A Simple Running Log

February 29, 2016

Training for 2/29/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:33 pm

Happy Leap Day!

Saturday, I ran what was supposed to be this weekend’s shorter run, the 10-miler. It was still cold and windy, but not as bad as Friday had been. I did a lap around the 10.1-mile loop and felt pretty good.

That afternoon, we went to 16 Mile for a cookie and beer pairing event to benefit the Girl Scout troop of which Mike’s girlfriend, Natasha, is a leader and her daughter is a member. We each got to pick four different Girl Scout cookies, and then we got a 4-oz. taster of a particular beer with each.

I got a Samoa, a Tagalong, a Do-Si-Do and a Thin Mint. I remember the Thin Mint was paired with 16 Mile’s porter brewed with Thin Mints, which tasted even better than plain Thin Mints, and the Do-Si-Do was paired with their brown ale brewed with peanut butter, which was also really good.

After we polished off the tasters, we had a few more pints and got some crawfish po’ boy sandwiches from the Po Boys food truck parked outside. It was a fun time, and Natasha said they had a pretty good turnout, so hopefully they made some money off it.

Pepper got to go too. He was very well-behaved, but he would not stop farting. I sat in a corner with him so it wouldn’t bother too many other people, but the guy sitting on the other side of Clark could definitely smell it. His friend, who was sitting across from him on the other side of the table, said he didn’t even know Pepper had been there the whole time, and that guy was like “I knew he was here” and fanned his nose haha. Sorry! Then he joked that he thought I’d been the one farting the whole time, and I said that’s why I bring Pepper out in public everywhere, so I can blame it on the dog.

When we left 16 Mile, things got a little hazy for me. Apparently those pints caught up with me pretty quick, and I fell asleep in Mike’s truck on the way to Rehoboth. But not before I scarfed down an entire box of Samoas! I was pretty disappointed when Mike and Natasha were dropping us off at home and I found the empty box in the floor of the truck. Most likely the only Samoas I’ll get all year and I don’t even remember them!

Yesterday, I felt OK, probably because I fell asleep at like 7 the night before, but I did not feel like running 20 miles. So I only did 5.5. Lame, I know. I don’t really have an excuse for it. Just lazy.

I got home in time to see most of the NASCAR race, which, unfortunately, Jimmie stupid Johnson won, which, unfortunately, tied him with Dale Earnhardt Sr. on the all-time wins list, with 76 each. I can’t believe I’ve suffered through watching him and that smug little buttface Chad Knaus win 76 times now.

Today, of course, was a bonus February day. I had plans to do a longer run to make up for being so lazy yesterday, but it didn’t happen. Not because I was lazy, but because I procrastinated so much last week and had to crank out several articles on mind-numbingly boring crap like budget hearings and tax differentials. By the time I could go out, it was 4 p.m. and Pepper and I only had time for the 5.5-mile loop again.

So that brings me to the end of February, which means it’s time for my monthly summary.


  • Week 1 (Feb. 1-6): 27.5 miles
  • Week 2 (Feb. 7-13): 32.7
  • Week 3 (Feb. 14-20): 47.8
  • Week 4 (Feb. 21-27): 37.6
  • Week 5 (Feb. 28-29): 11

Total: 156.6 miles

Not was I was aiming for this month, but not terrible. I got lazy on vacation, got a little sick when we came home and then stayed lazy. Considering I only ran 107 miles this month last year in training for the same marathon I’m running in a few weeks, this was an improvement.

As far as racing went, I only ran one, but it was a doozy — the LA Marathon on Valentine’s Day with Clark. Definitely one of my favorite and most memorable races ever! He was even asking last night about other scenic marathons we could run together. I suggested Big Sur or San Francisco next.

Tomorrow is the first day of March, which means I am tapering for and less than three weeks away from SHAMROCK!! That’s pretty much the extent of my plans for March.

February 26, 2016

Training for 2/26/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:55 pm

Today is cold and windy again, but at least the sun is out. I took Pepper out for a lap around the 5.5-mile loop. I’d been thinking about leaving him home and doing a longer run on my own, but then Clark suggested going to Dogfish Head tonight to try the very interesting-sounding brewpub exclusives on tap, so I figured I’d better take Pepper with me to make absolutely sure he’d taken a dump at some point today.

Well, he never had to poop during our run, but I did, a little more than halfway through. I felt better for about a half-mile, and then my stomach started acting up again. I didn’t have to stop in the woods, but I did have to slow to a walk to get my stomach to settle a few times. I have no idea what the deal was; I haven’t eaten anything today that should have caused any problems. Who knows. I’m glad I’d decided to do a shorter run though.

Anyway, other than that, it was a nice little run. And now, I hope, we won’t come home to dog poop later tonight.

This weekend is the final big mileage weekend before the taper starts for Shamrock. I’m supposed to do 10 miles tomorrow and 20 Sunday. It’s going to be a good day for a long run Sunday, in the 50s!

Other than running, plans this weekend include going to a tasting event at 16 Mile tomorrow afternoon where they’re pairing Girl Scout cookies with beer (it’s the end of February and I still haven’t had a single Samoa or Tagalong!) and watching the NASCAR race from Atlanta.

