A Simple Running Log

March 31, 2014

Training for 3/31/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:08 pm

I ran a horrendous 5K race Saturday, but had a decent long run Sunday, so I guess this weekend evened out.

Friday night, Clark and I hit up a few of our favorite spots, starting at 16 Mile in Georgetown, where they’d brewed a keg of their brown ale with chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers. It was absolutely delicious. We left Georgetown and went to 3rd Wave in Delmar, which I believe is now officially our second favorite local brewery behind Dogfish Head. We had a couple more there, and, when they closed, went to Specific Gravity in Salisbury, where we finally got some pizza for dinner.

It was pretty late when we got home, probably around midnight.

I didn’t sleep all that well. When my alarm went off at 7 a.m., I was a little hungover and really tired.

As if I already didn’t feel like running a 5K, the weather was crappy, windy and rainy. At least it wasn’t too chilly though. I got dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, ate some breakfast and headed to Easton.

TK had picked up my race packet the day before, so we sat in her car, out of the rain, until it was time to get in the starting “herd.” The race was part of Chick-fil-A’s connect series, so the “eat more chikin” cow theme was strongly represented.

Anyway, I did absolutely nothing to warm up, just stood there in the rain until someone shot a gun to send us on our way.

It sucked from the first step haha. I had zero energy and zero desire to run.

The start. I'm right over the shoulder of the woman reaching up to adjust her hood.

The start. I’m right over the shoulder of the woman reaching up to adjust her hood.

The course was pretty simple, an out-and-back that started at Idlewild Park and went to the Rails to Trail before returning to the park. There was a 10K and 5K that started together, and a 1-mile race that would start after the 10K was over.

There’s not much to say about the race. Everything on me felt sapped. I barely held a faster pace than my half marathon PR pace. I crossed the line in 22:18, exactly 90 seconds off my best, and felt like I’d just finished a marathon.

So glad that's over!

So glad that’s over!

I took a bottle of water and walked a bit, before returning to the finish line to cheer in TK.

It was a small enough race — 124 finishers in the 5K — that my time was first of 10 in the F 30-34 age group, second of 79 women and eighth overall. However, I didn’t feel like waiting around in the rain for my age group award, so when TK invited me back to the house she was housesitting to change into the dry clothes I’d brought, I took her up on the offer.

At least I got a little stuffed Chick-fil-A cow out of the deal, that Pepper immediately started destroying when I got it home:

pepper cow

On the way out of Easton, I stopped at my friend Allison’s house to drop off the socks I’d borrowed from her after that rainy 10-miler we did a couple of weeks before Shamrock. I was almost home when my mom called and offered to take Clark and me out for lunch to celebrate my birthday a few days early.

We went to Abbott’s Grill in Laurel. My mom and I had a Shorebreak Pale Ale from 3rd Wave, which my mom liked so much, we convinced her to keep the party going by taking us down Rt. 13 to the brewery in Delmar. Our second visit in less than 24 hours — that’s how much we like this place!

Mom with a flight.

Mom with a flight.

Mom dropped us off late that afternoon. Clark and I spent the rest of the night on the couch. I fell asleep early watching “Dumb and Dumber.”

Sunday morning, we got up relatively early. The house was absolutely disgusting — I don’t think it’d been vacuumed since we put away the Christmas decorations — so Clark made a deal with me. If I dusted everything before I ran, he’d run the vacuum while I was gone.

It was raining much harder Sunday morning than it had been the day before. I thought it was still warm though, so I left the house in shorts and a light long-sleeved T-shirt.

It was definitely colder, but I didn’t realize how much colder, because I took off for the run anyway, thinking I would just be chilly until I warmed up.

Wrong! I never warmed up, and after the cold rain had completely soaked what I was wearing, running into the wind the second half of the run just felt that much worse. I was really regretting not wearing gloves too. I felt like I did on that run with Allison a few weeks ago. My legs and hands were completely numb, and I just kept going because there was no other way to get it over with.

