A Simple Running Log

December 31, 2014

Training for 12/31/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:24 pm

Well, that’s it! 2014 is officially over, as far as my running goes.

I’ve run twice since I posted yesterday. I almost didn’t bother last night, but Clark just started training for the Shamrock Half Marathon, so when he got back from his own 3-mile run, he made me go for the 4.5-miler on my schedule. I pointed out if I moved from the couch, Pepper would no longer have my butt to use as a pillow, but Clark didn’t think that was a good enough excuse.

It’s gotten pretty damn cold here over the last couple of days. I had to break out my best winter running jacket last night, and I was still freezing cold the first mile or so. At least it wasn’t windy. It was also a very clear night with a ton of stars, the moon was out and most of the neighbors on my route had Christmas lights on. So it was pretty.

I was less than a mile from home when the ol’ gut pangs started. They went from zero to NOW in about three steps. I didn’t even have time to try to take cover. At least I remembered to turn off my headlamp haha.

Anyway, other than that, it was a pretty decent run at an easy 8:30/mile pace.

Today, for my last run of the year, I took Pepper for a lap around a route that turned out to be 8.4 miles. I had an 8-miler on the schedule; normally, I’d have taken a route that’s about 8.2 miles, but the last roughly 2 miles of that route would have been head-on into the cold wind, so I took a different way to stay in the woods and out of the wind.

It went well. I had a hard time holding Pepper to an easy pace, and our miles varied from just under 8:00 to 8:33. In the end, we ran 8.4 miles in 1:09:30, an 8:16/mile pace.

So that’s it. First, my December summary:

Mileage:

  • Week 1 (Dec. 1-6): 25.6 miles
  • Week 2 (Dec. 7-13): 23.5
  • Week 3 (Dec. 14-20): 33.1
  • Week 4 (Dec. 21-27): 33.1
  • Week 5 (Dec. 28-31): 17.4

Total: 123.4 miles

Triple digits! I’m happy with the mileage, though it should have been closer to 150 if I hadn’t been such a lazy bum about long runs all month. As far as racing went, I only ran the half marathon in Rehoboth, in which I failed to pace Jen to her first sub-2 and battled the worst gut problems I’ve had all year.

And now, my 2014 summary.

Mileage:

  • January: 31.4 miles
  • February: 65.2
  • March: 111.4
  • April: 126.4
  • May: 155.4
  • June: 148.1
  • July: 130.5
  • August: 56.3
  • September: 68.5
  • October: 101.8
  • November: 94.3
  • December: 123.4

Total: 1,212.7 miles

Man, this downward trend in my yearly mileage total that started in 2012 continues, unfortunately. That’s about 1,000 miles fewer than I ran in 2011, my highest year to date. I barely averaged 100 miles a month.

You can see I started the year injured, came back in March, had a few good months, got injured again at the end of July and got over that only to be hit by a general lack of motivation for the last few months of the year. It’s like I’m just waiting for the next injury now, so what’s the point of really getting back into training? I think that’s a big part of why I’m being so lazy about my long runs. I’m worried they’re the most likely to aggravate an old injury or find a new one.

Well, my running this year wasn’t all bad news. There were some bright spots.

In March, I ran Shamrock in Virginia Beach for the fifth year in a row, though I had to drop to the half for the first time. I was happy with my race and even happier to get to see a lot of my running friends again.

Finished the half in 1:48:43, though my chip screwed up and claimed I'd run 1:37. I wish!

Running the half.

postrace group

In April, I got to lead a pace group for the first time, leading the 2:30 pace group at the Island 2 Island Half Marathon in Ocean City. In spite of a Code Abby at mile 11, I finished in 2:29:51, so, almost perfect, and was sought out by no less than four people after the race who thanked me for my pacing.

Passing traffic at just over 5 mph. Suckers!

Passing traffic trying to get into Ocean City while running just over 5 mph. Suckers!

In May, I ran a Run or Dye 5K with my sister-in-law and her brother, and I ran the St. Michaels Half Marathon, which, at just under 1:44, would turn out to be my best half marathon of the year.

Wes, me and Kasey after the run.

Wes, me and Kasey after Run or Dye.

Between miles 11 and 12 of the St. Michaels half.

Between miles 11 and 12 of the St. Michaels half.

And then I ran the Masser 5-Miler that kicks off the Seashore Striders’ summer championship series, which continued with five 5Ks throughout the rest of the summer. I won my age group in the overall standings again.