February 25, 2016

Training for 2/25/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:33 pm

I went for a run today, but it was nothing impressive. I feel better than I did yesterday, but I didn’t feel like doing anything more than the 4.5-mile loop, so that’s what Pepper and I did.

We had some pretty severe weather here last night. The storms had moved on by this morning, but it was still extremely windy, and the temperature had dropped. It wasn’t as bad running in it as it looked like it was going to be, sitting on the couch watching the trees in the back yard sway in the wind. It never is.


February 24, 2016

Training for 2/24/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:40 pm

I think today is going to wind up a strength training day and that’s it. The cough I’ve had for the last three weeks turned into more of a cold over the last couple of days. I’m blowing out some of the grossest snot I’ve ever seen come out of my own head, and I’m feeling pretty tired. I just don’t feel like running, so I’m not.

Something running-related did happen today though. The Shamrock organizers posted this year’s medals on Facebook. I love seeing the medals in advance.

8k and marathon medals

8K medal on the left, marathon medal in the center.

2016 whale challenge medal

On the right is the Whale Challenge medal I’ll get for finishing both.

It’s getting so close, less than a month to go! Guess I better get back to running tomorrow.

February 23, 2016

Training for 2/23/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:16 pm

Yesterday, I took Pepper out for the easy 5-miler on the schedule. About a mile into the run, we passed a field that was already being spread with manure. (And the peepers were already out in the woods, so it really felt like an early spring.) For the next quarter-mile, I had to drag Pepper along to try to stop him from picking up huge disgusting nuggets of chicken poop. Twice, he was too quick for me, and I had to manually remove the chicken poop from his mouth, covered in dog slobber. Truly gag-worthy.

The rest of the run was normal. Then, last night, Clark, Pepper and I were all on the couch, when Pepper got this weird look on his face. His lips were curled back. I said “He looks like he’s going to puke.” Sure enough, 15 seconds later, still on the couch, he projectile vomited all over the carpet. Second gag-worthy moment of the day with Pepper.

Anyway, today, I took Pepper out for another lap around the 5.5-mile loop. It had gotten colder and was drizzling, but I didn’t want to take a chance on having to clean up dog poop when I got back, so I made Pepper run with me. It really wasn’t that bad, and he didn’t seem to hate it too much. He didn’t eat any chicken poop this time either, so hopefully we won’t need the shop vac and carpet cleaner later.

February 22, 2016

Los Angeles Marathon recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 12:20 pm

He did it! Clark is officially a marathon finisher. It was not without its rough spots – like most of the second half, for instance – but Clark never quit moving and never started complaining, and 5 hours and 55 minutes after we crossed the start line, we ran across the finish line together. I don’t know what I was even worried about.

Going back to the beginning… We got up at 4:30 a.m. Friday, threw everything for a weeklong vacation in a couple of suitcases in a last-minute panic, kissed Pepper goodbye and hit the road. The drive to the airport was easy. Before turning off my car in the longterm parking lot, I checked the outside temperature: 15 degrees.

Soon we were on the plane getting ready to take off. All the workers on the flightline were bundled up in thick coveralls, scarves, hats and gloves.

Six hours later we were landing in sunny L.A. The flightline workers who pulled up to unload the luggage were in short sleeves and wiping sweat off their faces. Before we got off the plane, the flight attendants asked us to close the window shades because it was so hot outside.

We picked up our stuff in baggage claim and stepped outside into 80 freaking degrees! It felt incredible!

We took a taxi to our hotel in Hermosa Beach. When we first got in, the driver had jazz music playing. Upon overhearing a little conversation between Clark and me — I swear this is true — he pulled a small sheet of paper out of his pocket and then switched the radio to a country music station haha. Naturally, there was some idiotic dudebro song playing about lifted pickup trucks that look better with hot girls in painted-on jeans sitting in them. Sigh.

I took a shower as soon as we got to the hotel. Not surprisingly, we’d forgotten a couple of things in our rush to pack, so I put on shorts and a T-shirt to walk to a nearby CVS. In line there, I saw a woman wearing leggings, a long-sleeved shirt and a down vest. The difference in perception of the same temperature always amazes me.

Clark and I went to a restaurant for lunch, and then made the short walk from our hotel to our friend Brad and Nancy’s house to meet up with everyone else from the Loop who had come out to run.

Friday evening was spent catching up with everyone, drinking a few beers and laughing at the people playing Body Boggle, including Clark and his partner, Mr. Bacon (aka Eric), who got their asses kicked by Carissa and Megan.

body boggle

By 8 p.m. I was ready to hit the hay. We made plans to meet up with everyone the next morning to ride into downtown L.A for the Olympic Marathon Trials, and then walked back to our hotel. It was a long day!

I was wide awake around 5:30 the next morning. I wanted to run about 5 miles. It was still dark out, and really foggy, so I was about to do something I hadn’t done since we were in Memphis in 2013 – run on a treadmill. But the hotel’s fitness center wasn’t open until 8 a.m., so I didn’t have a choice.

I left the hotel around 6:15 and headed down toward the beach, where there was a nice little paved walking and biking path that went for miles along the coast.

By the time I got to the path, the sky was starting to lighten up, but it was still really foggy. I could hear the ocean but I couldn’t see it. I did 2.5 miles out and turned around. It was definitely better than a treadmill.

