A Simple Running Log

May 4, 2015

Training for 5/4/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:51 pm

I had another successful outing as a pace group leader Saturday!

Friday afternoon, I got to the expo just as it was opening. Friday was cold, windy and gray, and the expo was in a tent in the inlet parking lot, right off the ocean. It was a little chilly in there!

The first couple of hours, I was at the pace group table by myself. A few runners stopped by to ask about the pace groups, but mostly it was pretty slow.

Around 3 p.m., two more pace group leaders showed up, Jen and Melissa, to help answer questions for the next couple of hours. Not that we really needed three people there to handle the slow trickle of runners with questions, but it was nice to have someone to talk to! Neither of us had met before, but we quickly found plenty to talk about. Jen was pacing for the first time and was a little nervous. Melissa and I had both paced this race last year, so as “seasoned veterans,” we gave Jen all the pointers we could think of.

Soon we were joined by Veronica, another first-time pacer, and then Diane, who organized the teams. By the time I left the expo, I had met almost everyone else who was pacing the next morning.

I had also been asked to take the 3:00 pace group at the last minute! As of Friday morning, we didn’t have enough people on the team to head all the pace groups, so the slowest group, 3:00, had been axed. Then Diane got a last-minute volunteer so we could have a full team. However, the new volunteer said she couldn’t run slower than 2:20 pace, so Diane had to do some juggling of the other pace group leaders. I had said I was comfortable with any pace, so I agreed to 3:00.

So now I was a little nervous! That’s a 13:44/mile pace. I have never run that in my life. The next morning, not only was I going to have to run that, I was going to have to try to find it and lock into it immediately or risk going out too fast and blowing up someone else’s race. No pressure!

When I left the expo, I stopped by the Under Armour outlet to look for some tall socks. I had packed shorts and arm warmers to wear the next morning, along with the short-sleeved pace team T-shirt, but it was so bitterly cold Friday it made me rethink it. Plus, I don’t warm up that well at my race pace, so I really wasn’t expecting to warm up much at 3:00 pace.

I found some socks. They didn’t match the lime green-and-red T-shirts we were all wearing, but oh well. Too late to worry about that! I also texted Clark and asked him to bring me my thin running gloves.

I met Clark and Pepper at the beach house in Fenwick. We grilled some tuna steaks and had a couple beers. I had a very early alarm set – 4 a.m.! – so I was on the couch to try to get some sleep by 10 p.m.

I didn’t sleep all that well that night. I never do when I have to get up way earlier than usual. I worry all night about missing the alarm. And when I did finally get to sleep, we were all woken up at about 1:45 by an alarm going off on something else. We never did find it before it finally turned itself off. Yesterday we found out it was something up in the loft above the living room.

At 4 a.m., my real alarm went off. I was dressed and out the door before 4:30. I made a quick stop at Wawa for black coffee and was parked at the inlet in time to meet the rest of the team for the first shuttle buses to Assateague Island, which left at 5:15.

I sat with Diane, who told me about the Clif Bar pace team she volunteers with. Clif Bar maintains a roster of volunteers who are sent to marathons all over the country to provide professional pace services. The volunteers themselves don’t get paid, but Clif Bar covers all of their expenses, from race fees to airfare and hotel costs. It’s a great way to do a lot of destination races without having to pay for it!

We were dropped off in the state park lot on Assateague Island before sunrise, about an hour before the 7 a.m. start time. It wasn’t as miserable outside as it’d been the day before, and the sun was supposed to be out, but it was still cold! I huddled in the tent set up for runners with the rest of the pace team.

Around 6:20, I took off my sweatshirt, put on my arm warmers, gloves and pace band, checked my bag and set off for a short warmup run with Melissa. Besides getting our blood moving before the race started, we had another motive — to find a nice secluded bush to pee behind. The port-o-potty lines had gotten insanely long by that point!

We ran down the road leading to the national park, which was mostly deserted, other than a couple of cars and one deer that wouldn’t stop staring at us. Jerk.

When the coast looked clear, we found a suitable bush and took care of business. Much easier than standing in those lines!

When we got back to the race start area, we’d covered about 1.8 miles, and I felt much more comfortable in my shorts. I was glad I’d picked up those socks and Clark had brought me those gloves though. I wound up wearing the gloves and arm warmers all the way to the finish line.

About 10 minutes before the race started, we gathered for a group picture of the pace team, minus a couple of members:

pace team

I’m the one in the dumb socks.

Then we got in the starting corral in order, from 1:40 to me, 3:00, while the rest of the runners positioned themselves accordingly.

The front of my sign said “Pace: 3:00.” One kid asked me if that was the time of day I would finish — 3 p.m., which would have been eight hours from then haha.

The national anthem was sung, we got the start commands and we were off!

I watched pretty much the rest of the 2,000-runner field file over the start line in front of me. I hit the start button on my Garmin as I crossed the mat, and it was time to find 13:44/mile pace.

It turned out I couldn’t quite walk that fast, but I didn’t have to really run to start going too fast either. It was in a very weird in-between place. I tried to just key off other runners around me, while constantly checking my current pace on the Garmin.

Most important were the actual mile markers though. I had a pace band with the elapsed time I should be at when I hit each mile marker. Since my own Garmin would most likely be off the official race distance at the finish, the elapsed time was more accurate.

The first mile ended on the Verrazano Bridge heading out of Assateague, which meant there was no first mile marker. But my Garmin reported I’d run it in 13:11, a bit too fast, so I tried to rein it in for the second mile.

Right after crossing the bridge from Assateague -- I had a sag wagon behind me for a bit!

Right after crossing the bridge from Assateague — I had a sag wagon behind me for a bit!

