A Simple Running Log

June 30, 2011

Training for 6/30/11

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:25 pm

This morning, I stopped being a giant pansy and ran my first hill repeats.

Technically, there were hill repeats in the training plan I followed for the half marathon I ran a few weeks ago. I replaced them with tempo runs or something.

It’s not that I’m afraid of hills per se. I really enjoyed the hilly Annapolis 10-Mile Run I did last August, and I made it through the hills at the beginning of the Marine Corps Marathon last October pretty well. I understand they’re good for building leg strength and stamina no matter what kind of surface you run.

But, there are no good hills where I live, and I don’t own or have access to a treadmill that can be inclined to simulate them, so that left me one real option — the Sharptown Bridge.

It’s five miles from my house, which posed the question of how I should get there. It felt too close to justify driving, but definitely too far to run if I’m going to sprint up a bridge several times. Then I got my bike, so that little wrinkle was ironed out.

However, my main aversion to running that bridge is that it’s very high and narrow, and I have always pictured myself near the top when a giant 18-wheeler crests the bridge from the other side, with an inattentive driver, leaving me the only options of getting crushed by a semi or jumping over the guardrail into the Nanticoke River.

Yes, I’m dramatic.

Today, I put on my big girl pants and went for it. Hal Higdon’s plan called for four hill repeats, and that’s what I was going to do.

I had no idea how long it was going to take to ride out there, run the repeats and ride back, so I left pretty early. It took less than 20 minutes to get there.

Once I had safely hidden my bike in the woods near the bridge, I ran a warm-up mile on the flat road leading to it. As I approached the bridge for my first repeat, I noticed there is in fact a tiny sliver of shoulder on the bridge itself. Maybe I wouldn’t die after all.

Coming up on the bridge for my first repeat.

Well, nothing ran me over and killed me, but sprinting up that damn bridge almost did. Holy hell I have not felt my lungs burn like that in a long time! My legs actually held up pretty well.

I made it to the top though, and was rewarded with an easy glide down the other side. I ran to the next intersection after the bridge and turned around.

I think the hill is longer from that side of the bridge.

Approaching the bridge from the side opposite of where I started.

Once again, I thought I was going to die, but no, I made it. The view from the top was actually pretty nice:

Sharptown is to the left, a slightly less developed swamp is to the right.

Then I got to run down the other side. Running downhill was a lot easier:
 
 
At the bottom on the other side, I took a swig from my water bottle and then ran across the bridge and back one more time to make four repeats. I then ran another mile to cool down, for a total of 5.2 miles today.

I pulled my bike out of the trees and rode the five miles home, which wasn’t as painful as I had feared.

Heading home. This is more typical of the elevation profile around here.

At home, I did some stretching and foam rolling.

I think these repeats are a good idea. The next set isn’t for another three weeks though.

And today is the last day of the month, so here is my June summary:

Mileage:

  • Week 1 (June 1-4): 12.2 miles
  • Week 2 (June 5-11): 30
  • Week 3 (June 12-18): 38.2
  • Week 4 (June 19-25): 36.8
  • Week 5 (June 26-30): 25.9

Total: 143.1 miles

I will hit my 2011 goal of 1,200 miles by the end of July, if I stick to my training schedule. I’m already over 1,000, halfway through the year.

June was a pretty good racing month as well. I ran PRs in the half marathon (1:45:26), 5-mile (36:40) and 5K (21:40.)

July is going to be a little tough, I think, mainly because I am running a short but fast race every weekend and doing my long runs on the other weekend day, which get up to 17 miles this month.

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June 29, 2011

Training for 6/29/11

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:41 pm

This morning, I did some ab exercises, invisible chair-sitting and weight training, before taking Pepper out for three easy miles.

Pepper had a bit of an off day today. First, he was so busy looking at two dogs barking at him from behind a fence that he fell in a ditch. That was funny. Then, he decided to take a dump, only it was in part of the 5 percent of our route that is in someone’s yard. That wasn’t as funny. It was right near the mailbox, so I took the stick he’d been carrying and used it to flick the poop out of the way of unsuspecting bare feet and into the road.