When I was nearly back to the hotel, the sun was up and the fog had mostly burned off, and I waved at everyone staying at Brad’s house on their way down to the beach for a shorter shakeout run.

About an hour later, Clark and I went to Brad’s and hitched a ride with Bob, a Loop runner I’d not gotten to meet before. He took us and Caitlin to the train station, where everyone caught a train to go downtown. I’ve been to L.A several times and I had no idea there was a train.

We got off the train just as the men’s marathon was about to start. We happened to be standing right where they’d be running past on the 2.2-mile loop they ran first, so we stayed put and cheered them all on by. We watched from the same spot on the other side of the street when the women went by about 15 minutes later. It was so cool seeing all those elite runners right there in front of us!

mens leaders first lap

Men’s pack on their first loop.

womens leaders first lap

Women’s pack on their first loop.

After that first loop, the runners did a different 6-mile out-and-back four times. It was probably pretty damn dull for the runners, but it was great for the spectators, since they ran past us eight times. We found a nice uncrowded spot about 1.2 miles from the finish line and cheered everyone on.

mens leaders third lap

Men’s lead pack on their second or third lap.

amy and shalane

Teammates Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan leading by a long shot on their second or third lap.

Watching them was inspiring, but I couldn’t help but notice some of the runners’ increasingly pained and dejected expressions as the race wore on and the heat rose. For whatever reason, they started the Trials marathon at 10 a.m., so when the winners were finishing after noon, it had gotten pretty warm. Our race the next day would start three hours earlier, but Clark and I would still be out there at noon. It was a little worrisome.

Also worrisome was the fact that all the walking around we were doing while spectating was bugging Clark’s foot already.

Anyway, we saw the men’s leaders go by on their way to the finish line – Galen Rupp, who qualified for the Trials on a half marathon time and had never run a marathon before, was the winner, followed by Meb Keflezighi and Jared Ward.

galen rupp last time by

Rupp checking his lead his last time by.

We started walking back toward the convention center before the women’s leaders passed for the last time, but we saw them before going into the expo. Cragg won, followed by Desi Linden and Flanagan, who with Cragg had led the first 24 miles of the race until she started suffering from heat exhaustion. She held it together long enough to cross the line in third and make the Olympic team before collapsing. (She was OK after getting some IV fluids.)

Packet pick-up at the expo was quick and easy. Clark and I got our bibs, 18550 and 18551, and our event T-shirts, which actually look nice and fit well. I love it when that happens!

We didn’t spend too much time in the expo, just enough for Clark to get some KT tape for his foot, for the race, and Omar and me to sample the worst “ice cream” I’ve ever tasted. It was supposed to be dairy-free, gluten-free, fat-free, etc., but that just made it taste-free. JJ said it looked like the Frosty Paws treats for dogs, and I’m pretty sure it tasted the same.

After taking the train back to Redondo Beach, Clark and I got a late lunch. We had a big group reservation for an early dinner, but I couldn’t wait for that. I inhaled a huge bowl of rice and grilled chicken.

We went back to Brad’s to bum another ride to dinner, this time with Carissa and her husband, Fancy Adam, in their minivan. Apparently their rental reservation had gotten mixed up with someone who called himself Fancy Adam, so the name stuck to our Adam haha.

On the way to dinner, Brad’s car was run into by an actual crazy person, so he and everyone in his car had to wait for the police to get things straightened out. (They were all fine and the car was still drivable.) The rest of us waited at the restaurant for them to arrive before ordering, so I was really glad we’d eaten that late lunch.

pre race beers

Pre-race beers with Megan, Erin, JJ and Carissa.

pre race dinner

Pre-race dinner group.

We were also joined by a couple local Loopsters who weren’t running the race the next day, including Alice, who I hadn’t seen since we ran Surf City three years ago, and Mark, one of my van buddies at Hood to Coast in 2014.

As expected, a lot of the chatter at dinner centered around the marathon the next morning. Several people asked Clark how he was feeling. He always just shrugged and said fine. It really seemed to bother Roger in particular that Clark wasn’t more nervous haha.

We got back to our hotel around 7:30ish, laid out our stuff for the race, taped up Clark’s foot, set an alarm for 3:15 a.m. and went to bed.

Clark and I woke up a bit before the alarm the next morning, got dressed and walked back to Brad’s. The plan was to leave his house around 4 a.m for the shuttles to the start line.

Everyone was up and about in varying degrees of awakeness when we got there. You could easily pick out the East Coast people, who felt like it was 7 a.m., from the West Coast people, who knew what time it really was haha.

4 am sunday

Carissa, Megan, JJ, Erin, Caitlin and me at 4 a.m. Sunday.

Clark, Bob and I rode with Brad and Nancy to Santa Monica to get on a shuttle. It was super foggy again, but Nancy got us there in plenty of time. We got in line and soon we were on a coach bus (With a bathroom! So fancy!) bound for Dodger Stadium.

The bus dropped us off more than an hour before the start of the race. Plenty of time to hit the bathrooms as many times as necessary and huddle in the stadium, trying to keep warm.

Clark was wearing the traditional pre-race warmup attire of a flannel shirt that he definitely didn’t want to throw away after the start, so we waited as long as possible to drop off our stuff at gear check.

clark flannel shirt

Clark in his warm-up flannel in the stands in Dodger Stadium.

