A Simple Running Log

March 31, 2016

Training for 3/31/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:10 pm

Today, Pepper and I did a lap around the 5.5-mile loop. It’s a pretty awesome day out, other than the wind. I’ve about had it with the steady 25 mph wind around here lately. What is this, Kansas?

That was my last run of the month, so it’s time for my monthly summary.

Mileage:

  • Week 1 (March 1-5): 23.9 miles
  • Week 2 (March 6-12): 40.6
  • Week 3 (March 13-19): 20
  • Week 4 (March 20-26): 38.2
  • Week 5 (March 27-31): 24.5

Total: 147.2 miles

Another good mileage month, even with the taper for and recovery from Shamrock.

I only ran the two races at Shamrock this month, but I was pretty happy with both of them, especially the 3:54 in the marathon.

Looking ahead to April, I only have one race, the Island 2 Island Half Marathon on April 30 in Ocean City, in which I’m pacing the 1:55 group. Other than that, I’m just training for the St. Michaels half in May.

I signed up today for next year’s Whale Challenge at Shamrock, before the first price increase tomorrow.

I have two alarms set in the next 19 hours to sign up for two more races: At midnight tonight, registration for the Philly Marathon in November opens, and the first 500 to sign up get in for $85. It goes up another $20 after those first 500. At noon tomorrow, registration for the Dogfish Dash 8K in September opens. Last year, the entire 2,500-runner field filled up in less than 10 minutes, so you gotta be fast.

My brother said he wants to do the same deal as last year — whoever runs it faster between the two of us has to pay the other one’s entry fee. He smoked me by three minutes last year, so odds are I’m going to be paying up again this time, but you never know!

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March 30, 2016

Training for 3/30/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:41 pm

Today, I just had an easy 3-miler and strength training on the schedule. I took Pepper out for the run.

I still have to manually remove chicken poop from his mouth at least once a run. I can’t wait until all the fields are spread so the farmers quit sprinkling these little dog treats all along the roads. I wouldn’t care quite so much if eating it didn’t make Pepper puke later, usually on the carpet of course, or if he could make the poop-puke connection himself. I don’t remember having this problem with him before, but for some reason, this year, chicken poop is irresistible.

Anyhow, now I’m going to go upstairs and do my strength training. Speaking of anyhow, happy birthday to my dad!

March 29, 2016

Training for 3/29/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:41 pm

Yesterday, I never got my lazy butt off the couch to run or do the strength training on the schedule. It was super windy and I didn’t feel like running against it, and then I just didn’t feel like doing anything.

Today was just as windy but I finally mustered up the motivation to face it, and I took Pepper out for a lap around the 5.5-mile loop. It really wasn’t that bad. There was only a brief stretch that we had to actually face the wind. Otherwise it was hitting us from an angle or was blocked by trees.

Best of all, Pepper took a dump, so I’m hopeful I won’t have to clean up dog poop when I get home from the meeting I have to cover this evening. Clark is out of town on business, so Pepper will be home alone for a few hours.

March 28, 2016

Training for 3/28/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:50 am

I had a pretty nice Easter weekend.

Friday night, Clark invited over a few coworkers to watch the college basketball games. We wound up staying up pretty late and drinking a few too many beers. I didn’t feel as bad as Clark did Saturday morning, but I definitely didn’t feel like doing the long run I had scheduled. So I just did a quick lap around the 4.5-mile loop instead.

Saturday night, we went to Clark’s parents’ house to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday. Clark grimly announced it might be the last time everyone saw poor Pepper, who is now gravely ill. He was joking of course. He’d been giving me a hard time ever since he got home from work Friday about how upset I’d gotten just hearing Pepper had a little bit of protein in his pee haha.

For the birthday cake, Clark’s mom had gotten a red velvet cake from Steve Konopelski, the professional baker in Denton who was one of the finalists in the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship. It was absolutely delicious, and beautiful. And she ordered a chocolate on chocolate cake for my birthday next weekend. I can’t wait!

Sunday morning, I gave Pepper his breakfast. We upped his twice-daily feeding from 2 cups at a time to 2.5 cups, and bought some pretty high-calorie food. Sunday morning was the first time I ever saw him have a hard time finishing his breakfast. He definitely hit the food wall, but he powered through.

When he was taken care of, I headed out to get my long run done before church.

It was a gray, chilly morning. A little breezy, but not bad.

The running itself went fine, but something was tearing up my digestive system just about the whole time. I’m pretty sure it was that cake, because sugar seems to be my guts’ No. 1 enemy, but I regret nothing.

