A Simple Running Log

October 20, 2014

Training for 10/20/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 1:28 pm

He’s OUT!!!

Yesterday was the final race of the second round of the Chase — bottom line, if Jimmie stupid Johnson didn’t win at Talladega, he would no longer be eligible for the championship.

Well, guess what? He didn’t win! I can go to the final race of the season in Miami knowing I will not have to watch him celebrate a record-tying seventh championship, and that is just… well, I don’t have the words for it. I’m really happy! And while he’s probably pretty bummed, I don’t feel bad for him at all because he’s got those other six championship trophies he can use to wipe his and Chad Knaus’s tears.

Anyway…

Friday afternoon, I spent an hour scrubbing and vacuuming out my car, because I told Allison I’d drive us to Baltimore and my car was absolutely disgusting. It looked much better by the time I was through with it.

I left home exactly when I needed to in order to be at her house at our agreed-upon time, but, of course, five minutes into the drive I remembered I’d left behind the confirmation sheet I needed to get my race bib. Guess I won’t be on time after all.

Right after I pulled a U-turn to head home, I saw in my rearview mirror something large buzzing around in the back seat. I thought it was a moth, until it landed on my steering wheel — it was a WASP. And when I turned the wheel to make a turn at an intersection, the son of a bitch fell off the wheel and landed right on my jeans, on my left thigh, where it immediately set to work trying to sting me through the material!

Somehow, in spite of the blackout state of panic I was thrown into — I’ve been stung by a wasp before and those things hurt for hours — I managed to get the car off the road and into a convenience store parking lot without stalling it out or hitting anything else.

I flung open the driver’s door, but I guess I was a little too enthusiastic about it, because as I was jumping out, the door swung back and cracked me right on the head haha. It’s funny now, especially imagining someone else seeing it, but it probably hurt worse than a wasp sting would have. I did, however, sweep the wasp safely off my jeans before it broke through to my leg.

Apparently another part of my body’s response to panic is to break out into an immediate sweat, because my head got so freaking sweaty so quickly I thought it was pouring blood where it’d hit the door frame! I needed a minute to assure myself my head was not bleeding, and then to laugh at myself for the whole thing, before I made it the rest of the way home, got my confirmation sheet and tried again.

Take two went much better. I got to Allison’s house only a few minutes late and we hit the road. Other than a little traffic backup trying to get onto I-97, the drive was easy and soon enough we were at the Marriott, where Vanessa had already checked in and was waiting for us.

Or so we thought. Turns out Vanessa was at the Courtyard by Marriott, less than a half-mile farther down the road. We didn’t figure it out until we discovered the rooms on the second floor only went up to 221, which made it impossible to find room 254. When we asked the worker at the front desk if we were in the right hotel, her facial expression made it clear we weren’t the first morons to make that mistake haha.

We had a much easier time finding Vanessa when we went to the right hotel. Allison and I put our stuff in the room, and then Vanessa drove us all into downtown Baltimore. The expo was in the convention center. The crowds weren’t very thick by that time, so we breezed right through packet pick-up and browsed the vendors’ booths.

We went to dinner at the Pratt Street Ale House, right across from the convention center. Since none of us had to run very far in the morning, we didn’t see any reason not to indulge in a few of their in-house beers.

pratt st ale house dinner

Me, Allison and Vanessa at the Pratt Street Ale House.

Back at the hotel, we laid out our stuff for the next morning and set the alarm for 4:45 a.m. I slept great until about 2 a.m. Then I just couldn’t get back to sleep. I tossed and turned until the alarm finally went off.

We dressed in our matching outfits and headed out into a perfect morning for running! It was a little chilly just standing around, but it would feel great when we were moving.

We stopped at a 7-11 for coffee and made the quick drive into downtown Baltimore. I followed what looked like volunteers flagging us into the free stadium parking, so I was surprised when I wound up at the entrance to a non-stadium lot and a guy came up asking for 10 bucks. I said I thought the stadium lots were free, and he said, “Yeah, I guess you can try that,” like there was a slim chance there would still be parking.

A few turns later, I turned into a 95 percent empty stadium lot haha. Nice try, scammers!

We followed the crowds to the race start/finish area between the Ravens stadium and Camden Yards. Our fourth teammate, Caitlin, arrived a few minutes later. After a port-o-potty stop, we took a team picture before I got on the bus to go to the first exchange.

team before race

Team Maryland Maniacs: Vanessa, Allison, me and Caitlin.

Since I was running the second leg, I had to be on a bus at 6:30 a.m., a half-hour before the full marathon and relay started, to be taken to the first exchange. Our line of about 20 school buses left the Ravens stadium on time, but stopped soon after and had to wait for about 15 minutes before our police escorts showed up to lead the buses through the city.