After dropping off the bag, we got in line for one last port-o-potty stop. We had just gotten out when we heard the race start, but we were starting back in the open corral, so, no hurry.

We made our way over to the crowd waiting to just get into the corral, where I took a pre-race selfie to try to send to my mom:

clark and me pre race

Apparently the guy right behind me thinks selfies are dumb haha.

We slowly inched our way first into the corral and then, eventually, to the start line. And we were off!

start line

Start line!

Sort of. It was so crowded! There were a couple of uphills right at the start on which we slowed down so much because of the crowd I was able to walk just as fast.

Then we ran a sweet downhill out of the stadium lot and onto the roads. It was still extremely crowded. Clark wanted to run the first few miles straight through, so we were doing a ton of weaving, sprinting around people when we got an opening and slamming on the brakes when a hole closed up.

I asked Clark after the first mile how his right foot felt, and he said it was OK. Not long after that, I felt a sharp pain in my left foot, at the base of the big toe, the same spot that had hurt in July 2014, the last time I was injured.

I have to admit I was pretty worried about it for a while there. I didn’t say anything about it to Clark, but if it got worse, I was going to have to think about dropping out. Really! I had spent so much time worrying about Clark’s foot, and mine might be the problem instead.

Fortunately, it faded away to nothing after about a mile. I guess I jammed it one of those times I had to come to a stop because someone drifted over in front of me or something.

About the same time my foot stopped scaring the crap out of me, I had warmed up enough to take off the throw-away shirt I’d worn for the start. The temperature felt pretty nice at that point, but it wasn’t going to last.

dragon gate

Chinatown dragon gate a little more than two miles in.

Clark and I were still dodging and weaving through other runners, but it was starting to get a little easier to run. I was warmed up, my foot had stopped hurting, Clark’s didn’t seem to be bothering him and it was a beautiful day to be running a marathon. I was feeling pretty good!

Sometime around here, I noticed a woman running with a hat with a small umbrella attached to it. I got a picture:

umbrella lady

But I also totally got busted haha. Oh well! You run a marathon with an umbrella on your head, people are going to look.

At mile 4, there’s a significant hill. There was a huge percussion group at the top, banging on their drums and cymbals, driving the runners up the hill. That was pretty cool. Clark and I ran up the whole thing. I noticed several other runners fist-bumping each other at the top.

I think it was right after that hill that we all got cut off by a homeless guy pushing a fully-loaded shopping cart across the street, right through the crowd, with a look on his face like he didn’t give a single flying fuck about our stupid marathon. That was a new one for me!

There was another slight uphill after mile 5. When we got to the top of it, Clark said he was ready for his first walk break.

While we were walking, I started to feel a dreaded Code Abby coming on. Ugh! Big surprise.

We started running before we got to the next aid station, which just made it feel more urgent. By the time we made it to the aid station, I needed to GO. But the port-o-potty lines were massive. (Where’s a nice bank of secluded trees when you need them?)

Clark said he was worried his legs would tighten up if he stood in line with me, so he was going to walk on, along the right side of the course. I was supposed to run to catch up with him after I’d used the bathroom.

He left, and I waited in line. And waited, and waited. I was going absolutely nowhere. There was no sense of urgency in these port-o-potty lines!

It felt like I’d been standing there for hours already. The urge to go had started to wear off, so I decided to run on and find Clark, and then hopefully find a less popular line of port-o-potties when the need hit again.

I got on the right side of the course and started running, scanning for Clark. I could not find him. I was getting really worried. Did I somehow pass him without seeing him? Had he started running and was still ahead of me? He didn’t have his phone with him so I couldn’t just text him to find out where he was. I got to the mile 7 marker, then 8, with no sign of him. I was starting to feel hopeless.

And of course I really had to use the bathroom again. I got in another long port-o-potty line just after mile 8. It didn’t matter how long it took, I had to use one. I was going to poop my pants if I tried to run any farther.

I kept watching the passing crowd as I stood in line. No Clark! Finally it was my turn to use the bathroom. I felt 1,000 percent better after that, but I was pretty upset I’d lost Clark. I decided he had to be ahead of me; I just had to keep running until I found him.

I rejoined the race. Seriously, three steps later, there he was! CLARK!

I had, in fact, ran right past him after my first stop, and neither of us had seen the other one. He’d been walking the whole time I’d been running looking for him. The only reason he caught up with me was because I’d stopped the second time. If I’d gotten out of the port-o-potty one minute earlier, I’d have started running again and we’d have never found each other. So that was lucky.

I was so freaking happy to be back with him! And now we only had 18 miles to go!

Since he’d been walking the last two miles, he wanted to run again. I think we ran about the next two miles, which got us into downtown L.A.

museum of death

I was hoping we wouldn’t become an exhibit here.

Just past mile 10, we ran through the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, where runners could renew their vows or get married. We didn’t stop, but we passed as two older guys in matching running shirts were getting hitched. Aww!

vow renewal:marriages

The next few miles along Hollywood Boulevard featured a lot of landmarks. We saw the Walk of Fame, the TCL Chinese Theater, the Hollywood sign, the Dolby Theater (where the Academy Awards will be held this coming weekend), Musso & Frank Grill and El Capitan Theater.

chinese theater

TCL Chinese Theater — celebrities’ hand and foot prints and signatures are enshrined in cement out front.

musso and frank grill

This famous restaurant opened in 1919. We stopped in here for a drink in 2011 and met Manny the bartender, who had stories about sneaking shots to John Wayne after his children thought he’d quit drinking haha.

dolby theater

The Walk of Fame and, way back there, the Hollywood sign.

el capitan

El Capitan Theatre.