About 7 miles into the 10.5-mile loop, I had to stop in the woods for a second time. I was wearing knee-length capris, and when I came out of the woods, I noticed blood running down my shins, where some particularly nasty briars had dug into the exposed skin. I paused to wipe off some of the excess blood, and flick away a tick crawling from my sock to my leg. Before I got going again, I made a failed attempt to launch a snot rocket, and then used my shirt to wipe off the sweat and snot on my face. Poop, blood, ticks, sweat and snot, all in a three-minute span. I started laughing right there in the road. Running is disgusting!

I had to walk some of the last mile because I had to use the bathroom AGAIN but there was no good place to do it until I got home. But, like I said, other than all the pooping, it was a pretty good 10.5-mile run, especially for only being a week after a marathon.

I got home in time to shower and make it to church for the Easter morning service. We went to my parents’ house for Easter dinner.

My dad just so happened to get a new flock of chickens two days ago, so my brother went to the chicken house to get a real live Easter chick for Kaylee.

She was not impressed!

kaylee with easter chick

She definitely preferred her little stuffed bunny that didn’t chirp or ruffle its feathers the one time she reached out to touch it.

That kid cracks me up. Like most kids, she’s very curious and is always looking around, but she always has this look on her face like she’s taking notes and plotting something haha. It’s less “ooh look at that new thing!” and more “hmm, yes, this is useful information…”

Anyway, today I have an easy 3-miler and strength training on the schedule.

March 25, 2016

Training for 3/25/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:39 pm

I called Pepper’s vet this morning about the urinalysis. He said it was fine, except there was some protein in it. Not a lot, but there’s not supposed to be any in it, so that means for some reason, Pepper’s kidneys aren’t doing their job exactly as they should be.

What’s worrisome is that Pepper has twice tested positive for the organism that can cause Lyme. Not the disease itself, just the organism that can cause it. He did a round of antibiotics after each positive test, but that wasn’t a guarantee it was gone for good. And one of the symptoms of Lyme is kidney failure.

This doesn’t mean Pepper has Lyme, but something is off, so I’m supposed to bring him in for another urinalysis next month, to see if it’s gotten any better.

The vet said it’s a very good sign that Pepper doesn’t seem to feel bad at all. I believe he said dogs that are actually sick don’t have all the “vim and vigor” Pepper was displaying in the office yesterday. (That’s a nice way of saying Pepper can be a hyperactive butthole when he’s excited haha.)

But still, if it is Lyme, it’s incurable, and there’s not really anything they can do treat it.

The vet told me to just feed him a lot of high-calorie food, get the pancreas booster he talked about yesterday to see if that helps and not to worry. He sounded pretty positive.

So naturally, as soon as I hung up, I burst into tears. Do not use the word “incurable” when talking about my dog!

I cried myself out until thought I had my shit together. I called Clark to tell him what the vet had said, but as soon as Clark answered and I tried to get any words out, I just started cry-gasping into the phone. Poor Clark must have thought Pepper had about a week to live.

I managed to get out “It’s not as bad as I’m making it sound.” Then I finally got out the story. Clark said we should just stay positive. So that’s what I’m going to do.

I mean, Pepper seems totally normal. It’s just so weird that he would lose that much weight for no apparent reason. Fatten up, Pep, for me!

Anyway, I just took Pepper for a 3-miler. He acted just like his usual self — slow and pokey on the way out, dead sprint on the way back.

This weekend begins the abbreviated training plan for the St. Michaels half. I’m supposed to do a 90-minute run tomorrow, which will probably be the 10.5-mile loop, and then a short easy run Sunday morning.

Tomorrow evening, we’re having dinner at Clark’s parents’ house to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday, and Sunday is, of course, Easter, so I’m making one of my two annual appearances at church in the morning, and then we’re going to my parents’ house for dinner. Happy Easter!

March 24, 2016

Training for 3/24/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:52 pm

Today, I didn’t run, but I did strength training upstairs — abs, push-ups, invisible chair-sitting and lifting with the adjustable dumbbells. It’s already getting a tiny bit too warm up there, and it was only in the 70s today. Oh well, better than so cold I can’t stand to touch the weights, even while wearing gloves.

