A Simple Running Log

May 19, 2014

St. Michaels Half Marathon recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:47 am

I’m pretty happy with how the half marathon in St. Michaels this weekend turned out. I felt strong the whole way and ran it almost five minutes faster than Shamrock two months ago, which is good progress, and I made it through another race without having to use the bathroom!

Jillian got in town Thursday afternoon, so Pepper and I hung out with her and Allison that evening. Everyone else got here Friday, and we all met in St. Michaels that afternoon for packet pick-up and dinner.

But first, we had lunch and margaritas at Gina’s Cafe:

Angie, Jillian, Mike (Col. Babemagnet, as he was dubbed on Facebook), Allison, me and Caitlin.

Angie, Jillian, Mike (Col. Babemagnet, as he was dubbed on Facebook), Allison, me and Caitlin.

Our next stop was the Eastern Shore Brewing Co., which would also be the site of the post-race party the next day:

Angie, Jillian, me and Allison.

Angie, Jillian, me and Allison.

The sign outside pretty much summed up my philosophy:



Anyway, packet pick-up was quick and easy, and then we went to Osterio Alfredo in Easton for dinner, where I grossed out everyone by eating pasta with calamari that was still whole (as in, tiny squid complete with tentacles, not just the little rings) and not deep-fried. After I’d polished off the plate, Jillian told this great story about a large calamari distributor that was caught deep-frying pig anuses and passing them off as calamari. Clearly what I had just eaten was in fact squid, but it made me regret all the times I’ve ordered cheap calamari from a little pizza place haha. Who knows how many pig buttholes I might have eaten?

At home, I got my stuff ready for the race the next morning and was in bed by 11 p.m.

The alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. I was on the road at 5:15 to be at Allison’s house by 6, so I could just carpool to St. Michaels with her, Jillian and Mike. We were in town and parked right behind the post-race party site with plenty of time.

There were five port-o-potties set up for the post-race goings-on. No one was using them, so we all hit them up on our way to the race start at the school campus. This turned out to be an extremely wise decision, because when we got to the start area, they didn’t have nearly enough port-o-potties for the number of runners, and the lines were ridiculous.

The half marathon was to start at 7:40 a.m. About quarter after 7, I decided to do a very short warm-up, just a mile at the most. I was wearing a T-shirt and shorts when I started, as it had been pretty chilly when I woke up, but I could tell within a couple of minutes of running I’d be uncomfortably warm if I wore it in the race. I had Allison’s car key anyway, so I stopped by her car and dropped off the shirt. I also took two Imodium I’d forgotten to take before we’d gotten out of the car. It had maybe helped at Shamrock, so I wanted to try it again.

I hit the empty port-o-potties once more on my way back to the start, and got back in time to see the 10K start first. Then the half marathon runners were called up to the starting corral. I got in line several rows back from the front. There was a horn and we were off!

I had my Garmin set to show me current pace and distance. I glanced down a couple of times during the first mile, which ran right down Talbot Street, the main drag through St. Michaels, and it was always around an 8:00/mile pace.

Somewhere in the first mile on our way out of town.

Somewhere in the first mile on our way out of town.


Mile 1, just outside town, came in at 7:58. I felt like it was a manageable pace for another 12 miles.

We ran down Route 33 until we got to Harbourtowne, a golf resort. (You can tell it’s fancy because they used the high-class spellings of both harbor and town.) Mile 2 chimed in at 8:06, which wouldn’t do, so I picked it up a bit.

The course wound through the residential area of Harbourtowne. Somewhere in here, we passed two guys sitting on the trunk deck of a Mercedes parked at the end of a driveway, with a bottle of champagne and a bottle of OJ between them so they could sip on mimosas as they watched us pass. I’m sure that was their beater car, and the nice one was in the garage.

I made up for my slow second mile in Harbourtowne, and ran the next two in 7:54 and 7:51. I was still feeling good when we got back on Route 33, especially when I saw Vanessa and Bob and their bright neon pink “Loopsters are OSOM” sign right at the turn! I can’t see anything at a distance when I’m not wearing my glasses, but I spotted that sign immediately.

