I have news to share. I guess the title of this post is a dead give-away. After five years of living in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, my family and I are moving to Denver, Colorado to pursue new career opportunities. We'll be in Denver this spring. It's hard to believe we're heading West.
This move has been coming for well over a year, but our final decision was made only a few weeks ago. My wife, Anne, a (brilliant, talented, dedicated and I don't mind saying beautiful) board-certified veterinary internist, has found a wonderful opportunity at a growing private practice in Parker, which is just south of Denver. Anne, who went all the way in her specialty training (4 years of internship and residency training PLUS an additional year as a clinical instructor at Purdue University BEYOND the standard 4 years of veterinary school) will enjoy a supportive, family-friendlier environment and a growing clientele, making this a great move for all of us. I am looking for a full-time position in development (aka fundraising) and will certainly miss working at University Hospitals, my employer for the past three years.
Words cannot describe how much we will miss life in Chagrin Falls and Cleveland. This is where our son, Noah, was born and took his first steps. We both have very dear friends here.
Contrary to conventional wisdom (which is often wrong, by the way), Cleveland is a wonderful place to live. It's an even better place to run. As I've written many times before, we have beautiful parks, hundreds of miles of trails of all varieties, a supportive and vibrant running community, premier races like the Burning River 100-Mile Endurance Run, and excellent running clubs like the Southeast Running Club. The winters are tough here, but you're rewarded with gorgeous springs, summers and falls.
There is so much I'll miss. I'll miss Chagrin Falls, which is a one-of-a-kind town you won't find anywhere else. It's what towns across America try to copy and fail miserably in doing so--because you can't copy charm, authenticity, friendliness, character and soul. You can't copy the Popcorn Shop, Chagrin Hardware, Yours Truly, the peaceful country roads, the village falls, the Sunday afternoon cone-lickers, the Main Street hill, the Halloween pumpkin role, the gorgeous old homes, etc. This is a special place that we'll miss dearly.
And I'll miss my job. I am so fortunate to work at University Hospitals. UH has been incredibly supportive of me as an employee, family guy and runner. One of my closest friends is also my boss. That says it all about my feelings for UH.
I'll miss the Southeast Running Club and the greater Northern Ohio running community. When I joined SERC in the spring of 2005, I was still relatively new to long-distance running and ultrarunning was just something I'd heard of until I started talking with guys like Steve Godale. Ultras are now my passion. Five years later, I've achieved many goals, such as breaking 3 hours in the marathon, completing my first ultra, finishing a 100-miler, ultimately winning a 100-miler, and more recently completing a 24-hour race where I raised money for Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. I didn't achieve these goals on my own. I have many in the club to thank for their support and inspiration.
I will miss the Mohican Trail 100-Mile community. If you've been a part of Mohican as a runner, volunteer or crew member, you know what I mean. Winning Mohican in 2009 was one of life's greatest moments. I am saddened that I will not be back in 2010 (more on that below).
With this move to Denver, basically of my 2010 racing plans are changing. I will not be running in the Boston Marathon as it will conflict with our move. I will not be returning to the Mohican 100 to defend. I will most certainly not be competing in the Buckeye Trail 50K and likely not in the Burning River 100. My top objectives are pulling off this cross-country move and finding a good job. Through it all, I'm going to try to stay in shape with a potential goal of the Leadville 100 in August. It might be that 2010 will be a year off for me, but maybe not. I'm not getting any younger and I'm on the backside of my athletic prime. Right now I can run a lot of miles and ask a lot of my body. One day that won't be the case. So a year off is kind of a tough pill for me to swallow. We'll see what's next.
Denver is a wonderful place to live, work and run. We returned from a visit a few weeks ago and loved what we saw, especially the Rockies. We're looking at many areas to live, including Castle Rock which is pretty close to Colorado Springs and offers magnificent views of Pike's Peak and the mountains to the west. We'll be living at an elevation of about 5,000-6,000 feet with pretty easy access to mountains as high up as 14,000 feet. We've driven through neighborhoods that are at 7,000+ feet. It will take many months to fully acclimate and adjust my approach to running. My dreams of running in the Leadville 100 and even the Hardrock Hundred will eventually come true. I'm talking with members of the Rocky Mountain Road Runners Club, the Incline Club (founded by Matt Carpenter), and the Denver Trail Runners.
I can't believe we're going out west. When people hear Denver, they say, "You're going to love it! It's beautiful and life there is so good." While that may be true, leaving Cleveland, which we consider our home, is painful and a little scary. But this move and the new life that awaits us are are going to be exciting. There will be many new possibilities.