Finishing the Beach Paper Firecracker 5K in 21:15, my best 5K of the year.

Finishing the Beach Paper Firecracker 5K in 21:15, my best 5K of the year.

In July, I ran a 50K with Jen. I had a great time, but I think tripping over roots hard with my left big toe twice near the beginning of the run led to the problems I would have with that foot for the next several weeks. Oh well.

Finishing the 50K.

Finishing the 50K.

In August, since I didn’t feel like I was ready to run again yet, I dropped to the 1-mile walk option for a 5K I’d already registered for, and walked it with Pepper, who took a big steaming dump about three-quarters of the way through. Jerk.

Post-dump.

Post-dump.

August was also when I ran Hood to Coast, a 197-mile, 12-person relay in Oregon. I’d never done anything like it before and I don’t know if I will again, but I’m glad I did it once. It was a really cool event, but I think it’s too big for the course. Traffic was a nightmare. It was still a lot of fun thanks to the other people on my team though. And then Clark and I spent a few days in Portland and Seattle.

The whole team before the first van left for the start line.

The whole team before the first van left for the start line.

Starting my first of three legs.

Starting my first of three legs.

In October, I joined a smaller team to run the Baltimore marathon relay. We kicked ass in our sparkle skirts!

Team Maryland Maniacs post-race.

Team Maryland Maniacs post-race.

I ran two awesome races in November — the Marshall University Half Marathon, which I got to run with two Loop friends, and the Across the Bay 10K, the race across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge I’d signed up for almost a year and a half ago.

Just after finishing Marshall with Lisa.

Just after finishing Marshall with Lisa.

View from the bridge in the beginning of the race.

View from the bridge in the beginning of the race.

December was most notable for my other must-do annual race, the Rehoboth Half Marathon. Like I mentioned earlier, it was one of the worst race experiences I’ve ever had, but the party was great as always! I’m definitely going back in 2015 — in fact, registration just opened a few hours ago and will be the absolute cheapest until midnight, so I better sign up soon.

The best I felt the whole race, just after my first bathroom break at mile 5.

The best I felt the whole race, just after my first bathroom break at mile 5.

Clark finishing in 1:54.

Clark finishing in 1:54.

Clark's dad, who also ran the half in 1:58, Clark and me after the race.

Clark’s dad, who also ran the half in 1:58, Clark and me after the race.

Slores!

Slores!

So, 2015?

My No. 1 running goal, well my only goal really, is to stay injury-freaking-free! I’m so tired of this shit!

If I can manage that, I’d like to finally finish a marathon (or two) for the first time since March 2013, instead of continuing to drop to the half like I have the last three times. I’d also like to run another 50K, and pace the Ocean City half again. That’s about it as far as concrete running goals.

Outside of running, I had a pretty good year overall. I got to see Northern California in January, when I went with Clark to one of his work shows, and Miami in November, when I went with Clark and Mike to see Kevin Harvick win the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

The other end of Route 50!

The other end of Route 50 outside Sacramento.

Chilling in the middle of Harvick's celebration donuts after the race.

Chilling in the middle of Harvick’s celebration donuts after the Miami race.

I also got a paddleboard (and almost got stranded in the ocean on it the very first day I had it haha) and experienced my first “gray out” while riding the scariest roller coaster I’ve ever seen, The Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion.

paddleboard

The paddleboard that nearly became my new home in the middle of the ocean.

My new favorite roller coaster ever!

My new favorite roller coaster ever!

I’m pretty excited to see what next year brings. I already know I’m getting my first niece any day now and we’re going to the Chicago race in September. Other than that, it’s wide open.

Happy New Year!

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December 30, 2014

Training for 12/30/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:41 pm

Yesterday, Pepper and I did an easy lap around the 4.5-mile loop. I haven’t run yet today, because I’ve been busy covering or watching people narrowly avoid head-on collisions all day.

This morning, I was sent to an accident scene outside Preston. Thinking it would just take 15 minutes, tops, to get some pictures and get out of there, I took Pepper with me. Well, when we got there, almost 90 minutes after the accident even happened, they were still extracting people from the car and bus that had hit each other head-on. Not a good sign. Anyway, no one wants to see pictures of bodies, so I sat in my car and waited.

And waited, and waited. Pepper was not happy.

"This is not the couch!"

“This is not the couch!”

"This is not the couch either!"

“This is not the couch either!”

