A Simple Running Log

November 26, 2014

Training for 11/26/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:33 pm

I’m not feeling the best right now. I have some kind of crud trying to work on me. When I told Clark I was getting a sore throat Monday evening, he said he was too, so one of us has gotten the other one sick. I, of course, blamed him, and he, of course, thinks it’s the other way around.

I ran yesterday anyway. It felt OK once I got moving, but I could feel a little bit of a burning in my chest the whole way. Pepper and I did 5.5 miles. I didn’t feel that great after I finished though. A lot of all-over muscle soreness, chills and my throat was feeling burnier, which is a word now.

I have not done anything yet today. I don’t have as much muscle soreness or chills today, so I’m thinking about going upstairs and doing some strength training. No running though — on top of the sore throat, it’s windy, cold and raining, so I think I’ll be taking my excuse to stay inside.

Well, actually, I have done one small thing today. I saw on Facebook that Jay Mohr is hosting the NASCAR awards banquet next Friday evening. Nothing against him, but this thing where they bring in a standup comic to host and “roast” the drivers is dumb. The music acts get on my nerves too. This is NASCAR, not the Grammys! Back in my day, they just had one of the TV broadcasters host, there was no live music (at least that those of us watching at home had to sit through) and it was up to the drivers to pick on each other if they wanted.

Which made me think of 1992, when Bill Elliott gave Alan Kulwicki a gold-plated comb at the awards banquet, to tease Kulwicki for combing his hair before appearing on TV after he won the championship at Atlanta. Which made me think of 1993, when Kulwicki and Davey Allison both died in aviation accidents — Kulwicki in a plane crash, Allison the day after he wrecked trying to land his own helicopter. Which made me wonder what ever happened to Allison’s two kids, who were very young when their dad died. Which led to his 24-year-old daughter’s Twitter account and this very cute picture of her and her dad back in the day, posted by her mom:

bobby and davey

Do you recognize the dapper fellow in the Penrose Pickled Sausages uniform and sunglasses in the background?

Bobby Labonte!!

The other notable thing here is that apparently Pharell stole his hat from Davey Allison. Seriously, what is going on there?

This must have been taken before a Busch (now Nationwide, soon to be Xfinity) Series race in 1991 or 1992. Bobby moved up to Winston (now Sprint) Cup Series competition in 1993, his rookie year, where he drove the Maxwell House Ford. I just thought it was cool to see my original favorite driver and my all-time favorite driver in the same picture together. I wonder if I’d have abandoned Davey for Bobby if Davey hadn’t died?

Anyway, tomorrow, if I’m feeling OK in the morning, I’d like to get in the first track workout of this training cycle, five 800-meter repeats. Then we have a lot of Thanksgiving to get to: Clark’s family in the afternoon, my aunt’s house in the evening and my parents’ house for dessert.

November 24, 2014

Training for 11/24/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:40 pm

I had a pretty quiet weekend.

Saturday, we spent the first part of the day doing a little much-needed car maintenance. I’d gotten my car’s brakes replaced the day before and asked the mechanic to look at why my car idles so rough when I start it on a cold day, like the ones we were having last week. He said everything looked solid and his best guess was the spark plugs, which were original. So I bought some new ones and Clark and I swapped them out Saturday morning. It didn’t seem to do anything for the idle when I started it, but at least I’d only wasted $27 on parts instead of the $130 in parts and labor the mechanic wanted to do the job while he was changing the brakes. Oh well. Guess I’ll just have to put up with the rough idle. It only happens first thing in the morning when it’s really cold and it sounds fine once it’s been driven about five minutes. Apparently it’s nothing to worry about. It’s just annoying.

Anyway, Clark also changed the oil in my car and the Crown Vic, while I checked tire pressures on everything but the Harley and the Camaro. I think everything is roadworthy again.

That afternoon, I ran a lap around the 4.5-mile loop with Clark and Pepper. When we got back home, I wanted to run about another mile, since I’d had a 5-miler on the schedule, so I went back out. The sun was very low in the sky, and right behind me. I just happened to be running down the road past my neighbor’s mailbox the same moment the mail carrier came along. I guess he didn’t see me because of the sun, because I nearly got clipped by the damn mail truck! I heard him call out “Didn’t see you there!” in a sing-song voice as he swerved to miss me while I jumped off the road into the grass haha.

Sunday, Clark left very early to go to Annapolis to help his brother work on the house he and his wife just bought to fix up. I kept meaning to put Pepper in his harness and make him run the 10.5-mile loop with me, but, guess what, I didn’t. I really don’t have as much time to put off running anymore now that the days are getting so short! By the time we finally left the house, we had about enough daylight left for the 4.5-mile loop. It was a pretty good run. It’d warmed up enough I could wear shorts, and Pepper didn’t need his dork jacket.

Today, I did the 3-miler and strength training on the schedule. It had warmed up even more, to almost 70, so I could wear short sleeves with my shorts! It was extremely windy, but I wasn’t complaining.

I had planned on finally doing that 10-miler tomorrow, as the usual Tuesday morning meeting is held at night the last week of the month, but now I have to be in Denton at 8:30 a.m. to cover something. I haven’t decided what I’m doing now.

November 21, 2014

Training for 11/21/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 12:58 pm

A week ago, I ran three miles along the beach in South Beach with Clark, in shorts and a sports bra, sweating my face off.

Today, I bundled up myself and Pepper for a MUCH colder lap around the 5.5-mile loop. I believe the temperature was already down around freezing, and then it’s pretty windy, again, on top of it.

I wasn’t sure Pepper would tolerate it. There’s a point where it’s just too cold for him and he freaks out. But apparently we’re not there yet, because he was fine.

It really wasn’t that bad once we got moving. The wind was only in our faces for less than a mile, and it was near the end anyway. The best part was when it was at our back — it was blowing dead leaves past us from behind, which made Pepper seem to think they were chasing him haha. Eventually he figured out they were harmless.

I don’t have much planned for this coming weekend. I mean, there are two runs on the schedule to finish out the first week of Shamrock Marathon training, a 5-miler at goal pace and a 10-mile long run, but other than that, I’ll just be trying to work through the initial onset of NASCAR withdrawal.

