A Simple Running Log

November 4, 2014

Training for 11/4/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:40 pm


I ran a much, much better half marathon this weekend than I expected or deserved, given my lack of training over the past, oh, three months. Even better though was seeing a lot of my favorite running friends again and meeting some new ones.

So I guess my weekend really started Friday night, which was Halloween. I wanted to dress up as a dead pirate, but of course I didn’t find out until 15 minutes before Mike was meeting Clark and me at our house that a lot of my face paint had dried out since I’d bought it last Halloween and left it under my bathroom sink for the past year. (Who could’ve seen that coming?) I wanted to use white cream makeup for the base, but it was completely unusable. All I had was gray, plus the grease paint I could get to work. I wasn’t happy with the finished product, but it was better than nothing, and now I know a $5 face paint palette from Walmart is only good for one Halloween.

We went to 16 Mile Brewing Co. in Georgetown for their costume party. Mike had this chicken hat/face mask combo thing and Clark was wearing his mullet wig, a Texas tuxedo (denim shirt and pants, in different shades) and old Starter high-tops.

Mike and Clark.

Mike and Clark.

Me with my "parrot" (OK, chicken.)

Me with my “parrot” (OK, chicken.)

Mike said I looked like a Scooby Doo villain, and Clark said I looked like the ghost of Skeeter from the ’90s Nickelodeon cartoon “Doug” haha.

Clark with a mask from the brewery.

Clark with a mask from the brewery.

Severed finger in the bottom of my beer.

Severed finger in the bottom of my beer.

Side note: See there, among the actual Halloween candy sprinkled on the table, a package of pretzels? Printing a cartoon jack-o-lantern on a snack-size bag of pretzels doesn’t make them any more acceptable as a Halloween candy than a freaking apple. You’re fooling no one, pretzels. Get out.

Making the severed finger do my own finger's dirty work.

Making the severed finger do my own finger’s dirty work.

I only had a couple s’mores brown ales, since I’d volunteered to drive Mullet Man and the Chicken, and I had to get up pretty early the next day to drive to Huntington, W. Va.

Marshall is the original Loopfest. The first one was held in 2010. I’ve always meant to attend it, but then I’d wind up signing up for a different fall marathon.

When I finally signed up for it this year, I figured it wasn’t much farther into West Virginia than Morgantown, where my brother-in-law attended West Virginia University. And I didn’t bother to actually find out if I was right about that until a couple of weeks ago, when Sass, the local whose house Jen and I were staying at, sent me his address for my GPS.

When I did look, I found out Huntington is about as far away from Morgantown as you can get and still be in West Virginia. It’s on the Ohio border, two and a half hours farther than Morgantown. Google maps predicted I had a seven-hour drive. Ouch!

I got up at 6 a.m. Saturday, showered, threw some stuff in a bag and hit the road. The drive was long, but other than the off-and-on rain, it wasn’t bad. I got to Sass’s house, about a half-hour east of Huntington, just after 2:30 p.m.

Angie and Carissa were staying at the home of Lisa, another local, who lived pretty close to Sass. They were all at Sass’s house, along with Jen, when I got there, and the lot of us loaded up in Sass’s van and went to Huntington to meet everyone else.

We were the last ones to get to packet pick-up, which was small but efficient. Even though I had dropped to the half, the organizers still gave me the jacket that’s only supposed to go to marathon runners. I feel like an impostor wearing it, but it’s a really nice Asics jacket! Plus, it does have “13.1” and “26.2” printed on it, so I guess I’m allowed. I didn’t wear it all weekend though, while a lot of the actual marathon runners in our group did.

With the whole Loop group together, we went to a memorial near part of the race course for a picture in the matching T-shirts someone else had made:


Then we went to dinner at a little pizza place, where we joked this would be the only picture ever taken of this particular group of people without beers:


Lisa, Jen, Carissa, me and Sass, who looked super pissed to have an iced tea instead of a beer.

But we were holding off since we all had to run in the morning. I, for one, really wanted to keep up my streak of getting through races this year without having to stop to use the bathroom. I abstained from alcohol and sugar all day and drank a ton of water.

After dinner, we went back to Sass’s. Jen and I laid out our stuff for the next morning, set our phone alarms and went to bed.

Saturday night was, of course, the end of Daylight Saving Time. Apparently Jen’s phone did not reset itself when the time changed at 2 a.m., because her 5:30 alarm started going off at 4:30. I heard her gathering up her race clothes to go change in the bathroom, so I checked my phone, which said it was 4:30, and she went back to bed.

About an hour later, I was thinking my phone’s 5:30 alarm should be going off. I checked my phone, and it had unset itself — it had gone back to the old time, and was reporting it was 6:30. I’ve never seen a cell phone do that. I tried turning it off and back on, which did nothing. Eventually I had to change the time myself. Weird.

