A Simple Running Log

April 18, 2016

Training for 4/18/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 1:58 pm

I’m back! I had a lot of fun in Charleston with my mom and sisters, but I’m always glad to come home.

Anyway, here are a ton of pictures from our trip.

Last Saturday, I ran a quick lap around the 5.5-mile loop and got my stuff packed. My mom and sisters picked me up a little before noon. We parked my mom’s car at our grandmother’s house outside Salisbury, and then Grandmom took Mom to pick up our rental car, a Nissan Rogue that had just enough room for all our luggage, at the Salisbury airport. It was about 2 p.m. when we had the Rogue loaded up and finally hit the road, a little later than we’d wanted.

Our plan was to take the scenic route to Charleston, sticking close to the coast instead of taking 95. Mom had made a reservation for Saturday night at a hotel in Wilmington, N.C.

Originally, we’d planned on me driving the whole way, but Mom found one little line on the rental agreement about “unauthorized drivers resulting in a loss of AAA privileges” or some nonsense, so I was demoted to navigator, and Mom drove instead. My mom is not a bad driver, she’s just a little more… cautious than I am haha.

We stopped for lunch at a little restaurant in Pocomoke, just north of the Virginia state line. Then we made the long boring drive down the Eastern Shore of Virginia, crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, drove around Norfolk and got on Route 17, the highway we would follow all the way to Charleston.

Some parts of Route 17 had a 70 mph speed limit, and others dropped down to 35 mph as it passed through towns. It wasn’t nearly as fast as 95 would’ve been, but it was a lot more interesting, which was the point.

Sometime around 7:30 p.m., we figured it would be a good idea to stop for dinner soon. While I was looking up restaurants in Washington, N.C., the next major town we’d pass through, my mom managed to go the wrong way at a split. I didn’t notice it for quite a while, until I saw a sign for an upcoming town that was not on our route. We took a detour that took us straight to Washington, but it probably added 45 minutes to what was already a longer drive than we’d expected.

Trip Advisor recommended a restaurant in Washington called Grub Brothers Eatery. We all felt a lot better after we got some food and a couple beers in us.

It was getting late when we left Washington, and we still had a couple hours to drive. We had to stop at a Walmart in Jacksonville so Julie could get a toothbrush or something. Finally, at almost 1 a.m., we pulled into the Quality Inn in Wilmington.

I don’t know what was going on in Wilmington that weekend, but all the hotels were booked solid. So we didn’t have a choice when the Quality Inn gave us the last room they had — a pet-friendly, smoking room. Even though our reservation clearly said NON SMOKING, but whatever.

The room actually didn’t smell like cigarette smoke, but it did smell very strongly of cat piss. We all changed into our pajamas and tried to get to sleep.

Something has happened to my mom in the 15 years since I moved out of my parents’ house. She snores now! LOUDLY.

I didn’t get much sleep that night. I was in the same bed as my mom, so the snoring was right next to me.

Sunday morning, I had a 3-miler on the schedule, but I nixed that immediately. For one, I was exhausted. And on top of that, it was just above freezing outside — a temperature I had not packed running clothes for — and our hotel was near a busy highway off ramp, so it wasn’t a great place for a run anyway.

Instead, we got out of that hotel as soon as possible and went to Jester’s Java in Wilmington for breakfast. Another great recommendation from Trip Advisor.

sisters in wilmington

Julie, me and Kara outside Jester’s Java.

And we were on the road again! It was about a three-hour drive to Charleston from Wilmington, but the road passed right through Myrtle Beach, so we stopped there for a bit.

walking on myrtle beach

Mom, Julie and Kara walking along the beach.

myrtle beach from skywheel

View from the SkyWheel.

julie and me on skywheel

Julie and me on the SkyWheel.

kara and mom on skywheel

Kara and Mom on the SkyWheel.

We left Myrtle Beach and kept driving south. Our next stop was in Georgetown, S.C., for lunch at Big Tuna Raw Bar. The most notable thing here was when Mom found Julie’s first gray hair. Julie was not happy, but the rest of us found it pretty funny!

julie after mom found a gray hair

Around 5 p.m., we rolled into our hotel in Charleston. As soon as we walked into the lobby, we were greeted by the front desk clerk’s 10-week-old PIT BULL PUPPY!! I was already much happier with this hotel!

me and remy

Me and Remy.

We only saw Remy that Sunday, but hey, a puppy for one day is better than no puppy. The clerk probably didn’t bring him back for the rest of the week because she was worried I was going to try to abscond with her puppy haha.