November 20, 2014

Training for 11/20/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:10 pm

Yesterday, I did take Pepper for the 3-mile run on the schedule. It was the warmest part of the day, but it definitely wasn’t very much above freezing still, and it was pretty windy on top of it. I wasn’t wearing my Garmin, so I don’t know how fast exactly we were running, but Pepper was bent on getting back to his nice warm couch as soon as possible, so it felt pretty quick for an easy run. I did some strength training upstairs when we got back.

Today, I had the first speed workout of the training cycle on the schedule, three hill repeats. I went out to the Sharptown bridge. It made it all the way up to about 50 degrees today, which was nice. It was still windy though.

I did wear the Garmin today, so I’d be sure on the distance. I did a mile to warm up, then three times up and back down the bridge, plus one more mile to cool down, a total of 3.5 miles. Total time was 28:47, an 8:14/mile average, and the two miles that had hill climbs in them were 8:05 and 8:08. That went a lot better than the last time I tried to do hill repeats and threw in the towel after one measly climb because I was sucking wind so bad halfway to the top.

November 19, 2014

Training for 11/19/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 1:00 pm

Today is a very special day!

Four years ago today, Nov. 19, 2010, Clark and I went to Goldsboro and picked up an undersized, slightly mangy weimaraner who needed a home.

First time I met Pepper, after responding to a Craigslist ad giving him away to a good home, as the woman holding him and her husband could no longer afford to take care of him. We picked Pepper up a few days later.

First time I met Pepper, after responding to a Craigslist ad giving him away to a good home, as the woman holding him and her husband could no longer afford to take care of him. We picked Pepper up a few days later.

We brought him back to our house, where he soon took two dumps in the dining room so huge we needed a shovel to remove them. Things weren’t off to a great start, but then we all went to bed, and he climbed up next to me, laid his head on my chest and fell asleep. He was still there when I woke up. So was an enormous pile of dirt.

Pepper got his first bath (probably ever) the next day and stopped taking horse-sized dumps in our dining room, and we’ve all been inseparable since. He is a pain in the ass who demands never-ending attention, but he’s our pain in the ass.

In honor of the occasion, here are some of my favorite pictures of Pepper from the last four years. It was hard to pick out a reasonable number! So I didn’t. Here’s a ton.

Asleep, in our bed, under the covers.

Asleep, in our bed, under the covers.

Some might say, “Oh, hell no, I’d never let a dog sleep on my bed!” But here’s what happened when we bought him his own:

screw your bed

Pepper loves to unstuff anything anyway.

Screw you, toy duck.

Screw you, toy duck.

Not selling it, Pepper.

Screw you, chair.

The whole reason we wanted a weimaraner was so I could run with him. Expecting a big ball of energy, we were surprised to get a dog who actually spends only about one hour of a typical day somewhere other than the couch.

Chilling on the couch with Clark and Snoopy, Chad's dog.

Chilling on the couch with Clark and Snoopy, Chad’s dog.

With me.

With me.

Sometimes he moves to the floor.

Sometimes he moves to the floor.

He has proven to be a great runner though!

Running with Clark.

Running with Clark.

Finishing a 5K with me.

Finishing a 5K with me.

All smiles during a trail run.

All smiles during a trail run.

Testing out the new jacket he got for Christmas a couple years ago.

Testing out the new jacket he got for Christmas a couple years ago.

Waiting for a treat after a run.

Waiting for a treat after a run, his favorite part.

He has other hobbies too. Well, one. Sticks.

Stick!

Stick!

Sometimes Pepper goes to my office with me.

His first time there, right after his first vet appointment.

His first time there, right after his first vet appointment.

Eventually, he got pretty comfortable there, and had no problem trying to take over the place.

pepper at work

Then there was that time last spring he ripped open his ear on an exhaust pipe and had to wear a cone for a few days.

pepper cone 1

Random picture of Pepper sitting in my car:

He sees your shoddy parking job, and he does not approve.

He sees your shoddy parking job, and he does not approve.

It’s been a pretty great four years with Pepper. Here’s to many more!

pep on steps

Right now, it’s about as warm as it’s going to get today, so I’m going to put Pepper in his dork jacket and run a few miles with him. Then I’ve got strength training on the schedule.

November 18, 2014

Training for 11/18/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:23 pm

Well, Miami was FREAKING AWESOME!!!

The whole weekend was just the best. South Beach was fun, the race was probably the third best I’ve ever seen live in 22 years of attending these things and I’m just so pumped for NASCAR to start all over again at the 2015 Daytona 500! Is it February yet?

So, from the beginning: Thursday, I did take Pepper out for a very chilly lap around the 5.5-mile loop. I had on two shirts, tights, gloves and an earband, and he had on his dork jacket. After a couple miles, I thought I’d maybe overdressed, but then I got some pretty bad gut pains. Yup, a Code Abby. Only this time, it took forever to, uh, feel better, and then I had to stop a second time about a half-mile later. I was glad I’d dressed warmer than necessary, since I spent a lot of time not moving in the woods! I also wish I knew what I’d eaten to bring that on.

Anyway, when we got home, I went upstairs and did some strength training. Then I had about an hour to shower, get dressed and pack everything I needed for four days in Miami. That is the only time I ever get anything done — at the very last minute.

Luckily, Clark and Mike were both running a bit behind schedule too, and I was ready to go when Mike picked us up at our house. The drive to the airport and the flight went fine, and we landed in Ft. Lauderdale just before 9 p.m. We got our rental car, a pretty sweet Volvo S60, and drove to Miami Beach, where we were staying in the art deco district of South Beach.

Our room at The President hotel:

art deco hotel room

After checking in, it didn’t take long to find an Irish pub still serving dinner at almost 11 p.m. We didn’t even stay there long, but our tab at the end of the night looked like we’d been drinking since the afternoon — South Beach is extremely expensive compared to Delaware! Who knew, right?