In spite of how cold I was, the run actually went OK. I ran 8.3 miles at an 8:34/mile average pace. The later miles were slower because I was running head-on into the wind.

Once I got inside and into dry clothes, and had run my hands under hot water long enough to get some feeling back in them, I felt pretty good about the run.

After I got back, Clark left to pick up his dad and go surfing down in Ocean City. I spent the afternoon with Pepper, watching the NASCAR race from Martinsville. It looked like it was going to be Jimmie stupid Johnson’s day, but Kurt Busch found some speed at the end and just plain ol’ beat him on the last green flag run. It was great!

I didn’t appreciate the text I got from my friend Ben about 50 laps into the race, jokingly congratulating Bobby on how well the car he drove last year was running, because oh wait, that’s not him driving it. All I could think to send back was “hahaha…sob!”

I also took this picture of Pepper, waiting for Clark to come back:



It would be even cuter if he didn’t take off barking for the back door every time he thought he heard a noise, which was all.the.time yesterday because of the wind.

When Clark got home, we went to Salisbury for dinner. Evolution Brewery was closing early because of kitchen renovations or something, so we went to the Market Street Inn. Dinner there was just OK, but I did win us a $5 gift card to put toward the check, by being the first one to recognize a song by Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, an Annapolis-based band they used to play back in the day when 99.1 WHFS was still an alt rock station.

Today, I’m doing some strength training and taking Pepper to the trail for a short run. It’s still windy as hell out there, but at least the rain ended and the sun is out.

And since today is the last day of the month (and my last day of being 30!), it’s time for a summary.


  • Week 1 (March 1): 5.5 miles
  • Week 2 (March 2-8): 31.7
  • Week 3 (March 9-15): 21
  • Week 4 (March 16-22): 20.6
  • Week 5 (March 23-29): 21.3
  • Week 6 (March 30-31): 11.3

Total: 111.4

Back in the triple digits, finally!

As far as racing went, I successfully ran both races of Shamrock, my favorite event of the year, though I had to drop to the half this time. And then I had that crappy 5K I just posted about.

In April, I’ll continue training for the St. Michaels Half Marathon in May, and I’ll pace the 2:50 group at the Island 2 Island Half Marathon on April 26 in Ocean City. I don’t have any other races planned for this month.

March 28, 2014

Training for 3/28/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 1:05 pm

This morning, I went to a hot yoga class for the first time in a few weeks. It went pretty well. I think I have four classes left in that 10-class package, and they expire May 9, so I’ve got six weeks to use up the rest of them.

I’m not running today because I have a 5K in the morning, in Easton. TK’s running it too, and I’ve only seen her maybe twice since tax season ramped up in January (she’s a CPA), so I’m going more to see her again than actually try to race a 5K.

It works out because the half marathon training plan I’m following calls for a 3-mile run at half marathon goal pace tomorrow. Not that I’ll be aiming for that pace, because I don’t really know what my goal time for St. Michaels will be. I’ll just see how fast I can run a 5K right now. I’m guessing “not very.”

I also have an 8-mile long run scheduled for Sunday. And other than that, as far as I know, I’ll just be watching the NASCAR race from Martinsville and cleaning up this disgusting house this weekend.

March 27, 2014

Training 3/27/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:12 pm

This morning, I had an early work assignment, so I got up early to get my run in first.

It was just an easy 4-miler on the schedule. I layered up, because it was still ridiculously cold outside, but at least all the snow on the roads had melted yesterday and the damn wind had finally died.

I got in a lap around the 4.5-mile loop in 37:something. It was an 8:21/mile average, I remember that much. Other than the fact nothing on me — including my legs — felt anything less than frozen until I was almost done, it was a pretty good easy run.

The assignment for work was following around a bunch of high school engineering kids to three different manufacturing companies in the county, so they could see what job opportunities are there and maybe come back after they graduate from high school. And the first stop was at M&M Inc., led by Clark Andrews, mechanical engineer.