This hotel room was much better than the one in Wilmington. It was a suite; you walked into a living room area with a pullout couch, walked through a little kitchenette area across from the bathroom and then walked into the bedroom, which had two queen beds. Even better, it didn’t smell like cat piss.

It also had an indoor pool, which my mom and sisters all tried out after we’d gotten settled in. I didn’t feel like swimming, so I stayed in the room and called Clark.

After they’d cleaned up after swimming, we drove into downtown Charleston for dinner at Mellow Mushroom. It’s a chain, but it doesn’t come as far north as we live, so neither of us had ever been to one. It had really good pizza.

Sunday night, I managed to fall asleep before my mom did, but her snoring woke me up around 3 a.m. I took a quick video just to record what the snoring sounded like, and then I headed out to the living room to try to get back to sleep. Unfortunately, Mom’s snoring had already woken up Kara, and she was already on the couch. So I just laid down on the floor. Eventually, I realized my mom had stopped snoring, so I went back to bed. I had a hard time falling back asleep though, because I kept waiting for the snoring to start again.

My alarm went off at 7 a.m. so I could go for a run. Kara had said she wanted to run with me, so I woke her up.

As we were leaving the hotel, we saw two horses grazing out front.

horses grazing outside hotel

Just a couple of horses outside a hotel, as usual.

This guy was riding cross country on one horse (the other one was carrying all his stuff), and he just happened to stay at the same hotel the night before. We later saw him and his horses in downtown Charleston, where he’d attracted the attention of the local police.

Anyway, before we came down to Charleston, I’d found a greenway near the hotel, which was great, because otherwise I’d have been running along a busy highway. The closest entrance to the greenway was less than a half-mile from the hotel.

The West Ashley Greenway is a 10.5-mile stretch of a former railroad line that has been converted into a nice little biking, running and walking trail. The direction Kara and I ran Monday was all dirt, and mostly ran through farmland and marshes. It was so pretty! We ran 4.5 miles.


Greenway path.

view on greenway

View of marshland from the greenway.

We all ate breakfast at the hotel, and then we set out for our first day in Charleston.

Looking at the weather forecast, Monday was going to be the nicest day of our week. We started by driving to Folly Island, a little beach community, and renting bicycles to ride around the island.

The bike ride on Folly Island was probably my favorite thing we did all week. The weather was perfect, and since it was early April, there wasn’t much traffic. The guy at the bike rental place recommended riding to the end of the island, where we’d be able to see the nearby Morris Island lighthouse, so that’s what we did.

morris island lighthouse

Morris Island lighthouse, as seen from Folly Island.

julie on folly island


mom on folly island


kara on folly island

Kara doing her “Little Mermaid” impression haha.

sisters on folly island

Julie, me and Kara on Folly Island.

Before returning the bikes, we rode out to see the Folly Island fishing pier.

folly island pier

After we returned the bikes, we had lunch at The Grill and Island Bar, where Julie was introduced to day drinking:

julie day drinking

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

We drove into downtown Charleston, where we took a tour in a horse-drawn carriage. We saw a lot of beautiful architecture, and heard some of the history of the city.

old city jail

Old Charleston Jail.

This jail, more commonly known as the Old City Jail, housed prisoners from 1802 to 1939. It’s estimated that as many as 15,000 people died here in its 137 years of operation. The building is now used by the American College of the Building Arts, but it’s just as creepy as ever. We took a nighttime tour of it a couple nights later.

unitarian church

Unitarian Church.

Reportedly, this church was struck by the bodies of two men who were unfortunately close when a powder magazine two blocks away exploded, sometime in the 1800s. The bodies struck the church with such force that people inside it said the entire building shook, right down to its foundation.

church gate

St. John’s Lutheran Church.

The church’s beautiful wrought iron fence and gates were designed by a member of the congregation in 1822.

house with two front staircases.JPG

Wentworth Mansion.

This historic home is now a luxury hotel with an on-site five-star restaurant. Our tour guide said there’s a persistent myth that the double front entry staircase, which is present on a lot of homes from the Victorian era, was necessary because men and women had to use separate staircases, lest a man catch a scandalous glimpse of a woman’s exposed ankle. That’s a cool story, but it was actually just popular because it added interest and balance to the design.

After the tour, we did a little browsing at the City Market, a four-block open air market, and the Moon Pie General Store.

soda and moon pies

Sodas and Moon Pies.