We reached halfway in 2:38, on track to finish well ahead of the sag wagon! Clark was doing really well. We both needed a port-o-potty though. (Two peas in a pod haha.) There was yet another line, but it moved a lot quicker than the other two had.

As we started the second half, Clark, who had never before run farther than a half marathon, said every step from there to the finish was a new distance PR for him.

We ran down the Sunset Strip:

chateau marmont

The Chateau Marmont, another famous hangout of the rich and famous. John Belushi died here, Led Zeppelin rode Harleys through the lobby and once Clark and I saw Jason Segel (Marshall on “How I Met Your Mother”) outside.

sunset strip

Running down the Sunset Strip.

house of blues

The House of Blues, which, along with Universal Studios, was the top recommendation of where to go when Clark and I stayed in an Airbnb owned by a nice couple in West Hollywood. Seriously, every time we tried to leave the house, the guy we were staying with told us to go there.

whisky a go go

Whisky A Go Go.

And then into Beverly Hills, right down Rodeo Drive.

rodeo drive


Anyone need a fine Italian watch?

mile 17

Mile 17 marker on Rodeo Drive.

rodeo drive sign

Rodeo Drive road sign.

beverly hills

Leaving Beverly Hills.

Clark said he had some pretty bad inner thigh chafing going on. I was looking for an aid station, official or otherwise, that had Vaseline. Somewhere around mile 18 we finally found one being run by a local running club. Clark got his legs lubed up, I got my water bottle filled up and we were on our way again.

running elvii

Part of a group of running Elvii we kept leapfrogging.

After we left Beverly Hills, the scenery got less interesting – we were mostly on a highway, historic Route 66, but still a highway – but the spectators were incredible. They were everywhere, and they were cheering their heads off for us. A lot were spraying down runners with hoses and water bottles, or handing out candy and fruit. It really made a huge difference.

Clark was starting to hurt. Fortunately, it wasn’t his injury flaring up again, it was just the pain associated with running a marathon you haven’t trained for. His feet were sore and his right knee was bugging him; he was probably running on that leg a little funny because he was worried about the foot.

We kept going though. There was a lot more walking, but he never wanted to stop.

We saw a really pretty Mormon church:

mormon church

Just before mile 20, I heard a guy behind me yell “Jesus Christ!” I thought he was swearing until I looked ahead and saw:

jesus christ

Jesus Christ! Who prefers Nikes, and doesn’t seem to be wearing a bib. Is Jesus a race bandit?

We also got caught by Omar here, the only Loopster we saw on the course all day. He ran with us a bit before he pulled ahead, and then we passed him back.

Now we were down to just a 10K to go. We ran a couple more miles along the highway, and then we were on the outer edge of Santa Monica. On the other side of it was the finish line!

Somewhere around mile 23, JB messaged me, asking where we were. He was waiting at mile 25 to get a picture of us.

I messaged him back when we were passing 22nd Street, 15 blocks from where he was waiting. I guess we were taking longer than he expected, because he soon messaged back “Did you mean 220th Street?” haha. JB had jokes!

The block before we got to JB, we started running. Look how good we look here! Doesn’t running a marathon look like fun?

clark and me jb shot

Anyway, there was the 25th mile marker. ONE MILE TO GO! OK, 1.2 miles.

mile 25

More accurate picture of us just past mile 25 haha.

mile 25 2

We walked out to Ocean Drive, the homestretch along the Pacific Ocean. We were so close!


Pretty nice homestretch.

As we walked along, we heard a commotion coming up from behind us. Eventually it caught up to and passed us. It was a guy, literally screaming in agony with every single step of his right leg. Soon he started clapping his hands every time he screamed, I guess to really emphasize how much it was hurting.

We also got passed by this guy, dribbling a basketball and juggling two other balls:

dribbler juggler

At the mile 26 marker, we started running for the finish line. We passed the screaming guy, but the juggler/dribbler held us off.

approaching the finish line




finish 2

And just like that, Clark finished his first marathon, in 5:55:56. Plenty of time to spare – there were still 6,000 runners behind us!

After we’d cleared the timing mats, I gave him a big hug and a kiss. I was so impressed with him! I think he thought I was blowing smoke up his ass every time I’d tell him he was doing a good job during the race, but he really did an amazing job.

Other than miles 6-8, when we got separated, there was no low point during the race. I had a great time the whole way. It was one of my favorite race experiences ever, and definitely my favorite Valentine’s Day!

We got our big shiny finisher’s medals and then stopped at gear check. For some reason, they’d pulled out all the remaining bags and put them on the ground near the trucks, leaving us to look for our own bags. Mine was easy to spot though. It was the only one with a flannel shirt haha.

Brad was waiting for us in the family reunion area to drive us back to Redondo Beach. We waited for a while, hoping to catch Omar after he finished so he could ride with us too, but we weren’t having any luck.

clark and me post race

clark post race

It was a bit of a hike back to Brad’s car. On the drive back, we stopped at Fatburger. After eating nothing but sugary GUs, Red Vines and salt caps through the race, a big ol’ burger covered in mushrooms and cheese really hit the spot!