Anyway, in spite of the phone weirdness, Jen and I were up and dressed on time. We ate light breakfasts at Sass’s, and he drove us back to Huntington.

The race was set to start outside the Marshall University football stadium at 7 a.m. We got there about a half-hour before that. We got to use real bathrooms in the stadium — no standing in miles-long port-o-potty lines!

It was pretty cold Sunday morning. At least the rain and wind from the day before had moved on. I think a lot of other runners agonized over what to wear, but I didn’t have to think about it. After my miserable experience at TCM a couple of years ago, I learned I do not run very hot, at least not compared to a lot of people. I had on capri tights, a long-sleeved mock neck top with a quarter zipper, good gloves and a good earband; no throwaway stuff.

I waited until the last minute to take off my sweats. There was no bag check at Marshall, but Sass, who wasn’t running, took all our stuff and threw it in his van. I got in the starting corral with Dave, who was going for a 3:32 marathon, and Lisa, who wasn’t sure what time she was going for in the half, because her calf muscle may or may not lock up on her. I was just going to run with Dave until I couldn’t.

Dave had a plan to run his first BQ marathon. He wanted to start out slow in the first mile, pick it up slightly over the next five, drop to goal pace at mile six and then, hopefully, continue to speed up in the second half to under goal pace, to make up for the first six slower miles.

A cannon blast started the race. Lisa shot off the starting line. Dave took off at an easy lope. I ran right next to him. We were getting passed left and right, but passing plenty of other people too. We got boxed in a few times. A lot of runners would freak out a little that they were already losing time; Dave just said “First mile doesn’t even count.” Our Garmins chirped an 8:45 opening mile.

Dave said it was time to speed up to 8:30/mile over the next five miles. The running crowd had already opened up enough we were no longer fighting for room to pass people. We ran through a commercial section of Huntington, then through a park along the Ohio River, and back onto a highway through a commercial section. Some of the scenery was lacking here, but the course was as flat as promised.

Somewhere in the first couple of miles, the 3:45 marathon pace group blew by us. That’s almost 15 minutes slower than Dave’s goal time. Again, a lot of runners in that situation would freak out, abandon pacing plan and go after that pace group to get back in front, but Dave just said, “The leader must be running a bank and bonk strategy,” and stuck to his plan.

Around mile 4, a guy ran up alongside us and asked if we both blogged on the Loop. We said we did, and he knew both of us by our Loop usernames. He said he blogged a couple times himself many years ago, but since then he’d just been lurking. He was working on running a marathon in all 50 states, and had three left after Marshall. He took a running selfie with Dave and me and then took off.

Miles 2 through 5 were all within seconds of Dave’s 8:30 goal pace. It was really amazing how quickly he could lock into the next pace in his plan. As we neared mile 6 and the beginning of the 8:00 miles, I started to think my time running with Dave was about to come to an end. I didn’t feel bad yet, but I couldn’t stop reminding myself how long it’d been since I’d run more than seven or eight miles, and how long it’d been since I’d done anything harder than an easy run.

Soon enough, we passed the mile 6 marker. Dave said it was time to go. I told him I’d see how long I could hang, but the end might be coming soon. We passed a timing mat at 6.1 miles in 51:43, an 8:29/mile average.

Right after that, we ran down into Ritter Park. This part of the course followed a crushed limestone path. We ran up on that pace group that had passed us. It took a while to pick our way through the pace group on that narrow path, and we lost a few seconds in the next mile, but we were still pretty much right on Dave’s 8:00/mile goal.

I took my one GU of the race just before mile 7 — peanut butter chocolate, if you’re curious, and it was really good — and kept running after Dave. I’d told myself to at least run one 8:00 mile. Then after we passed that pace group, I told myself I couldn’t back off now, because then they’d all pass me back. Pride haha. Then we were at mile 8 and I only had five miles to go.

I think it was at mile 9 I finally felt like I could keep up with Dave the rest of the way. We were just leaving the park and getting back on a paved road, and I thought, it’s only 4.1 more miles. I can run that!

Right after that, we passed a spectator blasting the Jimmy Fallon/will.i.am collaboration “Ew!” and I heard Jimmy Fallon (Sara, with no H, because H’s are EW!) say “Where’d she get that outfit? Ew!” which made me laugh.

Still chugging along, we came up to the only real “hill” on the course, right after running under an overpass. I kept up with Dave, but my quads were embarrassingly worn out after that!

