A Simple Running Log

September 30, 2016

Training for 9/30/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:57 pm

Another drizzly, windy day for a run here. On the bright side, the FedEx driver dropped off a new pair of New Balance Zante v2s for me this morning, so I got to break them in immediately. (They’re the replacements for the Vazee Paces I got back in June, which really seemed to bother my right ankle when I wore them Monday, so those are now in the bag of dead shoes.)

Luckily, I like the updated Zantes as much as I liked all four pairs of the first version I went through, because Pepper and I had to trudge through ankle-deep water four times over the course of the 7.3-mile loop. So much stupid rain this week! The shoes got kinda gross their first time out of the box. I’d feel bad sending those back.

That will not be necessary though. They felt great, and now I already know they won’t cause blisters when they get wet.

Pepper found another stick, which he dropped with the rest of his haul from the week on the back step. I made him pose for a picture with his pile before I’d give him a treat.

pepper-and-stick-pile

Anyway, that was the last run of the month, so it’s time to wrap up September.

Mileage:

  • Week 1 (Sept. 1-3): 17.1 miles
  • Week 2 (Sept. 4-10): 43.9
  • Week 3 (Sept. 11-17): 52.8
  • Week 4 (Sept. 18-24): 28.9
  • Week 5 (Sept. 25-30): 36.1

Total: 178.8 miles

A little shy of the 190 I had on the schedule, but not by much. Except for the fact I keep cutting down long runs, I’m pretty happy with my mileage so far in this training cycle.

I ran two races — a prediction 5K in which I once again didn’t get close to my prediction, and the Dogfish Dash 8K, with Pepper, which was a lot of fun.

October should be my biggest mileage month of the year. All three scheduled 20-milers land in it, the second of which has been replaced by the Baltimore Marathon on Oct. 15. Right now, that’s the only race on my schedule for the month.

The first 20-miler is supposed to be tomorrow. It’ll have to be tomorrow if it’s going to get done; Sunday is the NASCAR race in Dover, and we’ll be on the road early to go tailgate. I don’t care if I have to run in wind and rain tomorrow for the fifth day in a row, but it better clear out for Sunday.

September 29, 2016

Training for 9/29/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:14 pm

Today was a crappy day for a run, very windy all day and rainy most of it. It took me forever to get up the motivation to get my (and Pepper’s) butt out the door.

Fortunately, I only had the 5.5-mile loop on the schedule. The way the wind was blowing, it was really only working against us the first couple of miles, and then it wasn’t too bad.

There’s this really long branch at about the two-mile point on that loop Pepper has tried to pick up every time we’ve run past it this week. Every time I’ve broken off another 3-ft. section of it for him. Today I was thinking he’s like a tiny, extremely inefficient road clean-up crew haha. We won’t be running that way tomorrow, so the rest of it will have to wait until next week to make its way to our back step.

The next mile and a half was uneventful, but then, about two miles from home, my digestive system made itself known. I really didn’t want to stop in the woods though, so we ran-walked the rest of the way. It had only been drizzling until we were about a mile from home, but then it picked up. We trudged the rest of the way in the rain.

I made it home, took care of business, dried off Pepper, gave him some treats and apologized to him for the whole run. He gave me a look like he’d have obviously rather been on the couch that whole time, but the treats must have won him over, because he’s curled up next to me again.

Earlier, the official race photographer from the Dogfish Dash posted their pictures. If you want to make sure you get a bunch of pictures in a race, run with a cute dog. I had 25. These are my favorites:

pepper-and-me-first-mile

Running down the back entrance to the brewery in the first mile.

The rest were all from the finish.

pepper-and-me-coming-to-the-line

This might be my favorite picture of us running together ever.

And then, two steps later, the other side of running with a dog:

pepper-exiting-stage-right

Hey, where are you going?!

Finally, the struggle to get his butt across the finish line:

pushing-pepper-across-the-line-wide-shot

pushing-pepper-across-the-line

Clark, who did not have a cute dog with him, did not have as many pictures. But he did get a couple good ones at the finish.

clark-coming-to-the-line

clark-after-finish

There was also a photographer milling around taking pictures of the after party. Here’s Clark, me and Dave, with Pep:

clark-dave-me-and-pepper-after-the-race

Right now these pictures are making me miss sunshine! It’s been gray, dreary and rainy the last three days, and I don’t think we’re supposed to see the sun again until Sunday, maybe — just in time for the Dover race.