This brought us to the section of the course that is already well known for being boring as hell, even though this is only the third year they’ve held this race. It’s just an out-and-back slog on the sloped shoulder of Route 33 toward Tilghman Island. Nothing to see, and a lot of it offers no shade when it’s sunny, as it was Saturday.

Still, miles 5 and 6 clocked in at 7:53 and 7:59. I guess the sun and the headwind got to me a little over the next mile, because mile 7 was 8:07, my slowest of the race.

But then we got to the turnaround. There’s a psychological boost that comes from knowing you’re running toward the finish line instead of away from it, and now I had a tailwind for a little while. I got to the mile 8 marker not long after the turnaround, which was back down to 7:59.

I also got to see my friends on the other side of Route 33 through this stretch. Well, they saw me and called my name, because I sure couldn’t pick out anyone from that distance. Angie saw me first. I missed Caitlin, but then Mike and Jillian yelled at me, followed closely by Allison. They all looked pretty good.

I felt really great at this point. I remembered this race a year ago. I was at the same point where my gut had started rumbling, and I’d eventually had to hack through some pretty massive briars to use the bathroom just before mile 10. Well, not this year! This turned out to be my strongest stretch of the whole race. Miles 9 and 10 were 7:47 and 7:45.

Mile 11 slowed a bit to 7:54. Soon we were back in town.

Between miles 11 and 12, when we got back into St. Michaels.

Between miles 11 and 12, when we got back into St. Michaels.

Instead of running straight back down the main street to the school, the course followed a couple of side streets and picked up a paved path. We passed mile 12 just before we got on the path, which was a 7:50.

The final mile and finish line were on the path. I was pretty eager to be done. I switched my Garmin’s view to show me total elapsed time instead of pace, to see if I had a chance at 1:45, which I definitely did.

There were two photographers pretty close together. The first one, I still felt like waving:

Covered bridge 1

Covered bridge 2

But by the time I got to the next one, I was over it.

Great shot of my new Zeros!

Great shot of my new Zeros!

Mile 12.5 4

We could hear the finish line announcer about a quarter-mile before we got there, which helped. I felt like I was running on fumes at this point. Then I spotted that bright pink Loopsters sign right at the 13th mile marker — Vanessa and Bob again! I gave them a big wave as I went by. Mile 13 was also a 7:50.

I could see the race clock as I passed the 13th marker. It was at 1:43:32 or something. I tried to find another gear for that last sprint so I could squeeze in under 1:44. It was really close when I made it to the finish line, and I wasn’t sure if I’d done it or not. My Garmin showed 1:44:03, but I rarely hit the start and stop buttons at the exact moment so my chip time is usually different.



Even if it was just over 1:44, I was really happy with it! I ran Shamrock two months ago in 1:48:43, which meant I’d shaved off five minutes in two months. I’m still seven minutes off my PR, but at least I’m moving in the right direction again.

Plus, I never had to use the bathroom! I never felt so much as a twinge. I don’t know if it was necessarily the Imodium. I’ve tried it before for training runs with no success, but this is twice in a row now I’ve taken it before a race and had a poop-free run. It’s hard to explain how great it feels to run 13 miles and not have to deal with that, after it seemed like it was a problem just about every single time for the last year and a half in particular.

Also, I wore my new updated Minimus Zeros for the first time in a race, and they did great. My feet felt good the whole way, and I had zero blisters.

I took a bottle of water, hung out by some misting fans for a bit (the no-shirt decision was definitely a good one) and then walked back to mile 13 to watch everyone else finish with Bob and Vanessa. Caitlin and Allison both ran PRs, Angie ran her fastest half in a while and Mike and Jillian, who is coming back from an injury, had a strong race too. All in all, a good day out there!

Me, Angie, Caitlin, Vanessa, Allison and Jillian.

Me, Angie, Caitlin, Vanessa, Allison and Jillian.

I changed into dry clothes in the back of Allison’s car, and then we hit up the post-race party. TK and two of her friends from D.C., who all ran the 10K, found us. I’d ripped off and thrown away the tag on the bottom of my bib the night before, which, it turned out, was necessary to get my one free beer, but I wasn’t too broken up because it was just Bud Light. There were some decent craft beers for sale, so we all had a couple of those instead.