When we finally made it back home, he did not gulp three gallons of water as he did Monday, but he still managed to puke up everything in his stomach on the living room carpet, without making any effort to try to get my attention to let him out. I heard him start gagging, and before I could even turn my head to see where he was, it was all spewing out.

I threw him out of the house into the back yard, where he threw up again. Once again, the shop vac saved the day, and the spot is mostly undetectable.

He seemed OK after that.

 

Puking really takes it out of you, I guess.

 After that was taken care of, I did my barefoot exercises and stretching.

I’m a little annoyed with New Balance today. Three months ago, I got a pair of their new Minimus road shoes. I might have mentioned a few times how much I like everything about them, except that the only color available for the women’s road shoes was freaking white.

So yesterday, I looked at the New Balance website, and lo and behold, those jerks just now released two new colors that actually look decent. I really like the gray and yellow ones.

But, I don’t need them. Even though mine now have almost 500 miles on them, they’re still fine. They’re grungy, which is why I hated that they were white, and they probably smell a little, but they feel just as good as, if not better than, the day I bought them.

Gray and stinky, but still going strong.

 When do shoes like these wear out? There’s no arch supports or foam padding to break down. I guess I’ll have to wait until the soles start coming off or the seams start to separate.

June 28, 2011

Training for 6/28/11

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:22 pm

This morning I just had an easy middle distance run on the schedule. I did 6.5 miles in 55:09, average pace of 8:29/mile.

Last night, Clark and I finally decided which day this coming weekend we’re having our annual Fourth of July party and started calling people. Now we just have to hope the neighbors do their party the same night. Our friend Mike bought a firework in South Carolina that claims to have the most powder allowed by law. We might finally win the unofficial fireworks battle this year!

June 27, 2011

Training for 6/27/11

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:35 pm

Today, I am thankful for shop vacs. Ours came in very handy this morning when the idiot dog drank so much water so fast he puked up the entire contents of his stomach, including partially-digested dog food chunks, onto the bedroom carpet. It also worked well when the idiot dog, after puking up all that water, went and drank MORE water extremely fast and puked AGAIN on the hallway carpet. This all happened in the span of about a minute, by the way.

I was extremely pissed at Pepper, first for making no effort to get my attention to let him out when he knew he was going to puke the first time, and then for again doing the thing that had made him puke in the first place!

I just happened to be in the bathroom when he puked all over the carpet just outside the bathroom door, or I might not have even known he did it for quite a while. I saw the first pile in the bedroom when I glanced in there as I was running for the shop vac in the garage.

The shop vac took care of most of the work since it was so fresh. I scrubbed both spots with some carpet cleaner, and both spots looked OK.

Just last night, I watched “Marley and Me” for the first time, and bawled at the end when Marley has to be put down (sorry for the spoiler if you’ve never seen it.) Marley was a giant pain in his owners’ ass, but they were still pretty sad when he went. I hugged my pain in the ass dog and felt lucky he’s young and I probably won’t have to make that decision any time soon.

Then he went and did that this morning and all I wanted to do was wring his neck. Funny how that works.

Anyway, all that happened after I got done with this morning’s workout — abs, invisible chair, weights, three easy miles with Pepper, barefoot exercises and stretching.

Saturday, I ran the Jungle Jim’s 5K Splash in Rehoboth, and it turns out that sub-22 I ran in my last 5K more than three months ago was not a fluke. I beat that time by 17 seconds, finishing in 21:40. I think I can safely call myself a 21-minute 5K runner now.

TK and her sister Kari picked me up at 6 a.m. We got to the water park around 7, got our bibs and T-shirts and hit the bathroom. I did a mile to warm up.

The start was really crowded. There’s usually a line of wooden posts in the parking lot where they started us, to keep cars out of the side where we started, but they removed them for the race start. However, the race directors were worried someone would step in a hole and turn an ankle, so they put these pieces of plywood over them. That was the first thing we had to avoid. Then, there was a storm grate in the middle of the course not far beyond the start line, so the directors put a ladder on top of the grate so we would all run around it instead of over it and possibly trip.

