A Simple Running Log

September 30, 2015

Training for 9/30/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:18 pm

I just finished my last run of September. It was pretty awful, because it’s 80 degrees and 82 percent humidity right now. It was slow and I can’t stop sweating now that I’m back in the house. I also got coated in bugs, when we were running past the recently-harvested fields. Ick.

Today, the official race photographer posted the pictures from Sunday’s Dogfish Dash, and I got one of my all-time worst! Near the end of the race, I noticed a photographer I was about to run right by, so I tried to throw up a couple of deuces for the camera. I don’t know if I was caught as I was putting them up or taking them down, but the resulting picture is not what I was going for:


“I don’t know what to do with my hands…”

Looks more like the icy claws of death coming for me haha. I looked a little less ridiculous in the ones I didn’t try to pose for:

Coming to the line.

Coming to the line.

Then there was Clark, still sporting his race bib up on his chest, because “that’s where real athletes wear their numbers”:

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 9.54.59 AM

Still has his great form!

Still has his great form!



Here’s Dave, rolling in way ahead of me. At least this time he looked like he was actually trying in the race pictures:

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 3.52.11 PM

And this is Clark’s dad, not when he was finishing the race himself, but when he’d gone back to run in Clark’s mom, which is why he’s trying to tell the photographer “Take her picture!”

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.14.29 AM

And finally, here’s Clark’s mom, finishing her first race ever. The day before, she said she’d considered buying us all matching shirts to run in. When we all got dressed Sunday morning, it turned out she and Clark were pretty much matching anyway.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.18.23 AM

Since today is the last day of the month, it’s time for a monthly summary.


  • Week 1 (Sept. 1-5): 19.1 miles
  • Week 2 (Sept. 6-12): 35.9
  • Week 3 (Sept. 13-19): 44.6
  • Week 4 (Sept. 20-26): 13.8
  • Week 5 (Sept. 27-30): 21.5

Total: 134.9 miles

Not nearly as many miles as I’d planned this month, especially during the trip to Chicago. Getting a cold right after we came back didn’t help either. I also didn’t run any farther than 10.5 miles at a time.

I ran two races, the Last Blast Prediction 5K, in which I was 36 seconds off my predicted time, and the Dogfish Dash 8K, which I was pretty happy with.

In October, I only have one race planned, the Baltimore Marathon, but I’m running it as a training run, so it’ll guarantee I get at least one big long run under my belt before OBX. Other than that, just cranking out more training miles.

September 29, 2015

Training for 9/29/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:41 pm

Yesterday, I took Pepper for an easy lap around the 4.5-mile loop. It was surprisingly warm! Why is it still 85 degrees in the middle of the day at the end of September?

Pepper, sadly, was not invited to the Mug Club party at Dogfish Head last night, even though he was appropriately dressed for it:

pepper collar

Clark and I went without him. It was a pretty nice little luau-themed party for everyone who joined their new Mug Club late last year. There was a huge buffet with tropical fruit; a salad with arugula, goat cheese, mangos and macadamia nuts; black beans and rice; fried plantains; skirt steak with peppers and onions; jerk chicken; several whole roasted pigs; and chocolate cheesecake and key lime pie for dessert. We also got to drink all the free beer we wanted — Punkin Ale, 60 Minute IPA, Choc Lobster, a new one called Dash O’Citra, Mojito Vice, Palo Ahumado, 120 Minute IPA and Festina Lente. I liked everything but the Festina Lente.

clark mug club

me mug club

We even got lei’d… hardy har har.

Anyway, today I just took Pepper out for another short easy run, this time around the 5.5-mile loop. It was another rather warm and windy day, but a perfectly fine run.

September 28, 2015

Training for 9/28/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:17 am

Well, the Dogfish Dash 8K wasn’t the down-to-the-wire shootout with my brother I’d imagined when I convinced him to let me sign him up for it almost six months ago, but it went a lot better than I expected!

Saturday, my stuffy head had turned into a non-stop snot factory, so I did not run. Instead, Clark and I (and Pepper, of course) left home around noon and met TK and her boyfriend Parker at the Dogfish Head brewpub in Rehoboth. We breezed through packet pick-up, but the 90-minute wait for a table put the kibosh on our plans to eat lunch there too.

For some reason, downtown Rehoboth was absolutely packed Saturday afternoon. I mean, I expected Dogfish Head to be a madhouse because of packet pick-up, but the whole town was full of people.