Jillian, Allison and me. Cheers!

Jillian, Allison and me. Cheers!

I also checked my official results there. My chip time was 1:43:59! I made it!

I was 9th of 143 runners in the F 30-34 age group, 27th woman out of I’m not sure how many and 81st overall out of 1,260 total runners. Not bad! I also ran a negative split; my time for the second half was a minute faster than my time for the first half.

We walked down to a place called Marcoritaville (I think the owner’s name is Marco) for brunch, where I had a bison and bacon cheeseburger that absolutely hit the spot and an orange crush. Mike drove us all back to Allison’s house, where we took much-needed naps. After showers later, we picked up Angie at her hotel and went into Easton for dinner and more drinks.

Jillian, me and Allison at the Washington Street Pub. We needed one good shot before getting sweaty and gross later!

Jillian, me and Allison at the Washington Street Pub. We needed one good shot before getting sweaty and gross later!

Clark and our friend Mike met us at Doc’s, where we ate dinner. Our next stop was the pub, where we saw the driver introductions for the All-Star race. The TV was on mute, but just by looking at the drivers, Jillian correctly picked out Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski as douchebags haha.

The final stop was the Brasserie, which had a live band playing. I think we made it to about 1 a.m. Jillian got to drive Clark’s Crown Vic to Allison’s house, which was the highlight of her whole weekend, I’m sure. Clark and I passed out on the couch in Allison’s living room, with Mike asleep on the floor. No pillow or anything. He just laid down on the rug and went to sleep.

Clark and Mike left early the next morning, because Clark was worried about Pepper, who’d had to spend the night alone in the utility room. (He later said Pepper had dropped a couple of large turds on the floor, but he was pretty sure Pepper had done that so he’d have some company haha.) I hung out with Jillian and Allison a little while longer, and then went home myself.

Clark and I stayed in bed until almost 1:30 p.m. We went to the beach house in the afternoon.

I pulled out the paddleboard. The canal is warm enough now I don’t need the wetsuit in case I fall in, but it was still chilly enough I wore board shorts and a rash guard.

I had a feeling I might wind up in the water anyway, because we decided to make Pepper try out the paddleboard!

We pulled it up alongside the dock near Clark’s parents’ place. I got on it first and held it steady. Pepper jumped right down onto it, which surprised me, but he seemed to immediately regret it, which did not. He kind of froze in place at first, so I shoved off from the dock.

I think these pictures pretty accurately show Pepper’s feelings about the paddleboard:

"Why am I out here and not on that dock?"

“Why am I out here and not on that dock?”

"Stop taking pictures and help me get off this thing!"

“Stop taking pictures and help me get off this thing!”

He was squirming around so much I didn’t dare try to stand up while he was on it. He seemed pretty miserable, so I tried to take him back to the dock.

Pepper misjudged how much space there still was between the board and the dock as we approached it, so when he tried to jump, he completely missed the dock and landed right in the water.

I’ve never seen him swim before, since he hates all water. He didn’t have much of a doggy paddle! He was keeping his head above water, but he was thrashing around. From behind, he definitely looked like he was panicking. Clark ran over to haul him up on the dock, and Clark said Pepper had a look of “oh shit, this is the end!” in his eyes.

He seemed fine once he was out of the water though. I paddled out to the bay. When I got back, Clark loaded up his surfboard and we drove to the Indian River Inlet, but there were no waves, so we went back to the beach house.

That evening, we got takeout from Papa Grande’s, which has really good tacos. Pepper was clearly worn out from his near-death experience:

Poor thing!

Poor thing!

Now that St. Michaels is done, I’ve got the summer series to look forward to, which starts this weekend with the Masser 5-Miler on Sunday. Marathon training should start soon, probably in late June or early July, depending on which fall marathon I finally settle on.

I did add another race to my fall calendar this weekend though. Caitlin, Allison, Vanessa and I have formed a team for the Baltimore Marathon relay in October. I did this relay five years ago, but I think it’ll be a lot more fun with them.

As far as today goes, I’ve got strength training and a short easy run on the schedule.


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