It was weird to No. 1, see Clark at work, talking to a bunch of people about the job he describes in much more colorful terms at home and, No. 2, take notes for the paper on what my own husband was saying.

This was my favorite picture I took today:

Inspiring tomorrow's engineers!

Inspiring tomorrow’s engineers!

March 26, 2014

Training for 3/26/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:00 pm

This morning, I had strength training and an easy 3-miler on the schedule.

I did the strength training first, downstairs again, because it’s still cold as hell upstairs. I did ab exercises, push-ups and invisible chair-sitting, and then lifted with the adjustable dumbbells.

I also threw in the sets of 100 on the jump rope, because I knew there was no way I was doing that run today. It snowed about 6 inches at home yesterday, and while it was clear and sunny again today, the winds were howling, which was blowing the snow everywhere in swirling white sheets, and drifting it over the road in places like pretty much the whole half-mile past our house. It’s March 26; I’m done with that noise.

Anyway, it’s supposed to warm up again soon (and rain all weekend! yippee!) so the snow should be well and truly gone soon. For good this time, please.

March 25, 2014

Training for 3/25/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:54 am

This morning, I went to the high school track in town for the first time since Thanksgiving, I think. I had seven 400-meter repeats on the schedule.

It’s pretty freaking cold for late March here. In fact, it’s supposed to snow later today — check that, it is snowing here now. Anyway, the track was completely empty when I got there.

I did a mile to warm up, and then took off for the first repeat. These things are supposed to be done at 5K pace. I have a 5K coming up this weekend. I have no idea what kind of pace I’ll be able to run for 3.1 miles right now, but I decided anything around 7:00/mile pace — 1:45 for each 400-meter repeat — would be good for today.

The first one was done in 1:41 or 1:42. It’s been so long since I used the Timex, I forgot what buttons start and stop laps, and I hit the Indiglo button instead of stopping the timer.

Anyway, I got the thing straightened out again in time for the second repeat, which I ran in 1:41.

The last five were all 1:38 or 1:39 each. All in all, a successful interval workout.

I did another two miles to cool down, for a total of 6.5 miles today.

March 24, 2014

Training for 3/24/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 12:12 pm

Saturday morning, I did an easy 3-miler, and then Clark and I drove over to St. Michaels to look at the stand-up paddleboard for sale. It was in pretty good shape and a good deal, so we took it. I now have a paddleboard!

We went straight to Ocean City from there. We first stopped at K-Coast to get some wetsuit accessories, since, even though it was nearly 70 degrees that day, the water was still down around 40. He got a hood, and I got a pair of boots and a pair of gloves. I almost didn’t get the gloves since I’d be standing up on the board and thus wouldn’t be in the water nearly as much as when on a surfboard, but Clark said his hands got painfully cold almost immediately the one time recently he tried to surf without them, so I invested in a pair for myself.

From there, we went to the beach house in Fenwick so I could first try the board on the canal. It didn’t take me long to feel comfortable on the board again. This one was meant to be able to be rented by pretty much anyone, so it’s very long and pretty wide.


I really wanted to take the thing in the ocean though, so we loaded it and Clark’s surfboard back into the truck and drove back into Ocean City.

There were a few people on the beach, but no one else out in the water. I went out first, while Clark and Pepper stayed on the beach.

The waves weren’t particularly big Saturday afternoon, but it was really windy. The wind was blowing off the coast toward the water. I got the board past the breakers and then kept paddling to try to get to smoother water so I could stand up.

Apparently that board skims along like a cork in the water, because by the time I stood up on it and looked behind me, I was waaaay farther from shore than I wanted to be. But when I tried to head back, I could barely get the damn thing turned around, let alone paddle it against that wind and the strong current.

That was a pretty bad feeling, being that far from shore and feeling stuck! I dropped back down to my knees to see if I could get more leverage on the paddle from there, but it didn’t feel like I was making any progress that way either. In fact, it felt like I was just drifting farther away by the second.