The Purple Parrot was the first place we could find that had outdoor seating that allowed dogs, and didn’t have a ridiculous wait time for a table. Parker was telling us how much fun one of his coworkers said the Purple Parrot is at night. Believe me, I know! Our group will be there singing karaoke after the Rehoboth half and full marathon in a couple of months, as usual.

We were sitting at the very first table in the outdoor seating area. Pepper was being his normal self, sticking close to Clark and me and not bothering anyone else. Or so we thought. We’d been there about 20 minutes when our waitress said the huge loud group at the next table had told her they don’t like dogs and asked us to… well, she wasn’t really sure, since Pepper wasn’t doing anything. She said they just wanted us to know they don’t like dogs.

OK? I still have no idea what they were getting at. Pepper never went anywhere near the other table, and he wasn’t barking or acting like a lunatic. It was weird. And when the group left before we did, a couple of them even petted Pepper on their way out.

Anyway… after lunch, we walked down to the beach to look at the waves. It never rained this weekend, but it was extremely windy the whole time, and it was blowing from the ocean toward the shore. The waves were big and choppy, and coming up pretty far on the beach.

We left Rehoboth, and Clark and I went to the beach house in Fenwick, where we stayed Saturday night. His parents stayed there too. We got take-out for dinner and celebrated his mom’s birthday with a lemon-blueberry cake his dad made. It was pretty good!

I didn’t sleep very well Saturday night. First off, I could not get a Breathe Right strip to stick to my nose after I washed my face and put on some moisturizer, which turned out to be a huge problem. I could not breathe! I also kept having to blow my nose. And finally, I started coughing, which meant the crud was migrating from my head down into my chest. Just in time for running the next morning. Great. I tossed and turned, blew my nose and coughed all night.

We got up at 6:30 Sunday morning and left Fenwick around 7:15. I was glad to have to stop at a Wawa to use the bathroom on the way to Milton — no worrying about needing to poop during the race, and I didn’t have to wait in the port-o-potty lines before the race to take care of it either!

Parking turned out to be very smooth, with no back-ups. Dave had already gotten there. After I gave him his race stuff, I took Pepper out for a short run, to warm up myself before the race, and to give him a chance to use the bathroom before we had to lock him in the car by himself while we ran. It was in the low 70s and a little humid, but the wind wasn’t too bad in town and at least it wasn’t pouring rain.

Originally, we thought Clark’s grandmother and aunt were also coming to Fenwick this weekend, so the plan was for one or both of them to watch Pepper while the rest of us did the race. (Clark’s parents also raced.) They both wound up not coming. I was under the impression dogs were not allowed on the course, which is pretty typical for bigger races for liability reasons. So that meant Pepper would be alone for a bit, his least favorite thing in the world.

Clark stayed with Pepper as long as possible before lining up for the start. Dave and I made our way to the start corral a little earlier. On the way there, Dave mentioned his shoes were really worn in and comfortable, except when he ran in them. He said they were pretty old. I jokingly asked if they were the same shoes he’d worn in the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon six years ago. THEY WERE.

I was about to get my ass kicked by a guy in ancient Nikes and a cotton T-shirt! Oh the shame. It burned!

There were a little more than 2,000 runners in the race yesterday. Dave and I tried to start not too close to the front, but not very far back either. Just before the gun, Clark joined us.

I had no idea what to expect out of the race, personally, other than getting whipped by my brother, of course. During the warm up mile with Pepper, my lungs had started to burn a little, but my legs felt fresh, even when he was yanking me along at a 7:15/mile pace.

Only one way to find out! We got the starting commands and took off.

Dave immediately jetted away through the crowd. That was the last I saw of him during the race.

The first mile was a little crowded, as usual, as everyone tried to sort themselves out. Somewhere in that first mile, the crowd had to fit onto a little 10-ft-wide paved bike path. It wasn’t a long stretch until we’d be back on a road with more room to race, but apparently one guy got a little antsy — he was probably trying to pass people when he ran smack into a metal sign on the side of the path! I didn’t see it; I just heard the metallic DINNNNGGGG!!!! and then everyone around me gasped as they realized what that noise was. Clark, who was right behind me, did see it, and he said the guy hit it so hard he spun the damn sign around!

I passed the first mile in 7:21. My legs felt great but my lungs were starting to burn, and I was already getting a side stitch. I stopped at a water stop to drink some water. When I started running again, I immediately recognized one of the runners who’d passed me while I was drinking that water — Clark!

I caught up to him and ran most of the second mile with him. He said he was already hurting, and I told him my lungs were starting to burn.

Just before the end of the second mile, I started to pull away from him. Mile 2 was 7:39. I was thinking it was just going to get slower from there, but, spoiler alert, that turned out to be my slowest mile of the race.

