A Simple Running Log

March 30, 2015

Training for 3/30/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:52 am

Happy birthday to my dad! He’s 55 today.

So, when I ran last Thursday, I was sweating in shorts and a tank top. By the time I ran again Saturday morning, the temperature had dropped, oh, about 50 degrees, and it was still really windy on top of it. January weather! I had to go back to full length tights, multiple layers on top, gloves and an earband. I got in an easy lap around the 5.5-mile loop.

That afternoon, I went to my friend’s sister’s Mary Kay party and then Pepper and I headed down to the beach, to meet Clark, who’d gone down earlier in the afternoon to go surfing.

When we got to the beach house, we found Clark huddled in front of a space heater, trying to get the feeling back in his feet! He said it was the coldest he’s ever been in the water, which is insane, considering he went surfing through the entire winter this year. The water is technically warming up, but he said the wind was the worst part.

The beach house doesn’t have heat beyond the space heaters. Clark had turned them on before he left to go surfing, but it was still pretty chilly in the house that evening. Pepper was not happy, but we tried to keep him warm:

cold pepper

I’m still wearing my heavy winter coat in this picture too. It finally warmed up enough I could take it off by about 10 p.m. or so.

Clark had asked me to bring down our little tailgating grill so he could grill some dinner outside, but he changed his mind about that when it got even colder after the sun went down. We got takeout from Ropewalk and fell asleep on the sectional in the living room.

Sunday morning, it was still bitterly cold and windy, but it was otherwise a nice day, so I took Pepper with me to Cape Henlopen State Park to run the April Fools’ Day Challenge.

The only thing I knew about this race was that they don’t tell you the distance — they just tell you it’s between 3 and 6 miles — and the course tends to cover just about every available surface in the park, including loose sand, wooded trails and paved roads and bike paths. I figured it was nothing Pepper couldn’t handle.

I got myself registered, and then Pepper and I did a little warmup mile. I was still cold enough after warming up I decided to stick with my warmest winter running jacket for the race. I have never had to wear that jacket in a race before. Stupid “spring.”

Anyway, at 10 a.m., Pepper and I joined the rest of the runners at the start line near the fishing pier. I was the only one who brought a dog. Pepper was putting out the vibe to all the competition.

pepper before april fools challenge

“I will destroy you.”

Or maybe he was just pissed because I was making him run outside in the cold. That’s probably it.

Anyway, there were a whopping 38 runners. The race director told us to get into four groups of six and two groups of seven, and then line up at the start line. The race this year was going to start with a little relay event!

The oldest runner in the group had to take a hula hoop. We had a 61-year-old woman in our group, so that went to her. The youngest had to take a jump rope. There was a 30-year-old woman in our group, so she got that.

The rest of us had to run the relay, with a golf ball in a plastic spoon. While those group members ran the relay race, the other two had to hula hoop and jump rope the whole time. Only when the relay race was complete could all group members start the course. And the clock started when the relay race began.

This of course meant I was going to have to run a short distance with a golf ball in a spoon in one hand and my hyperactive dog’s leash in the other, and my teammates were going to have to wait on me before they could start running.

I thought about asking one of the other teammates to hold Pepper’s leash for me while I did my part of the relay, but what’s the fun in that? Pepper’s running this race too!

We got the whistle. The relay runners took off while the hula hoopers and jump ropers started doing their thing.

Relay racers taking off.

jump roper and hula hoopers

I was the third of four relay runners on my team. I really thought I’d drop that ball at least once, or Pepper, who loves to chase balls, would try to take the golf ball from me, but much to my surprise, I didn’t have any trouble completing my lap with the ball and spoon.

He was definitely thinking about going for it though!

He was definitely thinking about going for it though!

Our team’s fourth and final relay runner finished her lap, and we were free to go! I think we were the third of six teams to start running.

The race director had gone over the course before the race, but I hadn’t paid much attention. I knew he said it started by running down a little gravel trail, but once I got to the parking lot at the end of that trail, I didn’t know where to go.

Everyone else was heading for the parking lot exit, which had a locked gate across it. Apparently we were supposed to jump over that gate. I knew Pepper wouldn’t have that, so I ducked under it. Pepper followed me.

We ran back up to the area where the relay race had been held, and then out to the beach.


(I took this after the race.)

The sand was really loose and hard to run through. Hard if you only had two legs, that is. Pepper was flying through this stuff. It was all I could do to keep up with him.