I then laid on my stomach to try to paddle it with my hands, like a surfboard (so grateful for those gloves!) but the thing was so wide I couldn’t do that either.

I felt like Pepper must feel when we throw a blanket over him and he struggles to get out from under it for a few seconds before accepting that this is just the way it is. I live on a paddleboard off the coast of Ocean City now, I guess.

I still had one more chance though — I got off the board completely, held it under my right arm and started swimming to shore for all I was worth with the left one.

I was finally making progress, but it was really slow going. I didn’t want to rest for even a few seconds though, because it felt like if I stopped swimming it would completely erase what little progress I had made. So I just kept going.

Clark realized I was in trouble, and he asked a couple people to hold on to Pepper so he could come help me. He was mostly concerned I was going to freeze to death, because my wetsuit isn’t as thick as his. Maybe it was just because I was struggling so hard, but I never once felt cold, so I at least had that going for me.

When he got to me, he held onto the nose of the board, in front of me, and I held on to the rear, and we started swimming again. Every now and then he’d kick some water onto my head, the only exposed part on me, and it was shocking just how cold it was. It actually hurt when it landed.

Finally, we made it back to the breakers, and a wave came along and propelled us far enough we could touch the bottom again. I dragged that board out of the water and back down the beach to our stuff, while Clark got Pepper back.

I was completely wiped out, but so happy to be on dry land again! I won’t be going back in the ocean with that thing until I’ve gotten better at paddling, that’s for sure.

I sat with Pepper while Clark took out the surfboard. He’s starting to really get the hang of it! He got up and rode in a couple of waves.

When he came back, he asked if I wanted to try the surfboard, but I was done with the ocean for the day. We took everything back to the beach house, changed back into dry clothes and took Pepper to Dogfish Head. I really wanted a beer or two after that ordeal.

We went back to the beach house after Dogfish Head to put away all our wetsuit stuff, which we’d hung out to dry. I got some pictures of Pepper and the sunset:

Pepper's thinking, "Nope, still not a fan of the water."

Pepper’s thinking, “Nope, still not a fan of the water.”

The view from the beach house, looking down the canal.

The view from the beach house, looking down the canal.

Sunday, I had the week’s long run on the schedule, which was to be a 7-miler.

I took my time getting outside. It was much cooler than the day before, and windy again. I had a pretty good run though. I did the 7.3-mile loop in an hour and change, which worked out to an 8:29/mile average.

That afternoon, we watched the NASCAR race from California. Jimmie stupid Johnson was dominating it, and it looked like he was going to get his first win of the season, unfortunately. But then, just a handful of laps from the end, one of his tires exploded and he had to pit to replace it. It was great!

Today, I’m doing some strength training and then taking Pepper to the trail for a short run.

One last thing — Friday night, a friend sent me a picture of a weimaraner in a shelter in Lewes, and asked if Clark and I were interested in adopting another one:


Look at that sweet face! She said he was 2 years old, had been rescued from a bad situation and had survived a risky major abdominal surgery.

Of course my first reaction was to drive straight to Lewes and bring him home, but Clark said if I got a second weimaraner, I was going to be down a husband haha. Plus, I know Pepper would be really mad if he had to share any attention with another dog.

The next morning, Pepper was stomping around on our bed, trying to get comfortable after eating his breakfast, as usual, when Clark said “Can you imagine if we had a TEAM of these things?”

I’m sure he’ll find a good home, but I guess it just won’t be this one!

March 21, 2014

Training for 3/21/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:52 pm

This morning, I did some strength training upstairs, including ab exercises, push-ups, invisible chair-sitting and lifting, and then I did some stretching downstairs.

This weekend, I’m supposed to do a 3-mile easy run tomorrow morning and a 7-mile long run Sunday.