Brad dropped us off at our hotel. Clark and I rubbed each other’s aching feet, showered and laid down for a bit before walking to Brad’s for the after party.

By the time we got there, everyone else was pretty well into it haha. Clark and I hurried to catch up.

megan and me night after race

Megan and me.

post race party at brads

The whole group in the RUN LA hats Nancy made for us.

Lots of war stories from the race, lots of stories not related to running at all, plenty of pictures. Nancy had to make another beer run, and then we all walked to the Hermosa Saloon, where Clark bought a bunch of pizzas for the group.

clark at the saloon

He said he was contemplating his sub-6 marathon here haha.

The end of the night is a little blurry (the hallmark of a properly-celebrated marathon.) But I think I got to say goodbye to just about everyone. It was a pretty awesome race weekend, overall.

Monday morning, Clark and I packed up our stuff and took an Uber to the motel in Malibu where we were spending the rest of the week.

The rest of the day was pretty relaxed. We got some lunch, went to the beach, got some dinner and went to bed.

clark and me on the beach

Tuesday, I wanted to get in another 5-miler. Our cheap motel didn’t offer breakfast, but there was a mini fridge in the room, so I decided to run down to a grocery store, get some cereal and milk and run back.

It turns out Malibu isn’t such a great place to run. There’s no nice paved path like in Redondo Beach. I ran along sidewalks to the grocery store, got my stuff and then walked back, because there was no way to run with a big thing of milk. I wound up covering about 5.3 miles.

Later that morning, we rented paddleboards and paddled down the coast and back. It was absolutely gorgeous. We even saw a sea lion (or a seal, I don’t know the difference) popping its head out of the water to look around.


Paddleboards near the Malibu pier. Catalina Island is in the distance.

We got lunch from a restaurant on the pier. After we showered, we went to Nobu, a fancy-pants Japanese restaurant near the motel. We got a bunch of the kind of cocktails that come garnished with edible flowers while watching the sunset, and then we did the tasting menu. I had caviar for the first time! (I wasn’t impressed.) Overall though, it was a really good dinner.

kumquat cooler

I got a kumquat cooler so I could say “kumquat” haha. Luckily, it also tasted really good.


Some kind of fish tartare with caviar on top.


Fancy plate of sushi that tasted as good as it looked.

malibu sunset 2


After dinner, we went to another nearby restaurant for a couple more beers, where we met a guy whose two jobs are “test-driving supercars” and “taking photographs of women in swimsuits” and who had pictures on his phone of his neighbor there in Malibu, Dr. Dre, after Dre had paid for a skywriter to write “Compton” in the sky above his Malibu condo haha. The guy was also dogsitting a dog for a woman who was a caterer to the stars — he had more pictures on his phone of that woman with President Obama.

Wednesday, I ran again in the morning. This time, I went a different way and found a little park in the middle of town.

From the right angles, it looks secluded:

legacy park trail

But there was a busy highway just to the right of this shot. The path through the park was less than a mile long, so I did a few laps of it and then ran back, stopping to get an iced coffee from Starbucks on the way. It was about 5.2 miles, and I wound up running that exact same route again Thursday and Friday.

malibu lagoon

Malibu Lagoon as seen from an overpass along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Wednesday afternoon, it rained. We took the bus to Santa Monica. We had lunch and I tried a bulletproof coffee for the first time. I didn’t feel smarter after drinking coffee with butter in it, but I definitely didn’t feel hungry for the rest of the day.

We saw the canals in Venice, and then tried to visit a local brewery, but we were a little early. They just got their liquor license and should be serving beer in two months haha.

venice canals

Venice canals.

The guy at the brewery recommended Barney’s Beanery if we really wanted some beer, so we went there next. They had a pretty good beer selection.

$250 hot dog

They also had a $250 footlong hot dog that came with a bottle of Dom.

selfie in barneys

Clark giving some Blue Steel haha.

We got the last bus back to Malibu. I was beat, so I went to bed, but Clark went back to Nobu and got hammered doing shots of fancy tequila. His phone, which was on its last leg anyway, did not survive the evening.

Thursday morning, I ran the boring 5.2-mile route again. After I got back, it was a while before Clark was feeling mobile. He really wanted to go to Roscoe’s in downtown L.A., home of the original chicken and waffles, so we took another looooong bus ride. Seriously, we were probably on the bus for two hours, first to Santa Monica and then into L.A. The food was worth it though! He had half a fried chicken and two waffles, and I had a chicken and cheese omelet and a waffle.

roscoes sign

Original location in downtown L.A.


The spread.

By that time, the Can-Am Duels (Daytona 500 qualifying races) had started, and Bobby was in the first one, so we walked to a nearby sports bar to watch it. I’m not kidding, I watched the whole race and saw Bobby’s name in the running order, but I never once saw his car on TV! He was always way behind the pack and therefore out of the shot. I wasn’t feeling so great about his chances to win the 500 after that performance!

We left right after the second race started, since we had to be on the last bus back to Malibu by 8 p.m. It was another long trek back. We went straight to bed when we got back to the motel.