The course turned off the beach, which I thought would be the end of the sand, but it continued a little farther. By the time we finally got out of the sand and back onto pavement, I was sapped, half a mile in! Thanks, Pep!

I managed to get my breathing back under control as we ran along a paved bike path toward a youth camp. When we got to the camp, we had to make a basket on the basketball court. The race volunteer there offered to hold Pepper’s leash for me, and I got a basket on the first attempt.

Other runners at the basketball court, and one selfie-taker haha.

Other runners at the basketball court, and one selfie-taker haha.

Right after the basketball court, we ran through a playground. On this playground was a piece of equipment, that kind of looked like two sloped rock walls for little kids, propped against each other to make a little “tent.” We had to crawl under it. For reference, here’s another runner coming out of it:

playground equipment

I dove right under it and crawled through, expecting Pepper to be right behind me. After all, it was tall enough he probably didn’t even need to crouch.

me crawling through

It turned out THIS was the obstacle that Pepper had trouble with. I stood up on the other side and saw Pepper at the end of his leash, still at the entrance, absolutely refusing to take one step farther.

Of course, there were other people waiting to crawl under it, which they couldn’t do until Pepper moved his ass. I tried to pull him through by his leash, but he dug in his heels, and pulled back so hard he actually pulled himself out of his harness completely!

I have never seen him manage to get out of that harness! As soon as he was free, he started to trot away, the way we came from, to get back to the Jeep, I’m sure haha. He was over it.

Another runner coming up to the playground grabbed him, and I got his harness untangled and clipped back on him, and the leash reattached. I let him go around the equipment, and we were back on track.

We were back on pavement now, but we were going uphill, toward the World War II-era Fort Miles lookout. When we were almost to the top, we turned off the pavement onto another sandy trail, still going uphill. It was tough! Pepper, of course, didn’t seem to notice, and just plowed on ahead, me dragging behind him.

As we came to a clearing, I saw what looked like cones marking the next part of the course to the right, but two runners coming from my left. I thought there was a little out-and-back here that they were finishing, but it turned out they’d just made a wrong turn. I pointed out the cones they hadn’t seen and let them go ahead of Pepper and me.

We ran through an empty building and then got on a wooded trail that would make up most of the remainder of the course. Pepper and I had passed one of the runners we’d let go ahead of us, but the other one pulled away from us as we ran through the woods.

Pepper loved the woods, but he didn’t do a great job of following the trail haha. He would leap right over logs laid along the side of the trail to mark it, or blow right by directional signs. I had to pull him back on course so many times! There were some muddy pits and a lot of roots in other spots, but overall it was a nice trail, and it was great to be out of the wind.

Pretty soon I could hear yelling, and figured we were getting close to the finish. As soon as we came out of the woods, I could see it.

Pepper looks like he's barely moving. I look like I'm gasping for air.

Pepper looks like he’s barely moving. I look like I’m gasping for air.

We had one more obstacle though — a big ditch filled with water, which we had to jump to get to the finish line.

the ditch

I didn’t realize it was there until we were pretty much on it. Pepper gave me a “what now?” look. I told him to jump, and we both did. He easily cleared it. I would have if I’d had any kind of running start, but jumping from a standstill like that, my right foot landed a little too close to the edge on the other side, and it got a little wet.

pepper and me after ditch jump

We ran up the field and crossed the line. I stopped my Garmin — 3.5 miles in 29:54, an 8:37/mile average. Our miles ranged from 8:06 to 9:24 (the first one, when he got out of his harness.)

It was a lot of fun! I’m glad I finally ran this race. I hope I get to do it again next year!

It was a short run back to the fishing pier where we’d parked. There was a guy making pancakes for everyone in the race director’s trailer. Since I’d forgotten to bring any post-run treats for Pepper, I shared my pancake with him. He seemed to like it just as much as anything.

Then they did the awards. Pepper and I finished eighth overall. I was second overall female of 18, and first of five in the F 30-39 age group. I got a little wooden award.

Pepper and I drove back to Fenwick. Clark and I got takeout from Papa Grande’s for lunch. After lunch, Clark wanted to go surfing again, so he went to the Indian River inlet while Pepper and I headed home. I was back in time for the second half of the Martinsville race, which Denny Hamlin won.

Last night, we went to Clark’s parents’ house to celebrate my birthday. His mom made me salmon, brown rice and asparagus, and a big chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It was all delicious!

I also got some birthday cash, part ofwhich is going to get me a pair of the New Balance Fresh Foam Zantes.


As for today, I’m going to do some strength training, and then take Pepper for a short run.


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