We walked around the city a bit more.

rutledge house

John Rutledge House.

This place was built in 1763 for John Rutledge, South Carolina’s first governor after it became a state (there were 30 governors before that) and a signer of the U.S. Constitution. It’s now an inn too.

John’s brother, Edward Rutledge, was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence and also served as governor of South Carolina. Pretty important family in Charleston.

john jacob gravestone

Schmidt gravestone.

We walked through a few church graveyards. This marker outside St. Michael’s Church was the only Schmidt we could find, for John and Jacob. It’s just a Jingleheimer away from being the song we all sang in elementary school.

Our last stop Monday was the Oyster House on Market Street for dinner. We had a dozen raw oysters from Virginia and South Carolina. We even got Julie to eat one. She liked it, but she was still too worried about salmonella poisoning to eat another haha.

seafood casserole

Seafood casserole with roasted Brussels sprouts and corn on the cob.

That night, we quarantined Mom in the living room on the pullout couch. We all slept a lot better for the rest of the week!

Tuesday, I got up early again for another run on the greenway, this time on my own. I ran six miles at just over an 8:00/mile pace. It’s extremely rare that I run at home with my Garmin — I only wore it last week so I could know how far I went, something I already know on all my regular routes at home. So maybe I’ve been running that fast on my easy runs for a while and just didn’t know it, but I was pretty surprised to see those mile splits.

Tuesday was cooler and had a chance of rain just about all day. We started the day by visiting the Angel Oak on Johns Island.

When I looked it up on Google maps, I found the word “iconic” was getting tossed around a little too much:


Anyway, the Angel Oak is a Southern live oak that has been around for a very long time. Wikipedia says it’s 400 to 500 years old, but I heard other people say it was 1,500 or even 2,000 years old. At any rate, it’s enormous.

angel oak

angel oak trunk

angel oak branches

kara and me angel oak

Not sure what Kara was doing with her arms here haha.

We drove back into Charleston to visit the Confederate Museum, attached to the City Market. Photography was not allowed in the museum, but there was a lot of really interesting artifacts from the Civil War.

Then we walked over to Waterfront Park, which has the Pineapple Fountain.

pineapple fountain

all of us with pineapple fountain

We went to the Brown Dog Deli for lunch. I had a BLT with fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese, which to me tasted like the cheese in those Handi Snacks things when I was young. That is a good thing — I loved that cheese!

charleston cobblestone

Cobblestone street we walked past.

church graveyard

Exploring another church graveyard.

church yard

The gravestone on the left marks the grave of a couple who both died before the U.S. was even a country.

Our next stop was Carmella’s, a dessert bar. We got a key lime cheesecake and tiramisu to share, which were both excellent.

We did a little more sight-seeing in the city. We went to The Battery at the southern tip of Charleston, home to many of the city’s most prominent homes, and White Point Garden, a huge park.

battery park

One of several monuments in White Point Garden.

2 meeting street

2 Meeting St., now an inn.

battery houses

Houses along Battery Street.

We went back to the hotel. Julie, Kara and I went for a swim, and then we all showered and went to the Harborview Restaurant and Lounge for dinner.

This restaurant, at the top of a Holiday Inn overlooking the Charleston Harbor, just happened to be where my parents had dinner the first night of their honeymoon, almost 34 years ago. Awww.

Wednesday was a very busy day. I ran another surprisingly fast 4.5 miles on the greenway, we all had breakfast at the hotel and then we went to our first sight-seeing stop, Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens.

Boone Hall was founded in 1681. Today, it is still a working plantation, growing all kinds of produce on its 738 acres.

It’s also the most-photographed plantation in the U.S. The TV miniseries “North and South” was filmed there, as was part of “The Notebook” — the house was Allie’s parents’ summer home, and that scene in the rowboat was filmed on the creek right next to the house.

boone hall lane

Live oaks line both sides of the 3/4-mile lane leading up to the house.

boone hall oaks

kara with boone hall house

Kara in front of the house.

mom with boone hall house

Mom in front of the house.

This house is the third one that’s been on this plantation. The first two weren’t particularly grand. This one was built in 1935, by a Canadian couple that bought the plantation in retirement. It’s now owned by a family that bought it in the ’50s, and opened it to the public for tours.

We got to tour the house, but we couldn’t take pictures. We also took a tour of the entire grounds.

boone hall brick fence and gin room

Brick fence along a garden. In the background is the cotton gin, which is being restored.

