A Simple Running Log

June 23, 2014

Training for 6/23/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 9:28 am

This past Friday, I took a total rest day from any kind of training after three straight days of doubles, and instead went to Kings Dominion with my sisters and my youngest nephew. It was a great day for it too, sunny and warm but not too hot. Other than the usual road work on I-95 in northern Virginia that was causing a massive traffic backup, it was a pretty easy drive, and we were in the park around 11 a.m.

The first thing we did was go up in the Eiffel Tower, right in the center of the park, which has an observation deck at 275 ft. I got my first good look at The Intimidator 305:

aerial view

It’s obviously the enormous red roller coaster. See that little orange one right in front of it, built over the “lake”? That’s The Anaconda, which was the new, scary roller coaster the first time I came to Kings Dominion, in 1993 when I was 10. It looks like a kiddie ride now!

Kara had developed a cold the day before and wasn’t feeling so great, so she mostly volunteered to hold Julie’s and my things and keep an eye on Jamie while we went on roller coasters.

Julie and I started with The Anaconda. I very clearly remember riding it when I was 10. The line was super long, as we were there at the peak of tourist season and it was the main attraction, and the longer I had to wait, the more nervous I got. My stomach was in knots. By the time I got to ride it, I was practically hyperventilating as it climbed the first hill, I was so freaking scared!

This time around, as we climbed the first hill, I wasn’t even thinking about it — I was fixated on the first drop of The Intimidator right next to it haha. That’s how it went pretty much the rest of the day. Julie and I rode most of the roller coasters there, but all I could think about was The Intimidator, which we were saving for last.

We did other stuff besides ride roller coasters too. We all took a spin on a carousel:

Kara on the carousel.

Kara on the carousel.

Jamie and Julie on the carousel.

Jamie and Julie on the carousel.

We let Jamie drive:

jamie driving

We rode the bumper cars, and then did the log flume and the white water rapids rides twice each. Jamie even got up the nerve to ride his first roller coaster, The Back Lot Stunt Coaster, which he liked so much he rode again.

Of course, for me, it was all leading up to The Intimidator. Finally, we’d checked off everything on Julie’s list of “must ride” coasters except for the big one.

two coasters

That’s the entrance, obviously, and another good comparison of the first drop on The Anaconda, on the right, to the first drop of The Intimidator, on the left.

I’d read a lot about this thing in advance. It’s themed after Dale Earnhardt Sr., whose nickname was The Intimidator. There are no loops on this coaster, and a lot of it is pretty close to the ground. It’s extremely fast though, and produces a lot of g-forces. It’s supposed to mimic driving in a NASCAR race, which a lot of non-fans would be shocked to find out is not, in fact, anything like driving their shitty old Hyundai down Route 1 to Dover Air Force Base every day. (I once got in a shouting match with a supervisor when I was on active duty, who was making that exact claim. There was zero reasoning with him. NASCAR haters are the worst.)

Anyway! Julie and I got in line, which wasn’t very long except for the front seats. I was getting that same feeling I had when I was 10. I couldn’t wait, but I also wanted to run haha.

We saw, I think, two trains come through before it was our turn. Everyone returning looked stunned but extremely excited. And then it was our turn!

The train cars were painted to look like Earnhardt’s race car. The seats had a very solid over-the-shoulder harness. On the back of each seat was a large graphic warning riders to keep their hands on the black grip bars on the harness at all times.

We got strapped in, a loud voice said “Drivers! Start your engines!!” and we were off!

The train is pulled to the top of the first hill by a cable lift, which makes for a much faster climb than the typical chain. It also eliminates that familiar “chink-chink-chink” sound of the chain slowly hauling you to your doom. There was still enough time, however, to realize how far up in the air you were.

Then we got to the top. It’s a 305-ft. drop at an 85-degree angle. The train crested the hill and then boom! We were flying straight down. It was over in a second, and then we were flying around the first banked turn. For the first time ever, I experienced a gray out. I was glad I’d read so much about the coaster and knew that was a common thing, because otherwise I’d have been totally freaked out when my vision faded out for a second.

The rest of the ride flew by in a flash. It was really amazing, and unlike anything I’d ever ridden before. We were going so fast! And it just felt like we were pinned to our seats the whole time.

I was shaking when we got back to the station! So was Julie. So was everyone else, I’m pretty sure. When we pulled in, one of the employees asked over the PA system how the ride was, and everyone gave a very enthusiastic holler.

My new favorite roller coaster ever!

After riding my new favorite roller coaster ever!

I’m pretty sure if I’d ridden anything else after that, I’d have blacked out for real, and we had a long ride home anyway, so we left. We hit more heavy traffic in northern Virginia on the way back, but other than that, the drive wasn’t too bad. I got home around 9:30 p.m.

The next morning, I got up at 5:30, as I was signed up for the Jungle Jim’s 5K Splash in Rehoboth, my second 5K of the summer series.

Kara had signed up for it too. She’s not trying to qualify for the summer series, but she’s training for her first sprint triathlon in October, which ends with a 5K. TK had registered, but she got in very late Friday night from a business trip and slept right through her alarm, so she sent me a message she’d just meet us at the beach after.

We got to Jungle Jim’s about 15 minutes before the start, which gave us enough time to get our race bibs and T-shirts and hit the bathroom, but no time for a warm up.

This is a really popular race because of the water park use after the finish. Nearly 400 people crowded together for the start inside the park.