The state highway employee directing traffic to the detour and the TV reporter who eventually showed up to wait with me both loved Pepper. Pepper was less than impressed with them, of course.

More than two hours after I got there, the ambulances (and one hearse) had finally gotten everyone out of there, the police were done recreating the accident and the TV reporter and I got our pictures. Pepper and I went to my office, where I wrote up the police report on the accident. Unfortunately, the driver of the car, a fourth grade teacher at the local elementary school, died at the scene. Everyone on the bus, which had people going to adult daycare, survived.

So that sucked. Then, on the drive home, I was on Federalsburg Highway, following a Pontiac Grand Am and a chicken truck. We weren’t poking along at all, doing about 10 over the speed limit, but this raggedy-ass Ford Contour came flying up on my rear bumper like we were barely moving anyway. It was close enough I could see the grill was busted out. Not a performance car by any means.

It followed me for a few miles, and then the driver decided he’d had enough of our slow asses, and he was going to pass my car and the Grand Am. Problem was, a Hyundai Sonata was coming from the opposite direction.

I slowed down to let the Ford in between me and the Grand Am, but the driver either didn’t see the oncoming car or thought his shitbox had the power to complete the pass, because he just stayed there in the oncoming lane, barreling toward the Hyundai. A frantic rear left turn signal finally appeared, so the driver saw the oncoming car, but the car was barely mustering up enough speed to pass the Grand Am at all, let alone enough to do it fast enough to get back in line and avoid the Hyundai.

I really thought I was about to have a front row seat to another head-on collision. Thank God the Hyundai driver was paying attention, and swerved onto the shoulder. This was not a near-miss or last-second completion of the pass either — the Ford was still 100 percent in the wrong lane when it met the Hyundai. I was so effing pissed at that assclown driving the Ford.

What really pissed me off though was when the Ford made the next left turn a HALF-MILE LATER. Good job, you almost killed yourself, your passenger and whoever was in the other car, but you’re going to get to your destination three seconds earlier than you would have otherwise! WORTH IT.

Now I’m home, and I’d like to get in a run. I don’t know if I should go back on the road though!

December 29, 2014

Training for 12/29/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:07 pm

Saturday, I did the 7-mile pace run on the schedule. It was a really perfect day for a run here, warm enough I could comfortably wear shorts and a tank top, but cool enough I never got hot. It was also nice and sunny, and not really windy. I did the 7.3-mile loop in 1:01:34, an 8:25/mile average.

That night, Clark and I met Mike, his girlfriend and his brother at the Denton pub. Mike is a season ticket holder for the Ravens games, and the Ravens’ final regular season game was the next day, at home. Mike offered me his other ticket, which I immediately accepted.

I was supposed to meet Mike at 9:30 a.m. Sunday to head up to Baltimore. Technically, I’d have had plenty of time to get in the 10-miler on the schedule if I’d gotten up early, but… well, I didn’t. I just did some yoga because I felt really tight from the previous two days’ runs anyway.

The game was a lot of fun! Well, the last quarter, anyway. To get into the playoffs, the Ravens needed to beat the Cleveland Browns, and they needed Kansas City to beat San Diego. The first half of the game in Baltimore was ugly. The score was 3-3 at halftime, and the fans booed the Ravens off the field. They kept showing the Kansas City game score on the Jumbotron, and they were doing their part, but the Ravens sure weren’t doing theirs.

I told Mike I like NASCAR races better because it’s so loud you can’t hear the fans “coaching” from the stands. If I had a dollar for every time the woman right behind us yelled “JUST DO SOMETHING, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!” when the Ravens were about to run a play, I’d have been able to afford enough $8 Budweisers to get drunk. Then there was the drunk guy a row in front of us yelling random obscenities that had nothing to do with the game haha.

Cleveland scored a touchdown in the third quarter to gain the lead, 10-3, and the mood hit rock bottom where we were sitting. I really thought people were going to form a mob to go after Joe Flacco when the game ended. Man, they were pissed!

But! In the fourth quarter, the Ravens’ offense finally showed up and scored a field goal and two touchdowns, while the defense held the Browns. The Jumbotron claimed we got the noise level up to 143 dB at one point when the Browns had the ball. Baltimore won, 20-10, and since Kansas City beat San Diego, the Ravens squeaked into the playoffs after all.

View from Mike's seats.

View from Mike’s seats.

Mike and me after the win. He told me my head is too small haha.

Mike and me after the win. He told me my head is too small haha.