September 28, 2016

Training for 9/28/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 12:01 pm

Yesterday, I found out about this promotion being run this fall by Strava: Negative split a marathon on a certified course between early October and sometime in December, upload your data to Strava and you get a free pair of New Balance running shoes of your choice.

Not just get entered for a chance to win — anyone who negative splits a marathon gets a code to order a free pair of shoes directly from New Balance!

First, this required joining Strava. It’s sort of a social network for runners and cyclists. You can upload data from your Garmin (or whatever device you use to track workouts, or even enter info manually.) It keeps track of everything for you, and other people can see your data, if you set it to let them see it.

I’d never considered joining. I rarely wear my Garmin other than in races and if running on an unfamiliar route, like on vacation, and only when I can’t use Clark’s, which is nicer. I like writing down my training info by hand, where only I see it. Also, the only social network I have joined is Facebook, and I don’t use it much, so Strava would just be another thing to largely ignore.

But FREE NEW BALANCES. For running a marathon!

Of course, this also requires negative splitting a marathon — running the second half faster than the first — which I have never pulled off.

I’m signed up for two, Baltimore on Oct. 15 and Philly on Nov. 20. Even though Baltimore’s course is much harder to run faster in the second half, I think I’ll go for the negative split there. It’s a training run, so I can take the first half super easy and then try to speed up in the second, not caring about the final finish time. I’d like to PR in Philly, so I’ll be happier with 3:39 or better than I will be with negative splitting.

Anyway, I took the first step yesterday and joined Strava (don’t look for me because it’s all set to private.) I uploaded all the existing data from my Garmin to see how it works.

I got this thing for Christmas in 2013. It had a total of 89 runs on it in almost three years, and some of those were runs Clark did before he got his own. Another reason I’ve got everything set to private — it looks like I hardly ever run haha.

I have to admit, it’s pretty cool, seeing all the data from each run. It shows the GPS map of your route, elevation info, a chart tracing your pace through the whole run, etc. A lot more info than I can see on the watch itself after I finish a run.

I wore the Garmin on my training runs yesterday afternoon and this morning, to practice uploading info to Strava.

Yesterday, Pepper and I ran the 4.5-mile loop. Once uploaded to Strava, the splits show a pretty typical run with Pepper:

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-12-52-36-pm

A nearly 15-minute first mile, and then 8:00/mile pace at the end haha.

Today, it was supposed to start raining in the afternoon, so Pepper and I ran in the morning. It was drizzling when we left the house, but then the rain started coming down hard, much earlier than I expected. Guess where it started raining:

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-12-55-06-pm

If you guessed in the third mile, you’re right! That’s also where Pepper found a stick. He was trying to get the hell back in the house as quickly as possible after that.

Not sure why it’s showing 7.2 miles on here, when it shows 7.3 on the watch, but whatever.

September 27, 2016

Training for 9/27/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:36 am

Yesterday afternoon, I took Pepper out for a lap around the 4.5-mile loop. It was fine until the last mile or so. There was a crew doing something in the road that involved a jackhammer and a lot of big loud trucks, which terrified Pepper, of course.

But, he took a dump while we were running, which was the main objective, because we couldn’t take him with us to the Mug Club party last night. So, mission accomplished!

Clark got a guest ticket for one of his coworkers, and we all rode to Milton together. We got there not too long after the party started at 6.

This year’s theme was camping out. Dinner was barbecued chicken, grilled burgers and hot dogs, vegetable skewers, salad and pasta salad, and then for dessert, there was a huge s’mores station, with graham crackers, marshmallows (and little burners to roast them), Hershey’s Milk Chocolate or Cookies ‘n’ Cream and Reese’s Cups. There was also Nutella. I think I fit half a jar of that stuff onto one s’more haha. It was so good!

The beer was all-you-can-drink. They served pints of some of the mainstays, like Punkin Ale, Sea Quench Ale, 60 Minute and a s’more-flavored beer they’d brewed especially for the Mug Club party. They also served smaller pours of some rarities and experimental beers, and we all got one sample of a Moscow Mule made with their vodka.