We turned a corner and were almost to mile 10. Dave took a cup of Gatorade from a volunteer. In the handoff, the volunteer accidentally hit a button on Dave’s Garmin, which reset it to “virtual pace partner” mode. It would not go back to just showing current pace and distance like he wanted. For the first time all day, Dave started to freak out a little. My little Garmin 10 was low on battery, and I wasn’t sure it’d make it to the end of a marathon, but I offered to let Dave take it. Just as my half-numb fingers got the strap undone, Dave’s Garmin finally went back to race mode. There was no way I’d be able to get my fingers to put it back on though, so I just carried it the rest of the way.

Alright, we were well past mile 10 after that crisis was solved and I had less than a 5K to run, though I didn’t say anything because Dave definitely had much farther to go. He asked if I had a 24-minute 5K in me, and I said I thought so. Dave said my form and stride looked good and my breathing sounded good. I couldn’t tell if he really thought that or if he was just playing a psychological trick so I’d think that was true haha. Either way, it made me feel better.

The course kind of retraced the first couple of miles here. We ran back through that park along the Ohio River, then headed back toward the stadium. We saw the marathon leader going back for his second loop, with a pretty sizable lead.

Before I knew it, we were coming up on an intersection around mile 12.4, with volunteers directing half marathoners to go straight for the stadium and marathoners to go right for their second half. I couldn’t believe I’d actually run that far with Dave! We gave each other as much of a hug as you can give someone while running. I thanked him for the awesome pacing and wished him luck with the second half of his race.

And then I was alone. Two seconds later, I recognized the ponytail quite a ways ahead of me. Lisa!

I cranked it up to try to catch up with her. I looked down and saw sub-7:00 pace on the Garmin. Look at me, running that fast in the last mile of a half marathon! I was really hoping it was actually her, because running that fast started to hurt very quickly, and I was going to feel pretty damn stupid if it wasn’t haha.

I pulled up alongside her — yup, it was Lisa! Her calf wasn’t bothering her after all, and she was on track to eke out a little PR if she could keep up her pace. So I told her I’d run the rest of the way with her.

The rest of the way was not far at all. We were directed into the stadium, where we ran down a pretty steep hill and then onto the artificial turf of the football field for the final sprint. Volunteers handed out footballs you could carry across the finish line, but Lisa said “I’m not slowing down to pick up a damn football!” haha. So we passed them.

We sprinted the last little bit to the finish line. I’d had my watch set to show current pace and distance the whole race, so I had no idea what kind of finish time to expect, but our chip time was 1:47:43.

lisa and i finish

Lisa did, in fact, run a PR of a few seconds! And while I was 10 minutes off my own PR, I ran a hell of a lot better than I should have. And I never had to use the bathroom!

I was very surprised to see my time was good for fourth of 116 runners in the F 30-34 age group! I was also 27th of 618 women, and 107th of 1,051 total runners.

Even better, my average pace for the entire 13.1 miles was 8:14/mile, quite a bit faster than my average pace at the mile 6.1 mat, which means I negative split the hell out of that bitch, thanks to Dave’s master pacing. I don’t have my Garmin with me at the moment, but when I looked at the individual splits, they got progressively faster the entire way, until I ran a 7:45 in mile 13!

I was extremely pleased with my run to say the least. A few weeks ago, Clark went for a run around the 4.5-mile loop. When he got home, he figured out he’d run about a 9:00/mile average. He asked what my average pace was in my fastest half. I said 7:25/mile. He said, “How the hell did you run that fast that far?” And even though I just did that a year and a half ago, I really couldn’t remember. It didn’t feel like something I’d actually done. It didn’t feel like I could still run a half at all. Then I went and busted out a decent one. If that’s not proof that it’s all in my head and I can run that fast again if I want to, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, back to Sunday. I got cold pretty quick after I was done running, so I changed every stitch of clothing in the stadium bathroom and then joined Sass and everyone else who’d finished the half, just outside the stadium entrance, to cheer on the rest of our runners. Sass had seen the marathon runners go by on their way out. He said Dan was on pace for 3:05. Steve was the next one to go by, followed closely by Carissa, and then Dave.

Sass poured me a Shock Top pumpkin beer, and I got to work cheering. We saw Dan go by on his way to a 3:09 finish. Not the finish he wanted, but pretty impressive to say the least.

Then we waited for our 3:30-ish runners, expecting Steve, Carissa and Dave, in that order. But lo and behold, around that corner first came Dave, way under his goal time! We went insane for him! He looked so great, like he was at mile 2, not mile 25.9! He finished in 3:28, a 28-minute PR and his first BQ, with more than enough of a cushion to guarantee he’ll get in when registration opens for the 2016 Boston Marathon. After witnessing firsthand his perfect execution of “start slow and speed up,” I am a true believer in that strategy.

Carissa came flying by right behind him, on her way to a 3:31 finish, which was also a PR for her. Steve came by a few minutes later, looking a little less “flying” and a little more “hurting” than the last two, but still getting a very respectable 3:38 finish.