Friday, we had tickets for the Truck Series race, but the track was about a 50-minute drive south and we wanted to see more of the Miami area, so we didn’t go. Instead, Clark and I ran a 3-miler together along the paved bike path through Lummus Park, which winds alongside the beach. It was gorgeous, and the people-watching opportunities were more than abundant. The only thing was we’d waited until almost 11 a.m. to go, and it was pretty warm, even just in shorts and a sports bra. I tried not to complain though, since I’d just been bitching the day before about how cold I was while running.

We got cleaned up and got some Cuban food for lunch, and then we walked down to the beach. The water was absolutely beautiful, a very turquoise blue, and when you stood in it, you could see clear to the bottom, a big difference from Maryland and Delaware beaches.

me on the beach

Clark took this picture for me so I could send it to friends in snowier parts of the country haha.

Looks like Ocean City in July.

Miami Beach in November looked like Ocean City in July.

Then it was time for the part of Friday I was most looking forward to — Dumb and Dumber To! The first Dumb and Dumber and the South Park movie are the only two movies I’ve seen so many times I can quote them, which probably says something unflattering about my choice in movies, but whatever.

We were a little late getting to the 2:30 p.m. showing Mike had pre-ordered tickets for, and I was worried about being able to find three seats next to each other that weren’t in the very first row, since it was opening day, but then I walked in the theater and saw exactly three other people already in there haha. Guess you don’t have to worry about that when you go in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday.

The movie was… OK. I mean, I did not expect it to live up to the first one. Nothing can. But the thing I liked so much about the first one was that Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels did not come off as actors trying to act dumb. They were believable, and it was funny. This one, especially the beginning, they both seemed like they were trying too hard, sometimes even overacting. However, once the plot was established and they set off on their road trip together, it got better, for the most part, and there were some genuine laugh out loud moments. Overall, worth the ticket price if you loved the first one, but I don’t think it’ll become the cult classic the first one is.

Friday night, Mike was bent on staying out until the bars close in South Beach, which is 5 a.m. I was 99.9 percent positive I would not make it, and was already bracing myself for the shit I was going to take for it the rest of the weekend, but oh well.

We decided if we were going to make it that long, we’d need a good dinner to start. Clark suggested Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse. Mike and I had never been to one, but Clark goes to them sometimes when he travels for business. It’s a pretty good deal — there’s an all-you-can-eat self-serve enormous salad and side dish bar, and then waiters bring around plates of several different kinds of meat, and you can have as much as you want of all of them too.

On the walk there, I tried to get some pictures of good examples of the art deco style:

miami at night one

miami at night two

Dinner was so good! I tried not to fill up on the salad bar, because Clark pointed out that’s how they make money off you, but there was a ton of good stuff there. Then the meats started coming around. I had bacon-wrapped filet mignon, ribs, chicken and some of the restaurant’s signature top sirloin. I was stuffed when I finally had to throw in the towel. We all ordered dessert, but I could only manage a coffee with Frangelico and Bailey’s.

Next stop was the Abbey Brewing Co., Miami’s oldest and only brewpub.

Remember Mike’s goal of staying up until closing time? Well, it started out OK at the Abbey:

clark and mike awake

And Clark and I were still going strong a little while later:

clark ready to party

abby ready to party

But pretty soon, we were down a man:

mike asleep

Ah ha! Who’s the party pooper now, huh?

Clark making fun of Mike.

Clark making fun of Mike.

It sure wasn’t me!

me and clark

I won that round!

We shook Mike awake and walked back to the hotel. Goal bedtime: 5:30 a.m. Actual bedtime: 12:30 a.m. haha. Hey, at least we made it past midnight. Barely. Mike claimed we’d eaten too good of a dinner, and he was in a food coma. OK.

Saturday, we went to the track for the first time, for the Nationwide Series race, even though Chase Elliott had already clinched the title the week before. Like most tracks, Homestead-Miami Speedway is nowhere close to the city, because that just makes traffic impossible (*cough* DOVER *cough*), but unlike any other track I’ve been to, the back roads leading from the main highway to the parking lot were lined with palm tree farms as far as you could see. It was pretty cool, but Clark pointed out you probably didn’t want to go in those woods, because most likely there’s some wildlife in there that would eat you in a heartbeat. It did look very… alligator-friendly.

The race was fun. Matt Kenseth won. I only took one picture the whole time:

sad gordon fan

That banner only rubbed it in that Jeff Gordon had missed a shot at the championship by one stinking point! Poor Clark.

We went back to Miami Beach after the race ended, and had dinner at this place called Yardbird, which is supposed to be one of the best restaurants in the city right now. It was the place at which Clark was most looking forward to eating, as they’re especially known for their chicken and waffles.

The place was packed, to no one’s surprise. We got drinks and two appetizers to share at the bar — smoked and roasted bone marrow with onion jam, which was delicious, and beef sirloin tartare, which was one of those things you try for the first time and you’re all WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE. I inherited a taste for raw ground meat from my dad. (I don’t know if this is common or not, because I’ve only eaten it in front of Clark, who was horrified, but he’s just a sample of one so maybe he’s the weirdo.) I mean, I’ll only eat a pinch or four of it when I first put it in a pan, not like a whole raw burger patty, but then someone set down an entire plate of raw ground beef that I was supposed to eat by the forkful and, well, I was in heaven. I admit I hogged that one.

Then we got seated and Clark finally got to order his coveted chicken and waffles. Mike got his own order too. I was full of raw meat so I just ordered a side of mac and cheese. (I did have a drumstick though, and it was damn good fried chicken.) Clark ate most of his serving, but he was so drunk by that point, the only part of it he remembered the next day was the chilled watermelon on the side — and he hates watermelon haha. Womp womp. At least he had Mike and me there to fill him in on how great it was.

Then Sunday dawned — RACE DAY!! The day we’d all been waiting for!

It was another warm, sunny day in South Florida. I wasn’t feeling all that hot by the time we left for the track, but I felt much better after we’d stopped to pick up beer and I found a Boston Market nearby. One three-piece dark meat meal with dressing, more mac and cheese and cornbread later and I was ready to go.

We parked at the track about an hour and a half before the race was to start, and hung out in the parking lot drinking for a little while. Then it was time to head into the track. I took a LOT more pictures Sunday.

First, a shot of our sweet ride:

With bonus shirtless hairy guy haha.

With bonus shirtless hairy guy haha.