I’m more excited about something else I’m doing tomorrow morning though. I’ve really wanted a stand-up paddleboard since I took that lesson last summer, but they’re pretty expensive — much more expensive than surfboards, because they use so much more material.

One of my friends told me about a place in St. Michaels that rents them, and is selling off some of last year’s rental boards to buy new ones before they reopen for the season. I got in contact with the shop owner, and he’s going to meet Clark and me at the shop tomorrow morning so we can look at one of the leftover rentals. The price is about as good as we’re going to find for a used board that’s not beat all to hell, and it includes a new adjustable paddle. It’s a 12′ all-around model, meaning it can go in the ocean and surf waves as well as cruise on smooth water.

If I do get this board, it’s going to stay down at the beach house in Fenwick so everyone else can use it too. The only problem is it’s too long to be hauled in Clark’s truck, so I might need to get a roof rack for my car so I can take it somewhere to get it out in the ocean.

I don’t have to worry about that unless I actually get this thing though, so, first things first.

Other than the paddleboard, my only other plans are watching the NASCAR race from California on Sunday afternoon.

March 20, 2014

Training for 3/20/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:34 pm

Last night, when I got home from work, I went upstairs and did some strength training, including ab exercises, push-ups, invisible chair-sitting and lifting weights.

Today was a pretty nice day, which was great since it’s the first day of spring. I wanted to go for a run, so I took Pepper with me. It was really windy by the time we went, but we did the 4.5-mile loop and managed a decent 7:55/mile average pace. I don’t have any soreness left over from Sunday’s half marathon, so I think I’m ready to start training for St. Michaels.

I looked up Hal Higdon’s intermediate half marathon training plan last night. It’s a 12-week plan, so I’m starting in the fourth week since St. Michaels isn’t that far away. There’s one speed workout a week, either a tempo run or 400-meter repeats at 5K pace, and the long runs increase from seven to 12 miles. It won’t get me in PR shape, but that’s mainly because I really don’t have time for that at this point. I’m just hoping to improve on my time from Shamrock.

March 18, 2014

Training for 3/18/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:41 pm

Nothing to report today! I’m going to get back to it tomorrow with some strength training and a short run with Pepper, and then figure out a training plan for the next couple of months leading up to St. Michaels.

March 17, 2014

Shamrock recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:09 pm

Shamrock was a success!

I ran two good races this weekend, and have no new or old aches, pains or injuries. I’m pleased with how the whole running thing went, and I’m psyched to finally train for a race again. Two months to St. Michaels!

Anyway, back to this weekend. Clark and I left here around 2 p.m. Friday. We stopped first at 3rd Wave Brewing in Delmar to try their special St. Patrick’s Day brews, and to fill up a growler I accidentally took home from the beach house in Rehoboth that belonged to another Loop runner’s husband.

As soon as we got to Virginia Beach, we made a very quick stop at the expo so I could pick up my race stuff. We made it to the oceanfront beach house just in time to hitch a cab ride with everyone else for dinner at the Abbey Road Pub. A lot of other people from the Loop were staying in hotels closer to the race finish line. Eventually just about everyone from the Loop who was in town for Shamrock made it to Abbey Road.

When we got back to the house, Clark and a few of my friends who weren’t running the 8K on Saturday morning wanted to keep the party going. I think I held out until almost midnight before I finally had to go to bed.

Saturday morning was perfect for a run. Those of us in the house running the 8K posed on the balcony just as the sun was starting to come up:

8K prerace

Left to right: Jack, MJ, Steve, Mike, me, Caitlin, Ed and Brenda.

The race started on time at 7:45 a.m. I was seeded in the second corral, but I started in the fourth with MJ, Mike and Ed.

I don’t think I’ve ever run with someone who got as much nonstop love from the spectators as Mike did in his Superman costume. People loved him, and the cheering was infectious. I couldn’t help but smile pretty much the whole way. We saw a few more Loopsters out cheering around mile 4, and stopped to give them all hugs. It was a good time!