And then, inexplicably, standing on the ladder was a member of the U.S. women’s Olympic field hockey team, to blow the whistle to start the race! I guess she’s from around Rehoboth and was home that weekend. I was sure someone was going to run into that ladder, knock her off and break her leg.

We got the commands and took off. I made it over the boards and around the ladder. I didn’t hear any crashes or screams behind me, so I think the field hockey player made it out OK.

The runners’ next challenge was to get sorted out by pace and spread out a little. It was so crowded for the first bit of that race.

By the time we made it to the first turn outside the water park, we were spread out enough to race. Last year, the race course was a simple out and back. This year, the course was kind of like a lollipop. We ran out, ran a loop that hooked back up to the first part of the course and ran the same way back to the finish line, which this year was moved inside the water park, right next to the entrance to the lazy river.

I felt pretty good by the time I hit the first mile marker in 6:47. Not long after that, we made the turn that started the loop part of the lollipop. There were several turns within that loop, and it seemed like the little group I was running in kept running up on a slower runner every time we hit a corner. I know I got hung up on some of those corners. I’m pretty sure I also slowed down a bit from the first mile, which is why I hit the second mile in 13:55, a 7:08 second mile.

About halfway through the final mile, I could see a woman ahead of me who used to beat me by a good two minutes at 5Ks. She hasn’t gotten any slower, I’ve just gotten faster. I thought I might have a shot at actually beating her.

Coming around the next to last corner, I did it — I passed her! I couldn’t believe it! Then I set my sights on the guy in front of me.

Coming around the last corner, we hit the only kinda downhill part of the course, and  I blew by that guy. I hit the third mile marker, just outside the water park parking lot, in 20:58, a 7:03 third mile. I knew I hit three miles in over 21 minutes in the 5K I ran in March, so I knew at that moment I was going to PR.

I ran as hard as I could for the finish line and crossed in 21:40 — my first sub-7:00/mile average pace in a race! Though just barely; my average pace was 6:59/mile.

TK and Kari finished, and we all changed into our swimsuits and got in the lazy river.

When they posted the results, I found out my time was first among 18 women in the 25-29 age group, fourth among 137 total women and 37th among 296 total finishers.

Here I am getting my age group trophy:

Fun fact: The three winners in the F25-29 age group were the same this year as last year, except I was first instead of third.

We rode both water slides that were open, and then headed for Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, where we stayed on the beach until about 4 p.m.

Sunday morning, I ran this week’s 8-mile long run at an average pace of 8:43/mile. It wasn’t as tough as last week’s long run. Maybe I’ll be able to pull this off this summer after all.

I did some yoga after my run, and then Pepper and I went to Clark’s parents’ beach house, where Clark and his family had been painting. They were done working by the time I got there, so we just hung out on the beach some more, and I paddled a little in Clark’s parents’ kayak, in the canal that runs past their house and connects to the bay.

We tried to get Pepper first in the canal and then in the kayak, but he is clearly not a fan of water, haha.

June 24, 2011

Training for 6/24/11

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:22 pm

This morning, Pepper and I went out to the trail for a few easy miles. It was a decent morning for a run, a little warm and humid, but not too terrible.

We startled a deer at one point on the trail. It made this weird high-pitched snort as it took off. I’ve never heard a deer make that noise, but I’m usually not close enough to hear it, or not in a car at the time, so maybe that’s common. It scared me, but Pepper didn’t seem to mind.

The squirrel we had met on the trail a little earlier, however, had freaked him out. I just don’t get how that dog picks out what to be afraid of.

I also finished yet another cycle of push-ups workouts (next week is an off week!), did some barefoot exercises and stretched when I got home.

Tomorrow morning, I’m running the Jungle Jim’s 5K Splash in Rehoboth. The race itself isn’t terribly interesting — it’s just an out and back through a residential neighborhood — but as soon as we finish, we get to use part of the waterpark for free. I still remember the feeling of relief when I jumped in the lazy river as soon as I finished the race last year. I’m really looking forward to that again tomorrow. And the water slides we got to ride once we’d changed into our swimsuits were fun too. After that, TK and I are hitting the beach in Rehoboth for a while.