Halfway through the next mile, I saw a guy running with his DOG. I had no idea they were allowed! Of course I thought of Pepper, alone and probably howling in my car at that very moment, and I felt horrible. I’m so sorry, Pep!

Pretty soon, the third mile marker came up, and my Garmin showed a 7:26. Not only did I not slow down, I sped up a little. Nice!

The next mile was pretty similar — 7:28. I wavered between thinking how much my lungs were burning and telling myself it wasn’t that bad. I actually felt surprisingly decent.

Just past the fourth mile marker, we hit a long steady uphill. It was terrible timing, that late in the race! I thought it was funny though, that all the women around me just silently chugged along up that hill, while several men groaned very loudly pretty much the whole way up. Such drama queens haha.

The road finally leveled out and then I recognized where the course was taking us — the back entrance to the brewery, which meant the finish line was close!

We ran past the lot where my car was parked. I listened for Pepper, but I couldn’t hear him.

A couple of quick turns, and there it was!

Coming to the finish.

Coming to the finish.

I ran that last 0.97 of a mile in 6:55, and officially finished 4.97 miles in 36:49, a 7:24/mile average. Considering I ran my most recent 5-mile race, in May, when I didn’t have a cold, in 38:44, I was really happy with that time.

Of course, Dave had beaten me soundly. He finished in 33:41, 30 seconds faster than my PR, and had enough time to circle back on the course and cheer me onto my finish. What a jerk haha.

Our wager had been the price of the race registration. I’d paid it for him when I signed him up for it. Since he beat me, he didn’t have to pay me back. Oh well.

By the time I’d walked through the finisher’s chute and gotten to Dave, Clark had already passed on his way to the finish, in 39:46. His dad wasn’t far behind; he finished in 40:54.

I ran back to my car to release Pepper. He had been howling after all; the course just hadn’t passed close enough to the car to hear him. That poor guy! I gave him some water and then we headed back to Clark and Dave.

We saw TK and her sister Kari run by toward the finish, but we were never able to find them in the huge crowd of people in the post-race party.

Clark’s mom walked most of the course, and finished in 1:17:32. A successful day all around!

Later, they posted the results. None of us got anywhere close to placing in our age groups, which were 10-year groupings. Dave was 27th of 412 in the M 30-39 group (and 66th of 2,017 overall), while I was 15th of 429 in the F 30-39 group (and 160th overall.) Clark pointed out the wager should have been on age group finish instead of time. In that case, I’d have stomped Dave!

We stayed until they shut down the taps at the post-race party. It was such a fun morning. My only regret is not taking Pepper with me for the race. I promised him we’ll run it next year, even if it’s the same day as the Dover race again. I’ll still want to go the race after. I’ll just skip tailgating.

When we left the brewery, we went to the brewpub in Rehoboth for lunch, and then back to the beach house in Fenwick. Eventually we straightened the place up and came home.

This morning, I’m starting to cough things up, which is a sign this crud is on its way out, literally. Apparently Clark is starting to feel sick though. Sorry!

I have an easy 4-miler and strength training on the schedule today. I think I feel well enough for that.

Tonight, we’re heading back to the Dogfish Head brewery, for the first annual Mug Club members party!

September 25, 2015

Training for 9/25/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:17 pm

I didn’t run or do anything today. I felt a bit of a sore throat coming on yesterday afternoon and now I have a very stuffy head. Yay, a cold!

I told my brother I think it’s just my body’s way of giving me a built-in excuse for why he’s going to kick my ass in the Dogfish Dash on Sunday haha.

Anyway, in spite of my cold, I’m looking forward to the race this weekend. It’s supposed to be rainy and windy all weekend too, but oh well. There’s still going to be beer at the end of the race, rain or shine.

I might run something tomorrow, depending on how I feel. We’re going down to the beach, to pick up our race packets at the brewpub in Rehoboth and then celebrate Clark’s mom’s birthday at the beach house.

September 24, 2015

Training for 9/24/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:27 pm

Pepper and I went for another run earlier today, around the 7.3-mile loop. I didn’t have to go to the bathroom in the woods three times (or even once), but I still felt gassy and blah the whole way. It was not a very pleasant run.

Hopefully I’ll feel normal again by the time we line up for the Dogfish Dash on Sunday morning. Not that I think I have any chance of beating my stupid brother at this point — the jerk matched my 5-mile PR in a training run a couple of weeks ago!

