A Simple Running Log

May 2, 2016

Training for 5/2/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:40 am

My perfect pacing record was marred this weekend by, of course, my cranky digestive system! I had to make a port-o-potty stop around mile 9 of the Island to Island Half Marathon. I thought I’d made up the minute I’d lost in there, but I didn’t realize I wasn’t quite back on track until I was crossing the finish line in 1:55:11 – 11 seconds over goal time. D’oh!

In spite of my fail, Diane assured me I’m invited back to pace in 2017, so all’s well that ends well.

Anyway, back to the beginning. Friday afternoon, I stopped by Allison’s house. It was way too cold and drizzly Friday to ride anywhere in her Cabriolet, so we sat in it in the garage and had a beer.

garage beers with allison

I was going to bring Pepper to meet her black lab, Skipper, but unfortunately, Skipper wasn’t feeling well, so that will have to wait for another day.

Late that afternoon, I drove down to the Ocean City inlet to pick up everything for Saturday’s race. Diane was at the pace team table. Since this was my third year pacing, I didn’t have any questions for her, so I was only in there long enough to get my event T-shirt, bib, pace team T-shirt (orange this year), pace band and 1:55 pace sign.

I was home by 8 p.m. We stayed in Friday night and had spaghetti for dinner. I thought the ricotta cheese I mixed into my marinara sauce smelled a little odd, but I ate it anyway. Spoiler alert: Eating funky ricotta the night before running a half marathon turned out to be a mistake. You wouldn’t think that’s something I’d have to learn the hard way, but here I am.

Diane had said the pacers didn’t have to be on a shuttle bus to the start until 5:45 a.m., not 5:15 as originally planned, but that still put my alarm at 3:55 a.m. Ouch!

Lying in bed that night trying to get to sleep, I could feel my guts rumbling. I really started to regret the ricotta. Eff.

I was not excited when the alarm went off. Too early. I managed to drag myself out of bed and get dressed. It would be a chilly, windy day, but at least it wasn’t supposed to rain. I wore shorts with my pace team T-shirt and brought arm warmers, figuring I would eventually warm up enough to roll them down.

On the drive back to Ocean City, I stopped and got a big bottle of water, some coffee and a Clif bar. I was hoping the water was enough to ensure I wouldn’t be dehydrated, which always makes poop problems more likely, and the coffee would get things moving before I had to start running. I’d also brought my off-brand Imodium.

Of course, I could have just not eaten that ricotta…

I made it to the inlet in plenty of time for a 5:45 bus. By pure coincidence, about half the rest of the pace team climbed on the same bus right after me. I knew a couple pacers from past years, and there was some first-timers too.

The sky to the east was just starting to lighten as we drove along the race course toward Assateague. Why does the bus ride to the start of a point-to-point course make the race distance feel so much longer?

As soon as we got dropped off in the state park parking lot, we met up with Diane, and the whole pace team found a little corner in the tent to get our stuff straight. I hit up a port-o-potty, but all that coffee and water had only made me have to pee a lot.

I dropped off my gear check bag and headed out for a warm-up, both to try out the “virtual pacer” feature I’d just discovered on my Garmin that morning (I’ve had that thing for more than two years) and for a last-ditch chance at getting rid of that damn ricotta!

I wound up running about 1.7 miles to warm up. The virtual pacer, set to 8:45/mile, beeped to let me know when I was ahead of, on or behind pace. Very useful! I’m glad I found that.

I did have to use the bathroom on my warm up, but once again, I only had to pee. Grrr. Nothing I could do about it at that point.

Back in the parking lot, the pace team took a group photo:

2016 OC half marathon pace team

Then we lined up in the starting corral, and we were off!

The start was, of course, pretty crowded. My Garmin immediately started beeping to let me know I was already behind pace. When the crowd loosened up, I soon heard another beep from the Garmin, announcing I was on pace.

at the start

You can see me and my 1:55 sign over the right shoulder of the woman in front on the left.