The best part of the evening was when Sam (Dogfish Head’s founder) got up on stage, announced he’d been “drinking the shit out of some Sea Quench Ale” and then said since the brewpub in Rehoboth is undergoing a massive overhaul, our current memberships are being extended until it’s done, which means we’re not going to have to pay Jan. 1 to stay in! Also, our benefits now work at Chesapeake & Maine next door to the brewpub, so we’re going to have to give that place another go.

It was a really fun evening. This Mug Club is a no-brainer to join if you live close enough to go to the brewpub even a few times a year, and the annual free party is just the cherry on top.

I was thinking it’d be cool if they added guaranteed entry to the Dogfish Dash as a benefit. Not a discount on the race entry, just first dibs if we want to run, since registration sells out in a matter of minutes now. I noticed several people last night wearing their race shirt.

This morning, I didn’t get up in time to run before I had to take Pepper back to the vet to get his eye checked out again. The vet said it looks better, like it’s healing, and he prescribed a stronger anti-inflammatory eye drop to help the scratch on Pepper’s cornea heal faster.

If these eye drops don’t do enough to heal it, the next step is a minor surgery to temporarily sew shut that eye until the cornea heals. Fingers crossed the eye drops do the trick! I don’t see Pepper and surgery going together very well.

September 26, 2016

Dogfish Dash 8K recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:00 am

To paraphrase Emil Zapotek: “If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run the Dogfish Dash 8K with a lunatic dog.”

Actually, Zapotek, the 1952 Olympic gold medalist in the 5K, 10K and marathon, said you should run the marathon to really experience something, but I’m pretty sure he’d agree with my version of his quote if he’d had a weimaraner running buddy.

Anyway, I’ll back up to Saturday first. I had these grand plans to run the 19-mile long run on the schedule. Well, that didn’t happen. We had a certain time we needed to leave the house for my uncle’s birthday party that afternoon, and I’d already slept in too late for 19 miles by the time I woke up, so I was thinking I’d just do the 14.5-mile loop. Then I really took my time eating breakfast and getting dressed, so much so I figured I better just cut it down to the 10.5-mile loop.

And then I finally left the house and started running, and holy crap I was NOT in the mood for running! I felt so out of breath and lead-legged. I let myself cut the run all the way down to the 7.3-mile loop, and it felt awful every step of the way, to the point I was starting to wonder if I’d even be able to drag myself through the 8K the next morning in a respectable time. Love those confidence-shattering runs, especially the day before a race!

When I got home, I checked the weather — 96 percent humidity. OK, that’s why it was so hard to breathe. Still though, that’s pretty typical for around here. I should be used to that.

Clark went for his own run, and then we went to the Hyatt for my uncle’s birthday party. They’d rented this pavilion on the end of a pier, which was pretty nice, but Saturday was gray and breezy, and it was a little chilly out there on the water. But the food was good, the beer was free and it was fun to catch up with my mom’s side of the family, who we don’t get to see as much since they don’t all live within a mile of my dad, like his side of the family.

From Cambridge, Clark and I went straight to Milton, to the brewery, where we picked up our race packets, as well as those of my brother and Clark’s parents. Since we were there, we had to have a couple beers, of course. We got dinner at Po’ Boys Fresh Catch in Milton, where I had shrimp and andouille sausage with penne pasta and some beignets for dessert. Nothing like Cafe Du Monde’s, but not bad.

We went home and were in bed at a reasonable time.

The race Sunday didn’t start until 9:30 a.m., so we didn’t have to get up too early. We were on the road before 8, and in Milton around 8:30.

We wound up having to park behind an elementary school, about a half-mile walk from the race site. As soon as we got there, I went to meet Dave near the start line to give him his race packet. When I got to him, he said they’d been announcing the race start had been moved up to 9. WTF! I still had to go back to my car, take off my sweatshirt and get my running hat. I was pretty sure he’d misheard something, because they can’t just move up the race start time a half-hour like that, but there was that tiny possibility that maybe he was right, so I sprinted back to the car and then back to the start area.

I got back the second time at 8:59. Yeah, no one was in the starting corral yet haha. Oh well. I counted the sprint to the car and back as my and Pepper’s warm up mile. It dawned on me I’d forgotten to grab the plastic bag I meant to take in case Pepper pooped on the run, but I didn’t feel like going back a second time, so I just crossed my fingers he wouldn’t.