The next several miles were along the main road from Rt. 50 to Assateague. If my Garmin was showing way too fast a pace, I’d walk a bit.  Those miles clicked off in 13:26, 13:27, 13:17 and 13:46. I was getting better!

I didn’t really have anyone running right with me. Most of the other runners were doing their own run-walk intervals, so I’d pass and then be passed by the same runners multiple times. I can’t tell you how many times I’d come up on someone, they’d see my sign and say “Oh no it’s you! I have to keep you behind me!” and then start running again haha.

Between miles 5 and 6, we took a detour off the main road and through a development. There was a short distance where we got to see faster runners on their way out of the development back to the main road. I saw and cheered for the 2:30 pace group.

By this point, I was pretty good at the in-between shuffle I had to do to maintain my pace. Still, I was coming up on the mile markers way ahead of schedule, so I’d slow to a walk all the way to the mile marker, to try to get back on track.

Mile 6 was 13:38. Around the halfway point, there was a golden retriever standing in the middle of the road, barking at us all as we passed. He was like a little old man, yelling at us to get off his lawn haha. But if you stopped to pet him, like I did, he stopped barking and seemed to love the attention. He was so cute!

We left the development and got back on the main road for the next few miles. This was probably the most boring part of the race. There wasn’t much to look at. We were also in full sunlight, which would have been bad if it hadn’t been such an unseasonably cool day. Miles 7 through 9 were 13:46, 13:36 and 13:25.

Finally, just after mile 9, we turned off that main road and onto a side road, that dumped us out just before the Rt. 50 bridge into Ocean City. Mile 10 was 13:44 — right on it! There was no mile 11 marker, since it was on the bridge, but my Garmin showed 13:26.

Crossing the Rt. 50 bridge.

Crossing the Rt. 50 bridge.

The end of the course was a little different this year. Instead of crossing over Coastal Highway and getting on the boardwalk there, we ran down Coastal Highway and got on the boardwalk near the end, at Trimper’s Amusements. The course led us right through the busiest part of the boardwalk, which was fun. The only part that sucked was when we ran past The Fractured Prune and I could smell all the fresh donuts baking — I’d eaten two GUs, but I didn’t realize until I smelled those donuts just how hungry I really was!

On the boardwalk.

On the boardwalk.

The runners around me were really working hard at this point, with less than a mile and a half to go. I could hear some true frustration as I passed a few of them, which almost made me feel bad, but it was my job!

Mile 12 was 13:27. Just past that, we made a U-turn and were finally heading back toward the finish line.

We had to go up and around the pier, and then we were in the inlet parking lot and almost to the finish. Mile 13 was 13:28. I was further ahead of schedule than I wanted to be at the end, so I walked a good bit of the stretch before the final turn.

After I made that turn, I picked it back up to a slow shuffle for the last tiny stretch leading to the finish line.

Coming to the finish.

Coming to the finish.

I crossed the line in 2:58:38, less than 90 seconds off my pace group time. Not quite as spot-on as last year, when I brought in the 2:30 pace group in 2:29:51, but good enough!

finish line 1

finish line 2

My Garmin had measured 13.2 miles, which worked out to a 13:32/mile average pace.

3hr garmin

In the finish chute, I waited for a couple runners who’d been with me for much of the first half of the race, until they’d had to stop to use the bathroom. They’d yelled at me from the port-o-potty line they were going to try to catch back up to me before the end. They didn’t quite do that, but they weren’t far behind, and after they finished they said they weren’t sure they’d have even made it under 3:15, the course cut-off time, if they hadn’t had me to follow. One of them gave me a huge hug. Several other people came up to me after the finish to thank me for helping them reach the finish, people I didn’t even know had been running near me. Stuff like that is why pacing is awesome!

Most of the other pace group leaders had already left by the time I finished, but I did run into Diane, who’d had the 2:00 group. She thanked me for taking the 3:00 group, and promised next year I’ll have my pick of pace groups.

I was super hungry after the race, but the trays of cookies and granola bars weren’t hitting the spot and I didn’t feel like standing in line for one slice of free pizza, or to get my two free Bud Lights. So I went to the O.C. Brewing Company for a couple of real beers and some buffalo chicken egg rolls. Now that was better!

When I got home, Clark and my brother were in Seaford eating lunch after having spent the whole morning power washing our house. We took the borrowed equipment back to my uncle’s farm that afternoon.

Saturday evening, Clark went to my cousin’s house to watch the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, but I wasn’t feeling that great, so I stayed home with Pepper. I think I was mostly just exhausted. The main event wasn’t supposed to start until 11. I knew there was no way I’d stay awake for that!

I don’t know what time Clark got home that night, but I had been asleep on the couch for hours. It turned out I hadn’t missed much anyway. Apparently “the fight of the century” was kind of a bust.

Sunday morning, Clark, Pepper and I went for a run around the 4.5-mile loop. I got to try out the New Balance Zantes that had come in the mail for me Friday. I really like them!

We went back to the beach house and met Clark’s dad there, and then we all went to Ocean City to go surfing. Since we had Pepper, Clark and I had to take turns sitting with him on the beach while the other went out in the water.

I went first, and took the paddle board out for the first time this year. I had a little trouble getting it over the breakers at first, but once I got it out there, I quickly remembered what to do. It was a great day for it! Then I got to take a nap on the beach with Pep while Clark went out.


Still need the boots and gloves, and the wetsuit of course, but at least I can get back out in the water!

pep on beachBack at the beach house, Clark and I drank some beers and got carry-out for dinner. We wound up sleeping there last night, and getting up very early this morning to drive home.

Today, I’m going to do some strength training. St. Michaels is less than two weeks away!


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