Out front, there was a line of small brick buildings — the slave quarters, for the slaves who had a particular skill, like blacksmithing, or who worked in the house. (The field slaves lived in smaller wooden structures behind the house, which are all gone.)

boone hall slave cabins

When slave labor was still legal, there were a couple hundred slaves at Boone Hall, growing cotton and making bricks (these slave cabins were built with irregular bricks that couldn’t be sold.)

Each of the eight brick cabins taught about a different aspect of slave life. I’ve heard of other plantations that either gloss over the slave thing altogether, or polish it up so it doesn’t sound that terrible, but I have to say Boone Hall did a pretty good job of acknowledging what a crime against humanity it was. A couple of the displays also talked about how the slaves managed to maintain their own culture, and the last one talked about the Civil Rights movement in the ’60s.

We saw a presentation by a woman directly descended from the Gullah, African slaves who combined all their different dialects with English to form their own new language. Her great-grandmother was a Gullah, who lived to be 117 years old.

Our last stop at Boone Hall was the cotton dock, where goods from the farm were shipped up the creek to Charleston and beyond.

boone hall cotton dock

It’s already strawberry-picking time in South Carolina, so we had to get some fresh strawberry shortcake for dessert when we ate lunch at the farm’s restaurant.

Next was a tour of Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began in April 1861. We took a ferry ride out there, from which we had a good view of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge:

charleston bridge

Approaching the fort:

fort sumter

We had about an hour to walk around the grounds.

mom with the blasted wall

Mom standing in the doorway of a wall that was damaged when the fort’s powder magazine exploded.

officers quarters ruins

Ruins of what was a three-story building that housed the officers’ quarters.


Cannons that are believed to have been brought to Fort Sumter after the Civil War ended.

artillery still in wall

Near the bottom left corner is an artillery round still stuck in the wall.

looking toward charleston

Looking out toward Charleston.

We took the ferry back, and then we went into downtown Charleston to have dinner at Craftsmen Kitchen and Taphouse.

This place had the best beer list of anywhere we’d been all week:

craftsmen beer list

Multiple pages on a clipboard!

And it also had an extremely interesting food menu. We had crispy pig ears and butter bean (lima bean) hummus, and then my mom and sisters all got the ramen special, while I had raw salmon cured with ginger and lemon, and served with Greek yogurt, strawberries, blueberries and mint. It was so good!

We had signed up for a 9 p.m. tour of the Old City Jail. I failed to read the email closely enough, so I missed the part where we were supposed to meet 45 minutes early at the tour guide’s office to walk over there together. We got bumped back to the 10 p.m. tour. Hmm, what to do with the extra time?

We went to the bar in Henry’s, where I bought everyone a round since I’d messed us up. I had something called a Battery Breeze, which was fruity and spicy at the same time.

We drove over to the jail and met the rest of our tour group there. Our tour guide talked about how many people were crammed into the jail, and how most of them died due to diseases they contracted in the jail before they were even brought to trial. Of course, a lot were also executed, many by hanging right behind the jail, where we were standing.

We went inside the jail, which was lit only by the tour guide’s flashlight. He encouraged us to take pictures with flash to see if we could catch anything, but I didn’t get anything.

old city jail tour

Tour guide with a contraption to hold a prisoner in place, by the wrists, while getting lashes. (This room had a red light in the ceiling.)

old city jail tour 2

The tour guide, standing in front of what was the morgue, said often pictures will show a woman standing right behind him, probably Lavinia Fisher, the first woman hanged in the U.S. She was held at the jail after being convicted of highway robbery.

Thursday, I ran another 5.5 miles on the greenway. We got breakfast at the Early Bird Diner, which we found out has been featured on several TV shows, including “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” The breakfast was much better than what we’d been eating at the hotel. Mom got pecan-crusted chicken with waffles that were amazing.

We drove down to Savannah, Ga., since it was less than two hours away. We took a tour on a trolley, and then walked to some of the sites we wanted to see closer.

james oglethorpe

Monument to James Oglethorpe, who established the colony of Georgia as a military buffer between South Carolina and the Spanish colony of Florida.

Savannah is supposedly the most-haunted city in the U.S., and this is supposedly the most haunted building in Savannah, the Sorrel-Weed House:

most haunted house

This house was featured in the movie adaptation of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”:

midnight in the garden of good and evil

We walked through Forsyth Park, which has one of Savannah’s most recognizable fountains.

forsyth park

all of us forsyth park fountain

Then we saw the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist:

church outside

church inside 2

inside church

We got lunch at a place called Huey’s, just because that’s Kara’s husband’s name. Luckily, it had really good cajun food. I had gumbo with grits.