I really had to pee, but the port-o-potty lines were massive, so I didn’t take care of that either.

Around 9:15, they asked us to start lining up. Dave and I (with Pepper, of course) didn’t want to get too close to the front, but we wound up farther back than we should’ve been. I always do that. Clark started even farther back than we did.

At least the weather was perfect, even that late in the morning. It was a clear, sunny day, a little breezy but not bad, cool temperatures and, best of all, decent humidity.

I keep forgetting to explain why I had Pepper. Originally, Clark’s mom was going to walk the race with him. But when Clark called her Saturday to see if she was still planning on that, they decided he probably wouldn’t like walking that far, and would be pulling on the leash the whole way. So I volunteered to run with him, since I run with him several days a week anyway.

It was so crowded in that starting pack! I was getting a little nervous. I was all the way on the left edge, so at least Pepper wouldn’t have to start in the middle of that pack of people, but still. There were a lot of feet in very close quarters.

We got the starting gun (which Pepper hated haha) and we were off!

2016-dogfish-dash-start

Crowd taking off.

The race course this year was exactly the same, just running in the opposite direction, which afterwards everyone agreed was the better way to run it.

The first mile was a little slow as we tried to get up to speed, get by the slower runners in front of us and let the faster ones behind us go. Pepper was doing a pretty good job staying off people’s feet, but several times he’d just run up behind someone, like he was waiting for them to get out of his way, and I’d have to direct him around them haha.

Near the end of that first mile, Pepper ran up next to and startled this woman so bad she gasped out loud — I think she thought he was going to slam right into her legs — so I apologized to her.

Soon we passed the first mile marker, a large sandwich board on the side of the road that also scared Pepper haha. We’d run that in 7:40.

At this point, we’d started to get some room for running, and we were moving through the pack easier. Halfway through that mile though, Pepper suddenly came to a stop on the side of the road. Oh no! No no no — it was too late. He’d already pinched off a turd haha. Another runner yelled “Pit stop!” as he sailed by. Luckily, Pepper had found some weeds near a stream, instead of someone’s front yard, so I didn’t feel as bad about not being able to clean it up. I still wished I’d remembered one of those bags.

It was also somewhere in this mile we crossed a little foot bridge, that had a post on either end to keep people from driving vehicles across it. Pepper went to the right of it, so I did too. But then he made a U-turn, went back by me and around the post on the left, so his leash was wrapped around it. I was trying to get the leash unwrapped while runners streamed by, saying “Sorry! Sorry!” to every one of them. I don’t know how no one got clotheslined by that damn leash!

Finally, the second mile ended in 7:52.

After that, Pepper seemed to settle down. Every now and then he’d try to take a wrong turn, or freak out about a traffic cone/mile marker/volunteer at a water stop, but for the most part we were just running.

Little kids along the course LOVED Pepper. “Look, there’s a DOGGY running!” Other dogs who spotted him also went nuts, but in a loud barking way. Pepper ignored every one of them. He knew they were just jealous haha.

Anyway, the third mile sped up to 7:27, and we hit the fourth one in 7:13, our fastest mile of the day.

Right after the fourth mile marker, we hit the only substantial uphill of the course. I was so winded when we finally got to the top of that thing!

This part of the course was just a long straightaway. We were supposed to stay to the right of the traffic cones set up down the middle of the street, but Pepper was starting to lose interest. Several times he nearly ran smack into one. I was just trying to keep him out of everyone else’s way at this point.

Then we made a turn onto a short bike path — the same one last year that had been at the beginning of the race, and someone had run into a sign next to it while trying to pass people. Some guy near me said “How much farther?” I glanced down at my watch, which was at exactly 4.47, and told him it was a half-mile. “We still have THAT FAR?? NOOOO!”

A couple more quick turns and we were back at the brewery, and therefore nearly to the finish line. The crowds lining the course were much thicker here, there was loud music playing and as we made the final turn to hit the homestretch, Pepper looked up and saw the big inflatable finish line arch. He hates those things!

2016-dogfish-dash-me-and-pepper-finish

This picture was taken far enough away from the line that it didn’t capture the two times Pepper came to a complete stop in front of me — because the arch was freaking him out — and I kneed him in the ribs. Sorry, Pep!