Friday, I did one final lap of that 5.2-mile route. I did stop to take this picture so I could send it to TK, who has a snake phobia, and said she almost dropped her phone when it popped up:

legacy park snake

I’m such a good friend!

After my run, we rented two surfboards and went to the famous Surfrider Beach next to the pier. Unfortunately, the surf wasn’t really cooperating, and there were a lot of people out there competing for the few good waves that did come along. I didn’t feel like I had any business pushing my way into the lineup when I can’t even surf, so I mostly just floated out there. We did get a couple rogue waves where we were sitting though, and I almost stood up on one. Oh well, it was fun to just be out there.

clark on a surfboard

We stayed at the beach all afternoon. After we turned in the surfboards, we got cleaned up and walked down to a taphouse for a few beers, where Clark was inspired by the name Megan uses on all social media so her students don’t find her, Mild Sauce, and his own sub-6 marathon to come up with his own name:

turbo sauce

Turbo Sauce!

 Our last stop was Duke’s for dinner. There, Clark impressed the bartender with how much he could eat, and how quickly he could eat it, and then we worked together to polish off a slice of Hula Pie:

hula pie

It’s a chocolate cookie crust, macadamia nut ice cream, chocolate sauce, more macadamia nuts and whipped cream. And it was the perfect way to end our vacation.

hula pie finished

We called another Uber at 3:30 a.m. Saturday and got to the airport in plenty of time for our 6:35 flight. After losing three hours on the way home, we landed in Baltimore around 2 p.m.

We stopped at the Annapolis mall so Clark could get an iPhone 6S. I thought people didn’t shop at malls anymore, but Annapolis must be the exclusion to that rule. The parking lot was completely packed, and it seemed like everyone was in the Apple store when we finally made our way in.

We made one more stop on the way home at the Denton pub to get some lunch, and then we made it to Clark’s parents’ house to pick up Pepper, who was so excited to see us he couldn’t stop whining haha. I missed him just as much!

I had forced myself to stay awake on the flight home so maybe I’d be tired at a normal time Saturday night. The jet lag is always so much worse when we come back east and lose three hours.

I think I fell asleep around 10:30 that night, but still, when I first woke up at 9 a.m. Sunday, it felt way earlier. I made myself get up though. After taking my time eating some breakfast and drinking some coffee, I got dressed (in shorts and a tank top — it was as nice here as it’d been in Malibu!) and went out for a lap around the 6.5-mile loop.

It wasn’t as bad as I expected. In fact, it felt pretty good to be back out on my old familiar traffic-free roads.

After my run, Clark and I finished unpacking and then we went to Mike’s to watch the Daytona 500. Bobby didn’t win. Boo. But neither did Jimmie stupid Johnson, so I wasn’t too upset.

This morning, I was able to get up at a reasonable time, and I don’t feel as jetlagged as I usually do two days after coming home from the West Coast.

Good thing, because this is my last big mileage week before Shamrock. Today, I have an easy 5-miler and strength training on the schedule.

February 11, 2016

Training for 2/11/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:08 pm

This is my last post until we get back from California!

Today was my last run before leaving for California. It is stupid cold out there. The actual temp is in the low 20s, and there’s a 20 mph wind blowing, so it feels like, oh, about 10. I HATE this crap.

It was way too cold to make Pepper go out with me. He was obviously not happy, but I just can’t wrap him up in enough layers. I can barely get enough layers on myself.

I bundled up and headed out. I had to lean into the door to get it to open against the wind. Not a good sign!

I started out down the road. I was *thisclose* to turning around and packing it in before I’d even made it past the last neighbor’s house. It was so damn cold.

I stuck it out for a lap around the 5.5-mile loop. Don’t be too impressed — I’d had 10 on the schedule haha. Oh well, it was better than the zero miles I’d have preferred to run. I already had a headache from the icy wind when I got home. I was glad I’d slacked off on the other 4.5 miles. That was enough.

Today, I got an email from the LA Marathon directors, warning us about a weather advisory for Sunday’s race. Not because it’s going to be abnormally cold, like it is here, but because it’s going to be abnormally hot. It’s supposed to be in the mid-80s for the race. A 65-degree swing compared to my run today.

So yeah, I’m a little nervous about this one. Clark has minimal training because of the stress fracture, and now we’re going to be running a marathon in sweltering conditions, especially compared to the weather I’ve been running in for the last couple of months. Yeesh.

Well, I’m not going to stress about it too much. Whatever happens, happens. At least I won’t be at home this weekend, which is supposed to be even colder and windier than today.

And of course, there’s plenty more to look forward to. Saturday, we’re watching the elites run the Olympics Trials Marathon in downtown L.A. I get to see a bunch of my internet running friends this weekend. And all next week, after the race, Clark and I are staying in Malibu (when it will no longer be in the 80s, of course.)

We get back next Saturday, just in time for the Daytona 500 the next day. It’s also supposed to have warmed up here at home to above-average temperatures by next weekend, so I won’t have to come back to an icebox.

Have a good next 11 days!

February 10, 2016

Training for 2/10/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:17 pm

Yesterday became a rest day. I was going to do a short easy run when I got home from work, but when I did, it was chilly and raining outside, and Pepper had been a good boy and not pooped in the utility room, so I didn’t want to make him go out with me or leave him alone again. Plus, it’d been a week since my last day off anyway.