I took Pepper to the vet for his annual check-up. Sometime last fall, we thought he looked scrawnier, and we were right. He’s lost 6 lbs. since his last check-up, in January last year. For a 63-lb. dog who didn’t need to lose any weight, that’s a lot. The vet asked a ton of questions about Pepper’s eating, pooping and peeing habits. He took a pee sample to run a urinalysis, which will tell if there’s anything wrong with his kidneys. The other option he talked about was Pepper’s pancreas. Unfortunately, the blood tests to find out if that’s a problem are super expensive, so the vet recommended just giving him a supplement to boost the pancreas’s function. If that is the problem, it’ll help. If it’s not, it won’t hurt him.

And in the meantime, we’re supposed to feed our 7.5-year-old dog large amounts of puppy food, to see if that helps pack back on some weight.

The good news is the vet said Pepper seemed completely healthy otherwise; he had no other symptoms that concerned him. It’s just weird he’d lose nearly 10 percent of his body weight between check-ups like that.

The only other thing worth considering is that he has been running with me a lot more at this point in the year than he had been when he got checked out last January. It was so cold last winter, he didn’t run with me for weeks. I remember we actually joked about him getting fat.

Anyway, we’ll know the results of the urinalysis tomorrow. If that shows nothing, I’ll order the pancreas supplement. And Pepper will get more food every day, so I don’t think he’ll mind his “treatment” too much!

March 23, 2016

Training for 3/23/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:00 pm

Today I found out there is such a thing as National Puppy Day, and it’s today.

We never got to see Pepper when he was still a puppy, but a couple of years ago, I found this picture online. I’m pretty sure Pepper is in this tub.

weim puppies

He’s the one in the bottom, getting stepped on haha. Poor Pep!

Seriously though, those puppies are adorable and I just want to lie down on the ground and let all five of them swarm me. That’s one of my life goals, to get overrun by a litter of weimaraner puppies.

Anyway, today, I took Pepper out for a short run, my first since the marathon. It is a VERY nice day here, in the 70s and sunny. We did a super leisurely lap around the 4.5-mile loop. We probably walked as much of it as we ran, honestly. It’d been an entire week since Pepper had run that loop, and he acted like it was all brand new to him. He was sniffing everything and taking forever. It felt good to be out there again though.

March 22, 2016

Training for 3/22/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:41 am

I think I deserve a couple of rest days after the Whale Challenge this past weekend, so I didn’t do anything yesterday and I’m not planning on doing anything today. I already feel about 80 percent less sore than I did yesterday though, so I might take Pep out for a short run tomorrow. I’m itching to go again, now that the crappy weather has cleared out.

Yesterday I filled out a training plan, beginning this coming weekend, for the St. Michaels Half Marathon on May 21. I’d like to run 1:45 there, so I’ve got my fingers crossed we don’t get another hot day like last year. I also have the Ocean City half to pace April 30, so I should do some runs at the 8:46/mile pace I’ll be running to get my group home in 1:55.

And finally, we got an email earlier showing how to download our Shamrock race photos for free, so I replaced all of them in yesterday’s post. I like the little Shamrock Marathon logo in the corner. Looks a lot better than the watermarks.

March 21, 2016

Whale Challenge at Shamrock recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:53 am

Well, look who’s a sub-4 marathoner again for the first time in three years!

me in the tent

IT’S ME.

Yesterday, in spite of some very strong wind and another scare from my left foot about four miles from the end, I ran the Shamrock Marathon in 3:54:44, earning a marathon finish time that starts with a ‘3’ for the first time since this same race in 2013.

I also ran a good race in the 8K the day before, finishing the Whale Challenge for the fourth time. It was a pretty awesome weekend.

So, back to the beginning. Friday, I packed a bag that was 90 percent running clothes. It was in the 70s here at home that day, and even nicer in Virginia Beach, making it hard to imagine the forecasters were right about the wind, rain and cold air they were calling for over the weekend. So I packed a ton of options for Sunday’s race in particular — tights, shorts, knee-high socks, regular socks, short sleeves and arm warmers, long sleeves, a rain jacket and gloves. Hopefully some combination of that pile would be appropriate!

The drive down the Eastern Shore of Virginia was boring and a little depressing, as usual. I’d guess 60 percent of the businesses I passed on Route 13 were closed, and it seemed like every other house was abandoned and falling in on itself.

I stopped to pee at the restaurant after the second tunnel on the Bay Bridge. Since I was there, I walked out to the pier and took a picture of what you can see of the entrance and exit to the tunnel.

bridge tunnel

The first time I rode through those tunnels, when I was 8, I was very disappointed to find out they were made of concrete, and not clear glass. I thought it was going to be like driving through an aquarium. (I had also not thought of the fact the ocean is not outfitted with lights the way an aquarium’s exhibits are.)