We didn’t exactly sprint across the line. Pepper really didn’t want to cross it at all haha. But I finally managed to drag him across it, and we finished in 37:13.

There were several race photographers set up right there as we came to the line. I can’t wait to see what their shots look like.

That time landed me 14th of 436 in the F 30-39 age group, 33rd of 1,054 women and 162nd of 2,115 total runners. And Pepper was definitely top dog!

As soon as we finished, we were all given a Kleen Kanteen tumbler with this year’s race logo on it, full of water. I gave a lot of my water to Pep. Then we could get the tumbler filled three times with Namaste, Festina Peche or 60 Minute IPA.

I found Dave, who’d beaten me, of course. He finished in 35:43, so it wasn’t as big a margin of victory this year. And he didn’t have a dog with him.

We saw Clark run by on his way to finishing in 41:02.

The rest of the morning was spent enjoying our free beers (I had three tumblers full of Namaste) and discussing the race. We were joined by Clark’s parents, as well as TK, her mom, her sister and her sister’s fiance. We were also joined by a lot of people who wanted to pet Pepper, of course, many of whom had seen him running in the race and were impressed by how “well-behaved” he was haha.

And that was this year’s Dogfish Dash. I love this race!

Clark and I went to Lewes to get lunch. Pepper was worn out, and napped at our feet the whole time we were eating.

pep-asleep

Then we took him to Dogfish Head for a couple more beers (since Punkin Ale wasn’t one of the free ones after the race) and Arena’s Deli for dinner, and then we finally came home.

Today, I’m taking Pepper for a short easy run after I get some work done, and tonight, we’re going back to the Dogfish Head brewery for the third consecutive day, this time for the annual Mug Club members party.

Also, while I was sorta-running Saturday morning, I decided I’m doing the Baltimore Marathon as a training run again this year, since I’m doing such a bad job finishing long runs on my own, so I just signed up for that too.

Also influencing the decision to run it is the long-sleeved Under Armour race shirt (with thumbholes this year!) and the really cool medal. Normally I don’t care much about medals, but this one is pretty unique:

finish-medal

It’s a blue crab that folds open! Can’t wait to put that in my shoebox haha.

September 23, 2016

Training for 9/23/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 12:56 pm

Well, I haven’t done anything today, as far as training goes. The original plan was to knock out the 19-mile long run scheduled for this weekend. Then I started feeling guilty about leaving Pepper home alone for at least the first couple hours of it. Plus, I gotta be honest, I just didn’t feel like doing it. So I thought I’d just do the piddly little 3-miler I was going to tomorrow, but I haven’t even gotten my butt out the door for that yet!

I have to cover something for the paper this evening, so if I’m going to run anything, I should get moving soon.

Anyway, the main reason I’d intended to do the long run today is because Sunday is the Dogfish Dash 8K in Milton, and I thought it’d be nice to have an easy day in between 19 miles and a race effort.

Doesn’t look like that’s going to happen though. Oh well. Not like I really thought I’d beat my brother anyway. He hasn’t been training that much, but he did actually buy new running shoes for the first time in a decade a few months ago, so that alone should be enough for him to maintain his winning streak.

So the plan for the weekend, as of now, is 19 miles tomorrow morning, my uncle’s 60th birthday luncheon at the Hyatt in Cambridge in the afternoon, followed by packet pick-up at the Dogfish Head brewery, and then back to the brewery Sunday morning for the race.

The weather looks like it’s going to be perfect racing weather at least, probably in the low 60s at race time, and there’s no rain in the forecast, knock on wood. I guess I’ll see what my legs feel like Sunday morning before setting a time goal.

This is a bit off-topic, but I forgot to mention it yesterday… I got chewed up by chiggers again last week. Chigger bites are extremely itchy and they look disgusting, like huge nasty whiteheads. You can even “pop” them over and over before they finally start to dry up and go away.

Over the weekend, while I was scratching my left ankle, which got hit particularly hard, it occurred to me I never seem to encounter them until the end of the summer. So I googled chiggers, and found an article by the Washington Post, written about this time two years ago, that had way more information than I wanted.