June 23, 2011

Training for 6/23/11

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:24 pm

I love days like today.

It started out not looking so promising. At 10:15 last night, it didn’t feel like it had cooled down at all. At 6:30 this morning, it felt like it had not only not cooled down overnight, it had gotten hotter. The nearly 70 percent humidity probably had something to do with that.

It’s Thursday, so it’s speed workout day. Today’s scheduled workout was four 800-meter repeats at 5K pace, at the track.

I pulled on some shorts and a sports bra, took a running hat and headed to the track. There were a few walkers, but school closed for the summer two weeks ago, so the whole area was basically empty.

I did my warm up mile. I could feel the heat building in my body only halfway through. It always starts in my lower back and then spreads. I had the beginnings of little sweat rivers coming down my face by the time I got ready to run the first interval.

I was aiming for splits of 3:30 each on the 800-meter intervals. I was seriously expecting to struggle. It’s only been a month since I ran 800s, and according to my notes, I was aiming for 10K pace that day (3:41 splits) and had a tough time. I was bracing myself for the slow split as I came around the final bend in the track. I crossed the line, hit the stop button on my watch and saw…

3:24. My fastest 800 ever.

I heard myself mutter “wow” under my breath as I slowed to a jog for the recovery lap. Would I be able to keep that up?

Yup! The next two repeats were 3:23 and 3:22. My legs finally started getting heavy on the last repeat, and I had to settle for a 3:23 instead of another record-setter.

After the final recovery lap, I swigged some water, put on my iPod and ran two more miles to cool down, bringing the day’s total to 6 miles.

I love it when I surprise myself like that. It’s been about a month since the weather really started getting warm, so I guess I’m just about used to it.

June 22, 2011

Training for 6/22/11

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:28 pm

This morning, I did the next-to-last 100 push-ups challenge workout, some ab exercises, invisible chair-sitting and weight lifting, before taking Pepper out for three easy miles.

It got pretty hot and humid here again all of a sudden. Today’s run was much less enjoyable than yesterday’s, which was more than twice as long.

Pepper didn’t like the heat. From about the one-mile mark, he kept slowing down and turning around to look at me, as if to say, “Can we turn around and head back home now? How ’bout now? Now?”

We were almost to the turnaround point when he wandered off to the side of the road, took a half-hearted pee and then slowly drew his walk to a stop. The look on his face said he was not going any farther from home.

I gave in. I’d rather run a quarter-mile less than intended than deal with a dog with heat exhaustion. What if he really was overheating? How would I get his butt home? I said, “OK, we can go home now.”

He took off at a sprint in the other direction, and didn’t back off until we were back in the driveway. Clearly, he was fine, haha.

At home, I gave Pepper a bunch of ice cubes and then did some barefoot exercises, stretching and foam rolling.

Also, an area just below my left big toe’s nail that got infected last week seems to be fine now. I tried to pretend it would go away on its own until Saturday, when the big bag of puss seemed to look even bigger after the 5-mile race. I finally drained that thing that afternoon. I won’t go into too much detail, but I’ll just say it looked like I had popped the world’s biggest pimple. This morning, the little bubble of skin that got deflated when I drained out the puss peeled off, and everything underneath looks healthy.

June 21, 2011

Training for 6/21/11

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:41 pm

Happy first day of summer!

My first run of the summer was an easy 6.5-mile loop in 57:09, average pace of 8:48/mile. At home, I just did some stretching.

They finally posted the official results for the 5-mile race in Ocean City. The race director’s website said there was a delay because 62 timing chips didn’t register. When there’s only about 200 people in the race, that’s a pretty big chunk. Maybe next year they could switch to the chips that come attached to the bibs. And while they’re at it, they could get some mile markers.

Anyway, officially, my time was 36:40 and I finished second out of 32 women in the 20-29 age group, second out of 119 total women and ninth of 198 total finishers.