Just on the other side of the bridge is Virginia Beach. I took the way in that followed part of the race course. I spotted the first bank of port-o-potties on the side of the road, about where I’d be passing mile 17 or 18 in a couple of days.

Packet pick-up at the convention center was quick and easy. My last stop was the Oceanfront Inn on 29th Street, where Caitlin had booked a room.

It was a perfect location! We were two blocks from the start of both races, and our oceanfront room on the sixth floor overlooked the finishers’ chute on the boardwalk and the beer tent on the beach.

view from the hotel room

Finish line and beer tent.

Caitlin and I went to Tautog’s Restaurant for dinner, where we both very much enjoyed the seafood. Back at the hotel, we laid out our stuff for the next morning’s 8K. Caitlin had brought two green sparkle skirts, and loaned me the one she decided not to wear. I’d brought black compression shorts to run in, so the skirt fit over them perfectly. It was meant to be!

The next morning, we woke up in time to see the sun rising over the beer tent.

sunrise over the beer tent

The Shamrock organizers also posted this picture of the King Neptune statue just before the finish line with the beautiful sunrise in the background:

king neptune at sunrise

It was a gorgeous morning, the kind that makes you want to get out and run, say, 5 miles.

We got dressed up in our green finery and headed out for the start. It was already much windier than it had been the day before, but the sun was shining and it wasn’t too cold.

I squeezed into the second corral and waited for the start.

8K start

And then we were off!

The wind was at our backs the first two miles of the race, as we ran south. Every now and then, a gust would come in sideways from between a couple of buildings, and it would knock my one foot into my opposite calf, nearly tripping me. You could also hear everyone’s bibs whipping in the wind as the wind caught them.

I took advantage of the wind while it was helping me, and ran the first two miles in 8:10 and 7:58.

Right after the second mile marker, we made a U-turn out onto the boardwalk, and had to run north into the wind. Even in a crowd, with people around me to help block some of it, the wind really sucked the energy right out of me. I eased up — this was supposed to be a shakeout run for the marathon, after all. Mile 3 slowed to an 8:27.

8K mile 3

On the boardwalk around mile 3.

We turned off the boardwalk and got onto the first street running along the ocean, but we were still running north, into the wind. Mile 4 was also 8:27.

Finally, about a half-mile later, we made another U-turn back onto the boardwalk and ran south to the finish. It felt completely effortless with the wind at my back again! My last mile was 7:40, and I finished the 8K in 40:47, according to my Garmin.

8K finish

Coming to the line. I ran a lot of this race with my eyes closed.

8K finish line

For some reason, the official results are showing my gun time, 42:29, is also my chip time, even though I obviously did not cross the line as soon as the gun went off. So that’s annoying. I don’t have much hope of getting that fixed; my time from 2014’s half marathon is still 11 minutes faster than I actually ran, because my chip didn’t start timing until long after I’d crossed the start.

Anyway, I collected my first finisher’s medal of the weekend and made my way toward the end of the finishers’ chute to wait for Caitlin. I was almost to the end when a photographer told a nearby woman and me to pose for a picture with our medals. I guess she thought we knew each other. We did as we were told, and that’s how I wound up in a picture with a Naval Academy midshipman who was in town on spring break.

me and a stranger

I didn’t have to wait long until Caitlin came through after finishing. We made our way to the beer tent for the first celebratory beers of the weekend.

caitlin and me after 8K

We were each allotted four Yuenglings, but since we had a marathon the next day, we showed some restraint. I left two free beers behind! So responsible.

That afternoon, Caitlin went to meet a friend who lives in the area for lunch. Jen wasn’t in town yet, so I had a few hours on my own. I walked around a bit, but it had gotten colder and seemingly windier, so I wound up back at the hotel, working on some stuff for the paper so I wouldn’t have so much to do Monday. More being responsible.

Caitlin got back, and then Jen came over after checking into her own hotel a block down from ours. The three of us walked to Cactus Jack’s to get some lunch. There just happened to be a large group in there, doing a bar crawl. Everyone, guys included, was wearing a green dress. They looked like they were having a pretty good time. The three of us gazed longingly at their beers while we dutifully stuck to water. Being responsible sucks!

By the time we left Cactus Jack’s, it had started raining. Great! The wind was screaming down the street out of the north, and it was pretty damn chilly.