September 23, 2015

Training for 9/23/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:16 pm

“Happy” first day of fall. The only thing worse is winter, which means it’s all downhill from here until next March. Womp womp.

Well it took all day, but I finally got my butt out the door and on the road for a run. It was a really nice afternoon, not too hot, so I took Pepper with me.

My GI tract was, uh, more upset than usual, most likely because of all the junk I ate over the last week, and the fact I hadn’t run since Saturday. Pepper and I had to make four poop stops — one for him and three for me haha.

Other than all the pooping, the 6.5-mile loop went fine. Good to be back!

September 22, 2015

Training for 9/22/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:16 pm

I’m back from an awesome trip to Chicago! We successfully checked off NASCAR track No. 12 of 23 on our list, and saw a lot of what turned out to be a really cool city.

Thursday morning, I was packed and ready to go, waiting for Mike to pick me up between 3:45 and 4:00 to head to the airport. 4:00 came and went, and no Mike. It turned out he’d fallen asleep watching “Days of Thunder” the night before, before he set his alarm or packed. So I drove to his house while he threw all his stuff in a bag, and we were on our way by 4:30, still plenty of time to get to BWI for our 7:15 flight.

Then, about halfway between Denton and Route 50, his truck shuddered to a halt. I mean, total stop on the side of the road, warning indicators lighting up the dash, weird humming noise coming from the transmission. I thought we were toast. Much to my surprise, the thing started right back up again. Even though he said the truck had never done that before, Mike seemed not the least bit worried by it, and we continued on our way.

That was the last hiccup on the trip to Chicago, fortunately. The flight was fine, except for the hardest landing I’ve ever felt, and we picked up our rental car and drove it right into the heart of downtown Chicago, where Clark already had a room at the Palmer House.

The Palmer House is owned by Hilton now, but it turned out to be a significant part of Chicago’s history. I got my first clue when I started reading “Devil in the White City,” about the 1893 World’s Fair held in the city, and it mentioned the Palmer House was one of the hotels to which messenger boys ran first to spread the news when the telegraph came over the line announcing Chicago had won the bid to hold the fair over New York City.

Palmer House entrance on Monroe Street.

Palmer House entrance on Monroe Street.

This place was a wedding gift from Potter Palmer to his new bride, Bertha. It was finished in Sept. 1871 — just in time to burn to the ground in the Great Fire a few weeks later. D’oh! Luckily, the drawings were saved by the architect, who thought to bury them in the sand in the basement before he ran from the burning hotel. It was immediately rebuilt with fireproof materials instead of wood. It’s been rebuilt and remodeled a couple of times since then, as the city grew.

Bertha Palmer had a big say in the hotel’s interior design. She was a fan of French Impressionism, so she chose a lot of examples of those artists’ works. She also wanted to impart a sense of romanticism to the hotel’s guests. Anyway, this is what she came up with:

Peacock Door just inside the Monroe Street entrance.

Peacock Door just inside the Monroe Street entrance.

Staircase leading from the street level to the lobby.

Staircase leading from the street level to the lobby.

The lobby.

The lobby.

Yeah, we didn’t pay for this haha. Clark’s work did, since he was out in Chicago initially for that trade show. If it’d been on our dime, we’d have been in a Holiday Inn or something as usual.

As soon as we’d gotten settled in the room, I went out for a short run. The streets were packed. In addition to the usual crowds, there were a ton of triathletes in town for a world championship triathlon that finished right in Grant Park, near our hotel. A few other countries’ teams were staying in our hotel too. We saw people wheeling their fancy racing bikes through the lobby and hallways all weekend.

it wasn’t a very pleasant run as far as the actual running part went — I was tired and it was noon on a warm day by that point — but the scenery along the Lakefront Trail was beautiful. I ran by a bunch of yachts and then followed the river walk along the Chicago River for a ways. My Garmin’s signal was messing up because of the buildings (it claimed I ran back-to-back 5:24 miles) but I think I ran about five miles.

After I cleaned up, Mike and I walked to America’s Dog to get our first authentic Chicago hot dog, with mustard, relish, onions, sliced tomatoes, sport peppers, a pickle spear and, most importantly, NO KETCHUP.

chicago dog

We wandered around some parks near our hotel and got a beer. Soon Clark got back from the trade show, and we met up with him and his coworkers to go to a fancy dinner at Carmine’s. I don’t even want to think about what that tab came to. There were seven of us, and I know my filet mignon alone cost $49 (it was REALLY good though.) Bottles of wine just kept showing up on the table, $80 a pop. Once again, it was being paid for by Clark’s employer, so who cares!