We got ice cream from Leopold’s, a 97-year-old ice cream shop. It was good, but not better than Dumpser’s.


And finally, we went to Moon River Brewing. I got a flight, which included a 4-oz. sample of all of their in-house beers. Usually, that’s 10 beers, but one was tapped out. I really enjoyed the nine I had though.

moon river brewing

Another one of the reportedly most-haunted buildings in Savannah, though I didn’t see anything paranormal in there.

moon river flight

Me and my flight.

schmidts beer

Schmidt’s Beer Ale clock in the bar, permanently set to 5 o’clock.

We drove back to Charleston and went straight to bed.

Friday was our last full day in Charleston. I started the day with a 5-miler on the greenway, and then we drove downtown to the Hominy Grill for breakfast.

The Hominy Grill was a pretty popular breakfast spot. We had to wait for at least an hour to get seated, and we just barely made it before they switched to serving lunch.

While we were waiting to be seated, outside in a cold drizzle, I bought us a round of mimosas. Julie swore she got drunk just on that one mimosa haha. I don’t know if that was true, but she seemed to be in a much better mood after she’d drank that and found a heater to stand under.

julie outside hominy grill

We got seated, and I got an egg, cheese and bacon sandwich on a very fluffy Southern biscuit. Definitely worth the wait in my opinion!

We were pretty close to WildFlour Bakery, so we got some pastries to eat later. I got a raspberry-Nutella turnover and a double chocolate chip cookie.

Then we drove to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. By the time we got there, Kara wasn’t feeling too great — she thought maybe the shrimp she had with grits at Hominy Grill was bad. She stayed in the car while Mom, Julie and I toured the grounds.

mom and julie red bridge at magnolia

Mom and Julie crossing a bridge over a swamp covered with duckweed.

magnolia conservatory

Orchids growing in a conservatory.


The light is bad, but if you look closely, there’s a gator on a ramp in the water, and another gator in the water, in the middle of the picture.

magnolia swamp

Reportedly, the animators of “Shrek” came to Magnolia and based the swamp in the movie on this one.

magnolia house

The house.

long white bridge

The oft-photographed Long White Bridge, just to the left of the house.

julie and me in front of long white bridge

Julie and me in front of it.

mom on the long white bridge

Mom on the bridge, after we finally found the right trail through the garden to get to it.

magnolia garden path

Path through the extensive gardens.

magnolia maze

Horticultural maze.

magnolia maze julie at the center

Julie with the statue in the middle of the maze.

magnolia peacocks

Peacocks in the parking lot.

We saw a movie after we left Magnolia, and that night, we went back to Mellow Mushroom for our last dinner in Charleston.

Saturday morning, I got up for one last run on the greenway, 4.5 miles at a 7:51/mile average pace, my fastest run of the week. I don’t know what it was about that greenway, but I had a great run all six days in a row.

The drive home was a lot faster. We took 95 through South and North Carolina. After counting 55 billboards on the highway leading to South of the Border, on the line between those two states, we had to stop there.

south of the border

We got off 95 in Emporia, Va., where we also stopped for lunch. We ate at a Five Guys, but this place was next door:

fo sho

Hermie Sadler was a mildly successful NASCAR driver from Emporia, who is now a commentator for Fox Sports 1 (and he has a younger brother, Elliott, who is still competing in the Xfinity Series.) I don’t know what “fo sho” has to do with him or Italian sports grilles, but here it is.

After lunch, we took Route 58 over to Norfolk so we could go back up the Eastern Shore of Virginia to get home. We were in Delmar, almost home, when I spotted this:

grand prix limo

A stretch Pontiac Grand Prix limo. Classy!

Mom and my sisters dropped me off at Clark’s coworker’s house in Seaford, where Clark and Pepper were hanging out. I was so glad to see them both!

And that was our trip! It’d been at least 20 years since the four of us had gone on vacation together, but it went really well.

Sunday, I didn’t do a damn thing. I slept until noon, watched the NASCAR race from Bristol, unpacked my stuff and drank some of the beer I brought home from South Carolina with Clark.

Today is Marathon Monday in Boston. The elite races ended a while ago, but several of my running friends are still on the course.

Personally, I’ve got an easy lap around the 4.5-mile loop and strength training to do today.


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