First of all, it’s not my imagination — chiggers really do become way more active in the Mid-Atlantic region in September, when the heat and humidity of summer start to wane. Hey, me too! Or at least I complain about it less.

But then I kept reading. I should’ve stopped reading.

When a chigger bites you, it inserts this little straw-like device into your skin, shoots some saliva through the straw that partially digests your skin, and then sucks up your liquefied skin through that same straw.

Even after the chigger goes on its way (it’s a common myth they’re embedded in your skin, but they’re not), that little straw thingy stays behind, as does the digestion enzyme. The itch comes from the reaction to the enzyme.

But the part that grossed me out is that the “pus” that fills up the bite spots, creating the whitehead look, is just more digested skin, so when I’m popping those things over and over, IT’S MY OWN LIQUEFIED SKIN RUNNING DOWN MY LEGS.

Like something out of a horror movie! The latest attack has finally stopped itching and is starting to fade away, so I’m trying my best to stay out of the woods until it gets cold enough to kill those little jerks.

September 22, 2016

Training for 9/22/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 1:15 pm

“Happy” first day of fall! I miss summer already.

Well, it’s been a pretty fun six days since I last posted. A lot lighter on the running than the previous month or so, but I think the break was good for me. I’m ready to get back into training again.

Last Friday evening, Clark and I loaded up his truck and drove straight to The Starboard in Dewey. He got his race packet, I got my post-race party wristband and we had dinner there. The athlete guide said there’d be free food and beer for the race participants, but the food was a party sub that looked like it’d been sitting out for hours and, not surprisingly, the free beer was Michelob Ultra. I really hate how they’re marketing their shitty watered-down beer as THE choice of super serious athletes just because it has a couple fewer calories and carbs, especially since if there’s two things swim/bike/runners need, it’s calories and carbs!

Anyway, we paid for better beer and dinner that didn’t have mayonnaise that looked like it might cause food poisoning, and then we went to Dogfish Head for a couple more beers.

Saturday morning, we got breakfast at this little greasy spoon near the beach house. It was us and a bunch of older biker dudes, because last weekend was also bike week in Ocean City. Between them and the tri/duathlon, there were a lot of two-wheeled twits at the beach haha.

When breakfast had sufficiently settled, I drove up to Rehoboth to run on part of the trail used for the half and full marathon in December. I’d thought about going farther, to Cape Henlopen to run a different part of the trail that only the full marathon uses, but it took so long to get to Rehoboth because of another triathlon held Saturday morning in Dewey, I just parked at the first access point close to the trail I could find.

It was a very pretty day for a run on that trail, but a bit on the warm side. I didn’t feel like carrying water with me though, so instead of the 7-miler on the schedule, I only did 4.5. Plus, the eggs Benedict I’d had for breakfast felt like they were making their presence known in the last mile anyway, so I was glad I was almost done instead of three miles of public trail away from the truck!

It was a surprisingly fast run though. I expected my legs to feel heavy after the long run the day before, but I clipped off 4.5 miles at an 8:16/mile pace and felt great.

When I got back to Fenwick, Clark wanted to go for a practice swim in the ocean, so I put on a swimsuit and went to the beach with him. It was the last weekend of summer, and a perfect one for lying on the beach. He went for a swim, then went up to the house, changed clothes and went for a run, while I sat in the sand for an hour and a half or so. That could very well be the last time I get to do that this year and I enjoyed every minute of it.

We both got cleaned up, and then we drove up to Bethany, to packet pick-up, to see if they had any GU for sale at the very small expo, because Clark had forgotten to pack any for the race. They had plenty, so he got all stocked up. We got some lunch and then went back to Fenwick.

Fisher’s Popcorn just down the street just released a new fall flavor. Can you guess what it is? Pumpkin spice caramel! I got a small bucket of that, which I washed down with a Punkin Ale.

pumpkin-beer-and-popcorn

Clark called me basic, but I don’t care!

Eventually, two of Clark’s coworkers who were also doing the triathlon, Dave and Bart, arrived at the beach house, with their wives, Tiffany and Marybeth. Dave and Bart didn’t want to drink too much the night before the race, but that, of course, wasn’t stopping Clark haha. I can’t remember what time we finally went to bed.