Then, several shots of the track on the way in:

From the parking lot.

From the parking lot.

If every single driver is your favorite, you never go home disappointed, I guess.

If every single driver is your favorite, you never go home disappointed, I guess.

Front entrance.

Front entrance.

front entrance

Homestead-Miami has only hosted NASCAR races since 2002. It has a much more modern feel than, say, Martinsville in southeastern Virginia, which was built back in the ’40s and is the only track that has hosted NASCAR races since its founding in 1948. Neither is better, they’re just different, and I think it’s pretty cool that there’s such a wide variety of old and new among NASCAR tracks.

We got to our seats just in time for the end of the huge spectacle that was the introduction of the four drivers competing for the championship, Kevin Harvick (my pick and my favorite driver who currently has a ride — but my heart will always belong to Bobby Labonte, of course), Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman. They had huge mobile stages built, enormous banners for each driver, loud music and even a WWE announcer.

pre race spectacle

Then they hooked up all those stages to semi trucks and hauled them out of the way for the start of the race.

Our seats were just before the start-finish line, 27 rows up. We had a pretty good view of the track:

Looking down the frontstretch toward Turn 1.

Looking down the frontstretch toward Turn 1.

And looking the other way down toward Turn 4. The field was lined up at the end of pit road.

And looking the other way down toward Turn 4. The field was lined up at the end of pit road.

We asked someone else in the stands to take our picture:

Me, Clark and Mike.

Me, Clark and Mike.

And then it was time to go!

The bottom line of the new Chase format was that four drivers would go into the final race of the season with equal shots at the championship — whoever finished highest took all the marbles. Ideally, all four would be fighting for the race win and therefore the championship, but this of course also meant two teams could blow engines and the remaining two could be fighting for like, 17th place at the end of the race, and the result would be the same. Just much less exciting.

This was a big part of why we chose Miami for our destination race this year. We figured the first attempt at this Chase format would either be a huge success or a giant flop, and either way, we wanted to be able to say we saw it firsthand.

I expected Harvick and Logano to be frontrunners for sure, Hamlin to have a decent run but not be in contention for the win necessarily and Newman to bring up the rear, barring things like blown tires, blown engines or accidents, of course.

The race got under way. At first, I was right. Harvick, Logano and Hamlin had all qualified well, and were all running in the top five or six, while Newman trailed by a long shot.

Scoring pylon at lap 43 of 267: Three of the four Chase drivers, whose numbers are yellow, run second, third and fourth, while Newman is running 11th.

Scoring pylon at lap 43 of 267: Three of the four Chase drivers, whose numbers are yellow, run second, third and fourth, while Newman is running 11th.

Also, it was killing Clark that Gordon lead a big chunk of this race. He wound up making a pit stop at an odd time near the end and finished 10th, but he was in contention for the win for most of it — just not the championship. At one point, Clark said, “I’m not even mad anymore about what happened to him at Texas, I’m just upset.” Poor Gordon fans!

Anyway, as the race went on, Harvick, Logano and Hamlin were all in the mix, but a curious thing happened. Newman stopped sucking! It took him about half of the race, but by the time the sun started to sink, he was running with the rest of them.

In other words, it was pretty exciting, start to finish. It seemed like every other lap one of the Chase drivers was passing another one to change up the final points standings. They all lead at one point or another too. No one had a clear advantage.

Used the "miniature" setting on my camera to take this shot of the field coming down pit road for pit stops.

Used the “miniature” setting on my camera to take this shot of the field coming down pit road for pit stops. Gordon is still leading, but all the Chase drivers are within a couple positions of each other, so flawless pit stops were even more important than usual.

There were a couple fans a few rows in front of us who’d made a bunch of JELL-O shots, and were throwing them to anyone who wanted them. So of course, we got a couple each.

NASCAR's patron saints of JELL-O shots.

NASCAR’s patron saints of JELL-O shots.

Cheers!

Cheers!

And this guy was probably Harvick’s biggest fan at the track that night — he waved that cardboard cutout of the championship trophy with a big ‘4’ on it pretty much the whole race.

no.1 harvick fan

Soon, the sun was getting lower and lower, and the only thing the fans were paying more attention to than the race, which was still going strong, was the sky, because it looked like this:

sunset four

And then this:

sunset one

sunset two

For some reason, no one was taking a bunch of pictures of the other end of the track:

sunset three

Finally, the sun went down and the sky stopped being such a damn showoff, so we could get back to watching the race.

When a caution came out on lap 248 — 19 from the end — the four Chase drivers were lined up nose to tail.

all four together

(And Harvick was still the leader among them, by the way.)

There were several cautions in those final laps. None involved any of the Chase drivers, but the pit stops — when to take them, how many tires to take — proved to be the difference maker. Unfortunately for Logano, his car slipped off the jack while his team was changing left side tires on one stop, and he lost a ton of track position, restarted 29th at one point and only regained 16th, where he finished.

So we were down to three.

after logano bad pit stop

Harvick had taken four tires after the first late-race caution on lap 248 and restarted 12th. He gained five spots back before the next caution a few laps later, restarted sixth and then blew past Newman and Hamlin on his way to the lead. There was a green-white-checkered finish after yet another caution a few laps later, but Harvick held off freaking Newman and won the race AND the championship — with Newman and Hamlin right behind him, finishing 1-2-3.

Pretty much spot on what NASCAR was hoping for, other than Logano’s bad pit stop, and just about the most exciting race I’ve ever seen, flag to flag. The only two better races I’ve seen live were, No. 1, Bobby Labonte’s win at Dover in 1999 (which was probably only exciting for Bobby fans, as he won on fuel mileage), and No. 2, Ricky Craven’s win by inches over Kurt Busch after beating and banging on each other the entire final few laps at Darlington in 2003 (which most people agree is one of the best race finishes ever.)

This was also only the second time in about 70 live races where I was wearing the winning driver’s colors! There were a lot of Harvick fans in the stands that night, and I high-fived a few while Harvick did donuts on the frontstretch.

Used the miniature effect again.

Used the miniature effect again.