Caitlin had made dinner reservations for us, plus our friends Greg and Patrick, who were coming to Virginia Beach from Connecticut to run the half, at a nice little Italian place called Mannino’s, a few blocks from the hotel.

On the walk there, we were crossing a side street when I noticed a port-o-potty, all alone, in the road near the intersection. I commented on what a random place that was for a port-o-potty. Caitlin was halfway through saying maybe it had blown down there when a gust of wind caught the port-o-potty and blew it right at us haha. We all screamed like small children and then collapsed into laughter.

After we’d crossed the side street, we could see where the port-o-potty had come from:

attack port o potty

Weird that the fifth one in line was the only one that got “blown away.” Personally, I think that thing had achieved sentience and was entertaining itself by attacking passersby haha.

Dinner was excellent. It hadn’t been that long since I’d eaten tacos for lunch, but I ate quite a bit of my scallops with linguine and a spicy marinara sauce. The restaurant had thoughtfully prepared a special menu of dishes for runners, and included every dish’s essential nutritional content — complex carbs for energy, protein for muscle-building, different vitamins, etc. I’d never seen that before. It said my spicy marinara had capsaicin, which it claimed produces a rush of endorphins similar to a runner’s high. I don’t know about that, but it tasted good.

We made plans to meet up with Greg and Patrick in the beer tent after we’d finished our marathon the next day, and then we all headed back to our hotels.

Caitlin and I laid out our outfits for the marathon. Mine was much less festive than what I’d worn for the 8K! Gray long-sleeved T-shirt and dark teal cropped tights, with my rain jacket over it and black gloves. Pretty drab, but functional. Even if it didn’t rain during the marathon, I figured I’d want the jacket just to keep the wind from cutting through my thin shirt.

Sunday dawned gray and rainy, and the wind had definitely not let up one bit. It was absolutely pouring at 7 a.m., when the half marathon was starting. The radar looked like it would clear up in time for the marathon’s 8:30 a.m. start though.

Since we were staying so close to the start, we weren’t at all rushed getting ready for the race. We kept watching the volunteers trying to get the finishers’ chute ready for the half marathon runners. One poor woman could barely walk into the wind. I was trying to tell myself the weather is never nearly as bad as it looks from inside, but it looked pretty bad!

I found this picture on Facebook, posted by someone else who ran the half, of the flags lining the boardwalk leading up to the finish line:

finish line wind blowing

Jen came over to drop her stuff in our room so she could shower there after the race (Caitlin was staying Sunday night, so we didn’t have to check out of our room.) We saw the half marathon winners come through before we even left to start our race, and all wished we were already done running too. Oh well.

I took two CVS store brand Imodium before the race, and put two more in my little waistband pouch, along with five salt caps and two GUs. The plan was to eat my GUs at miles 5 and 10 and the GUs being handed out on the course at miles 15 and 20, along with a salt cap each time, and to take the other two Imodium at the halfway point.

And it was go time! We made the short trek to the start line. Caitlin, who was hoping to break 4:00 for the first time, and I started near each other between the 3:45 and 4:00 pace groups in the second corral. There was a lot of nervous chatter about the wind in the starting corral. At least it had mostly stopped raining, and wasn’t supposed to start again until 1 p.m., when we would hopefully be done.

The first corral took off, followed soon after by us in the second corral. The 2016 Shamrock Marathon was under way.

Just as in the 8K the day before, the first two miles were run with the wind at our backs. That early in the race, with a tailwind, felt super easy. I decided I was going to try to bank a little time while I had the wind at my back, and ran the first two miles in 8:30 and 8:18.

After the second mile, we made a U-turn and ran a short bit back the way we’d come, getting our first small taste of the wind. It didn’t feel too terrible, but again, we were only two miles into the race, and there was a small line of trees blocking much of it.

I took some water at the next water stop, and then we ran up and over the Rudee Inlet bridge for the first time, with the wind at our backs again. Mile 3 was 8:37.

The next two miles were along General Booth Boulevard, with the wind at our backs. I ran mile 4 in 8:23. I ate my first GU and dug out a salt cap before the next water stop, so mile 5 slowed a hair to 8:36.

About halfway through the next mile, we made a U-turn. Again, the wind didn’t seem so bad because we had a line of trees just to the side of the road, helping to block it. Plus, it was still pretty crowded here, so I had plenty of people to run behind to block even more of it. Mile 6 was 8:32, and I even saw both Caitlin and Jen on their way to the turnaround.