I thought that was a little unnecessary until first a produce delivery truck and then a taxi cab both tried to shoehorn their way into the convoy because the drivers were too impatient to wait for the buses to all pass. Both times, the cops stopped right in the road and got out of their cars to yell at the drivers, and both times, the driver of our bus, which was second in the line, cackled with glee haha.

We had no more attempted line-crashers and were rolling along, until a call came over our bus’s radio, from the driver of the ninth bus in line: “I’m going to need a police officer to meet me when we get to the exchange; I have an emergency.”

A little ripple of excitement went through everyone on our bus. What emergency requiring police assistance could there possibly be on a busload of relay runners?

For some reason, the driver of the bus with the emergency could only seem to get in touch with our driver, who then got in touch with someone named Spence, who seemed to be the one in charge. Spence asked what the emergency was. Our driver radioed the other driver: “What’s your emergency?”

It was dead silent on our bus as we all strained to hear the answer: “Someone… urinated on my bus.”

Suppressed laughter bubbled up. The girl in the seat next to me wondered if the rogue urinator on the other bus was drunk. “Welcome to Baltimore!” she laughed. We thanked each other for not pissing the seat.

Then we got a little more information over the radio — apparently someone on that bus had to pee so bad, she went to the front of the bus, pulled down her pants and PEED IN THE STAIRWELL.

Our driver had two reactions to that extra information. “Oh, that’s just nasty!” she said, followed by a loud announcement — “Folks, if anyone on this bus has to pee that bad, I have a trash can right here!”

The convoy made it to the exchange without further incident. I don’t know what happened to that woman when the cops met her!

It was about 7:15 when we all gathered at the exchange at mile 5.8. I had my phone with me, and had gotten a text alert that Allison, our team’s first runner, had crossed the starting mat at 7:06. She had estimated it would take her a little under an hour to run her leg, which was mostly uphill.

Not long after we arrived, the first wheelchair racer went flying by. Soon, the first team relay runner came through — the winning team, sponsored by Under Armour, would win in 2:15!

first runner past exchange

First runner through, who happened to be a relay team member.

A couple more relay runners came through the exchange, and then the lead full marathon runner went by, who would win in 2:33. At first, the passing runners were just a trickle. Eventually the crowd started to thicken up. We cheered for everyone as they passed.

More and more relay runners were coming through too. It was kind of a cluster at the exchange; the official results as of today, two days later, show 911 teams finished the race, so there were 911 leg two runners standing there trying to pick out their teammates as they came up the hill to the exchange. Every now and then a first leg runner would find themselves standing in the middle of the exchange yelling the name of the teammate who was supposed to take the timing chip but was nowhere to be seen, but for the most part, teammates seemed to be able to find each other pretty quickly.

Around 7:45, I ate a salted caramel GU, since it’d already been two and a half hours since the Clif bar I’d eaten for breakfast. Soon, my phone buzzed with another text alert — Allison had just passed a timing mat right around the corner and should be arriving at the exchange at any second. Sure enough, I saw her pigtails and red sparkle skirt flying up the hill. I stepped out of the crowd, waved her down, put the timing chip around my ankle, gave her my sweatshirt and Chapstick and took off.

Yay, I was running! My leg was supposed to be exactly seven miles, with some slight uphills, but mostly downhills.

The first couple of miles, I didn’t feel so great. I probably should have drank a lot more water between the beers at dinner the night before and the coffee I had first thing that morning, because I had a lot of little stitches going on around my collar bone and down along my ribs. I was passing a ton of runners though. Allison had run her first leg at about a 10:18/mile pace, and I was hitting my goal pace of 8:00/mile, so I was picking off runners by the handful.

I guzzled some water at the first fluid stop I passed, and felt a lot better after that. I kept weaving through other runners, taking it easy on the very short uphills and flying down the downhills.

About halfway through my leg, we ran near the Inner Harbor. Half marathon runners were streaming across the full marathon course in large packs, trying to get to their start line at the halfway point of the full course, an hour and 45 minutes after the full started. I didn’t have to dodge anyone though.

This was also the point on my part of the course where the spectating crowds were the thickest. We had tons of people out cheering us on. I gave a high five to every little kid I saw with their hand out.

Soon we made a left and started on an out-and-back section. We also passed the next exchange point, though we wouldn’t hand off to the next runner until we came back. Vanessa, who was waiting for me at that exchange, spotted me as I ran by and yelled my name, which is always a great boost.

Then I came up on a live band which was just starting Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Call Me The Breeze,” one of my all-time favorite songs and a staple of my running playlist on my iPod. It’s too perfect for running: “Well now they call me The Breeze/I keep blowin’ down the road.” I moved over to the edge of the road so I could give them some very enthusiastic fist pumps as I passed.