Today, we did that short easy run, a 5-miler. It was cold and windy, albeit sunny, and I don’t think either one of us really wanted to be out there. It turned out we got to see a little bit of excitement though.

We were almost to an intersection about a mile into the run. Pepper was really inching along for the first mile today, sniffing every little blade of grass on the side of the road. I was stopped, waiting for him to finish sniffing another spot, when I saw a car pulling across that intersection ahead. All of a sudden there was a big “pop!” and the front bumper came flying off the car.

Turned out there had been a car coming from the other side of the intersection (which does not have a stop sign) and the car I was watching had pulled out in front of it. The driver of the other car had managed to slow down enough and turn a bit so they just hit front bumpers. Both cars were still drivable and pulled off the road.

By the time Pepper and I had made it to that intersection, where we always turn anyway, the drivers were already cleaning up car pieces in the road, and one was on the phone, I guess calling the police. I didn’t know what to do so I just asked if everyone was OK. They said they were, so I went on my way.

Several years ago, at college, I had a small fender-bender. (And I mean small — it cost $300 to fix the paint scrape on the other car.) We’d pulled our cars into a parking lot and I was giving the other driver my insurance info, when these two old ladies, who I guess had been stopped in another car nearby and saw the “accident,” excitedly asked if they needed to hang around to be witnesses for the cops. The other driver and I both said no, we were just exchanging insurance info, we weren’t calling the police, it wasn’t a big deal, but those old bats would not leave us alone. It must have been the most exciting thing they’d seen in about 30 years.

So maybe someone else, in my position today, would have offered to stay long enough to tell the police what I saw, but those two busybodies pissed me off that day 11 years ago and I would’ve hated myself for becoming them haha. It didn’t look like the at-fault driver was trying to get away, so I’m sure they didn’t need me anyway.

Pepper and I finished the rest of the 5.5-mile loop without incident.

February 8, 2016

Training for 2/8/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:50 pm

I managed to get in all of my training miles this weekend! Probably because it was a cutback week, but hey, I’m calling it a win.

Friday night, we went to Rubber Soul and 3rd Wave, mostly because they both allow dogs inside the tasting rooms and we were tired of cleaning up dog poop in the utility room after three consecutive days of doing so, so we wanted to go somewhere Pepper could go too.

The bartender at Rubber Soul has a 5-month-old puppy, Banjo. Banjo wanted to play with Pepper so bad, but Pepper was his usual aloof self, completely ignoring poor little Banjo.

I mean, I felt bad for the puppy, but these pictures crack me up.

pepper and banjo

Hey, I’m trying to play here!

pepper and banjo 2


Pepper also completely ignored any human who tried to make contact with him, including this one drunk guy who just could not stand it that Pepper didn’t want to be best friends haha.

Saturday, I did the shorter run on the schedule, the 6-miler. It was an uneventful lap around the 6.5-mile loop.

That evening, we went to Clark’s parents’ house for his birthday dinner. This year, Clark requested chicken and waffles. I guess no one else at dinner that night had ever heard of such a thing, and it was really throwing his grandmother and aunt for a loop. “Where have you had this before?” “Do you put syrup on the chicken?” “Hey, it’s not that bad!”

Sunday, I went out in the morning for a 12-miler, this week’s long run. It wasn’t my best run. I had to stop several times to cough up a lung, and the last couple of miles were a slog.

Last night, we watched the Super Bowl. The game wasn’t too exciting and none of the commercials really wowed me. Kind of ‘meh’ overall in my opinion. Oh well. Clark had gone to Harris Teeter yesterday afternoon, so the food here was pretty awesome at least. Bison and elk burgers and brie with strawberry jam. We’re very fancy.

Today, things got a little hectic with work. Not because of my procrastination, for once, but because a couple of interesting things happened that needed to be written up right away to get into this week’s paper. I did manage to get outside long enough to get in the short easy run on the schedule. Pepper and I did another lap around the 4.5-mile loop.

February 5, 2016

Training for 2/5/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:22 pm

Man, this irritating little cough I’ve had all week is really getting on my nerves. It feels like a tickle in my throat, except it’s down deep in my chest, so to “scratch” it, I really have to cough deep. Just taking a normal breath makes it “itch,” so it’s been fun sitting through all the meetings I had to cover this week, trying not to cough the whole way through. It’s like trying not to blink for 45 minutes.

Last night, I woke up around 2 a.m. in a coughing fit and just could not get back to sleep. I also could not stop coughing. Cough drops and syrups don’t seem to hit where my throat is irritated, so those were useless. A couple spoonfuls of honey helped a little, but quickly wore off. I didn’t get much sleep, and unfortunately, neither did Clark. He was nice and didn’t give me a hard time, but Pepper kept groaning at me. Sorry!

And then when we got up this morning, it’d started snowing. There was already a layer on the ground.

I just did not feel at all like going in town and doing those intervals today. So I didn’t. Instead, I took Pepper out for another easy lap around the 4.5-mile loop and called it good enough. Whatever.

When we got back home, I started my car to see if it really was fixed. The new engine mount did the trick! No more death rattle when I start it for the first time on a cold day.

This weekend, I have a 12-miler and a 6-miler on the schedule. Other than running, we’ve got Clark’s birthday dinner at his parents’ house tomorrow night, and the Super Bowl on Sunday.

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