A Simple Running Log

April 13, 2015

Training for 4/13/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:12 am

Friday night, Clark and I stayed at the beach house. Some strong storms came through that night, but they had moved out by the next morning and Saturday morning was clear and sunny. It was great to finally see some sunshine again after it’d been so gray and dreary pretty much all week.

Clark’s dad drove to the beach house that morning, and he and Clark went up to Indian River to go surfing. Pepper and I stayed in Fenwick and went for a short easy run, along the highway toward Bethany and back. We did 4.5 miles.

After Clark and his dad got back from surfing, Clark and I rushed home, showered, packed and got on the road, headed for D.C.

I was a little worried about making it to the expo in downtown D.C. to pick up my race packet before it closed at 5 p.m., but the Metro wound up getting us there with plenty of time to spare. That’s also where we met up with all the other Loop runners in town for the race.

From there, we went to Clyde’s, where we had a group reservation for dinner at 6 p.m. But we got there 90 minutes before that, so we had some time to kill. Lucky for us, there was a bar!

It was fun catching up with everyone, and the beers and portobello mushroom sandwich I had for dinner were really good.

Afterwards, we all split up to head our separate ways before the race the next morning. Allison was staying in College Park with Clark and me. On our way back to the Metro, we saw a Greene Turtle, and stopped in there for one more beer.

While we were in there, we became vaguely aware of some drunk guy in a New York Rangers jersey sitting near us, running his mouth. We weren’t really paying attention to what he was saying, but we figured he was trying to talk shit to Allison, who was wearing a Caps jersey. (The Caps had played the Rangers in D.C that afternoon, and Allison had gone to the game.) Then he came over, and it turned out the weirdo had been trying to hit on me. So I introduced him to my husband, which got him so flustered he bought Clark a drink haha. We still haven’t figured that one out, but hey, free beer!

We took the Metro back to College Park and got checked into our hotel, near the University of Maryland campus. It was about 10 p.m at this point, and Allison and I had set the alarm for 5:30 a.m and were ready to go to bed.

Clark, on the other hand, went out to hit up some of our old college bars, though the one we usually went to, Santa Fe, is long gone. He said the next morning all the bars seemed really empty for a Saturday night, but they were starting to get more crowded as he was leaving. That was when it hit him – he was ready for bed just when the college kids were ready to go out haha. Getting old sucks!

Sunday morning, Allison and I were up and out the door by 6 a.m. We stopped at a Starbucks for coffee, where Allison bought (and then threw away) the grossest-looking banana I have ever seen. Seriously, it looked… slimy. While it was still in the peel. I don’t know where the College Park Starbucks is getting its bananas, but it might want to look into a new supplier.

Anyhow, the Metro ride to the Smithsonian stop was easy enough. We were at the race site around 7, an entire half-hour before the first wave of runners would start. Plenty of time to check a gear bag and hit up a port-o-potty to empty out a medium coffee’s worth of pee, right?

Wrong! There were so many freaking people. By the time I’d made my way through the crowds over to gear check, I really did not have time to wait in one of the massive lines for the port-o-potties.

So I started making my way to my starting corral, the second one to go, hoping I’d spot some hidden bank of port-o-potties on the way that no one else knew about. No such luck. There was a bathroom near the Washington Monument that was close to the starting corrals, so I got in that line, hoping it would by some miracle move fast enough that I could pee before my corral left. But when I’d only moved about 2 ft closer to the bathroom in 10 minutes, I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

Even though I still really really REALLY had to pee, I got out of line and headed for the second corral. But it was so packed full, I couldn’t even get in. I wound up waiting in an overflow crowd of second-corral runners, just outside it. I could see the 9:00/mile pace group in the corral, which meant I’d be starting behind it. Nothing I could do about that now though.

The first corral was released, and the second one started moving up toward the start line. I finally inched my way through a fence and onto the actual road. A few minutes later, our corral got the command to go and we all started shuffling across the start line. And I was finally running the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run!

Well, actually, I wasn’t. I was running the Cherry Blossom 9.5-Mile Run. They had announced before the race the course had been rerouted that morning due to an “active crime scene investigation.” I later heard there had been a hit-and-run involving a pedestrian, and the police had the whole area roped off. There wasn’t much the race organizers could do about that, obviously. The reroute between miles 4 and 5 would leave the course about a half-mile short.

Anyway, back to my race. I’d hoped the desperate need to pee would disappear once I started running (which has happened before), but nope, that just made it 100 times worse. A minute later, we ran past a bank of port-o-potties near the 5K start area. The 5K didn’t start until 8:40 a.m., and those port-o-potties were nearly empty, so, a 10th of a mile into the race, I took a bathroom break.

I felt so much better after that! I rejoined the race, ready to go.