8K final stretch

Rocking the race shirt from the 2010 Shamrock Marathon, my only DNF. No hard feelings, Shamrock.

The four us tried to leap across the finish line together, but I haven’t seen that picture yet. I’m sure one of the pro photographers got it, but it doesn’t look like all the pictures have been uploaded to the website yet.

My chip time was 43:20, an 8:44/mile pace, which landed me in 66th of 793 in the F 30-34 age group, 342nd of 5,157 women and 1,046th of 8,310 total finishers. We later found out MJ finished fourth in her age group, missing the top three, and thus the awards, by about a minute.

We met up with everyone else who’d run the 8K, had a couple of free beers and then went back to the beach house, where Brenda and Ed made a big brunch.

That afternoon was gorgeous on the beach. It was almost 70 degrees, and clear and sunny. We sat out on the beach for a while. Unfortunately, there were zero waves, so Clark didn’t get to take out the surfboard he’d brought.

There were two small breweries near the house. About 10 of us visited them that afternoon.

Anyone who’s read any of my race reports knows I have a real problem with my digestive system when I run anything that takes longer than an hour. Usually I try to avoid things like beer, sugar, grease, fiber and caffeine the day before a long race like a half marathon, but I wasn’t about to pass up trying new beers because of a silly thing like a race in the morning.

brewery inside

Our group at the Young Veterans Brewing Company in Virginia Beach. Clark ducked down at the last second.

I had two pints at the Young Veterans Brewing Company and two more at the Beach Brewing Company right around the corner. We got back to the house in time for the big group dinner, where I ate white pasta, but had more beer, along with salad (fiber!) and one of Carissa’s homemade blondies. (Sugar!) I was almost 100 percent certain I’d have to stop to use the bathroom at some point in the half marathon, and 50 percent certain I’d wake up with a hangover.

Who cares, I was having fun! The early evening was just as gorgeous on the beach as the afternoon had been, and we all wound up down by the water after dinner.

Loop ladies making a pyramid.

Loop ladies making a pyramid.

loop ladies on the beach

I went to bed that night around 9. I had a hard time getting to sleep, and then I kept waking up during the night. I don’t know why, but I never got any good sleep in that house the whole weekend.

The alarm went off at 5:05 a.m. Sunday. I woke up without a hangover, much to my delight, and as soon as I got out of bed, my butt decided it needed the bathroom, which made me even happier. Of course, that’s never a guarantee that I’m not going to have to go again later during the race, but it was a good start.

Even though I’d tried it before without much success, I took two Imodium too. It couldn’t hurt, right?

I had an English muffin and a big mug of water for breakfast, and then everyone headed for the race. Sunday was much colder than the day before, and it was windy on top of it.

I’d never run the half marathon at Shamrock, which starts at 7 a.m., an hour and a half before the full marathon. I’m used to waiting around for a while before running, and starting after the sun has come up.

This time, I had to strip out of my sweats first thing so I could check my gear. We got to the starting corrals almost a half hour before the race started. That’s a long time to be shivering your butt off in the cold wind! There’s a point before just about every race when I wonder why in the world it ever sounded like a good idea. It’s usually when the alarm goes off, but for this race, it was definitely those 30 minutes when I was feeling the wind cut right through my tank top, capris and arm warmers.

It was finally time for the race to start. I couldn’t wait to get moving! Brian and I started in the first corral together, though he was aiming for a much faster finish time than I was. Someone performed the national anthem, the horn sounded and we were off!

I immediately felt better as soon as we started running. I should have just worn a long-sleeved shirt though, because I knew from the start I definitely wasn’t going to be adjusting those arm warmers.

Brian dropped me within the first quarter mile probably, and that was the last I saw of any of my running friends until the race was over, other than Jillian and Brenda, who were cheering around mile 11.5.