The only hill on the whole course, the Verrazano Bridge, is in the first mile. I eased my way up the incline.

crossing the verrazano

Crowd crossing the bridge.

Somewhere on the bridge was the first mile marker. The Garmin said that mile was 8:52, six seconds behind goal. I was pretty sure I’d easily make that up just in the second mile, which started with the downhill on the other side of the bridge.

coming down the verrazano

1:55 pace group coming down the bridge. Wheeeee!

I skipped the first water stop at the base of the bridge and trotted along the shoulder of the road, obsessively checking my current pace on my Garmin what felt like every 10 seconds. I was right on 8:45 or just a little under.

My Garmin beeped the end of the second mile, which I’d run in 8:40 – but I was nowhere near the second mile marker yet! I could see the flag fluttering quite a ways in the distance. WTF. How was I this far off the race distance already?!

The pace band showed the elapsed time at which I should pass each mile marker. When I finally made it to the flag, I checked the pace band against the elapsed time on my Garmin. I was already a solid 30 seconds behind. Again, WTF!

Well this was a dilemma! Should I speed up now, or just assume the second mile marker was off?

I went with the former, and kept my pace steady. Mile 3 was 8:40 – another six seconds under goal pace – but once again, I’d finished that mile way before I got to the marker, so I was behind elapsed time when I did get there.

Great. I was supposed to run a steady 8:46/mile pace though, so that’s what I did, hoping now that the markers for miles 2 and 3 were off.

Mile 4 was 8:41, but I was still behind elapsed time when I got to the marker. I stopped to walk a few seconds for a drink at the next water stop, and mile 5 was 8:48.

At this point, the course turned into a little subdivision. My Garmin said I ran 8:37 for mile 6, and when I came up on the mile marker flag, I was only a few seconds off the pace band. I thought I’d finally gotten on track.

We left the subdivision and got back on Route 611, heading back to Ocean City. Not long after that, the Garmin reported an 8:40 seventh mile. But, in spite of running that mile six seconds under goal pace, when the mile marker appeared, I was once again significantly behind in terms of elapsed time.

I didn’t know what the hell to do. But now I had a new, more pressing problem – the ghost of that funky ricotta was haunting my digestive tract.

I really did not want to stop. I was already maybe behind goal pace, in spite of running most of my miles well under it. But I REALLY did not want to shit my pants. What to do?

I tried to convince myself it wasn’t bad, I could make it another 6 miles, now only 5.5… I made it to mile 8 in 8:46. Just a 5-miler now!

About ¾ of the way through that mile, my gut pangs ratcheted up to an 11. It was TIME TO GO. But there was nowhere to go! I felt my pace slipping as I tried desperately to hold on until the next port-o-potty appeared. There were some woods off to the right, but they were pretty thin. I saw a port-o-potty, at a construction site on the opposite side of the road, and thought about dashing across two lanes of traffic to get to it, but didn’t.

Then, finally, in the distance, I could see two green port-o-potties, put there by the race directors for the runners. Salvation!

To my horror, the woman right in front of me also peeled off the course when we got to the port-o-potties. Luckily, they were both empty, so I didn’t have to elbow her out of my way to get in one first after all haha.

Mile 9 beeped right as I got into the port-o-potty – 8:52. Slow, but I really didn’t care about that at the moment.

I think I was the first person to use that port-o-potty that day. Which was nice, but the toilet paper roll was still wrapped, and it took me forever to find the beginning of the roll.

I lost more than a minute in there, but I felt so much better when I got out! I had to get back on track.

Not too far past mile 9, we turned right off of Route 611, on to a side street that ran parallel to Route 50. I was chugging along at an 8:00 pace, trying to make up time. Runners looked surprised to see the 1:55 pacer behind them, and then running by much faster than I should have.

mile 10

Just before mile 10.

Mile 10, which included the stop, was 9:38. We crossed a little covered bridge and then turned onto Route 50, headed for Ocean City.