Part of the ticket package we’d bought allowed us on the track for the championship celebration, so Clark, Mike and I made our way down there. Under the stands, I got the best picture of the weekend:

mike and clark smooch

When we made our way out on the track, Clark and I didn’t really have a great view of the celebration:

Stuck behind a media stage off to the right of the main stage.

Stuck behind a media stage off to the right of the main stage.

Buuuut, we were standing right there when Tony Stewart — Harvick’s team owner — came around to go up the stairs to the media stage! Clark patted him on the back. We also saw Stewart help up a photographer who somehow managed to fall right off the side of the steps trying to walk up them. (He was fine.)

That's Tony Stewart, second from left, asking the photographer if he's OK.

That’s Tony Stewart, second from left, asking the photographer if he’s OK.

And we got to hear some dumb idiots standing off to our right yelling at one of the professional photographers on the media stage, presumably taking pictures for his employer, to MOVE so they could take some crappy cell phone pictures of the main stage! Really?!

Before we left the track, I got my picture taken in the middle of Harvick’s donuts:

Got the sponsor's product in my hand too!

Got the sponsor’s product in my hand too!

And that was our Homestead-Miami Speedway experience. This was never one of the tracks I was most excited about when we made this pact to attend a race at every single track, but I really enjoyed it. More than worth the trip!

With this one, we’ve now been to 11 of 23 tracks. We’ve already settled on Chicago for our destination race next year, in September. When we go there, we’ll be at 12 of 23, and therefore past the halfway mark!

Back in South Beach on Sunday night, we had one more dinner along the oceanfront. The next morning, Clark and I went down to the beach one last time.

beach in the morning

It was nice, except for the guy feeding 3 million seagulls right down the beach:

dude feeding seagulls

And I got one last picture of Clark, making the same face he always does when I take his picture:

Um, OK.

Um, OK.

We left Miami Beach for the Ft. Lauderdale airport with plenty of time to catch our noon flight. Turned out we left with even more time than we expected. Our flight got pushed back twice. It was almost 2:30 when we finally left warm, sunny Florida. Baltimore was dark, cold and drizzly when we landed. Blah. I was really happy to see Pepper when we picked him up from Clark’s parents though, and he seemed pretty happy to see us — when we got home, he made these happy little groaning/whimpering sounds while Clark and I petted him all over haha. He also laid on the guilt trip even thicker than usual when we both had to leave for work this morning, unfortunately!

As far as running goes, I’m technically in Day 2 of Shamrock Marathon training, but I’ve not yet run a step haha. I did not feel like getting up and running before my meeting this morning. Plus, the wind was howling and it was down below freezing, which I hate anyway, but really couldn’t face after all that nice warm weather the last few days. Maybe I’ll run later today when I get home, but I’ll probably just wait until tomorrow to get started.

One final note on the race: This was the first year in Jimmie stupid Johnson’s entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career that he finished outside the top 10 in points — he wound up 11th in points after finishing ninth in the race, and I was there to see it!

November 13, 2014

Training for 11/13/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:26 am

After being able to run in shorts and a tank top the last couple of days, I’m having a hard time convincing myself to put on the layers I’m going to need today — it feels like 35 degrees at the moment with the wind chill. Plus, Pepper isn’t going to like leaving his current position, curled up in a ball on the couch.

I’ll be back to shorts and tank tops soon enough though. This afternoon, we’re leaving for Miami, and here’s the five-day forecast:

miami weather

Much better! The only thing I don’t like is the 40 percent chance of rain Sunday, when they’re supposed to be racing. Our flight home is noon Monday, so that could be a problem if they have to postpone it. I’m just going to look on the bright side — there’s a 60 percent chance it won’t rain.

Anyway, the last couple of days have been pretty slack. I did 4.5 miles with Pepper on Tuesday afternoon, and another three with him on the trail yesterday. There were several other people there too, since it was such an unseasonably nice day, including that old guy who lets his huge standard poodle flounce around off-leash. I probably haven’t seen them since last winter, maybe even the winter before. While Pepper tried to ignore the poodle bouncing around him and yelping right in his face, the old guy said, “Hey, haven’t seen you in a while!” I said something pleasant in return, but what I wanted to say was, “Yeah, IT’S BEEN NICE.” Get a damn leash for your asshole dog!

Pepper and I went on our way and the old guy and the poodle headed in the direction of a bridge we had just crossed, where a couple had been sitting on a bench. I heard the poodle start barking its head off at them. God I hate that dog. Total asshole.

The plan today is 5.5 miles. Maybe it won’t feel so bad once we get moving. Ha!

I cannot wait to get to Miami tonight. We’re staying right in South Beach. It looks like there’s a very nice oceanfront park with a paved biking/running path just a couple of blocks from our hotel, so I’m going to try to get in a couple short runs while we’re there. Tomorrow, we’re going to see Dumb and Dumber To, which is the whole reason we’re flying down tonight instead of waiting until tomorrow.

We have tickets to all three races this weekend, but the only one we’ll definitely go watch is the Cup race Sunday. Neither of us watch the Truck Series, and Chase Elliott already wrapped up the Nationwide Series championship last weekend. The only drama remaining is finding out which of the four remaining Chase drivers (that will get confusing when Elliott moves up to Cup) will finish highest in Sunday’s race and win the Cup championship. Our ticket package also allows us down on the track after the race, where the winning championship team will be celebrating. I’m hoping it’s Kevin Harvick there!

November 11, 2014

Training for 11/11/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 12:51 pm

Happy Veterans Day to all my fellow vets!

I saw some people on my Facebook feed who’d posted pictures of themselves in service, and it made me think of this one:

BWI

That’s my brother Dave and me after we both arrived at BWI just before Christmas 2002. We hadn’t seen each other since he left for Navy basic training Sept. 11, and I left for Air Force basic training a month later. By this point we’d both graduated from basic and moved on to tech school for job training, and this was our first visit home. I was so freaking happy to see him, as well as my mom and Aunt Helen, who’d come to pick us up.

That made me think of the letters we wrote each other while we both in basic, trying to figure out who had it worse. (I did, duh. No, he did, because Navy basic was three weeks longer than Air Force at that time, so he automatically won, but I never admitted it.) I still have a Tupperware container full of every letter I got in basic training.