All those angry fans were a lot happier when the game was over. There’s a multi-level ramp to get back to the ground, and the whole way down, the crowd would just start cheering again, just to hear it echo off all the concrete. That or start a random “Steelers suck!” chant haha.

So that was fun! But it didn’t do anything for my Shamrock training, obviously.

I think I’ll just write off that long run (again) and do the short run and strength training on the schedule today, because tomorrow’s supposed to be an 8-miler anyway. I guess one of my 2015 resolutions should be to stop scheduling long runs for Sundays, because I’m so good at coming up with excuses to not do them.

December 26, 2014

Training for 12/26/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:18 pm

Another Christmas is in the books!

I guess I should go back to Tuesday afternoon. I did, in fact, run the easy 7-miler on the schedule. I took Pepper with me though, so it wasn’t as easy as it should have been. The same beagle that chased me last weekend chased us again. I didn’t feel like stopping to let it sniff Pepper, and I knew Pepper would rather not deal with it either, so I let Pepper speed up to get away from it. Other than that, it was a completely uneventful run, and we did 7.3 miles in an hour and four seconds, an 8:14/mile average.

Wednesday was Christmas Eve. It was pouring rain all day, but it was pretty warm. I did strength training upstairs first — ab exercises, push-ups, invisible chair-sitting and weights. It was so humid upstairs, the weights were covered in condensation. I thought there was a leak in the roof at first, but the floor around the weights wasn’t wet. Anyway, when I was done with that, I did an easy 3-miler on the road. I got soaked, but I was able to wear shorts and a T-shirt in late December, so, not gonna complain about that.

That evening, we went to church and then to Aunt Helen’s for her annual Christmas Eve party.

Christmas morning, Clark and I let Pepper “open” his gifts first, a bunch of treats, chews and toys, plus a new collar for 2015. This year, Pepper will be wearing black like a badass haha. Then I opened mine from Clark. He gave me the Swatch I picked out last weekend, plus a pair of Ugg slippers and some Balega running socks. I gave Clark his first pair of running tights (he picked them out), a new running jacket and some Smartwool socks. And I even had a surprise for him. I’d commissioned my younger sister to recreate the cover of Jimi Hendrix’s album, “Electric Ladyland.” She made one that was exactly like the cover, and a second one in different colors, so Clark can hang them next to each other. They turned out really well:

hendrix covers

What was even more amazing, in my opinion, was that she cranked out both of those in less than 24 hours! She’s extremely talented, to say the least.

The rest of the day was spent first at Clark’s parents’ house with his family, and then at my parents’ house with my family. It was a long day of eating too much, drinking too much and spending time with family, but it was fun as always! I think we got home around 1 a.m.

Today, I slept in until almost 11 a.m. After breakfast, we went through our loot from yesterday. Clark’s parents gave us a very nice Samsonite luggage set. I found out I can fit in the largest one — no more flying coach, I’m flying in the cargo hold! Traveling is about to get a lot cheaper.

luggage

Actually, it was extremely uncomfortable, and when Clark zipped it closed, I immediately felt claustrophobic. So that’s not gonna work. Maybe we can put Pepper in there.

This afternoon, I did the speed workout on the schedule, five 800-meter repeats. Since I have use of Clark’s Garmin right now, I programmed it to measure out five half-mile repeats with a quarter-mile of rest between each, plus warm up and cool down, so I could run on the road instead of driving in town to run around the track.

It was another nice day, and sunny too. I did an easy 9:04 mile to warm up, then started the intervals. I had the watch set up so it only showed how much farther I had to go in each interval, instead of showing pace or anything, so I just ran by feel. The intervals were hard! I haven’t run like that in a while. I got through all five though. Then I did another couple of miles to cool down.

When I got home, I scrolled through the data. My five half-mile repeats were 3:24, 3:32, 3:32, 3:28 and 3:29. If I’d been on the track, I’d have been shooting for about 3:30 each, so except for two, I hit that goal. I ran a total of 6.5 miles in 54:03, an 8:19/mile overall average.

This weekend, I’ve got seven miles at goal marathon pace and a 10-mile long run on the schedule. I actually stuck to the schedule this entire week. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep that going this weekend.

December 23, 2014

Training for 12/23/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:11 pm

Happy Festivus!