Then we made a right turn off that road to run into Camp Pendleton, a small state military reservation. We had less protection from the wind here, so I eased up a bit. Just before the mile 7 marker, we passed a line of very enthusiastic women braving the cold wind to cheer for us. There weren’t as many spectators out this year because of the weather, but the ones who did come out were awesome, and I tried to thank as many as I could.

I passed the seventh mile marker in 8:42. Mile 8, which wound through the reservation, was exactly the same. I took some water in the next mile and passed mile 9 in 8:39.

Not long after the ninth mile marker, we left the military reservation and got back on the same road we’d run before, this time heading back toward the Rudee Inlet bridge.

This time, crossing the bridge, we had the wind in our faces. It was the first real “oh shit” moment of the race, when the full force of what I was dealing with hit me. A couple of gusts nearly pushed me to a standstill.

I knew we’d be passing a water stop right after the bridge, so on the way down the other side, I ate my second GU and another salt cap, and washed it all down with water. Mile 10 was 8:54.

We ran out onto the boardwalk, heading north, the same section we’d run in the 8K the day before. The wind was brutal! There was absolutely nothing to block it either. Except, of course, for other runners.

Eventually I got passed by a line of them, so I fell in behind the last one in line, a nice, tall man. Perfect! I trucked along behind them. Mile 11, which we passed on the boardwalk, was 9:12, my first mile above 9:00 of the day.

TowneBank, one of the sponsors of the race, had a bunch of motivational signs posted along the boardwalk. Most of them had blown facedown, but I remember one that was still visible. It said “You’re stronger than you seem” haha. Um, thanks? How weak do I seem, TowneBank?

We turned off the boardwalk and onto the next street, same as the day before. The wind felt even stronger here, like the buildings were creating a wind tunnel effect.

Usually, there are a ton of spectators here, since it’s near the finish line, but this year, it was pretty sparse. Not that I blame anyone who’d rather stay inside a nice warm building (or beer tent) instead of standing on the side of a road, trying to keep from getting blown away.

A group of half marathon finishers cheered for me as I ran by, just as I went to wipe away all the tears that were streaming down my face because the wind was making my eyes water uncontrollably. One girl looked worried and told me not to cry haha.

Mile 12 was 9:00. The last two miles, into the wind, had felt like they’d taken way more out of me than the first 10. And I still had at least four miles to run directly into the wind before I’d get any reprieve.

I trudged ahead. Several times, a gust would almost rip my hat right off my head or blow me to a standstill.

I remembered to keep my eye out for that rogue port-o-potty when we passed the intersection where we’d been attacked the night before. It looked like it was biding its time in line, waiting for its next victim.

We made a couple turns onto the next street, which would head north along the section I’d driven on my way into town Friday afternoon. Mile 13 was 9:03, and I passed the halfway mat in 1:54:48. (Coincidentally, that’s almost exactly the time I need to run in the Ocean City half next month, when I pace the 1:55 group.)

I grabbed a GU to hang on to until at least mile 15, but I wanted to take my Imodium. Things were going very well, digestively speaking, and I wanted to keep it that way!

I pulled the little pouch from my waistband, but I was having a really hard time getting those two teeny pills out of the bottom of the pouch because my fingers were half numb from the wind, in spite of my good gloves. I had to just stop moving for a minute to weasel those things out. It was worth it though — I felt fine the rest of the race. No Code Abbys!

I started running again. The marathoners heading out toward Fort Story only had one lane, so it was a little crowded. I didn’t mind though. It just meant less work to find somebody to tuck in behind as we continued to run into the wind. Because of my stop to get the Imodium, mile 14 was 9:54, my slowest of the race.

When I was at about mile 15, I saw the marathon leader at mile 23 or so, on his way back to the finish, weaving through all the half marathon walkers. Seeing the leader there is always a boost, because they’re always flying and making it look like it doesn’t actually hurt.

Mile 15 was 8:48. I waited until the next water stop to eat my GU and take another salt cap with some water. Again, I had some trouble getting the damn salt cap out of that pouch. It was like they were getting wedged down into the bottom seam or something. Just past the water stop was mile 16, which I ran in 9:27.

I’d been looking forward to mile 16 because the road turned there, away from the coast, and there was a forest on the side to block the wind.

It felt SO GOOD to be out of the head-on wind! There were zero spectators out there too, so it was just silent. Maybe that sounds awful at mile 16 of a marathon, but after listening to the wind howl past my ears for the last five miles, the silence was amazing. It was like when someone finally turns off a staticky radio station.

