… ;)

Anyway, looks like you had an amazing and fun weekend that ended with a sweet surprise! Congrats again! :)

12 Carol @ Lucky Zucca May 24, 2012 at 10:50 am

Roller coasters are my favorite!!! Jesse and I love them. I would seriously get a season pass to Six Flags if I could go more during the week. I’m so glad you had a great time!!!

13 Jess May 24, 2012 at 10:52 am

OMG can I just say how freakin’ CUTE you and your husband are?? You must have had such a blast together spending 1:1 time (even though I know you missed your little ones!) at last. The bug face is a RIOT!! I would be scared out of my MIND on one of those things — my husband is so determined to get me on one, one day. Me? No way!

ps super jealous of your dinner with Alicia! Love that girl!

14 Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean May 24, 2012 at 11:17 am

LOVE cedar point. top thrill dragster is the best!!!! and fast lane passes are a must! so awesome they gave them to you!

15 Rebecca @ Miss Magnolia Munches & Moves May 24, 2012 at 11:20 am

I love roller coasters! It’s been way too long since I’ve been on one. The cake and flowers was very sweet and looks delicious!

16 Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life May 24, 2012 at 11:22 am

Hahahaha, I LOVE the bug photo! :)
Roller coasters are great, but my body can only handle ‘em about 50-50. Some days it’s fine, other days I feel like I’m gonna ralph…boooo.

17 Lisa May 24, 2012 at 11:43 am

I have a major fear of roller coasters. I cringe thinking about it actually! I had a panic attack last time I went on one, and was balling my eyes out. That wasn’t too fun haha.

Congratulations on your amazing marathon run! The cards and cake are absolutely adorable! What a beautiful thing to come home too :)

18 Heather May 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Top thrill dragster is AMAZING!!!!! SO FUN!!!

19 tinareale May 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Agreed. Hands down the best roller coaster I have ever ridden.

20 Lauren May 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm

We have family that lives in Cleveland and we were just there (the weekend before you). It’s such a nice area that is definitely up and coming. There are a lot of really great small suburb towns surrounding the city that are great to visit as well!

21 Alicia at Poise in Parma May 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm

So happy to have worked out dinner plans with you, Julie and the boys on Saturday! Cleveland’s a great city to live in, as well as to visit. You did the whirlwind tour – there’s still so many other places I could have sent you if you had more time! Thanks for the blog love – here’s hoping it’s not too long until we see each other again!

22 tinareale May 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I know. I hate I didn’t get to do more exploring. I had planned to after the marathon but it just wore me out way too much. I guess that means I will just have to come back. ;)

23 [email protected] May 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I LOVE roller coasters, my husband only likes certain ones, but usually I can get him to join most with me, as long as their isn’t too much simulation or motion involved, but he LOVES amusement parks, so it is always so funny to me how much he loves them for not being super thrilled with riding some of the rides! I will go on anything!

24 Stephanie @ My Freckled Life May 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm

That ride looks so cool!! I LOVE rollercoasters, as does my fiance! We even got season tickets for our local amusement park (King’s Dominion in VA), so that we can pop in after work for a rollercoaster ride or two and avoid the crowds!

25 Leah May 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm

What a great time!! Sounds like you and Peter had a blast and i’m so happy for you again on your marathon!! I love Cedar Point and visited there a lot when I was younger! I have not been since the Dragster has been there though and I don’t know that i’d do it!! looks crazy! I’m pretty sure my fav is and always will be the Raptor even though it’s not as thrilling as some, but I love the feet hanging action!

26 tinareale May 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I LOVED the feet hanging action on that one too. it felt so good to let my feet just dangle for a bit.

27 jobo May 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Wow, sounds like SO MUCH FUN!!! Love Alicia, so glad you got to meet her! And the rides look WAY too scary for my liking, but I LOVE the grins on your faces, looks like you had a blast and a half. Much deserved :)

28 Sara @ The Foodie Diaries May 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I LOVE Cedar Point! I haven’t been there in about 10 years but I rode my first roller coaster there! It was the Raptor and I was so scared I almost didn’t do it but my dad said I could handle it. From that moment on I was in LOVE with rollercoasters! :)

29 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions May 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Oh good heavens. Your daughter is simply too much!

Glad you had the chance to experience CP! I live close enough that it’s one of the top go-to places for senior trips, 8th grade trips, youth group trips, random family we-want-a-vacation-but-don’t-have-time-to-go-far trips…I’ve been to Cedar Point lots of times, is what it boils down to ;) As I’ve gotten older I’ve become less and less fond of roller coasters, so I don’t go out of my way to go to Cedar Point anymore, but I really loved it when I was little. I was a Jr. Gemini queen back in the day haha. And yeah, buying food in Cedar Point is one of the most ridiculous things you can experience. I haven’t been since 2005 or so, but even then a bottle of water from a vending machine was something like $5. Sooooooo dumb.