Yesterday, I took Pepper out for a lap around the 4.5-mile loop. We left not long before sunset, so I took my headlamp with me. It was a nice, easy run, and we got to see some of the neighbors’ Christmas lights. Procrastination pays! Today, I’ve got 7 miles easy on the schedule.

A couple of days ago, I read an article online that asked people to comment with their best and/or worst Christmas gifts. It didn’t take me long to figure out my own answers.

I’ll start with the worst. It wasn’t that terrible. Actually, it’s kind of funny.

In 2007, I was working as a copy editor at a newspaper in Kannapolis, N.C. My normal hours were 4 p.m. to whenever the next day’s paper was completely laid out, usually between midnight and 1 a.m., so I didn’t get to know any of my colleagues beyond the other two copy editors. Not that I tried to get to know anyone, anyway. I am a surly asshole at work.

For Christmas, we did an office secret Santa exchange. The sports editor got my name. I don’t think I’d said two words to him in all the time I’d worked there. I also did absolutely nothing to try to personalize my little work space — no pictures, nothing that indicated any hobbies, nothing. So, having nothing to go on, he did the best he could buying me a gift. At the office Christmas party, he handed me a small gift bag.

Inside was a plastic baggie with a few homemade brownies, a container of Planter’s mixed nuts and… a pair of foam earplugs. Like the cheap ones they sell at NASCAR races for $2.

The brownies and nuts were a nice, generic gift, but the earplugs? I have never figured those out! Maybe he thought I just hated everyone and would like those to mute the noise of — ugh — people talking to me at work. Which I might have done eventually, but I wound up quitting that job at the end of January to move back to Maryland anyway.

So that was the worst gift I ever got. I like the story of the best one much better.

In 1993, when I was in fifth grade, my brother and I were obsessed with Sega Game Gears, the handheld video game systems. It was pretty much the only thing either of us really wanted for Christmas.

About a month before Christmas, I went shopping with Mom, and saw a huge display of Game Gears. When we got home, I told Dave I had memorized the size and weight of the boxes, so I’d be able to pick out which ones held our Game Gears on Christmas morning.

Christmas morning was a little different in our house. Most kids I knew got to start ripping into their gifts almost the minute they sprung out of bed. They were playing with their new stuff before sunrise.

In the Schmidt house — heh heh, Schmidt house:

SchmidtHouseChristmas-401x550

Anyway! In OUR house, we first had to wait for Mom and Dad to get up of their own accord, which was usually hours after we first got up, and then we had to wait for Dad to check his chickens, take a shower and charge up the video camera battery before we could finally start opening things. It was usually at least 10 a.m. before things got going.

So, Christmas morning 1993, Dave and I were up at like 5:30, like normal kids. We flew downstairs. There were piles of gifts under the tree for Kara, Julie, him and me. Dave waited impatiently while I picked through his and my piles, looking for THE boxes.

But… there was nothing, in either pile, that was even remotely similar to the Game Gear boxes. I even looked through our sisters’ stuff, thinking maybe they’d gotten mixed up. Nothing.

We were devastated. Christmas had barely begun and it was already ruined. We didn’t even care what was in the other boxes. Eff this. Christmas sucks.

Mom and Dad eventually meandered downstairs. Dave and I set into complaining about the clear lack of Game Gears. No one cared. Dad wandered off toward the chicken houses.

A little while later, our younger cousin Becky called to say she had already opened all her gifts — and she got a Game Gear! This just set Dave and me off again. Mom was completely unmoved. She just let us whine ourselves out.

Dad came back from the chicken houses, showered and got his video camera ready to go. Dave and I sullenly joined Kara at the tree. (Julie was 5 months old.) What was the point of this charade? There were no Game Gears waiting for us. This Christmas would surely go down as the blackest day in our young lives.

So we started opening things. Yay, an Alan Kulwicki hat. Yay, a remote controlled car. Ugh.

There was a very large, heavy box with my name on it. I had no idea what was in it, and I didn’t give a crap either.

I pulled off the paper to find the box the large clock on our piano had come in. Obviously, my parents did not give me the clock. When I opened it, inside was MY GAME GEAR!! With an enormous Bible at the bottom, to make the box feel much heavier.

My brother found his own Game Gear in a clothes box — you know those are the last ones a kid opens!

Christmas was saved! There’s a picture somewhere at my parents’ house. I’m sitting in a rocking chair, wearing my nightgown and my new Alan Kulwicki hat, playing my new Game Gear, while my brother, wearing red and blue pajamas, looks over my shoulder, holding his own Game Gear in his hands. I don’t think we put those things down for years. I played mine for hours on end. I ruined my eyesight with it!