My alarm went off at 5 a.m. Sunday. I was so glad I didn’t have to run! We got the bikes and all the other gear loaded up, then made the short trip to Bethany. I dropped off Clark and all his stuff as close to the transition area as I could get, looped around to Dunkin Donuts to get some coffee, parked the truck and walked back to transition.

The athletes got all their stuff set up in transition, and then they walked out to the boardwalk for pre-race instructions and the national anthem. The race directors said the point-to-point ocean swim would go south to north because of the direction of the current, so we all walked down the beach 0.62 miles to the start line.

clark-before-swim

“I don’t feel like swimming… or biking… or running.”

clark-and-me-before-swim

I was looking forward to a morning of spectating.

At 7:30 a.m., the elites-only wave ran out into the water, and then the 7:34 wave, which included Clark’s age group, was called up. They were sent out right on time.

clarks-age-group-taking-off

Taking off.

clark-taking-off

I spy Clark.

swimmers

Headed out through the waves to the first buoy.

Dave’s age group also started at 7:34. Bart’s was in the next wave. Once he got going, Tiffany, Marybeth and I walked back to the boardwalk, where the swim ended and they’d be running into transition to get their bikes for the 18.5-mile ride.

All three wound up swimming faster than they’d expected. We didn’t have to wait long at all before they went by. I had just enough time to get a picture of Clark running toward transition.

clark-after-swim

Still hating it haha.

We sat there for a while, watching everyone run into transition. In addition to the triathlon, there was an aquabike (swim and bike only), a duathlon (run 0.62 miles on the beach instead of swim, then bike and run) and team relays, so there were a lot of different races going on.

We saw the leader return from the bike and take off on the 4.35-mile run with a huge lead. He finished in 1:22, a new course record.

Right after we saw him finish, we went back to transition to wait for the guys to come back from the bike. We managed to spot all three. While we were standing there, I also got to meet a weimaraner named Guiness. He was the same size as Pepper, and his owner said he was 3 years old, and therefore also fully grown. The guy said, “He just never filled out.” We have one of those miniature weimaraners too!

With all three guys on the final leg, we found a spot near the finish line to spectate. It had turned out to be a pretty warm day. We were standing in full sunlight. Every time I’d think how hot it was, I’d see a runner go by in extreme distress and think “OK, I don’t feel that bad actually” haha.

Clark was the first one of the coworkers to finish, in 2:10. Company bragging rights!

The other two weren’t far behind him. Bart and Marybeth had to get going pretty much as soon as he was done, but Dave and Tiffany hung around for the after-party. There were a couple 3rd Wave beers on tap upstairs in Mango’s, and Bethany Blues put out a barbecue spread on the boardwalk that was pretty good.

I guess Clark was supposed to get his crap out of transition before we went to the party, because when we went to get it after, the entire transition area had been broken down and we found one volunteer still watching the only four bikes that hadn’t been picked up yet haha.

We got everything loaded up again, then drove back to Fenwick. Dave and Tiffany went home, but Clark and I hung around the beach house, napping and washing sheets and bath towels.

Once we had the house straightened back up, we drove into Ocean City, had a couple drinks at Fish Tales and dinner at Belly Busters, and then stopped at Burley Oak in Berlin for a couple more beers.

Monday morning, I reluctantly got up at 6. I was so tired, but I had stuff to do before we had to leave the house at 8 to catch our flight to New Orleans.

First I unpacked my stuff from the weekend. Then I went out to run. It was still dark enough I needed to take my headlamp for the first half of the run. There was lightning way off in the distance when I left the house, but it was so far off I couldn’t even hear the faintest rumble of thunder, so I decided it was safe enough.

About two miles in, I really needed to use the bathroom. Surprise! I got that taken care of, and the rest of the 4.5-mile loop went better.

I cleaned out the mailbox when I got back home. Look what arrived over the weekend:

nascar-tickets

PHOENIX TICKETS!! I can’t wait!

I showered and packed some more stuff, and we were on the road a little after 8.

It hadn’t been raining yet when I was running, but it just started to sprinkle as we were pulling out of the driveway. By the time we got to Federalsburg, it was a full-on deluge. It was coming down so hard, the wipers on high were barely making a dent.

Fortunately, it abated as we drove through Denton, and it wasn’t raining that hard on the bay bridge or on I-97, so traffic was moving. We made it to the airport with plenty of time, especially so once we found out the flight had been slightly delayed.

