A Simple Running Log

September 20, 2010

Training for 9/20/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:04 pm

This morning was some weight training.

Saturday, I ran the Chestertown Half Marathon. I left home around 6 a.m., stopping to get a pumpkin-flavored coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to the race site. I made it there in plenty of time to get my race bib and timing chip and get to the starting line by 8 a.m.

I have been saying all along this was going to be a training run, run at a slower pace than I would normally race. I don’t know why I keep saying that, because, like every other “training run in a race” I’ve tried to run, this one quickly became a PR attempt.

The weather was perfect. It was probably still in the high 50s or low 60s when we started. It didn’t feel too humid, it wasn’t very breezy and it was a clear, beautiful day.

It was a very small field, only 181 finishers. I got in line several rows back from the front. There were these two really annoying guys, trying to act as emcees and warm up the crowd before the race start. They were both wearing tight, short shorts, tank tops, compression socks and huge Afro wigs, and, inexplicably, they were talking in these indistinguishable foreign accents. One kept calling the other Sven, so I guess they were supposed to sound European.

Anyway, the gun went off on time. I took off at what felt like 9:00/mile. I missed the first mile marker, and when we hit the second, my watch said 16:30 — 8:15/mile pace. Oops.

I had a decision to make here: Keep up this pace or slow down to where I intended to be. But the second option would mean OMG PEOPLE WILL PASS ME. So naturally, my training run became a half marathon PR attempt.

The course was an out-and-back with a small loop around the halfway point, all on paved roads. The whole way out was fields on either side, except for when we passed through a little “town” called Pomona. The loop was wooded.

Police had not bothered to close the roads. Since there were so few of us, they left one lane open for traffic. As I was leaving Pomona, I saw a car pull up to where a cop was directing traffic. I heard the cop tell the driver, “Yes ma’am, you can still drive through here, but there are some runners, so you might have to avoid them a bit.”

Haha. Avoid them “a bit.”

Anyway, I was cruising right along. I had no energy gels or chews with me, but the water and Gatorade they were passing out at aid stations seemed to be doing enough. In the ninth mile, on the way back toward town, we were running a very long, gradual uphill section, into the sun and into a headwind (where had that wind come from all of a sudden?) I lost a little time there. Then the road flattened, the wind shifted a bit and some trees provided a little relief from the glaring sun. I was getting my stride back around the 10-mile marker, when it happened.

Those old familiar gut pains came roaring up out of nowhere. And with a vengeance.

I knew I was going to have to stop at a port-o-potty in a race for the first time, until, with a sudden panic-inducing realization, I remembered there were NO PORT-O-POTTIES ON THE COURSE.

Up until that point, there had been some woods in which I could have ducked. But by the time my gut pains were reaching emergency status, we were getting back close to town, and the only trees at that point were either in someone’s front yard, or on the edge of the bank of the Chester River. I was really regretting my decision to wear bright purple shorts instead of something more tree-colored. I knew I was going to have to make it the final 5K with the runner’s trots if I didn’t want to literally crap my pants or cop a squat in full view of passing runners.

It was painful. I didn’t think that race would ever end. I forgot about my PR attempt and concentrated on not letting loose in my shorts. I got passed in the final mile by only one runner — but he was pushing a freaking jogging stroller. Both he and the kid in the stroller told me I was looking good. Ha! If they only knew.

Not long after he passed me, I could hear the cheers of the people at the finish line. I managed to give a little kick in the final couple of tenths of a mile while also keeping everything in check in my gurgling intestines. They announced my name as I crossed the line, which is the first time that’s happened.

I even managed to patiently wait for volunteers to rip the timing chip off my shoe, drape the finisher’s medal around my neck and open a bottle of water for me before I nonchalantly walked to the nearest port-o-potty to take care of business. I won’t go into detail here, but it was a pretty big relief.

So, how did I do?

Chip time: 1:49:55 (only 50 seconds off my PR, set two weeks ago!)

Age group place (F 20-29): 6/31

Overall place: 51/181

It was a pretty quick field of runners. I would have finished in the same position had I run the same time I did in Virginia Beach, but I was only in the top 28 percent of the field in Chestertown, while I was in the top 11 percent in Virginia Beach. I can’t compare the age group results because it was a 10-year grouping in Chestertown, while they were five-year groupings in Virginia Beach.

After the port-o-potty visit, I walked some, stretched out, drank some kind of sports recovery drink and ate half a bagel with cream cheese. I left the race site, and I had not even made it out of Chestertown when Round 2 of the gut pains cropped up. For the second time that day, I thought I was going to crap my pants. I was about to pull over on the side of the road and run for the woods when I saw a Royal Farms up ahead. They had a public bathroom, but, to my horror, there was someone in it and someone else waiting to use it! Fortunately, the person in the bathroom walked out almost as soon as I got in line, and the person waiting was really quick. Also for the second time that day, I avoided disaster.

The rest of the ride home was uneventful. I had no more major episodes. I’m not sure what exactly caused it. The night before, Clark and I ate dinner at a sports bar/restaurant. I had pasta and vegetables, nothing out of the ordinary there, but maybe whatever oil they used didn’t agree with my system when I started jostling it around. Who knows.

Everything settled down and I felt 100 percent better by that night. Clark and I went to Bon Appetit in downtown Seaford. Oh my, it was amazing. I loved every bit of it. We both got the five-course dinner. For appetizers, I got the hot Italian sausage-stuffed mushrooms, and Clark let me try some of his escargot, which weren’t too bad. I got spicy gazpacho and Clark got cucumber dill for the soup course. Then we had green salads. For our entree course, I got mahi mahi and Clark got some kind of South American fish that was really good, but we can’t remember the name. Finally, for dessert, I got a slice of amaretto cheesecake and Clark got some kind of chocolate dessert that was also really good but had a name we can’t remember.

The restaurant gave us a complimentary champagne toast for our anniversary. It was the best dinner I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant, much better than that super expensive one we ate in L.A.

Sunday was our actual anniversary. We went to Georgetown and visited the spot we were married, then had lunch at the hotel where our reception was held.

Clark and me on our wedding day last Sept. 19:

And us, a year later, still smiling:

At home, we dug into the wedding cake we’d saved. Not the worst thing I’ve ever eaten, but it definitely tasted better a year ago.

Looks like Clark enjoyed it!

And I gave it a half-hearted thumbs up.

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