As much as I loved that Game Gear though, the reason it’s my favorite gift ever is because of what my parents put us through. My mom must have overheard me bragging to Dave about memorizing the boxes and decided to have a little fun with us. I can see my dad doing something like that, but my mom had never pulled a trick like that on us before. We never saw it coming. She was stone cold! Completely unfazed, even when she had to sit through hours of my brother and me whining that Christmas had been ruined while she waited for our dad. She just sipped her coffee and ignored her bratty children haha.

December 22, 2014

Training for 12/22/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 12:17 pm

I’ve gotten some running done since last Friday. I continue to avoid the long run, however. I’m not sure what it is. It’s like I’m afraid of them now or something.

Anyway, Saturday, I decided instead of the 14-mile long run on the schedule, I was just going to swap it with the 7-mile easy run I was supposed to do the next day. I didn’t think I had enough time to get in the long run by the time I was ready to go, since we were planning to drive all the way to D.C. to do some more Christmas shopping.

The run went fine — I maintained an easy 8:30/mile pace the whole way around the 7.3-mile loop, except for the fifth mile, when I was chased by a beagle who wanted me to stop to play with her, so she kept running right in front of me and coming to a dead stop. I didn’t get rid of her until someone, the owner I hope, drove up in an SUV and collected the dog. I got home and took a shower, expecting Clark to get back from doing some yard work for his grandmother at any minute.

It turned out I’d have had plenty of time to do the long run after all. Oh well. Clark got home and showered, we dropped off Pepper at Clark’s parents’ house and drove up to D.C. The only reason we went that far was because I want a new Swatch for Christmas, to replace the one Clark bought me for our first Christmas together, which I ruined this summer when I pried the battery cover off with a screwdriver, and the store in D.C. is the closest one. Normally, I refuse to drive in D.C. and insist on parking at the first Metro station and taking that instead, but Clark said the mall with the Swatch store was easy to get to.

He was right; it wasn’t bad at all getting to or parking at the mall. I picked out a watch that doesn’t use a battery but rather runs off kinetic energy — no chance I’ll destroy it! — and got it sized to my wrist. We did a little more shopping, and then drove further into the city for dinner at a restaurant called Birch & Barley.

Getting there was not a problem, but parking was. Every freaking parking garage was either closed for the night or would close before we’d be done with dinner. It took nearly a half-hour of driving in circles to finally find a parking garage that didn’t close until midnight. It was almost a mile from the restaurant too.

The dinner made up for that though. Everything was really good, and the beer selection was great too. I was uncomfortably full for the walk back.

As soon as we were on the highway leaving D.C., I had to pee. Bad. There’s not much along that stretch of Route 50 though, so I made up my mind to hang on until we got to a Wawa just before the bay bridge.

It was painful haha. I had to pee so bad! It felt like hours before we finally pulled up to that Wawa. I bolted out of the car for the store, but was stopped at the door by an employee who told me the store had just been evacuated because the fire alarm had gone off.

It didn’t even make sense. I just blurted out “What??!!” right in her face and then turned and started running again. I had to find somewhere to pee! I got back in the car and gunned it for Wendy’s just up the highway. But when I got there, the damn lobby doors were locked!

I was reaching a crisis point. Then, my saving grace appeared — the Golden Arches next door glowed brightly, beckoning me to the now 24-HOUR LOBBY. Thank you, McDonald’s!! Otherwise I’d have been peeing in a bush behind Wendy’s, drive-thru customers or not.

The rest of the drive home was thankfully uneventful.

Sunday, I didn’t get up until almost 10 a.m., and I was supposed to meet my friends for lunch. So yeah, pretty much killed my chances of getting in a long run. I just cranked out an easy lap around the 4.5-mile loop at the last minute.

My friends and I do a Secret Santa gift exchange. Julie got me a one-year subscription to something called the Lip Gloss of the Month Club! Apparently someone she found online makes homemade lip balms and sends one a month to subscribers. I am extremely excited about this gift. The first one should be here in January!

Today, I’m gonna run… something. I should probably do some strength training though. I have really been slacking on that. The last time I went up to the attic to work out was the day before the Rehoboth half. Which means tomorrow morning will be the perfect time to get in that long run.