I wore my Garmin in a race for the first time this weekend, for both races. I didn’t pay any attention to it during the 8K, but for the half, I wanted to know my pace. Based on the sluggish, crappy 9-miler a few weeks before Shamrock and not as crappy but still kinda sluggish 11-miler last week, I was really not going to be surprised if I ran my slowest half marathon ever, slower than the 1:54 I ran in my first one back in Sept. 2009. That was an 8:46/mile pace. Just running sub-2 sounded like a huge goal for this race, and I sure hadn’t done myself any favors with all the crap I’d eaten and drank the day before.

I didn’t see the first mile marker, but I heard the Garmin beep: 8:12. Felt pretty good too.

Somewhere in the second mile, I passed a Team Hoyt wheelchair racer. A lot of them blast music through a speaker attached to the wheelchair, but this one was a little different. Instead of a pop song, there was some hardcore rap music. I heard a few “motherf—–“s, and would have thought I was just imagining it if the woman right in front of me hadn’t snapped her head to look at the wheelchair too haha. Whatever pumps you up!

Anyway, the second mile beeped in 8:21. A little slower, but still feeling good. Mile 3 sped back up a tad to 8:15.

In the fourth mile, I had to stop at port-o-potty, but only to pee. I don’t think I’ve ever before had to pee so bad I had to stop during a race, but there’s a first time for everything. There was a line of three port-o-potties on the side of the road with no line, and one opened up just as I ran up to it. It probably only took me about 30 seconds in there, because mile 4 was 8:44.

The next few miles were 8:06, 8:14 and 8:16. I was stopping to walk a few seconds at every aid station, so I could make sure I got some water down instead of just spilling it on myself, and I ate a GU at the aid station at mile 6. Other than that, I was cruising right along.

The eighth mile was when things started to suck just a bit. We were running through Fort Story, which is always boring, but now we had the wind in our faces, and a slight uphill to deal with. Miles 8, 9 and 10 slowed to 8:19, 8:25 and 8:17.

Running through Fort Story.

Running through Fort Story.

This is also where we pass a lighthouse. There’s always a photographer here. A couple of years ago, one of my friends ran this marathon, and didn’t even realize she’d passed a lighthouse until she saw the pictures, so it always makes me think of her.


Where’d that thing come from?

After we left Fort Story, we were back on the main road going back to the boardwalk. Mile 11 picked back up to an 8:13. Not long after I passed that mile marker, I saw Jillian and Brenda on the side of the road cheering for me, which was awesome.

I think it was during this mile I passed the beer stop, set up for runners every year by some locals. I stopped for a few seconds to gulp a small cup of whatever cheap (but appreciated) light beer they were handing out. Mile 12 was 8:22.

Well now I only had a little more than a mile to go! I sped up a bit as we made our way out to the boardwalk for the final stretch to the finish line. Mile 13 was my fastest of the race, 7:57.

I crossed the line in 1:48:43 by my Garmin, which said I’d run 13.16 miles, an 8:16/mile average. One of the reasons I’ve never raced with a Garmin is because I didn’t want to know how much extra distance I cover, since no one runs the course tangents perfectly, but less than a 10th of a mile isn’t bad at all. The 8K was similar; it’s supposed to be 4.97 miles, and the Garmin measured 5.02.

Something went wrong with my chip though. It claimed I’d run a 1:37:54, and had passed the 5-mile timing mat in 30:54, a 6:09 average pace. I’d set up Clark’s phone to get texts with my 5-mile and finishing times, so he was shocked to see those splits haha. I’ve never run one mile in 6:09, let alone five in a row!

I was really happy with how that race went. So happy, I even stopped to pose for one of the photographers to show off my medal:

half marathon finish

It wasn’t anywhere close to my fastest half marathon, but it wasn’t anywhere close to my slowest either, and best of all, I never had to poop! All day, people would ask how my race went, and the first thing I told them was how I didn’t have to poop. It’s been so long since I ran anything longer than a 5-miler without having to go to the bathroom, and it felt amazing! I guess the key is to drink as much beer as possible the day before.