June 20, 2011

Training for 6/20/11

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:42 pm

This morning, I started the last week of the 100 push-up challenge workouts, did some ab exercises and invisible chair-sitting, lifted weights and then went for three easy miles. I would have taken Pepper with me, but it was raining pretty steadily, and he hates rain. So I left him in the utility room while I did the miles on my own.

It was a very pleasant run. We’ve actually been getting some rain lately, but it’s all been in the evenings and overnight, so I haven’t gotten to run in it. I forgot how nice it is to run in summer (almost) rain.

When I got home, Pepper had destroyed the utility room once again, in less than a half hour. He had done all the usual things — dragged the doormat and the towel we keep by the door to dry off his paws halfway across the room, turned the lights on and opened the door to the tiny space holding the air handler — but he had also gotten a hold of my keys and destroyed a couple of things. I forgot to put them out of his reach, so I couldn’t be too upset about it, but I was still pretty annoyed. I don’t know why he has to shit his pants like that every time he has to be alone for a few minutes.

I tried to piece together my keys as much as I could, but the keyring is definitely lighter than it was before my run. I then did some barefoot exercises and stretching.

I had a good running weekend.

Saturday morning, I ran the Ocean City 5-Mile Boardwalk Run for the second year. Last year, I finished this race in 42:17.

They start this race at 7 a.m., partly to avoid the heat of the day and partly to avoid the crowds on the boardwalk, as the race is run entirely on the boardwalk, which is not closed to the public. The public doesn’t just come out on foot; they’re also on regular bicycles, recumbent bikes and those four-wheeled bicycle carts.

Due to the early start time, I had to get up at 4:45 a.m., as TK was going to meet me at my house at 5:15 a.m.for the drive to the Ocean City inlet. When my phone alarm started going off, my first thought was, “I appreciate what they’re trying to do here, but damn this is early.”

As usual, I felt more alert as soon as I put on my running clothes. I fed Pepper and let him out, ate my own breakfast, let Pepper back in, hoped he had pooped as he was going to be home by himself for a while, did some ab exercises and brushed my teeth. TK was at the house by that time.

The drive to Ocean City was easy enough and we were in the inlet parking lot by 6:20 a.m. We got our race bibs, timing chips and T-shirts, which were actually very nice-looking multi-colored technical shirts this year. Unfortunately, they were out of the size I had ordered on my registration form, but the next size up wasn’t too terribly big.

Our friend Robyn got there just as we were leaving the registration table. TK and I went back to my car, pinned on our bibs, attached our timing chips to our shoes and put away our race T-shirts. By that time, it was about quarter of 7, so I took off for an easy warm up mile.

I felt really relaxed and loose just during the warm up. The weather was a little warm and humid, but it was overcast and there was even a little tiny sprinkle coming down. I felt like I had a shot at beating my time from the Masser 5-Miler three weeks ago, which had been run on a sunny, hot and humid morning.

I got back to the start area just in time for the national anthem, then squeezed myself in not too far from the front. I figured it wouldn’t matter much where I started since the race was chip timed. The gun went off, and it took me a couple of seconds to get over the start line, which I then realized was not a timing mat, but just a stripe on the boardwalk. That meant my official time would be a couple of seconds slower than my watch time. Not a big deal, but if they’re going to chip time the race, the race directors should put a timing mat at the start and the finish.

Anyway, as usual, a lot of runners had not lined up properly in the starting crowd based on their pace, and there was a lot of weaving going on as everyone struggled to get settled in.

The race followed the same course as last year — we started running south toward the inlet, turned by the boardwalk tram station, ran north toward the pier, ran around the pier, came down onto the boardwalk, ran all the way to the northern end of the boardwalk and then made a U-turn and ran all the way back to the inlet.

By the time I had made it to the tram station, I was passing the second woman in front of me. I slowly drew up on the first woman as we made our way around the pier and back on the boardwalk. Somewhere after that, I passed the first woman and settled into a comfortable pace.

My No. 1 complaint about this race is the lack of mile markers. There are none, zilch. Since I don’t wear a GPS watch that beeps off miles for me, I had no idea where the miles were, and thus had no idea how fast I was running them. I didn’t know if I was running faster than in Lewes three weeks ago, or if I was pitifully slower, which was annoying.

