A Simple Running Log

July 23, 2012

Training for 7/23/12

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:37 pm

When I worked at Taylor’s Produce, for some reason July 23 was always the day I would notice the date on my watch in the corn field in the morning and think the summer was almost over. Years later, even though I no longer have to go back to school in August, that date still feels like the end is closing in. As much complaining as I’ve done about the heat this summer, it still makes me sad to think it’s going to end.

Anyway, enough moping. This past weekend was very un-summery, as far as weather goes, and while it probably made for some crappy beach conditions, it was perfect for running. I took full advantage of it.

Friday night, Clark and Dave went to a tractor pull. That’s not really my thing, so I stayed home with Pepper and did stuff I probably wouldn’t have had Clark been home — I had sushi for dinner, which upset his stomach the last time he ate it, and watched several episodes of “Ghost Adventures” on the Travel Channel, which isn’t really his thing. Pepper and I had a nice evening together.

Saturday morning, I had a marathon goal pace run scheduled. It was cool and overcast outside, so I took my sweet time getting out there. When I finally did, I ran the first mile easy to warm up, and then sped up to what felt like just under 8:00/mile for a number of miles yet to be determined.

Man that pace felt easy in that nice weather! I wound up running for time instead of distance, since I’m not positive on the mile markers, and cruised for 48 minutes. When I mapped it out, I had covered 6.2 miles, so I ran an average pace of 7:44/mile, which is faster than my marathon goal pace. I had about a mile left to get home, so I ran it at an easier pace to cool down. I did some yoga at home to stretch out in preparation for the trail race the next day.

I packed up my stuff for the race and drove up to Meredith’s house. Clark decided to stay home with Pepper, so it was just me. I picked up some beers on the way to Meredith’s, and we spent the evening drinking, eating some stuff I knew I shouldn’t have been eating since I had a long way to run in the morning and staying up later than I should have. But it was fun, and even though I didn’t feel 100 percent awesome when I got up before 5:30 a.m., I regret nothing, haha.

I left Meredith’s around 6 a.m. and drove to Upper Marlboro, stopping for a big bottle of water and a Clif Bar on the way. The Clif Bar was supposed to be breakfast, but I just wasn’t hungry. I kept putting off eating it, and before I knew it, I was following a line of cars into Rosaryville State Park.

I followed those cars all the way to the wrong parking lot, and wondered if that was how the race was going to go, haha. We all got turned around and found the correct parking lot. I had to park a ways from the pavilion where they were handing out bibs. I hiked over there, got in line to find out my bib number and then got in another line to get my timing chip and bib.

While I appreciate chip timing, I dislike the non-disposable chips. If you lose it or forget to turn it in after the race, you get charged. In this case, it would have been $30 to replace it, which isn’t much less than it cost to register for the race. I much prefer the races that either use the disposable chips, or just pull tags off bibs and go by gun time. This race was small enough, and the finishers spread out enough, that I think they could have gotten by without chips.

I found my two friends who were also running the race. Melissa, who had said before she was doing the 25K, had decided to start with the 50K runners instead and just see if she could finish it. Jen had signed up for the 50K.

I hurried back to my car to get ready for the race. I unlaced my right shoe halfway down and tied the chip into my laces there, instead of just tying it into where I tie the laces at the top, to make sure it wasn’t going anywhere, even if my shoe came untied (which it did, so I was really happy I’d taken the extra time to do that.)

I filled my water bottle, made sure my salt caps and a tube of ChapStick were in the pouch, took off my shirt, pinned the bib to my sports bra, pulled my hat on my head and made my way back to the start, in time to see off the 50K runners.

The 25K runners had about another 15 minutes to wait before the start of our race. I hit the bathroom one last time and then hung around the start line and waited.

It had rained quite a bit the day before this race. Melissa, who had also run North Face, had worried Rosaryville was going to be a repeat of the extreme mud we’d had to run through. I didn’t think that was going to be the case. While we’d had a steady rain Saturday, it was nothing like the severe storms that had passed through well into the night before North Face. Also, the parts of the North Face course that were the worst were in a flood plain along the Potomac River, and we hadn’t been in a bad drought for weeks prior to the rain. Still, a little piece of me was worried she was right. I really have no desire to ever run in mud like that again.

Around 7:30 a.m., the 25K runners gathered at the start and were let go. We ran down a grassy hill, past our parked cars, down a paved road a short way and then turned on to the trail loop.

Much to my relief, the trails were in really good shape. There was the random small mud puddle here and there, but I can count on one hand the number of times I actually had to step in a little mud.

The first few miles of the race, my pace was all over the place. I was pounding the downhills and charging the uphills. There wasn’t much flat in between. The climbs and descents on this course weren’t anything like those on the Bulldog course as far as elevation gain and loss went, but they were relentless, and the trail itself had a lot more roots and rocks and other debris to watch out for.

I kept reminding myself this was supposed to be a training run, not a race, and to back off the pace, because I could feel my calves were already getting tired. About three miles in, I started catching the  back of the 50K pack, and while I was trucking up a pretty long uphill, I saw Melissa and Jen walking ahead. I walked with them a short way. Melissa said she’d already twisted her ankle and gone down hard, and she didn’t know how far she was going to be able to run. I wished them both luck and continued up the hill.

A little while later, I ran up on Cassie and Robert, a couple of Marathon Maniacs (it’s a club, and to get in you have to run a certain number of marathons within a certain span of time.) I had first met them at North Face. They were both doing the 50K. We talked a little, mostly about how relieved we were that this was not North Face. Then I took off again.