The thing was, after starting farther back than I wanted, and then stopping for a couple minutes to use the bathroom, I was now with runners doing a much slower pace than I’d planned to shoot for. And the course was so incredibly crowded, I couldn’t just run faster anyway and pass them all.

It was very much like the Marine Corps Marathon in 2010. I’d gotten to the race start late, couldn’t make my way up near the pace group I’d wanted to run with, started farther back and then got boxed in due to the crowds. That was the race that made me swear off big races. A lot of runners like the massive crowds because they feed off the energy and enjoy feeling like a part of a huge event like that, I guess, but I hate people so it just makes me angry.

The sheer number of runners on the course wound up being an issue for me pretty much the entire rest of the race. I passed when I could, but there were several times where I just had to wait for an opening. I wasn’t about to start elbowing anyone out of my way. (Or LOUDLY huffing impatiently, like a woman who got stuck behind me while I was stuck behind someone else at one point.) I’m only an asshole in my head.

My first mile, with the bathroom break, was a 10:21, and the rest of the way, I ran between an 8:00 and 8:15 pace, depending on the crowding. I’d gone into the race hoping to break my 10-mile PR from 2011, which I ran at a 7:45/mile average, but the slow start, crowded course, first-mile bathroom break and fact the course wasn’t even 10 miles anymore made me change my mind.

Now that I didn’t care about pace, I tried to enjoy the course. This race is so popular because it passes all the cherry trees, which, this year, were at peak bloom on race day. I’ve lived reasonably close to D.C. pretty much my entire life, and even went to college just outside it, but I’d never seen the cherry blossoms in person before.

And the day itself was absolutely perfect for a run, sunny and cool with no wind or humidity. No complaints there!

But, my god, all the PEOPLE. Every time I’d feel like I was finally getting some room to just run my own pace, the course would narrow or I’d come up on a pack of like six runners all running the exact same pace.

Some point during the first half.

Some point during the first half.

Between miles 6 and 7, the course went around the East Potomac Golf Course, out to Hains Point. Everyone hates this part when they run MCM, because it’s kinda desolate in the fall, and there aren’t any spectators, but it’s the highlight of the course in this race. The road is lined on both sides with cherry trees. When they’re in full bloom, it’s like running through clouds. They were so freaking gorgeous!

I saw lots of runners who had their phones stopping to take pictures. I didn’t have my phone or I probably would have done the same, but luckily Allison was running with hers, and I was able to steal her pictures off Facebook.

haines point

haines point view

See? Gorgeous!

Not long after we made the U-turn at Hains Point, we could see the Washington Monument ahead, which meant the finish line was getting near.

The last mile and a half or so was fun. The spectator crowds got thicker and louder the closer we got to the end, and the road widened enough there was actually some room to run.

Coming to the finish.

Coming to the finish.

When I crossed the finish, according to Clark’s Garmin, I’d ran 9.52 miles. My official finish time was 1:19:59, an 8:24/mile average pace. A decent training run.

I made my way through the finisher’s chute and then out to the huge field next to the monument. I picked up my finisher’s medal first. I’m not sure why I paid extra to get one, since I keep all of mine in a shoebox, but I like having it. Maybe someday I’ll finally hang them up somewhere I can see them.

After I got my gear check bag and changed into my flip flops, I walked back over near the finish line, where I hung out with Caitlin and Bob and saw Allison finish. I also finally took a couple pictures of those cherry blossoms myself.

sun through trees

Washington Monument surrounded by cherry trees.

Washington Monument surrounded by cherry trees.

Our whole group met up outside one of the Smithsonian museums, where we changed into dry clothes and took a group picture.

post race group

Jessica, Brad, Ken, Caitlin, Ed, me, Omar and Steve. Allison had to leave before we took this.

Caitlin had made a reservation for brunch at a downtown restaurant called Cedar, where Clark met us. It was SO GOOD. I had eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and a side of homemade banana bread, and a couple of champagne and white cranberry juice cocktails. Everything really hit the spot!

After brunch, we had to say our goodbyes. It’s always great to see my internet stranger friends in real life.

Clark and I stopped at the Denton pub on the way home, and then went over to my parents’ house to see them and Dave and Kasey, who’d brought their daughter over there to push her around the farm in her stroller. We all walked down to the woods and back, and then down the road a little bit. Kaylee really seemed to love being out there!

Finally, we picked up Pepper from Clark’s parents’ house, got some pizza from Papa John’s for dinner and made it home.

Today, I have to do our taxes, and then I’d like to take Pepper for a short run and maybe do some strength training. The next race on my schedule is the St. Michaels Half Marathon on May 16. Technically, I have a half marathon two weeks before that in Ocean City, but I’m pacing that one.

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