A Simple Running Log

December 21, 2015

Training for 12/21/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 12:41 pm

Saturday morning, Pepper and I ran the Ugly Sweater 5K in St. Michaels. It was part of a series of free 5Ks started this year by TriCycle & Run. For a free race, it was pretty well run. No frills like chip timing, event T-shirts or age group awards, but we got a well-marked course closed to traffic, free downloadable photos of ourselves running in ugly Christmas sweaters and $1 off pints at Eastern Shore Brewing after the race.

Clark, Pepper and I were a little later getting to the race site than I intended. I got my bib and really didn’t have time for anything else, including a final bathroom break. I was standing in the crowd listening to the pre-race instructions, hoping the strong urge to pee would go away once we started running, but it wasn’t just nerves making me feel like I had to go, it was the coffee I’d drank on the drive over. This wasn’t going to disappear once we started running. So I handed Pepper’s leash to Clark and ran into the tri shop to use the bathroom.

The line moved quick, but by the time I got back outside, the crowd had already walked down the street to the start line on a paved bike path. Pepper and I arrived just in time to hear the starting commands, but we were the very last ones to start, behind all the walkers and people pushing double-wide strollers. Not where I wanted to start at all!

Pepper was very excited as we caught up to and started running with this huge group of people. I was trying to keep him off the pavement and in the grass so we could pass people without getting too close, but that was just confusing him. He kept trying to dart into the crowd, and then, when I pulled him back toward the grass, he’d stop and turn around and leap on me. It wasn’t going well, to say the least.

Lots of other runners thought it was adorable though haha. After Pepper looked back at me over his shoulder with this crazed look and then took off in a zigzagging sprint through the crowd, I heard one woman say, “Aw he’s so cute! He’s like ‘I love running! I love Christmas!'” He’s actually just insane, but yes, he was very cute in his little dog sweater.

I was thinking the race course was a simple out-and-back on the paved bike path, but it turned out the first mile or so was in a little neighborhood just across the street from the tri shop, before getting on the bike path.

In that neighborhood, there were two short out-and-backs. The leaders came running back at us not far into the race, to my surprise. I barely had time to get Pepper out of the lead guy’s way before Pepper plowed into him.

Pepper and I made both U-turns in the neighborhood, passing other runners the whole time. It took a lot of work to keep Pepper from tripping over other people. He kept getting so close to their feet! That dog has no sense of race etiquette haha.

We ran out of the neighborhood and back toward the bike path, which is where a photographer was camped out taking pictures:

ugly sweater 5K on course

I already look like I am completely over trying to run a race with this crazed dog. But look how cute he is!

We turned right on the bike path headed toward yet another short out-and-back and a U-turn. It was about at this point that I looked down and noticed my red sparkle skirt had disappeared, the one I bought last year to wear in the marathon relay in Baltimore. How the hell does a skirt fall off without the wearer noticing?! I stopped right there on the side of the course to look for it. Then I realized it hadn’t gone down, it went UP, sliding up my tights until it was so high it was under my sweater vest. If you look really close in that picture, you can just see the bottom edge of it.

I didn’t bother pulling it back down because I figured it’d just slide up again. So Pepper and I took off. We made the U-turn right behind this little kid wearing tights with leg bones printed on them, like a skeleton. Every time Pepper tried to move around him, the little jerk moved right in front of him, I guess to block him, almost kicking him in the head. I finally swung Pepper out wide off the bike path and then let him speed up enough the kid couldn’t move to block him in time.

So now we were on the longest stretch of the race course and we finally got to settle into an even pace. Soon we passed where we’d turn for the finish (after a fourth and final U-turn) and I saw Clark waving from behind some bushes, where I could see him but Pepper couldn’t, thankfully.

The rest of the race was better. We only had to pass a few more runners. Other than several attempts to stop to pee on something, Pepper calmed down and just ran in a straight line. We even passed the lead woman about a quarter-mile from the finish.

We made it to the parking lot off the bike path where the finish line was located. Just as we came up to the big inflated finish line arch, a gust of wind blew it right toward us. Pepper panicked haha. I was able to get him to run under the arch and finish, but you can see he was NOT happy about it:

ugly sweater 5K finish

ugly sweater 5K finish 2

ugly sweater 5K finish 4

ugly sweater 5K finish 3

 

Then Pepper finally saw Clark standing off to the side and forgot all about the evil arch trying to eat him:

ugly sweater 5K finish sees clark

Oh, hey!

Not long after we finished, they took down the arch.

Officially, Pepper and I finished in 23:21. We were first woman and first dog, and 12th overall of 188 finishers, but this was a prediction run, and I’d written down 22:42 on my registration. Once again, not even close.

We hung around to see Clark’s coworker finish his second 5K, and then TK and a bunch of her family came through. They all left right after the race, but Clark, Pepper and I went to Eastern Shore Brewing for a couple of beers.

We tried to get a good picture of Pepper and me in our sweaters in the brewery, but he wasn’t cooperating.

brewery after ugly sweater 5K

After a couple of beers, we stopped at Dick’s so Clark could get some goggles and a pair of swim shorts, and then we went to Sunflowers and Greens, a little lunch cafe I’ve heard about from some family who work in Easton. It was pretty good! I had some black bean soup and a slice of quiche, and Clark had a salad with Wagyu beef. They even gave us each a glass of white wine on the house.

By that time, the pool at the Y was open for lap swimmers. Pepper and I waited in the parking lot while Clark got in his first swim workout. I got a decent picture of Pep trying to look badass in his sweater.

pepper in ugly sweater

Clark came back and we headed home. Before getting in the shower, we finally got a good picture of Pepper and me together in our sweaters.

pepper and me after ugly sweater 5K

That night, we went back to Easton. Instead of exchanging gifts this Christmas, Clark’s family decided to go to dinner and a show. We had dinner at the Bartlett Pear Inn and then went to see a live production of “A Christmas Story” at the Avalon Theatre, capped off by dessert at the Tidewater Inn. It was a lovely evening.

After the rest of Clark’s family left Easton, we met Corey and his roommate at Doc’s for one more drink. It was 12:30 a.m. when we got home, eight hours since we’d left Pepper. I was expecting a Yule log in the utility room, but I was wrong! Pepper was a good boy.

Sunday, we finally got our Charlie Brown Christmas tree decorated. It looks better with all the lights and ornaments on it, but it still makes me laugh to look at it.

charlie brown christmas tree

In the late afternoon, I ran a lap around the 5.5-mile loop. It wasn’t the long run I’d been planning (big surprise), but it was a nice run.

Last night, we went to the Denton pub for the “Holiday Baking Championship” finale viewing. The place was packed! Clark and I both got our pictures taken with Steve, the local pastry chef in the finale, before the show:

clark and steve

steve and me

Steve made a beautiful cake in the championship round, but in the end, the win went to one of his two competitors. Oh well. It was pretty cool to see Denton represented on a national show like that. Everyone was happy for him even though he didn’t take home the $50,000 prize. Clark and I are going to try to make it to brunch at his bed and breakfast next month.

Today, we are four days out from Christmas. I think I’m just about ready. I’m waiting on one final gift to be delivered in the mail, hopefully in time, but other than that, I’m all set.

As far as running plans go today, I’ll take Pepper out for an easy 3-miler, and then I have strength training scheduled.

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