December 19, 2014

Training for 12/19/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:30 pm

Yesterday, I wound up not running or anything. I did, however, get my work iPhone upgraded from a 4 to a 5s, so, there’s something. I’m the closest to technologically current I’ve been in a long time!

Today, I decided to do the 35-minute tempo run that had been on the schedule yesterday. Used to be, when I had this particular tempo run, I’d warm up, run 35 minutes at a sustained hard pace and then run a couple more miles with sprints thrown in to cool down. I don’t know why the hell I did that. When the training plan calls for a 35-minute tempo run, you’re supposed to take 10 minutes or so to warm up, then gradually speed up over the next 20 until you’re about at 10K pace, and then cool down for five minutes. You’re supposed to run 35 minutes total.

It just so happens a slow opening mile followed by a gradual progression is how Pepper naturally runs, so we did a lap around the 4.5-mile loop, with him setting the pace.

Outside, it wasn’t the upper 50s the weather forecasters had predicted. It was however, warm enough I could get away with knee-length capris and Pepper didn’t need his dork jacket. It was also annoyingly windy.

The first mile was 8:19 as Pepper stopped to pee no less than eight times. Eight freaking times! I know all about the marking territory motivation behind peeing all over the damn place, but we’re running down rural roads, not sidewalks that a million other dogs pee on all day. I don’t get it!

Anyway, he only stopped to pee one more time in the second mile. That one was 7:48.

The third mile felt faster, but it wasn’t by much — 7:42. The fourth mile was into the wind, and a couple of times I glanced at the Garmin and saw a 9:00/mile pace, which was extremely disheartening, but in the end we ran a 7:26. Anything under 7:30 is phenomenal for me right now.

The last half-mile, I tried to slow Pepper down for a cool down, but I could only get him to just under 8:00/mile pace.

We ran the whole 4.5-mile loop in 35:13, a 7:50/mile overall average.

So that was good. I really need to stick to the speed workouts in this training plan. Not that I’m going for a PR at Shamrock, but I just need to do speed work again. Maybe I’ll be in decent racing shape by the time I get back into the shorter distances next spring and summer.

I also need to stick to the long runs in this training plan! Other than the half marathon a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t done a good job of that. Tomorrow, I’m running the 14-miler on the schedule. Sunday is an easy 7-miler.

Other than running, my big plans for the weekend are going Christmas shopping with Clark tomorrow, and then meeting my friends Sunday afternoon to celebrate October birthdays and Christmas.

December 17, 2014

Training for 12/17/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:12 pm

photo (2)

That’s Pepper earlier today, relaxing in a sunbeam with his latest kill, Santa. Sorry, kids! Santa no longer has many parts of his face, and I’m not sure he’s going to be available to deliver presents this year.

Santa did, however, go on a run with us. Pepper thought it’d be more fun to carry him than a stick. So Santa made a lap around the 4.5-mile loop with us.

It was a pretty sweet day for a run, for mid-December. Pepper didn’t need his dork jacket, and it was just barely warm enough for me to pull off shorts.

December 16, 2014

Training for 12/16/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 12:59 pm

I had a rather pleasant run this morning!

I had my Tuesday morning meeting to get to, so I got dressed as soon as Pepper came back in from his post-breakfast bathroom break, and hit the road just as the sun was starting to come up.

It was pretty brisk this morning, but there wasn’t even a trace of a breeze, so not bad at all. Everything was frosted over, and there was a light fog that was starting to burn off. The clouds to the east were just starting to turn pink. And I had my dorky Christmas music playing on my iPod.

It was, well, gorgeous. I only had time for the 4.5-mile loop, but I enjoyed every step of it.

Winter can still suck it though.

December 15, 2014

Training for 12/15/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:53 am

It’s finally starting to feel like Christmas around here!

Saturday, I brought all the Christmas decorations down from the attic, cleaned the house top to bottom, set everything up and took all the empty boxes back upstairs. It was an impressive flurry of effort, I have to say. When I was done, I had just enough time to get in a run.

I had 6 miles at goal marathon pace on the schedule. I left a little bit before 4 p.m. The sun was already sinking and I didn’t think I had enough time to get in the 6.5-mile loop before it got dark. I was thinking I’d just do the 4.5-mile loop.

Well, I got to the turn for the 4.5-mile loop, checked the sun and thought I had enough time to stretch it out to 5.5 Then I got to the turn for that loop, and thought what the hell, the last mile of the 6.5-mile loop is on an open road, not surrounded by dark woods, so I can squeeze in the whole thing after all.