We crossed the bridge into Ocean City. I started recognizing some of the runners I was catching, and thought I was getting close to where I should be. Mile 11 was 8:31.

on the bridge

As I came down the bridge, I recognized ahead two runners who’d been running just ahead of me the entire nine miles until I had to stop. I’d made it!

coming down the OC bridge couple in front

I’d been looking for 1353 and 1439, in the front of this picture.

coming down the OC bridge

I slowed back down to goal pace when I caught them.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 1.25.28 PM

Heading to the boardwalk.

We ran down Coastal Highway and got on the boardwalk. This part sucked a little – we ran right past the finish line, in the inlet parking lot on the other side of some buildings, and could hear everyone cheering for the finishers, when we still had almost a mile and a half to go. Plus, we had to run head-on into the wind again when we got on the boardwalk.

Oh well. I ran on, toward the U-turn on the boardwalk. Mile 12 was 8:34.

As I made the U-turn, just about every runner within earshot let out an audible sigh of relief, now that the stiff wind was at our backs. It made such a difference!

Looking at the elapsed time on my watch, and the distance I had to run back to get to the finish, I didn’t think I was actually on track after all. I picked it up again, which was easy to do with the push from the wind.

Runners were asking me if I was on pace for 1:55, and I had to admit to them I thought I was a little behind, which got a few groans. I kept saying “I had to use the bathroom, I’m sorry!”

We had to run up and around the pier. That guy who’d been running near me just about the whole race said something about how I’d had the sign in the same hand the whole time, and didn’t that get tiresome? I told him I run with my dog nearly every day, and always hold his leash in my left hand, so it felt too weird to carry anything in my right. I hadn’t even thought about that until he’d mentioned it.

We came around the pier as my Garmin beeped 8:29 for mile 13, and I could see the turn at the bottom. A short distance beyond that was the finish line. I started yelling at everyone around me to sprint, we were almost there! Go go go!

I saw the race clock ticking over to 1:55 as I made the turn at the bottom of the pier. Crap. Of course, I hadn’t crossed the start line as the race clock had started, so who knew how far off I really was.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 1.26.32 PM

Following some of my runners across the line.

I crossed the line in 1:55:11 (gun time of 1:55:29.) My Garmin had recorded 13.2 miles, so according to it I’d run an 8:44/mile average pace, which would have been perfect.

Of course, what mattered was the official race distance of 13.1 miles, so I was officially too slow. Dammit!!

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 1.26.50 PM


I got a finisher’s medal, and then I heard someone call my name. It was Melissa, who’d paced the 1:55 group last year, but this year raced. She’d run a PR of 1:39:30, which had won her age group! I told her she should have volunteered to pace the 1:40 group. She could’ve PR’d for free.

Two guys who’d run with me at the beginning of the race and then pulled ahead to finish in 1:52 found me and asked to take a selfie with them haha.

I got cold pretty quickly once I wasn’t running, and I hadn’t brought a change of dry clothes. There was free beer and pizza for the runners, but the beer was Bud Light and the pizza didn’t sound appealing at the moment.

Plus, Clark had made plans to go for a training ride on his new bike in Cambridge with his coworker, which meant Pepper was home alone. So I left.

In my car, I saw I had a text from Clark that he’d taken Pepper to his parents’ house. It suddenly hit me how incredibly hungry I was. Since I had some time, I went to the Satellite Cafe and got a big plate of French toast, scrambled eggs and sausage, with a giant latte.

I texted Diane about my bathroom stop and subsequent missed goal time. She told me not to worry about it, it happens. (You have no idea haha.) And she said I was invited back to pace again in 2017.

I would’ve felt pretty damn content at that point, if I hadn’t still been wearing my wet running clothes. My sports bra felt like a cold, damp rubber band. I was really kicking myself for not bringing a change of clothes.

I picked up Pepper. As soon as I got home, I stripped out of my still-damp clothes. RELIEF! After a hot shower, I felt 100 percent better.

oc half medal

Finisher’s medal.