Pretty soon, I was at the first aid station of the race. I hadn’t drank much of my water in that first section, and I wasn’t hungry, so I just drank a cup of diluted Gatorade and went on my way. Soon after that, I swallowed one of my salt caps.

I was a little lonely for the first mile or so of the next section of the race. A couple of guys passed me, but that was it as far as company went. It felt like a solo training run. I wished Pepper was with me. I think he would have enjoyed that trail.

Soon enough, I finally caught up with some more runners. I passed a couple, but when I drew up behind a guy in a purple shirt, who was following a woman in a blue shirt, I just decided to maintain their pace and run with them.

It turned out to be the best decision I made all day. I followed them all the way to the next aid station. Their pace was perfect, and they had both run those trails before. I enjoyed listening to their conversation (I don’t think they had known each other before this race) and before I knew it, we were emerging from the woods and coming up on the next aid station.

I retied the shoe that had just come undone, refilled my water bottle, drank some diluted Gatorade, ate some potato wedges covered in salt and a handful of animal crackers and got going again. The woman in the blue shirt hadn’t stopped very long and had already left, and the guy in the purple shirt was taking his time at the aid station. I was a little sad our little group was broken up, but oh well. I only had about 5.5 miles left to run and I was feeling great.

We headed back into the woods where we had entered the first time, and reran the first section of the trail loop. I was keeping a steady pace by myself, passing a few runners. Not too far into that section, I heard footsteps pounding up behind me, so I started to step off to the side of the single track to let the faster runner pass. Instead of “on your left,” I heard “No, it’s just me! Keep going!”

It was the guy in the purple shirt! I wasn’t the only one who had preferred running with others!

We ran along, and pretty soon, as we were climbing a switchback, I caught a glimpse of something blue coming back down the switchback on the other side — the woman in the blue shirt! We picked it up and caught up with her, and our threesome ran the rest of that section together.

As we approached the aid station, I thanked my running buddies, who were both doing the 50K, and wished them luck on the rest of their run. When we got to the aid station, they both turned left to do a short out-and-back on the road before getting back on the trail, and I downed one last cup of diluted Gatorade and turned right, to run the final mile back to the finish line.

Remember all that junk I ate at Meredith’s house the night before? I thought I was going to get lucky and get through the whole race without any gut problems. I had made it so far without so much as a rumble.

Well, I wasn’t getting off that easy after all. I had felt the first pangs while still on the trail just before the final aid station, but they went away. As I ran down the road toward the finish, they came back, and with a vengeance. Still, I thought I was going to be able to hang on.

The road ended and I was running down a dirt path through the woods. And there, half a mile from the freaking finish line, the pangs cranked up to emergency levels and I had to duck into the woods and take care of business. Dammit!

No one passed me while I was in the woods. As I started running again, I felt my gut rumble and thought I was going to have to stop again. I slowed to a walk for a few seconds and it went away.

The woods ended and I was running down the path, which had now turned to a very rocky surface that was awkward to run on, through a grassy field. I could see no one ahead of or behind me.

The path made a sharp turn on a downhill and I saw patches of color ahead through some trees lining the grassy field — our parked cars! I was there, I had made it!

I followed the path through an opening in the trees and suddenly had no idea where to go. I could see the finish line in the middle of a field near the pavilion, but there was no indication of how I was supposed to get there, and no one running between me and the finish to show me where to go. I just took the most direct route and hoped I wasn’t disqualifying myself right at the end by screwing it up.

I attracted a few cheers and some clapping from the handful of runners sitting in the pavilion as I crossed the finish line. A volunteer draped a medal around my neck and I unlaced my right shoe so I could safely deposit the precious timing chip in the timing company’s box.

My calves were a little sore, but overall I wasn’t too worn out from the run. I walked to my car, traded my soaking wet shoes and socks for flip flops and walked back to the pavilion, where they had a bunch of food for the runners. I ate whatever I could get my hands on, which I think included a veggie burger. It tasted like ketchup and mustard to me.

As I was shoveling food in my face, someone from the timing company decided to announce the 25K winners. They gave little awards to the overall male and female winners. They didn’t buy awards to give to age group winners, since there were four races and therefore a lot of age group winners, but they announced those too. What do you know, I won the F 20-29 age group!

My official time was 2:44:32, a 3-minute PR.

I just got an email from the race director, informing me I was first of a whopping three runners in my age group, haha. I was also the sixth of 30 women to finish, and 20th overall of 65 total runners.

It was a great training run, and a wonderful change of scenery from my usual flat, paved routes.

My medal and bib. I feel like I should take a Sharpie and circle the “25K” distance so no one thinks I ran the 50K.

My 110s had to hang out on the steps overnight to dry out. They still stink though.

I had originally planned to hang around for Melissa and Jen’s finishes, but as I was sitting there, already bored, I realized it was probably going to be a good few more hours before they came in. It takes a while to run 31 miles of trail anyway, and when you twist an ankle 3 miles in, it’s going to take longer.

I got home around 1:30 p.m., and Clark and I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the house and taking care of the yard, which had been getting a little shaggy to say the least.

This morning, I was a little sore in my calves and my upper body, I guess from using my arms to balance, but I did my workout anyway. I ran my 4.5-mile loop first, and then I did some ab exercises, invisible chair-sitting, weight lifting and barefoot exercises.


  1. I never knew July 23 was your “oh no summer’s ending” day. Mine is always August 1. 🙂

    Comment by Laura Taylor Ackerson — July 23, 2012 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

    • I don’t know why today always stuck out to me, because it seems so random. At least yours is the start of the month in which school starts 🙂

      Comment by aschmid3 — July 23, 2012 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

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