Even outside the absence of gut troubles, the run itself was great. I haven’t run that far in three months! I don’t think I could have pushed myself to go any faster yesterday, but I feel like I can finally start training to do so again. I also couldn’t fathom the thought of still having another half marathon to go when I crossed the finish line, but I’m already working on picking a fall marathon because I know I can get back to that distance too. I hope to be in better running shape for the St. Michaels half in two months, which also happens to be the next time I’ll get to see several of my friends who were at Shamrock this weekend.

Anyway, as I walked through the finisher’s chute, I was given a new Shamrock finisher’s hat (gray this year), a finisher’s beach towel, water, Gatorade, a granola bar, pretzels, a banana and a sugar cookie. At the end, I got another medal for completing the Dolphin Challenge, the first year they’ve given extra medals for that, instead of mailing a pin a few weeks later.

Two finisher's medals, one Dolphin Challenge medal and both race bibs.

Two finisher’s medals, one Dolphin Challenge medal and both race bibs.

I had a pretty high bib number for the half, which worked in my favor after the race when I went to get my gear check bag. Most of the runners with numbers as high as mine were still running, so there was no line at the truck that had my bag. This was important because while I was comfortable when I was running, I quickly got cold as soon as I stopped, and I needed my sweats back. On the other hand, since most of the other runners had similar bib numbers as they were finishing, the lines at the other trucks got really long. Some people had to stand around in their wet running clothes for 45 minutes to an hour waiting to get their stuff back.

I’d brought an entire change of clothes for after the race. There were men’s and women’s changing tents near the gear check trucks. Nothing beats taking off a soaking wet sports bra after a run, especially when it’s cold like yesterday. I felt so much better.

I had originally planned to go out and cheer for the full marathon runners, but the warm beer tent just sounded so much better, so I went there instead with everyone who’d run the half.

Technically, we were only supposed to get four beers each, but it wasn’t hard to find a volunteer who’d look the other way and give us another one. I was in that tent for hours. As the full marathon runners finished and showed up in the beer tent, we just kept drinking. Other than the sugar cookie and banana I’d gotten at the finish, and a little bit of the beef stew they serve in the beer tent, I pretty much just had an extended liquid lunch. I was smashed!

Caitlin, me, Jillian, Brian and Allison.

Caitlin, me, Jillian, Brian and Allison right after we got to the tent in the morning.

And most of the whole group late in the day. My favorite part is the disapproving look on the face of the old guy on the right haha.

And most of the whole group late in the day. My favorite part is the disapproving look on the face of the old guy on the right haha.

Luckily, Caitlin doesn’t like beer, so she was able to drive home Allison, Brian, Jillian and me. As soon as we got back to the house, I crashed in bed. That was probably the best sleep I got all weekend.

I woke up a couple hours later feeling much better. I felt even better after I took a shower, and then we went upstairs, where I finally ate some dinner.

A lot of the Loop runners not staying at the beach house had come over for dinner, so I got to hang out with everyone again one last time. The better I get to know these people the harder it is to say goodbye to them after one of these big race weekends.

This morning, Clark and I got up early to leave. I wanted to get back home for a birthday lunch with my sisters, mom and aunts, and Clark wanted to get in at least a half day at work so he wouldn’t be charged for a vacation day.

It was raining in Virginia Beach, but as we headed north, we saw where it had snowed overnight. The roads were already pretty clear though, except for the Salisbury bypass. We didn’t have any trouble getting home.

However, my family had decided to hold off on the birthday lunch until Friday. Clark did make it into work, so it wasn’t a waste to drive home so early. Plus, I got to see Pepper, who wasn’t impressed with this late winter snowstorm.

Pepper said he's not getting off the couch again until all the snow is gone and it's at least 60 degrees outside.

Pepper said he’s not getting off the couch again until all the snow is gone and it’s at least 60 degrees outside.

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