Our group’s last runner finished the marathon in 4:30ish, and we cheered for every runner in between, as well as a lot more after. Among our group’s runners were lots of PRs, multiple age group winners and even the overall women’s winner in the half marathon!

Overall, I was very impressed with the Marshall University Marathon as an event. It had everything I like — flat course, small field, sparse but enthusiastic runners and great swag for a decent price. Seriously, look at everything I got for my $80 entry fee (for the full, which I originally planned to run) :

Asics jacket, medal, lapel pin (on the medal ribbon) and wood etching.

Asics jacket, medal, lapel pin (on the medal ribbon) and wood etching.

Around noon, we all went our separate ways to our hotels and houses, to get cleaned up and then meet at this pizza place near Sass’s house for the after party.

We finally got all the beer we’d denied ourselves the day before!

I had on my glasses because the NASCAR race was on TV and I needed to see it, obviously.

Me, Sass, Steve, Angie, Lisa, Carissa and Jen. I had on my glasses because the NASCAR race was on TV and I needed to see it, obviously.

Jen and me. And beer!

Jen and me. And beer!

The after after party then moved back to Sass’s house, where I got to use the Marshall pint glass Sass’s lovely wife, Missy, had given Jen and me:

It holds beer real good.

It holds beer real good.

Dave and Dan had asked me to explain NASCAR and the whole Chase format to them. Back at the house, we had the race on. Everyone watched the end of it, and were very surprised by the huge brawl that broke out on pit road. They didn’t know NASCAR got like that!

After watching the video multiple times on nascar.com, I took screen shots of my favorite moments.

Jeff Gordon (far left) confronting Brad Keselowski (far right) after Keselowski tried to pass Gordon on the last restart but cut down Gordon's left rear tire instead, causing Gordon's tire to go down, him to spin out, not win the race and fall to fourth in the Chase going into the final elimination race. Actual line from Gordon here: "Are you stupid?"

Jeff Gordon (far left) confronting Brad Keselowski (far right) after Keselowski tried to pass Gordon on the last restart but cut down Gordon’s left rear tire instead, causing Gordon’s tire to go down, him to spin out, not win the race and fall to fourth in the Chase going into the final elimination race. Actual line from Gordon here: “Are you stupid?”

Some crew members were scuffling, but things were mostly civil between Gordon and Keselowski, until, out of nowhere:

A wild Kevin Harvick appears!

A wild Kevin Harvick appears!

Harvick is the dude in the red and white driver’s suit, all the way to the left here, coming up and shoving Keselowski from behind — for no reason haha! I think all the drivers are fed up with Keselowski right now, and even though Harvick wasn’t personally affected by his antics this time, he just wanted to get in his own hit.

So Harvick immediately retreated stage left, but his shoving Keslowski into the crowd was the light that fire needed, and all hell broke loose!

and then it was on

That’s Gordon and Keselowski, literally at each other’s throats.

It’s hard to see who hit who — there were a lot of crew members in this mix — but in the end, both Gordon and Keselowski had blood on their faces. NASCAR drivers rarely engage in any more than shoving, so this is unique.

Keselowski, who looked more like someone had popped a couple nasty pimples on his face.

Keselowski, who looked more like someone had popped a couple of nasty pimples on his face.

And Gordon, with an actual fat lip and a little blood at the corner of his mouth!

And Gordon, with an actual fat lip and a little blood at the corner of his mouth!

This was also where Gordon called Keselowski a “dipshit” on live TV haha.

I do feel bad for Gordon, and I am disappointed he went from a guaranteed spot in the final Chase round to having a very slim margin over even the eighth place driver, but damn, Phoenix next Sunday is going to be a very entertaining race.

Oh and meanwhile, Jimmie stupid Johnson won the race and was doing donuts and burnouts while those two were fighting, but who cares, because he still can’t win the championship!

Anyway, while I don’t think any non-NASCAR fans were magically converted that night, I didn’t catch the flak I normally do for watching it, so that was a win!

When the party broke up, I went to bed. Yesterday morning, everyone who was still in the area met one last time for breakfast, and then I made the seven-hour drive home. It was a lot more pleasant that time, since it wasn’t raining.

This morning, I felt so good and was up so early because of the time change I went out and did three miles before work. I’m actually kind of looking forward to the beginning of Shamrock Marathon training, whenever that is. (Soon.)


  1. Looks like a fun weekend! (Except for the having to run 13+ miles thing lol) glad it went well for you!

    Comment by Laura — November 6, 2014 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

    • Thank you! I was worried about the 13+ miles of running, but it turned out OK, thankfully 🙂

      Comment by aschmid3 — November 7, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Reply

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