I spent the rest of the day on the couch, watching qualifying for the Sprint Cup race the next day, and then the Xfinity Series race that afternoon.

That evening, Clark and I took Pepper to Mispillion River for a couple of beers and dinner out of a barbecue food truck. We didn’t stay too long though. Clark had biked 25 miles and run 3 with his coworker, and I had been up since 4 a.m. and run almost 15 miles. We were both beat.

At some point Saturday, I mentioned how the ricotta had smelled funny the night before. Clark said “Yeah, it smelled funny when we had spaghetti Tuesday too. That’s why I didn’t eat any of it.”

The thing is — he’s the one who took the ricotta out of the fridge when we ate dinner Friday night! Knowing it had already gone bad! And then said nothing when he saw me putting it on my spaghetti! The hell!! He thinks it’s still my fault though; I should’ve checked it myself before I ate it. Another argument neither of us will ever win. (Even though I’m right haha.)

Anyway, Sunday morning was rainy and nasty. I was really glad the race had been the day before.

We watched the Sprint Cup race from Talladega. I don’t know what was going on yesterday, but those drivers would not stop wrecking. By the end of the race, 33 of the 40 cars that started had some amount of damage.

Three cars flipped over:

buescher talladega wreck

Chris Buescher (love the shadowy effect around the frame of the photo haha)

kenseth talladega flip

Matt Kenseth (who blamed the fact he was in position to be in the wreck at all on his nemesis, Joey Logano)

harvick talladega wreck

Kevin Harvick after getting caught up in the last wreck of the day, coming to the finish line.

Bobby Labonte, driving in his second of four scheduled races this season, caught some damage to his car in one of the wrecks, but he was able to keep driving it and finished 19th. Brad Keselowski held off the other six undamaged cars to win.

After the race, it had stopped pouring, so I ran the easy 3-miler on the schedule. The first half felt a little clunky, but I felt fine by the time I got back home.

We went to Abbott’s Grill in Laurel for dinner. They changed up the menu since we were there last. I had a sandwich called the Big Sussex — chicken salad, fried oysters and a lemon dressing on a toasted croissant. It really worked!

Today, I’m supposed to run another 3 miles, and do some strength training.

Since April ended over the weekend, I have to do my monthly summary.


  • Week 1 (April 1-2): 6 miles
  • Week 2 (April 3-9): 30.5
  • Week 3 (April 10-16): 30
  • Week 4 (April 17-23): 27.7
  • Week 5 (April 24-30): 41.4

Total: 135.6 miles

Kind of a slack month for mileage, but not bad. I’m not running another marathon until the fall, so it’s not a big deal.

I only ran one race this month, the Island to Island Half Marathon in Ocean City, which I already went on about in detail above.

In May, my racing schedule ramps up. I have a 10K this coming Saturday (still don’t know if Pepper is invited), the St. Michaels Half Marathon on May 21 and the Masser 5-Miler on May 29.



  1. I hate to say it, but I was laughing so hard where you wrote, “I didn’t want to shit my pants.” It actually made me think of this month’s Runners World issue… They offer advice to runners…”If you wait until you really need a toilet, you have waited too long.”

    I’m easing back into running. I’ve been contemplating a half marathon (again) at some point. Maybe some Saturday when you have time, we could get together for a run and lunch. I would really love to run a half and have you as the pacer. I think that would be fun.

    You did awesome this weekend! 11 seconds over goal is, in my opinion, not a big deal. They’re lucky to have you as a pacer! 🙂

    Comment by kafishgirl — May 2, 2016 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

  2. It’s so frustrating! I’ve read other articles that say if you try to “walk off” the gut pangs, it just makes it worse, so the best thing to do is keep going and hope it goes away. Of course, I’d have probably been OK if Clark hadn’t put out that rotten cheese for my spaghetti the night before haha.

    I’d love to pace you in a half! We can definitely get together for a run and lunch, and pick out a nice fall race to shoot for!

    Comment by aschmid3 — May 2, 2016 @ 12:40 pm | Reply

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