30 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats May 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I LOVE theme parks and rides!!! What a great way to celebrate!

31 [email protected] May 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm

That is SO cute that she had that waiting for you :) And I love that you guys rode rides allll day. LOVE it!

32 Katie Heddleston May 24, 2012 at 8:26 pm

The dragster is craaaazyyyy! How did you like millenium force? I’m SOOOO bummed that I wasn’t still in Cleveland for your visit — I hope you know I was cheering you on from Maryland all weekend long! Glad you had such a wonderful trip!!

33 Lee May 24, 2012 at 8:26 pm

I haven’t really gone on a roller coaster in a long time, but when I was a kid, going to the amusement park (it was King’s Dominion) was THE highlight of my summer every year.

34 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey May 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm

That sounds like SO much fun!!!!! I have always wanted to go to Cedar Point – okay, that’s a lie. I went when I was 3, so I’m sure to remember so much, right? ;)

35 Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama May 24, 2012 at 9:15 pm

AAaaaah so jealous of your CP visit! I can’t believe they have fast passes now…must be new. I would probably pay double admission for those. I hate the long lines.

36 Cheryl Mosley May 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Did you get to ride Millenium Force? I remember riding that years ago. It was awesome back then, hope it was fun for you!! Congrats on an amazing race!

37 tinareale May 25, 2012 at 1:26 pm

That was the first one we rode when we had the early access. We rode it two times back to back because it was so fun. It was in our top 3 favorites of the day. Along with the dragster and the maverick.

38 Danica @ It's Progression May 24, 2012 at 10:06 pm

You and Peter are so cute! That’s really smart to plan your races out of town so that you get a little mini-vaca out of it too :)

39 Annette (with a side of brownies) May 24, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I love cedar point, I showed this post to my hubby and he’s jealous ;) I was too scared to get on the Dragster though. Congratulations on running your first marathon!

40 Angela T May 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

My sister was there on Saturday as well! Glad you enjoyed your time there.. We go every year :) & that is awesome you got the fast lane passes because out of the whole day my sister was only able to go on 5 rides because of the lines!

41 caloricandcrazy May 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Subway = best fuel evuuuuur

42 Bonnie May 24, 2012 at 11:06 pm

How FUN! I could tell by the pictures what a great time you and Peter were having together! Mikey and I love theme parks and could ride rides all day too – double date in the making?! ;) Glad to have you back, although we all certainly agree that you deserve a break from blogging after the marathon and getting back to life! ;) WELL DONE again (you’re inspiring me to go for one myself!)!

43 tinareale May 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I have no doubt that you would own a marathon!

44 Becky Przy May 25, 2012 at 7:11 am

I am laughing so hard at the bugs on your face;-) It looks like you had an awesome trip! I bet your kids were so excited to have you home.

If I am on a trip w/my family, it’s hard to go home–especially if we are some place familiar like our cabin. If it is just me and the husband–I am ready to go home after 2 nights–we miss the little one too much.

45 Cheryl @ Happy is the new healthy May 25, 2012 at 8:33 am

This is awesome–cake and rides?! Two of my fav things in the world! I grew up outside of Cleveland so we always used to go to Cedar Point–love! :)

Congrats again. You are so amazing.

46 Amanda @ Simply Southern May 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm

This post made me smile!!! What a GREAT job on the marathon. I can’t believe you walked around an amusement park after a freakin 26.2!!!! You are my new hero!!! So glad you got a getaway away with the hubs, ya’ll deserve it!

47 Brittany @ Delights and Delectables May 25, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Cedar Point is my FAVORITE!! I love that place! I grew up going there, because my mom’s family is from Akron, OH. :)

48 Leonor @FoodFaithFitness May 25, 2012 at 10:38 pm

So cool you got to share the experience with your husband! Looks like you had fun!

49 Simply Life May 26, 2012 at 7:40 am

looks like such a fun time!

50 Lauren @ Lawfully Wedded Wife May 26, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Big congrats on the marathon, Tina!!! Looks like you two had a great trip!

51 Alicia May 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I freaking love roller coasters!! I can’t wait to lose 100lbs so I can ride them again, comfortably.
We went to a amusement park with the older boys last Summer for the first time. I was able to ride some rides, but some I had to pass on because of my weight. Not this Summer!!!
How awesome you got to use a Fast Lane pass. Glad you had such a great time and how cute of your kids to think of you.

52 Amy Lauren May 28, 2012 at 7:13 am

I love that cake! Glad you got to meet so many blog friends and experience Cedar Point on your trip :) . that makes it that much more fun because it wasn’t all about running but very balanced. And exploring a new city is always fun!

53 pluvk June 3, 2012 at 9:42 pm

TWENTY-THREE DOLLARS for a Subway meal? WOW. And I complain when I have to pay more than $6.00! :-) Looks like you had fun, though, and that’s the main thing!!

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