This part of the race wasn’t as scenic, as it was a lot of warehouses and industrial areas near the harbor, but the turnaround was through the Under Armour headquarters, where they had a lot of people cheering. And once I made that turn, I knew exactly how much farther I had to run to get back to the exchange and hand off to Vanessa.

I was cruising right along, when I came up behind the strangest thing I’ve seen in a race. Often you’ll see an unfortunate man or two after a race (or maybe during it) whose nipples have been so badly chafed by his shirt they started bleeding, leaving a telltale “red 11” down the front. (Women generally don’t have that problem thanks to sports bras, which fit a lot tighter and hold things in place better than the average running shirt.) Well, I came up on a dude who had a red 11 on his back. I was glad I had my phone with me for once, so I could take a picture, and somehow my phone managed to focus on it even while I was running. Someone please explain to me how this happened, because I really don’t know!

bloody back nipples

Before I knew it, I was back at the exchange and handing off to Vanessa. I stopped my Garmin and checked the numbers — 6.8 miles (a lot of other leg two runners said it was short) in 54:09, a 7:59/mile average pace. Exactly what I was aiming for!

It was a bit of a walk back to the finish area, but it wasn’t very crowded there yet, since most of the runners were still out on the course. I found Allison, got my relay runner medal and a bunch of free granola bars and fruit, and then we camped out near the finish line to wait for our other two teammates.

The relay winner had finished as soon as I got to the stadium. Allison and I got to the finish line just in time to see the men’s marathon winner. Soon, the women’s winner crossed in 2:58. She looked like she’d just been out for a short training run, she looked so relaxed! Allison later said she read that was that woman’s first full marathon. Pretty great debut!

We saw the men’s half marathon winner finish in 1:07 and the women’s in 1:20. It got more crowded as the bulk of the full and half marathon finishers started coming through.

Then we saw a red sparkle skirt approaching — our final runner, Caitlin! I tried to get a picture. You can see her skirt:

caitlin finishing

Our team’s chip time was 4:08:01, a 9:27/mile overall average pace. They’re probably still sorting out timing issues now, but as of today, we were 43rd of 281 all-female teams and 298th of 911 total teams. That’s a lot of other relay teams that got beat by chicks in sparkle skirts!

Vanessa got back to the finish area just before Caitlin finished. With all four of us back together, plus Caitlin’s boyfriend, Bob, we picked up our two free beers each and hung out in the finish area.

mich ultras

It was just Michelob Ultra, but free beer is free beer.

team after finish

Caitlin, me, Allison and Vanessa in the finish area.

And here is the pretty cool medal (the lower claw is a bottle opener.)

medal

I don’t have a good picture of the event T-shirt, but it’s a super nice Under Armour women’s cut shirt in a gray heather material. It’s probably the best race shirt I’ve ever gotten. Having the UA headquarters in Baltimore (the founder is a Maryland grad) means this race always has premium swag.

The five us walked to an Irish bar and grille at the Inner Harbor for lunch, and then we had to say goodbye and head our separate ways. I dropped off Allison at her house, and then went back in Easton to get a birthday card for my nephew. I was still wearing my “I (heart) MD” shirt but had forgotten about it, and was really confused why the cashier asked me if I was a tourist until I remembered it haha.

I met the rest of my family at Kara’s house for my nephew’s 11th (!) birthday party. By the time I got home after 10 p.m., I was more than ready to go straight to bed.

I slept like a rock Saturday night. Yesterday, I was feeling good when I woke up, so I took Pepper for a short run late in the morning. It had gotten chilly and windy overnight, so Pepper had to wear his dork jacket for the first time this year:

He was really excited about it too.

He was really excited about it too.

I wanted it to be an easy 3-miler, since I’d run relatively hard for me right now the day before, but Pepper had other ideas. Namely, getting the hell back inside as soon as possible. On top of the cold, windy conditions, he had to run past a truck parked on the side of the road and a house where people were outside in the yard, talking, so he’d had enough very quickly haha. It was not an easy run at all.

My mom picked up Clark and me early in the afternoon, and we met my grandmother and went to the wine festival outside Salisbury. The sun had come out, so it wasn’t quite as cold as it’d been in the morning, and we had a nice time. It closed at 5 p.m., so we were back at Grandmom’s house in time to see the last 15 laps or so of the race, which, as I already went over, was brilliant because someone other than Jimmie stupid Johnson won.

Today, I found out something that’s almost as exciting as Johnson getting knocked out of the Chase — ChapStick has a new limited edition flavor, one I’ve wished they’d make for years:

pumpkin pie

I can’t remember the last time I said this, if ever, but I can’t wait to go to Walmart!

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