The next three miles slipped right by as we made our way toward the entrance to Fort Story. Miles 17 through 19 were 8:41, 8:51 (water stop) and 8:42. I felt incredible. I took one more GU at mile 19, to eat at mile 20 or 21, wherever the next water stop was.

Then we turned into Fort Story. I had expected the wind to be at our backs at this point, since we were now running south again.

Well, nope. I don’t know if the wind had shifted or if I was just wrong, but it was right in our faces again. I was so pissed! I was SO TIRED OF WIND!

All those good feelings I’d had over the previous three miles fell away as I trudged along into the wind again. Just a few minutes ago, I’d been thinking I only had seven miles to go. That’s nothing! Now seven miles sounded like a cross-country trek.

I kept running though, because, judging by the total elapsed time on my watch, I had a really good shot at sub-4 if I could just keep it up. Mile 20 was 8:44. I was still a few minutes under three hours when I passed that mile marker, meaning if I could gut out a sub-60 10K, I’d be in.

I passed mile 21 in 8:55. Just past that mile marker was the next aid station, so I ate my last GU and my fourth salt cap, again having to stop to force it out of its cozy little home in the very bottom of that damn pouch.

I started running again just before we came up on the first photographers I’d noticed all day, camped out by the lighthouse.

marathon lighthouse

Mile 22 was 9:48. I think it was just after mile 22, as we were leaving Fort Story, that something went haywire in my left foot.

It was a weird feeling; it wasn’t any specific part of it, but it felt like the whole thing had a cramp. I slowed to a walk, and even stepped off the course to stretch out my calves. I tried to run again, but the foot still hurt, so I walked a little more, hoping that would somehow take care of whatever the hell had just happened.

It seemed to feel better, so I started running again. We ran out to the same road we’d run between halfway and mile 16, this time heading the other way. We finally had a damn tailwind!

Mile 23 was 9:19. I think I was at about 3:25, total time, at that point. If I could just run a little more than a 5K in 35 freaking minutes, I could still make sub-4.

My foot was bothering me much less, so I was able to run most of the last few miles. I have to admit I took a couple short walk breaks just because my legs were so tired. They were pretty few and far between though. Miles 24 and 25 were 9:11 and 9:13, and that included a stop to drink a little beer with some spectators.

Only 1.2 miles to go, and 15 minutes to get it done to make sub-4! My gait felt more like a weird hobble than an actual run at that point, but I was getting there! I kept telling myself how strong I seemed haha.

We had to run right into the wind one last time, but it was just a very brief stint, to get onto the boardwalk.

After that last turn, I could see King Neptune and the finish line off in the distance, six blocks away, with the wind at my back. I glanced at my watch, which was at 3:51. I had 8-plus minutes to run a half-mile. I was going to do it!

That last stretch always seems to take twice as long at the end of the marathon as it did at the end of the 8K, but I didn’t mind it this time. I was running my first sub-4 in a long time, and I was going to savor every step of the homestretch.

marathon passing king neptune

Passing King Neptune.

marathon finish

Coming to the line.

I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch —

marathon finish

3:54:44.

Holy. Shit. I did it! Wind and all! I am a sub-4 marathoner again!

I slowed to a walk and put my hands to my face. I’m not really sure why. I just walked along with this huge grin and my hands on my face. The first volunteers at the finish line were the medical staff, looking for signs of distress. They all congratulated me as I walked by in a daze. One gave me a knowing smile and a fist bump.

I got my marathon medal, this year’s finisher’s hat (bright orange — I will be highly visible for the next year) and another beach towel. (Third year in a row the special surprise was a beach towel.) At the end of the chute, I got a third medal for completing the Whale Challenge. And then I posed for a photographer with my medals:

marathon medals

I walked straight back to the hotel room. I already had a congratulatory text from Clark, whose phone was getting updates as I crossed timing mats. I’d improved on my time from L.A. a month ago by two hours haha. Pretty impressive!

A few minutes later, Caitlin burst into the room — she’d run 3:59:57, her first sub-4 by three seconds!

I took a hot shower, which felt amazing other than when the water hit the chafing I’d gotten from my sports bra. Same bra I’d worn for the L.A. Marathon with no problems. Anyhow…

While Caitlin was in the shower, Jen got back after running a 4:27, only a few seconds slower than her fastest time on that course. So we all kicked some ass!

Jen showered and then we headed down to the beer tent to meet up with Greg and Patrick, as well as Patrick’s niece, who lives in Virginia Beach, and a couple of her friends.