By 9 p.m., I was stuffed full of steak, cannoli and wine and completely exhausted. Clark and I headed back to the hotel, while Mike stayed out with Clark’s coworkers, who got him hooked on saying “kid” at the end of every sentence. It might not sound annoying, but try hearing it repeatedly for days. It gets real annoying, real quick.

Friday morning, Clark went back to the trade show for the last day, so Mike and I got breakfast at this cafe called Wildberry. I had some amazing pumpkin spice pancakes. Mike said his corned beef hash was “Waffle House good” haha. I think that’s supposed to be a compliment.

After breakfast, I went out for another run. I had a long run on the schedule, but that did not happen. I just did another painfully slow five miles along the Lakefront Trail, where I nearly got run over by approximately 15,000 triathletes out training on their bikes.

That afternoon, Mike and I took a boat tour of Chicago’s architecture. The tour took us along all three branches of the Chicago River, while the guide told us about the buildings along it, all built out of fireproof materials after the Great Fire wiped out four square miles of the city. It was really interesting.

Willis Tower from the river.

Willis Tower from the river.

Enormous Marshall Field and Company building, which takes up an entire block.

Enormous Marshall Field and Company building, which takes up an entire block.

Skyline from where the river meets the lake.

Skyline from where the river meets the lake.

We got back from the tour just before Clark got back from the end of his trade show. As soon as he made it back, we all went to Pizano’s to get something else you just have to eat when you’re in Chicago:

deep dish

Deep dish! The three of us polished off this sucker, which seemed to impress our waiter. No one needed dinner that night!

We wound up staying in Friday night. We were all tired, and it started pouring rain after we got back from the pizza place anyway.

Saturday morning, I went on a running tour of the city with the appropriately named Chicago Running Tours. The particular tour I picked out highlighted tragic events, because I love stuff like that, though my tour guide had plenty of info on some of the non-tragic sites we ran past as well.

Since I was the only person who’d signed up for the tour that morning, the tour guide met me at the hotel, which also happened to be a stop on the tour. He told me about how Bertha Palmer had one of the hotel’s chefs invent the fudge brownie, a dessert that could be easily included in boxed lunches, for the World’s Fair.

From the hotel, we went to the usual starting place of the tour, the Cloud Gate sculpture, more commonly known as “The Bean,” in Millenium Park. The tour included complimentary pictures, like this one of me running in front of The Bean:

the bean

Other highlights along the tour:

Route 66 beginning

The beginning of Route 66. I’ve already been to the other end in Santa Monica.

Running down Route 66

Running down Route 66.

Willis tower

One of those buildings to the immediate right of the Willis Tower, in the background, was the site of a dirigible crash in July 1919 that killed a crew member and two passengers, as well as 10 people inside the bank whose roof it fell through.

Death Alley

Running through “Death Alley,” where hundreds of people died because of a fire in the Iroquois Theater, to the right, during a matinee performance Dec. 30, 1903. An arc light caught a curtain on fire, and more than 600 people died.

Chicago marquee

In front of the Chicago marquee.

Eastland disaster

Site on the Chicago River where the Eastland, an ocean liner, tipped over while being loaded with passengers. Part of the problem was the recent addition of a bunch of lifeboats in response to the sinking of the Titanic just a few months earlier. They made the ship too top heavy. In the end, 844 people were dead.

It was a fun way to see more of the city.

That afternoon, Mike, Clark and I went to Wrigley Field, where they were playing the St. Louis Cardinals. Clark wanted to go simply because it’s the second-oldest baseball stadium in the U.S. The fact they were playing a rival in an important game close to the end of the regular season was just an added bonus.

View from our seats.

View from our seats.



Packed stands.

Packed stands.

In front of the stadium.

In front of the stadium.

After the game (which the Cubs won), we went to a bar called Sheffield’s for a few more beers, and then to Al’s for the third thing we absolutely had to eat in Chicago, an Italian beef sandwich, “dipped”:

als hot beef

And then Clark continued a series he started in Seattle, titled “Clark on a bike (rack)”:

clark on a bike rack

We tried to go up in the Willis Tower next, but the line was really long, so we decided to try to come back early Monday morning to beat the crowds.

I never really got hungry again after that Italian beef sandwich (Chicago’s staples all really filled me up), but Saturday was Clark’s and my sixth anniversary, so we all went to The Gage to celebrate. I had to get the bison tartare, which was incredible, and then eat a salad, probably my first vegetable since I’d been in the city that wasn’t a condiment on processed meat haha.