Plus, after all that Christmas decorating, I’d queued up the Christmas playlist on my iPod, and I was just in a good mood. The weather was perfect and it felt great to be out there.

So I ran the 6.5-mile loop at an 8:33/mile pace. When I signed up for Shamrock, I thought I’d train for another shot at sub-3:30, an 8:00/mile pace. Well, the pace I ran Saturday didn’t feel hard, but I couldn’t really imagine running more than 30 seconds per mile faster than that for 20 more miles.

Who knows how I’ll feel in March though? I have no idea. So I’ve decided I will just run Shamrock at whatever pace feels good that day, no time goal. If I actually make it through this training cycle injury-free and finish the race, it will be the first marathon I’ll have completed in two years. Then I’ll pick a fall marathon to train for a new PR.

Sunday, Clark went up to Annapolis to help his brother work on his new house, which left me home with Pepper. I’d planned on my 13-mile long run, but I’d either have to run it with Pepper, who gets bored after 10 miles and would hate it, or I’d have to leave him home alone for two hours and face the consequences — guilt trip at best, turds in the utility room floor at worst.

I went with the other option instead, and just did the 3-mile easy run on the schedule for today.

A couple weeks ago, one of the runners on the Loop posted an idea for a virtual race in honor of 12/13/14, which was Saturday. He asked everyone who wanted to participate to run either Friday, Saturday or Sunday this weekend, while wearing a race bib, work the numbers 12, 13 and 14 into it as much as possible, take pictures and post about it to the Loop. I did this a couple years ago when we did a 12/12/12 race.

It sounded like fun. Since the 13-miler was out the window, I decided Pepper and I would do 3.14 miles.

First I had to find us some race bibs. I combed through the stack of bibs I’ve saved from every race I’ve ever run, dating back to my first 5K in Aug. 2004. It didn’t take long to find two bibs that both had 14 on them. I wore one from a 5K last summer, and I let Pepper wear the one from my first 50K a couple years ago.

It was pretty chilly yesterday, so Pepper had to wear his dork jacket. I pinned his bib to the back of his jacket, pinned mine to my shirt and tried to take a pre-run selfie:

before

Clearly, it wasn’t working very well!

The run was typical Pepper. Mile 1 took 9:02, while he stopped to pee, sniff and adjust the stick he was carrying. Mile 2 started out pokey but picked it up when we made the turnaround and he knew he was headed home — 8:05. And the third mile got faster still, while he practically pulled my arm out of its socket, pulling on the leash to try to make me run faster. It was 7:39. The final 0.14 took 1:06.

Our final results:

garmin

I got some better pictures after the run.

pepper looking

Pepper is barely tolerating me at this point.

Pepper is barely tolerating me at this point.

He's upset we're still outside in the cold, and not in the warm house where the treats are kept.

He’s upset we’re still outside in the cold, and not in the warm house where the post-run treats are kept.

Eventually, we did go inside, and he did get that treat.

Stop taking pictures and HAND IT OVER.

Stop taking pictures and HAND IT OVER.

Then he resumed his favorite pastime, which is curling up in a ball on the couch and making sure I never leave his sight, ever.

I guess the motivation from Saturday hadn’t faded away completely yet, because not only did I address every single Christmas card, I went to Walmart and got what I needed to make another batch of pumpkin muffins, several dozen homemade ginger snaps and a huge Crock Pot of jambalaya. It’s very rare a mood like that hits me, but the end results were all delicious.

Today, I’m here with Pepper again, so, since I ran a 13-miler last weekend when I was only supposed to do 8, I’ll just do 8 with him instead of 13. I will make sure I run this coming weekend’s 14-miler while Clark’s home!

Also, I got an email this morning that I was selected in the lottery for the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in April in Washington, D.C. I spectated at this race this past April, when Allison ran it, and didn’t feel much of a desire to run it myself — it attracts an enormous crowd because the course passes all the cherry blossom trees when they’re in full bloom — but so many other Loop runners had entered the lottery, I caved to the peer pressure.

Plus, I was thinking about doing the Tim Kennard 10-Mile River Run in March in Salisbury anyway, and Cherry Blossom wound up being about the same price if I didn’t upgrade from the standard cotton T-shirt to the tech shirt. I have enough tech shirts already but my 10-mile PR is old as dirt and Cherry Blossom should be a good course to kill it. I submitted my half marathon PR from Surf City last year, so I should get seeded in a good corral.

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