We had a great time, as always! I only had my allotted Yuenglings, because I had to drive home last night, but we found a nice volunteer at one of the beer tables who was just marking off the same shamrock on our bibs every time so we could have come back for many more if we wanted.

loop in the after party tent

The Loop at Shamrock this year: Me, Jen, Caitlin, Greg and Patrick, who ran the half in those kilts.

party tent

Party tent.

I also saw my friend Melissa, who I met when we both paced the Ocean City half the last couple of years. She’d been hoping to run 3:40, but ran 3:43, so she wasn’t that happy with her race. Still impressive in that wind, if you ask me.

Jen, Caitlin and I took some pictures with a prop frame provided by Yuengling:

caitlin with lager frame

me with the lager frame

jen with the lager frame

Jen had a photobomber.

And Jen and I made an awful attempt at duckface.

terrible duck face

Yeah, that’s not a good look for either of us haha.

Once again, we closed down the beer tent. I packed up my stuff — including that Yuengling frame, which is coming with me to Philly and/or Rehoboth later this year — and hit the road.

The drive home was rainy and boring, and Jimmie stupid Johnson won the NASCAR race from California as I listened on the radio, but I didn’t mind at all. I ran a freaking awesome marathon!

I got home just before 8 p.m. to a sparkling clean house. Clark had done all the housework we’d been putting off for an embarrassingly long time, which I definitely appreciated!

This morning, my upper back and shoulders feel as sore as my legs, from bracing against that damn wind. But other than some sore muscles, I feel great! I didn’t get any blisters, and my left foot has not bothered me at all since about mile 23 yesterday. I guess it was just tired of life at that point or something. I’m glad it got its shit together.

Anyway, here’s all my swag from the weekend:

medals and bibs

Bibs and medals.

shirts and hat

Shirts and finisher hat. (The picture is not doing justice to just how ugly the marathon shirt on the left really is, by the way.)

 

finisher towel

Finisher towel, with Pepper, of course.

And finally, my race stats:

TowneBank 8K:

  • Watch time (chip apparently didn’t register at the start): 40:47
  • 25th/676 F 30-34
  • 129th/5,081 women
  • 593rd/8,212 overall

Yuengling Shamrock Marathon:

  • Chip time: 3:54:44
  • 40th/147 F 30-34
  • 144th/822 women
  • 489th/1,848 overall

Whale Challenge:

  • Total time: 4:35:31
  • 7th/134 women
  • 29th/280 overall

And that’s it! My seventh Shamrock weekend is in the books. I will definitely be in Virginia Beach next March for No. 8!

 

March 18, 2016

Training for 3/18/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 9:51 am

Well, it’s here! My favorite race weekend of the year — Shamrock!

As soon as I finish this post, I’m packing my stuff and hitting the road. I should be in Virginia Beach sometime late this afternoon.

Clark was scheduled to go to a conference for work this weekend, so I made plans to split a room with my friend Caitlin, two blocks from the start line of both races. He wound up getting out of the conference, but he’s not going to Virginia Beach. I didn’t want to back out on Caitlin, and Clark’s parents, the only people who like Pepper enough to watch him for us, are on vacation until tomorrow night, so I don’t know what we would have done with him. So Clark and Pep are getting a boys’ weekend without me. Pepper’s dream come true haha.

Anyway, I think it’s just Caitlin and me tonight. We’re both running the 8K tomorrow morning. Then a few more of our friends from the Loop are getting in town tomorrow afternoon for the half or marathon Sunday.

The weather for Sunday is still iffy. It’s going to be chilly and breezy, and possibly raining. I’m just going to pack one of everything of my running clothes and decide that morning.

I haven’t been training for this marathon with a specific time goal in mind, and now that the weather could possibly be pretty bad, I really don’t have a solid goal. I think I’ll start somewhere between the 3:45 and 4:00 pacers and see what happens. It would be nice to run sub-4 again after missing it by a couple of minutes twice last year, but I’m not going to beat myself up over missing it again if we’re running half the race head-on into 20 mph wind.

Whatever happens, there will be Yuengling in the beer tent when it’s over. I can’t wait!

Oh, the other day, I was wasting some time on the internet, reading through the ratings and reviews on this race’s Facebook page. (Internet commenters are an endless source of entertainment for me.) Every single one I saw was a five-star rating, except one. It’s not clear if this guy was actually in town last year for the race, or if he just happened to book a hotel room near the start line, but this made me laugh:

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 2.41.49 PM

The true spirit of Shamrock haha.

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