Getting a letter at basic training was the shit. It could be full of the most mundane life details, and a lot of what I got was, but every single one was more entertaining than anything else I’ve ever read. Letters were the best distraction from an otherwise sucky experience.

I also got greeting cards, postcards, pictures, phone cards (for calling home from the pay phones on the “patio” when we’d earned it), and three different newspaper clippings and one hand-written account (from Aunt Debbie) about Jamie McMurray’s win over Bobby at Charlotte on Oct. 13 in just his second Sprint Cup start, the first race after I left for basic.

The letters were the best though. Some of my favorite excerpts:

Oct. 15, 2002

Mom

“Are they mean to you there? Are you with all females or both? What’s your day like? How’s the food?”

They were very mean, my female flight had a “brother flight” we had to train with, my days sucked and the food probably sucked too, but at the time those mass-produced “fried shrimp” tasted like something out of a five-star restaurant.

Oct. 15

Grandmom

“I’m sure you’ve figured out already you’re a long way from Friendship!”

Grandmom used to say that to me ALL THE TIME the year before, when I spent my freshman year at Salisbury University living with her and my Pop Pres. Friendship was the teeny little village, if you could even call it that, near my parents’ farm. Grandmom and Pop Pres were very worried about their country bumpkin granddaughter surviving in the big city haha.

Oct. 17

Dad

“I made it home fine from the airport. Stopped at the outlet store at Queenstown and bought some Lee jeans and some sweatshirts. P.S. Bobby said that on October 8th, he felt like his jinx was gone and something in Texas was bringing him luke (luck?).”

Now we know where my dad has been getting his entire wardrobe since the ’70s. I also appreciated the suggestion that I was bringing Bobby terrible luck until I got carted off to basic.

Oct. 22

Mom

“I felt bad after talking with you – I know you want us to come to your graduation and I would love to but I just don’t know how I could swing it. I am taking my last three vacation days to go to Dave’s graduation and Dad will be busy with soybeans then. They haven’t even touched the beans yet so this year will be very late. Not to mention the cost of flying. (Ed. note: And the fact my dad refuses to fly!) So honey I don’t think we’ll be able to. You’ll be graduating from college one of these days so we’ll just have to wait till then. I know how hard you are trying and I am so proud of you.”

Alright, this one was not funny at all. In fact, it made me tear up again remembering it. It really hurt that no one from my family came to Texas for my graduation. Every little emotion was magnified by 1,000 when I was in basic, and this was probably the hardest I cried the whole time, when my mom broke the news over the phone that they were going to Dave’s graduation in Chicago a week before mine, but not mine. I understood why, and my boyfriend at the time came out for it, and my parents made good on their promise to come to my college graduation four years later, but yeah, still sucked.

Oct. 28

Dave

“We had PT-1 two days ago. I didn’t feel good but I still did it. I ran 1.5 miles in 9:40 which was disappointing. It was second in the division and one second slower than PT-0. I’m gonna pass out after PT-2, I’m gonna run so hard.”

“P.S. You shoulda joined the Navy!”

Oct. 28

Laura

“I am sure you’re kicking butt! All that farm training pays off.”

Oct. 28

Mom

“The boys are coming here to trick-or-treat and then we’ll go scare Mom-mom at the nursing home!”

Oct. 29

Dad

“Around here things are going slow. It just keeps raining and raining. We have not even started to cut soybeans yet.”

Oct. ?

Laura

“Roommate situation is getting a LITTLE better. Smell was bad last night, but that was more Stephanie’s feet. GAG.”

“While I was gone last weekend, (Wendy) washed her dirty underwear in our SINK!”

(Laura was a junior at Bob Jones University in South Carolina, dealing with some disgusting roommates, apparently.)

Nov. 4

Laura

“How do you like Texas? You’re so close to Bobby’s birthplace =) My roommate Stephanie did the unthinkable. I tried to stop her, but she persisted. I was so distraught… she hung up her Jeff Gordon calendar.”

Thanks for fighting the good fight, krod!

Nov. 11

Dave

“I can’t wait to get my cellphone back. I’m gonna leave 100 bullshit messages on your phone so you have to listen to them and delete them.”

“I bet you’re regretting not joining the Navy, but it’s too late now.”

“You can call me from your cell when allowed and we’ll discuss how much school sucks (your case) and how nice it is (my case.)”

This was just before Dave graduated. His next stop was Oxnard, Calif., outside L.A., for school, while I was going to Wichita Falls, in northern Texas, so he was not wrong.

Nov. 12

Mom

“What’s it like to camp out with scores of other girls?”

It took me a minute to figure out what the hell she was talking about, but she must have written this letter the day after I talked to her on the phone before leaving for the fifth week of training, which was spent in the field pretending to be under attack by enemies with chemical weapons. Not quite a Girl Scout camping trip haha. And for the record, it was fun.

Well, that’s enough reminiscing for today. I’m going to do some strength training and then take Pepper for a run.

November 10, 2014

Training for 11/10/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:49 am

I had a pretty great weekend of running!

Friday, I met Allison at her house, and we drove to the Rails to Trail that goes through Easton to do an 8-miler, to get a little protection from the wind.

We did intervals of four minutes running and one minute walking. Allison just got this fancy pants new Garmin that uses her smartphone’s Bluetooth to send live tracking to anyone Allison sends an email invite to. She’d sent one to her boyfriend in Philly, so he was sitting at work, watching a little dot run along the trail and getting live feedback on our current pace, total mileage and elevation. Every now and then, her phone would ‘ding’ with a text he’d send her when we hit another mile marker. It was all very high tech! But that would be a very useful feature if, say, someone was spectating at a race so they could know exactly when to expect their runner.

We did the eight miles at just under an 11:00/mile overall average.

Allison and me back at her house after our run.

Allison and me back at her house after our run.

I went to Annapolis from there, to pick up my race packet at the Naval Academy football stadium for Sunday’s Across the Bay 10K. The wind felt like it was blowing even harder as I crossed the bay bridge. I really hoped it chilled out for the race; otherwise, they might have had to postpone it.