Kara had said she was going to try to run 7:05ish pace, as that’s her goal for the tri. I was hoping to improve on the 6:55 pace I’d run a week earlier. So I was a bit surprised when we got the start gun and she sprinted away from me haha.

The start was really crowded, as usual. It makes a couple of tight turns at the very beginning to get out of the water park, before it gets on some residential streets.

Kara got away from me as we were running down the street just after exiting the water park. And I wasn’t moseying along either. I was really wishing I’d had time for a warm up — going from zero to race pace hurts!

I started to pick people off and catch back up to Kara. We were running together when we hit the first mile marker. My Garmin reported a 6:45 first mile. I said “This ain’t 7:05 pace!” Kara said she knew that, but she felt good. I gasped out “Well I’m glad one of us is comfortable!”

We were still running together when we reached the U-turn at the halfway point:

I'm in the black shorts; Kara is (leading me) in the blue and green shorts.

I’m in the black shorts; Kara is (leading me) in the blue and green shorts.

Man, was I hurting. I knew I’d gone out too fast and was heading for a blow-up. I knew I should have done at least a little warm up. But, I also knew Kara and I were fifth and sixth overall women at the halfway point, since we’d seen everyone in front of us after they made the turn, and I just needed to hang on.

It was around the second mile (which, according to my Garmin, slowed to 7:01) that I pulled out ahead of Kara. I thought she’d just slowed a step to get a drink at the water stop and was right behind me the rest of the way, so I tried to keep up my pace. I never looked behind to see where she actually was though.

That third mile was brutal. I was gassed. My legs felt like lead and the humidity was suffocating me. I just wanted to be done! But then I noticed I was catching the fourth woman, so I focused all my attention on passing her.

I passed the third mile marker in 7:18 (ouch!) and passed the fourth woman right at the entrance to the water park. The finish line was just ahead.

Coming to the finish.

Coming to the finish.

I officially crossed the line in 21:58 — 33 seconds slower than last week! Ouch again.

I grabbed a water bottle and then waited for Kara to finish. She came through in 23:07, and was pissed at herself because she’d had to walk a few times in that last mile. However, she was encouraged by her first two miles, and she’s got a lot of training yet before the tri, so I think she’ll be able to hit her goal pace, even after the half-mile swim and the 15-mile bike ride before the 5K.

We did two miles very easy together to cool down, and then we changed into our swimsuits and hit the lazy river and two of the three open water slides. I love this race when it’s over!

When they announced the awards, the race director said he’d bought “unisex” awards for the first time. The runner on the trophy was supposed to be able to pass for either a male or a female runner, but the race director was not impressed. He said he wouldn’t be buying them again, and he apologized in advance to the female runners for this:

It's Pat!

It’s Pat!

Personally, I’m more creeped out by the thing’s lack of a nose than the lack of a ponytail, but maybe that’s because I’m, uh, light-chested myself haha.

I got first in my age group, and a great picture of my emerging running shorts and sports bra tan lines:

2014 jungle jims awards

And Kara got second in her age group:

2014 jungle jims kara award

In the final results, I was first of 21 in the F 30-34 age group, fourth of 184 women and 46th of 372 total runners.

Kara and I stopped at Dunkin Donuts and met TK at Clark’s parents’ place in Fenwick. Kara tried out the paddleboard in the canal, and then we walked over to the beach.

I walked down the beach with a Garmin on my wrist to measure the distance while Kara did a quarter-mile ocean swim. Then we all tried to lay out on the beach, but the weather just wasn’t cooperating. It was overcast and almost chilly, and it looked like it was going to rain at any second, so we scrapped it and just went to Harpoon Hanna’s for lunch.

Clark had driven down to the beach house too. Kara and TK went home from Harpoon Hanna’s, and Clark’s brother, who had spent Friday night at the beach house, left right after I got back from lunch. So Clark, Pepper and I got in the kayak and paddled over to Papa Grande’s so Clark could get some lunch.

We hauled the kayak up on a beach and were walking up to the outdoor deck when we were informed Papa Grande’s didn’t allow dogs in its outdoor dining areas. Sigh. We loaded back up in the kayak and paddled back to the house. Clark got lunch from Matteo’s instead.

We went home, showered and then went to our friend Ben’s house for his 30th birthday party. We stayed until it finally started raining at 11 p.m.

Sunday morning, it wasn’t too hot, thankfully, because I slept in, not surprisingly. Marathon training starts next Monday, and the first long run is a 10-miler at the end of the week, so I decided to do 8 yesterday and 9 this coming weekend.

It wasn’t a bad run at all. I didn’t time it, but I felt pretty good the whole way. I had to use the bathroom about a mile from home, but the corn fields are finally tall enough to use instead of the woods. Score!

That afternoon, Clark and I took Pepper to Salisbury to get his nails trimmed, and then we had lunch at the Evo brewpub. We stopped at a beer store before going home, where a passerby informed me the Jeep had a flat rear tire. I blurted out “Again?!” and got out, expecting the left rear to be slack. But it was the right rear this time.

Fortunately, Clark had put a jack in the Jeep since the flat tire last weekend, so we had the spare on in no time. When we got home, Clark figured out it was a problem with the valve stem that had caused the flat, so his dad is taking care of that today.

This morning, Clark left pretty early to go back to New York City for that same job site he had to visit a couple of weeks ago. I’ve got strength training and a short run on the schedule.

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