Then Clark and I toasted our anniversary with some nice bubbly:

clark and me anniversary

Cheers to six years! I can’t believe it’s already been that long. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Sunday was the whole reason we were in Chicago — the NASCAR race!

We left the hotel around 10 a.m. for the hour drive to the track, in Joliet, south of the city. We stopped at a Walmart to get food and beer, and then a Menards to get three coolers small enough to fit the size allowed inside the track. As we were rolling along in line to get parked at the track, we were thinking we had about two and a half hours to tailgate before the race started, until it dawned on us the 3 p.m. start time was EST. Which meant the race really started at 2 p.m. our time, thus shaving an hour off our time to sit outside in the parking lot and drink what we’d bought that was in glass bottles. Smooth.

clark and mike before race

Classic Clark-at-the-race look.

Our seats were just before the start-finish line, about halfway up the grandstands, which gave us a good view of the whole track. Just before the race started, we got someone sitting behind us to get a picture:

three idiots in chicago

And then the field rolled out and they were off!

coming to green flag

Coming to the green flag.

Taking the green flag.

Taking the green flag.

The stands were packed, but it only holds 75,000. Dover, on the other hand, which is a half-mile shorter, can seat 95,500, and that’s after stands that held about another 40,000 were removed when ticket sales started lagging.

Anyway, the first half of the race was a bit of a snooze, as the field was spread out and there wasn’t a whole lot of racing going on. Clark and I went out to the souvenir haulers — wait, I mean the big outdoor temporary tent that has replaced all the individual haulers — so I could get a track T-shirt. We got back just in time to see Kevin Harvick cut down a tire and hit the wall… after contact on a restart with Jimmie stupid Johnson of all people.

That sucked, because Harvick wound up 42nd in the first race of the Chase, but the rest of the race was pretty exciting to watch. At one point, Jeff Gordon was leading:

gordon leading

Clark was saying how if he won, which would immediately advance him to the next round of the Chase, we had to go to the Charlotte race in the next round. It was looking like there was a good shot we were going to be making travel plans for Charlotte.

Then Kurt Busch got out in front. Gordon was running second, when they had one last caution. We thought this was his chance to take a run at Busch for the win, but Gordon wound up having a terrible restart and falling all the way back to 14th. Womp womp.

Oh well. Even though neither of our drivers finished well, we had a good time. Chicagoland Speedway was a nice track.

speedway column

Traffic was a bit of a pain in the butt getting out, but we eventually made it back to the city. Clark and I took a long walk to a place called Au Cheval, which has been named by a couple of different outlets as having the best burger in America. Not just Chicago, but the whole damn country. I wound up having to get half of mine boxed up to go, but the half I did manage to eat was delicious! And I ate the rest the next day. It was still good cold.

Monday, we had all day to kill before our late flight, so we did some more touristy stuff. We started at the Willis Tower, where we were in line for the Skydeck on the 103rd floor when it opened.

View from the top.

View from the top.

I’ve been up there once before, but they didn’t have the Ledge yet, a glass-bottomed box hanging over the city, 1,400 ft. below.

clarks and my feet

clark and me willis tower

I'm floating!

I’m floating!

Then Mike jumped on the floor of the ledge while I was still standing on it, and I swear my heart dropped right into my stomach. Do not jump on the sheet of glass holding you that high in the air!

We walked along the Magnificent Mile, Chicago’s version of Rodeo Drive, and the Navy Pier, where we rode the Ferris wheel that’s about to be shut down this coming Sunday, to be completely replaced.

ferris wheel

Souvenir photo taken before we got on it.

Souvenir photo taken before we got on it.

View from the top.

View from another top.

clark and me ferris wheel

Since Mike had already scared the shit out of me on the ledge at the Willis Tower, he was nice and did not violently rock our (not completely enclosed) car on the Ferris wheel.

We walked all the way to the end of the pier, where we hung out with Bob Hope.

Mike picked his nose.

Mike picked his nose.

I just had a beer with him.

I just had a beer with him.

Yet another shot of the Chicago skyline, from the end of the pier.

Yet another shot of the Chicago skyline, from the end of the pier.

After one last drink at Miller’s Pub near the hotel, we loaded up the rental car and drove south to Jackson Park, site of the 1893 World’s Fair.

I’d finished “Devil in the White City” by then, which, besides the history of the fair itself and the lasting effects it had on not only Chicago but the entire U.S., also detailed a charming local psychopath’s use of the fair to lure in victims to a hotel he built nearby for tourists. His hotel and most of the fair buildings are long gone, but there is one building remaining. It was the Fine Arts building during the fair. Now it’s a science museum.

worlds fair building

And this wasn’t even one of the big buildings.