Saturday morning, Clark, Pepper and I went out for a run around the 5.5-mile loop. The wind had already slacked off quite a bit, thankfully. We were aiming for 9:00/mile, and, in spite of Pepper’s best efforts to drag me along faster, we ran an 8:51/mile average.

I went to a bridal shower for one of my best friends that afternoon. We had a nice little luncheon with plenty of wine and a huge table of desserts. Alcohol and sugar are proven enemies of my GI tract when running, so I knew I should hold off, but whatever, it was a party! Plus, it’s a very rare day now that I get to hang out with all four of my close friends from high school without a single kid around, so I have to take advantage of that when I can.

Julie amongst all her gifts.

Julie amongst all her gifts.

Wendy, Meredith, Julie, me and TK.

Wendy, Meredith, Julie, me and TK.

Meredith and I were among the last ones to leave. When we did, she wasn’t ready to go home yet, so we went to a bar in East New Market for a couple more beers and some fried food — popcorn shrimp for me and freaking chicken livers for her, which made the whole bar smell like ass haha. More food I shouldn’t have eaten the night before a run, but oh well!

I figured I should leave the house by 5 a.m. Sunday for the 10K, so I set my alarm for 4:30 when I went to bed. I kept waking up all night, convinced I’d missed it, and when I did fall asleep, I had a lot of really weird dreams that all had to do with being super late for something.

I felt surprisingly well-rested when my alarm did finally go off. It was chilly but dead calm outside, so weather wouldn’t be a concern for this race. The only thing I was really worried about was needing a bathroom while I was running across a 4.3-mile bridge, where obviously there wouldn’t be any woods to duck into. I made myself a black coffee to drink on the way there, in the hopes of getting things moving before the race started, and put two Imodium caplets in my pocket, to take about an hour before I’d start running, so that if things weren’t moving already, they wouldn’t start!

There was absolutely no parking or even access to be dropped off at the race start site; all runners had to take a shuttle bus from one of five locations. There were two on the Eastern Shore. I couldn’t decide if it’d be better to park at Chesapeake College, which meant a shorter drive for me but a longer shuttle ride, or Kent Narrows, which would be the opposite, obviously. I wound up parking at the college.

The race information had suggested being on a bus at least an hour before your wave started. Since my wave was the first to go, at 7:15 a.m., I should have been on a bus by 6:15. I was parked a full half-hour before that, at 5:45. I was on top of things!

I sat in my warm car as long as possible. I decided to take my handheld water bottle for the race; it was a “cupless” event, so if you were going to need something to drink during the race, you had to bring your own bottle. There were two stops along the course to refill it though. Anyway, normally I wouldn’t have bothered carrying it for just a 10K, but since I’d drank wine and beer the day before, I thought I might get some side stitches, so I brought it just in case.

Other than the bottle, all I brought with me was a ChapStick and my camera. I didn’t want to carry it, but I thought there might be some good pictures to get out of crossing the bridge on foot.

At 6:10, I took off my sweats (since there was no gear check), took my Imodium, locked my car and got in the bus line, expecting to be on a warm bus in a few minutes.

Five minutes passed. Volunteers were standing at the door to the first bus, but not letting anyone on. Runners were shivering and wondering what the hell, why can’t we get on those damn buses? Ten minutes passed, then 15, then 20. I was starting to worry about getting to the start on time for the first wave. What is the hold up, anyway?

Finally, two security guards showed up — to frisk us all before we were allowed on the buses. They were very thorough, checking every little pocket and patting down our skin-tight compression clothing. I don’t know where they thought a runner would be hiding a bomb, but they weren’t taking any chances! They also checked over the inside of the buses themselves before any runners were allowed on them. I understand the bridge was a big safety concern, but it was seriously less of a hassle when I ran a half marathon on an Air Force base a few years ago.

I wouldn’t have cared at all if they’d shown up on time though! As it was, it was almost 6:45 before my bus, the second one to leave the college, pulled out for the roughly 25-minute drive to the start, with a driver who had to ask where Route 50 was! Um, it’s the main highway right there in front of the college, the one you presumably drove to get here in the first place.

We pulled up to the race start at Northrop Grumman on the western shore with about 10 minutes to spare, just enough time to hit a port-o-potty and make a break for the race start. However, for some reason, they wound up starting the first wave five minutes early, and I missed it anyway. Oh well. I got in the corral and waited for the start of the second wave in 15 minutes.

Since I had some time to kill, I took some pictures of the bridge. You can kind of see the first wave of runners heading up the eastbound span, the closer one.

view of bridge from the start

Some guy in the corral offered to take my picture:

me at the start

Pretty soon, it was our turn to go!

start line

I'm in the bottom left corner.

I’m in the bottom left corner.

The first few tenths of a mile, maybe, were on a little access road, but we quickly found ourselves on Route 50 and then on the bridge itself, starting the 1.7-mile uphill climb.

At a 3 percent grade, it wasn’t a terribly steep climb, but it went on forever. I’d never noticed how “steep” that part of the bridge was until I signed up for this race last summer. It definitely felt even steeper on foot than in my car.

I did pretty well with the climb though, I thought. Mile 1, which included the brief flat part at the beginning, was an 8:10 and mile 2, which was 100 percent up, was an 8:30.

That mile also included a pause to take this picture nearing the dogleg curve:

dog leg

Finally we hit the top of the bridge and it flattened out for a bit. Mile 3 dropped to a 7:42, including one more stop to take this picture:

top of bridge

What went up had to come back down! We hit a sweet downhill on the way to the Eastern Shore. Mile 4 was 7:29, my fastest of the day.

2014 bridge 10K on bridge

Soon we were back on solid ground. Before the first highway exit, there was sort of a little foot trail I’d never noticed before, with a small wooden bridge over a ditch. We crossed that and wound up in a parking lot. There was another small uphill climb out of the parking lot and on to a road. We passed the mile 5 marker here, which was a 7:49 on my Garmin.

The last mile was tough. I was already gassed from all that “hill” climbing and descending, and there was yet another little uphill section to cross an overpass. When I got to the top, I seriously considered walking. Everything just felt numb! But then I looked at my watch, saw I had less than a half-mile to go and made myself suck it up and keep running.