There weren’t many guys running in front of me. I slowly picked off a couple of them before we got to the U-turn. I skipped the water being offered there.

The pedestrians and cyclists hadn’t been too bad on the way out, as they mostly respected the one half of the boardwalk we were running on. However, on the way back, it got more crowded, because now the runners in the race were taking up both sides of the boardwalk. More than once I ran past people moseying along on their bikes or in their cart to hear someone say, “Hey look, we’re in the race! Haha!”

I ran around the bend in the boardwalk and set my sights on the Ferris wheel, which was on the pier and thus close to the finish line. I tried to distract myself from how tired I was getting by reading all the signs on the businesses along the boardwalk, but the bars advertising frozen drinks were starting to get to me, so I had to stop that. Plus, I had to keep my eye out for people not in the race but very much in the way.

I’m pretty sure I was past where the fourth mile marker would have been when it happened– for the first time in three miles, I got passed. By a woman. D’oh! 

I tried to keep up. I almost thought I was going to be able to take another run at her. But as we approached the Ferris wheel, she slowly pulled out of my grasp.

I could see the inflatable red arch that was the finish line up ahead. I tried to make out the numbers on the race clock, but I’m half blind at long distances. I couldn’t see a thing on the clock.

I was hoping it was still under 37:39, my time from Lewes three weeks ago, so I could PR. I got closer, and finally, the first two numbers came into focus:

36.

I was almost there, I could do this!

I charged up the ramp that leads to the finish and crossed the line in, officially, 36:40, a minute faster than three weeks ago. That’s an average pace of 7:20/mile, which I was really proud of. I was the second overall female finisher (first place got me by 11 seconds) and the ninth finisher overall. I knew there weren’t a lot of guys in front of me, but I didn’t know I was in the top 10.

I let a race volunteer undo the twist ties holding my timing chip to my shoe (we had to return them), then grabbed a bottle of water and walked to my car to get my flip flops and my camera. Just as I was approaching the finish area, I saw Robyn coming down the boardwalk. I took a picture of her and she finished in 46 minutes and some change, beating her goal of 50 minutes by a long shot.

Robyn approaching the finish line.

I then stood and watched for TK, who finished in 57 minutes and some odd seconds, also besting her time from Lewes, by a couple of minutes.

TK approaching the finish line.

At the awards ceremony, they gave out trophies to the top three male and female overall winners, and I got the biggest trophy I’ve gotten to date. I stood on the steps to the Tilt-a-Whirl, one of my favorite rides as a kid, with my new hardware.

Showing off my largest trophy to date.

The clouds had broken up and TK and I changed into our swimsuits and headed to the beach for a few hours. The sun was hot, the water was cold and it felt great to hang out on the beach for the first time this year. We only stayed until about 1 p.m., so neither of us got burnt, which is new.

At home, I took a shower and lazed about the rest of the day. Clark got home late from Pittsburgh, where he had gone the night before with his brother to help get his brother’s condo ready for a renter. I was asleep on the couch when he got home.

Sunday morning, I woke up around 7 a.m. and ran this week’s marathon training long run, an 11-miler. I knew when I put together this training schedule it was going to be tough to do a long run the morning after a race, which is going to happen every single weekend between now and August, but I didn’t know it was going to be that tough. I managed an easy 9:00/mile pace overall, but my legs were toast at the end of that run. I did some yoga after the run and felt better.

The rest of Sunday was spent cleaning the house, watching the NASCAR race and then going to see my dad, since it was Father’s Day.

June 17, 2011

Training for 6/17/11

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:07 pm

I took it relatively easy this morning, as I’m running that 5-mile race in Ocean City tomorrow morning. Pepper and I went out to the trail for a few easy miles (no ticks this time!) and then I did some push-ups, barefoot exercises, stretching and foam rolling at home.

The race tomorrow starts at 7 a.m., so this will be my earliest alarm for any race I run all year — 4:45 a.m. TK’s supposed to be at my house at 5:15 a.m. for the drive to Ocean City. After the race, I’m sure I will definitely take a nap when we hit the beach.

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