Our last stop was the main entrance for the Chicago Union Stock Yards, the only thing remaining of what was, for more than a century, an enormous slaughterhouse and meat processing facility.

stock yards entrance

The stockyards opened on Christmas Day 1865. At its peak, it covered one square mile of land, employed 40,000 people and produced 82 percent of the meat consumed in the U.S.

In 1906, Upton Sinclair wrote “The Jungle.” He meant to expose the awful working conditions in the stockyards, but most people who read it weren’t so much horrified for the employees, but rather to read what was being rolled into the meat they were eating. That book led to the formation of the Food and Drug Administration.

The stockyards were closed in 1971, after improved federal highways led to the decentralization of the meatpacking industry. All the big companies moved their facilities out to rural areas. This gate was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1972.

stock yards entrance sherman

Sherman the bull.

And that was our trip. We dropped off the rental and flew back to Baltimore. It was almost 2 a.m. when we finally got home.

I had my usual Tuesday morning meeting first thing today. No, I did not get up in time to run before it, and I don’t know how much of a chance there is I will when I get home. But after today, no more slacking! Time to get back to it.

September 16, 2015

Training for 9/16/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:54 am

This morning I did my last run at home until next week, since we’re flying out to Chicago early tomorrow morning.

I took Pepper with me again, even though it would be the third consecutive day running for him and I was doing the 10.5-mile loop, the longest he’s ever run. I was pretty sure he hadn’t pooped yet and I really didn’t want to have to clean that up when I got home.

Sure enough, he took a big dump on the side of the road about a half-mile into the run. I knew it!

The next 7 miles were fine. But when we got to Galestown, Pepper decided he’d had enough. The last few miles took quite a while; every time we’d run across a little shade, he’d lie down in it, start gnawing on his stick and give me a look that said he was done running.

I let him rest a couple minutes every time he did that, but every time I had to make him start moving again. I knew we didn’t have far to go, but he didn’t recognize where we were and all he knew was he was tired of this bullshit.

Finally, we came to a piece of road we run every day no matter the distance and he realized how close we were to home. He finished the whole 10.5-mile loop, bringing his total mileage over the last three days to 26.1 miles.

I thought he hated me for a little bit, but once we got home and he guzzled water and got two treats, he seemed happy again. Right now he’s asleep on the floor, which of course is where he would have preferred to have been the entire time anyway.

I’m pretty excited about this trip to Chicago! Mike is picking me up at 4 a.m. tomorrow. Our flight leaves Baltimore at 7:15, and we should be in Chicago around 8:40 their time (they’re an hour behind us.)

Clark has been in Chicago for a trade show since Monday, but he’s flying to Omaha today to meet with another customer, and is flying back to Chicago tomorrow afternoon. He has to go to the show again Friday morning, but after that, he’ll be free.

I need to get in a few runs while I’m out there. The hotel we’re staying in is right near the midway point of the Lakefront Trail, an 18.5-mile paved running and biking path along Lake Michigan. Right now, my plan is to do a short run, probably 5 miles, tomorrow morning after we get checked in; a long run (I’m supposed to do my first of three 20-milers this week, but we’ll see about that) Friday morning while Clark is still at his trade show; and another short run Saturday morning. Sunday will be a rest day.

Outside of running, we’re planning to do some touristy stuff like seeing a game at Wrigley Field and visiting the Willis Tower. Mike wants to attempt the sandwich-eating challenge that was featured on the Chicago episode of “Man vs. Food.” And of course, Sunday is the whole reason we’re going to Chicago in the first place — the NASCAR race!

I’ll also be celebrating two anniversaries this weekend: Saturday is Clark’s and my sixth wedding anniversary, and Sunday will be exactly 23 years to the day since I saw my first live race at Dover. Very fitting that I’ll be watching another live race.

September 15, 2015

Training for 9/15/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:20 am

Well, summer’s officially dead, everyone. I had to put on a SHIRT to run this morning. One with long sleeves!

Last night, I was up until almost 1:30 a.m. finishing an article about a meeting I had to cover earlier in the evening. Today, I had my usual Tuesday morning meeting to get to, and I knew for a fact if I tried to put off running until I got home I’d never do it, because the lack of sleep will catch up with me by then. So I made myself stay out of bed after feeding Pepper, put on running clothes, clip him into his harness and get my butt out the door and down the road before my brain realized what was going on.