On the other side of the overpass, we got a nice little downhill, and soon we could hear the finish line announcer. The mile 6 marker appeared — it was a 7:50 on my Garmin — and then we turned a corner and there it was, the finish line!

I crossed the line officially in 48:32, a 7:49/mile average. My second-slowest 10K ever and five minutes off my PR, but I haven’t run many and every other one I ran was on a pancake-flat course. I was pretty happy with it. Plus — no Code Abbys! Thanks, Imodium!

The results show I was 41st of 1,515 runners in the F 30-34 age group (top 2 percent), 198th out of 9,662 women (top 2 percent) and 746th out of 14,921 total runners (top 5 percent.)

We got medals, space blankets and a little bag of free food — pretzels, a plain bagel, granola bar and a banana — in the chute. There were a ton of food vendors and beer trucks outside the chute in the finish area village, but I didn’t have any money with me and I really wanted to get back to my warm sweats, so I was on the first bus back to the college.

There were still buses leaving the college for the start line when our bus pulled in to drop us off. I was on my way home before 9 a.m.

Overall, I’m glad I ran this race, because it was really cool to cross the bridge on foot after driving it so many times, but I don’t think I’ll do it again. It was a lot of work for a 10K! Though the race organizers did do a very good job handling the logistics for nearly 15,000 runners, especially considering this was the first year. My only suggestions to improve it would be to offer gear check (especially if they want runners to hang around and spend money at the finish line) and to make sure the security guards show up at the shuttle pick-up locations on time.

The rest of my day was spent on the couch, watching the Ravens game, which they won, and the NASCAR race, to see who would be competing for the championship when we’re in Miami for the final race of the season next weekend.

Kevin Harvick won, which advanced him regardless of points but only left three more spots for the rest of drivers. Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, who were among the point leaders going in, were in good position at the end of the race to guarantee they’d get two of those three remaining spots. It was down to Jeff Gordon or Ryan Newman for the final spot.

Gordon was running second; there was no way anyone would pass Harvick, so Gordon was doing absolutely everything he could, which meant he needed Newman to finish low enough to get at least one less point than Gordon.

On the last restart, with only a few laps to go, Newman started two positions ahead of where Gordon needed him to finish. But then Marcos Ambrose and Kyle Larson both passed Newman. Going into the last lap, Gordon and Newman were technically tied in points, but with more wins this season, Gordon would have gotten the tiebreaker and the final spot in the championship race.

It looked like Gordon had pulled it off. But then, on the last turn, on the last lap, Newman made one last desperate attempt to get by Larson — he pretty much drove into the last turn on the inside of Larson as hard as he could, and then bounced off Larson’s car, sending it into the outside wall and giving Newman the single point he needed to take that championship spot back from Gordon.

One. Effing. Point. Gordon was out, Newman was in. That was it. Game over.

Clark and I were pretty stunned. I mean, nothing against Newman, but he does not deserve to be one of four drivers with an equal shot at winning the entire championship next week! He has zero wins, only a handful of top fives and not many more top 10s. But somehow, every time they’ve cut down the number of Chase contenders, he’s had just enough points to squeak through. And now, if Harvick, Logano and Hamlin all blow engines or wreck next Sunday, Newman could win the championship with another mediocre finish. It’s mind boggling, and it completely defies NASCAR’s claim this new Chase format would reward wins over “points racing” — playing it safe to get a decent finish rather than going for the win, which was everyone’s complaint about the old system of giving the championship to the guy who just earned the most points through the entire season.

And poor Gordon. If he hadn’t gotten wrecked by Brad Keselowski last week in Texas, he’d have either won that race and guaranteed his own spot in Miami, or he’d have definitely finished high enough to get enough points to beat Newman after Phoenix. But he didn’t, and he can’t change that now.

On the bright side though, at least Jimmie stupid Johnson isn’t in the championship running! I have to keep reminding myself of that.

So I’ll be rooting for Harvick next week. Second choice would be Logano, because he’s won five times this year and has been pretty consistently strong. Hamlin has at least won one race. But Newman? Come on.

November 7, 2014

Training for 11/7/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 8:56 am

I haven’t done a whole lot since I last posted. Wednesday, I took a complete rest day. Yesterday, Pepper and I did a lap around the 4.5-mile loop in between downpours.

Today, I’m going to do some strength training, and then I’m meeting Allison for an 8-miler. She’s getting ready for the Rehoboth half marathon in a few weeks too. The rain is gone, but it’s windy as hell and quite a bit cooler than yesterday.

After that, I have to drive up to Annapolis and pick up my race packet for Sunday’s Across the Bay 10K.

I really don’t know what to expect from this race. I’m irritated there’s no bag check, for a race with 20,000 runners and no parking anywhere close to the finish line. It’s supposed to be in the 40s Sunday morning, which means I’ll quickly get cold after I’m done running, but other than the thin Mylar “space blanket” they’re handing out, I’ll have nothing to put on. Normally, there’d either be a bag check truck, where I could store my stuff, or my car would be parked close enough I could just keep it in there. But nope, neither of those options exist.

Not that the race organizers didn’t think of that! They have two really great suggestions:

A. “Make a friend or family member meet you at the finish area with a change of clothes and an extra jacket.” Hey Clark, I know it’s 4:30 on a Sunday morning, but get your ass out of bed, ride to Stevensville with me and wait for me to run a 10K, just so you can hand me my sweatpants after — thanks!

OR

B. “Run with a jacket tied around your waist.” What is this, middle school gym class? We already all have to carry a handheld water bottle if we want to drink anything during the race — it’s a “cupless” event — now I have to tie all of my extra clothes on to my body if I don’t want to freeze within 10 minutes of finishing? No.

Well, since I don’t know anyone else running this race, I won’t have much of a reason to hang around the after party too long anyway. The space blanket will just have to be enough for the bus ride back to my car.

Anyway, other than this race, I’d like to get in 7 miles or so tomorrow morning. Outside of running, I have a bridal shower tomorrow afternoon, and Sunday, of course, is the big race at Phoenix, where they’ll determine which four drivers will race for the championship next week in Miami. (This time next week, Clark, Mike and I will already be there!) Fingers crossed for both Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick.

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