This time of year, running before work puts me outside just as the sun is coming up, and it’s been really pretty lately. I took my phone with me, so here are some pictures of one of this year’s last summer sunrises in Delaware.

pepper peeing on road sign

A wisp of fog lingers over a soybean field at sunrise… while a tiny gray weimaraner takes a pee on the base of an ivy-covered road sign haha. A magical scene.

running sunrise

The sun comes up over a freshly-harvested corn field. RIP, outside bathroom. Guess I’m relegated to the woods again.


Pepper’s and my shadows on another soybean field. Note his is pulling impatiently on the end of the leash. Let’s GO, woman!

pepper annoyed

I get this look from him a lot.

So there you have it! We did 5.5 miles. I have to admit, running in 52 degrees felt a lot better than running in 80 degrees a week ago. Still though — a shirt! This is how it starts, the downhill slide into full-on winter. It’s hard to enjoy fall when you think about what’s coming next.

September 14, 2015

Training for 9/14/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 12:39 pm

Saturday, I didn’t run as expected, since we left so early for the Maryland football game. In spite of some crappy weather, we had a pretty good time, but that’s probably because we mostly went for the tailgating, not the game.

Clark’s boss let us borrow a GMC Yukon that belongs to the company. It has almost 300,000 miles on it but still runs fine, and it had plenty of room for all of us and our stuff. The hatch even provided enough of an overhang we could grill in spite of the rain.

lonely tailgater

The lonely tailgater haha.

Our parking pass was in a lot close to the stadium. We watched all the college kids walking through before the game started. Apparently the style now is to wear sneakers with socks that come halfway to your knees — preferably printed with the Maryland flag — and, for the girls, a tank top with arm holes so huge you can see your “cute” sports bra? Youths.

Then some guy stopped and asked if we had a recycling bin for his empty beer can haha. We all stared at him. Finally someone pointed to the trash bag next to the car and said he could toss it in there.

It was probably close to halftime when we finally decided to go into the stadium ourselves. As soon as we got in, they made everyone leave because of lightning in the area. So we hung out in the nearby alumni building for a minute, until they said they weren’t serving beer at the bar anymore. We went back to the car and drank some more, where we were joined by a large group of people who wanted to trade shots of their crappy whiskey for beers, and then told us a bunch of a stories about people we didn’t know. It was strange.

We went back to the stadium, where they were playing the game again. The stands were pretty empty by that point. We only stayed until the end of the third quarter. I guess we left at the right time; they were tied when we left, but Bowling Green scored touchdowns after intercepting Maryland four times in the last quarter. Yowza.


On the way home, we stopped by Chad and Samira’s house in Annapolis to see the progress. I don’t think I’ve been there since May. It’s really coming along, and it looks great. The kitchen is just about finished.

When we got back to Corey’s house in Easton, we all walked to the Brasserie for dinner. By the time we’d walked back to Corey’s after dinner, we were all ready to go to sleep — at 8:30 p.m. haha. I dropped off Clark’s coworker on the way home, and Clark and I were home by 9:30. I tried to watch the end of the NASCAR race in Richmond, but fell asleep. I woke up just after it ended, though. It didn’t look like I’d missed any big surprises in the last race before the Chase starts next weekend.

Sunday morning, I woke up feeling fine, since I hadn’t drank much the day before so I could drive, and I’d gotten home and fallen asleep so early. Still, I didn’t feel like running a long run at all. Eventually I went out and did a quick lap around the 4.5-mile loop.

In the afternoon, I went to high tea at the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels with my mom, sisters and aunt. We had a very nice time, sipping tea and sparkling wine and eating fancy little sandwiches and desserts.

high tea

Me, Julie, Mom and Kara, minus Aunt Helen, who had already jetted outta there.

After tea, I went to Mike’s house, where he and Clark were watching football.

This morning, Clark left really early to meet some coworkers and fly out to Chicago, where they’ve got a trade show this week. It just so happens this is the same week we were going to Chicago anyway, for the NASCAR race next Sunday, so that worked out as well as it could. Mike and I are flying out very early Thursday morning to meet Clark, and then we’re all flying back together late next Monday.

Eventually I took Pepper out for a run. It’s a beautiful day here. All the mid-summer-like heat and humidity from just a few days ago is gone, and it was perfect running weather. Pepper easily ran 10.1 miles with me. He’s run the 10.5-mile loop with me a couple of times, but I took a different and slightly shorter route today because it had gotten really windy, and the shorter route had a lot more trees along it to block most of the wind.

He seemed to enjoy himself, especially when we got home and I gave him two treats for almost running far enough to match his distance PR!

post run pep

Such a good running buddy!

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