Even though the flight took off late, we landed when we were originally supposed to, because they “made up time in the air.” Why don’t they just fly that fast every time?

It was sunny and hot in New Orleans. We were dropped off at our hotel, Le Richelieu, in the French Quarter, just before 2 p.m.

Technically, we were there because Clark had to do something for work the next morning, so he had to answer some emails and make some phone calls once we got settled into our room. While getting my phone connected to the hotel’s wifi, I enjoyed a nearby locked network’s name:

obamaslistening

THANKS, OBAMA.

Once Clark had his work stuff done, we set out to see some of New Orleans. He didn’t want to be out too late since he had his test in the morning, but Monday was our seventh anniversary, so we had to do something fun.

Our first stop was The Carousel Bar & Lounge in the Hotel Monteleone. It’s a working bar in the middle of a carousel. The seating area slowly rotates around the bar. It was pretty cool.

carousel-bar

When your seat has rotated to a certain point, you can watch the bartender make the very intricate mixed drinks on the cocktail list.

carousel-bartender

They also tasted as good as they looked.

My favorite moment at this bar was when I overheard three older women, standing in the entrance, arguing over whether or not the seats were moving haha.

Our next stop was SoBou, as in “South of Bourbon.” We had a few happy hour drinks and appetizers, including our first seafood gumbo of the trip.

Then we went to Crescent City Brewing. The beers were nothing notable, but I liked these “jellyfish” hanging from the ceiling above the bar, under the brewing area:

crescent-city-brewing

Our fourth and final stop Monday was The Avenue Pub. It had a very extensive selection of beers, many on tap:

avenue-pub-taps

We had dinner there too, which was some pretty good bar food. I was fading fast though — I was so freaking tired! I couldn’t even finish the first beer I ordered. Clark and I got an Uber back to the hotel and went to bed at a reasonable hour.

Tuesday morning, Clark left in search of breakfast and came back with “breakfast in a cup” from Cafe Envie. It was layers of buttery grits, scrambled eggs and hash browns, with two huge strips of bacon, in a big to-go coffee cup. Not bad!

He left to take his test, and I went out for a run. It already felt like it was in the 90s at 9 a.m. I knew it was going to be a slow one, but that was fine by me.

The first thing I knew I wanted to see was St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, only about a mile from the hotel. I love the above-ground cemeteries in New Orleans, and this one has a tomb where a voodoo priestess is supposedly buried. It’s covered in X’s, because people believe if they mark an X on it and make a wish, it’ll come true. Then they’re supposed to bring back a gift to thank the priestess.

Before I got to the cemetery, I ran through Louis Armstrong Park.

louis-armstrong-park

louis-armstrong-park-entrance

Then I got to the cemetery. The last time we were in New Orleans, we walked through Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 on our own, so I was surprised to be stopped at the gate by three people who told me I was only allowed in if I was part of a tour group. Apparently, the Roman Catholic Diocese of New Orleans wanted to cut down on all the vandalism, I assume on the voodoo priestess’s tomb in particular, so they don’t let people in unaccompanied any longer.

I asked if there were any other nearby cemeteries I could go in for free, and one guy said St. Louis No. 2 was three and a half blocks away. This old lady said, “It’s very dangerous though.”

Oh really, “very dangerous” to run three and a half blocks from here in broad daylight? We’ll see about that.

The route wasn’t very scenic — it passed through some large parking lots and a small industrial area — but the last thing I would call it was “dangerous.” I made it to St Louis No. 2 unscathed.

I could spend all day wandering through these old cemeteries, but I just made a quick lap around this one.

st-louis-2

st-louis-2-highway

I-10 passes right behind the cemetery.

st-louis-2-wall

I guess if your family wasn’t that rich you got stuck in a drawer along this wall.

Once I left the cemetery, I followed Canal Street all the way along the edge between the French Quarter and the Central Business District, to the Mississippi River.

mississippi-river

I ran along the river a ways, then through the French Market, which for the most part wasn’t open yet.

french-market

My last stop was Cafe Envie for an iced coffee, and then I walked back to the hotel. I’d covered 5 miles in just over an hour, including all the stops to look at things, take pictures, check the map on my phone, figure out where the hell I was, wait for traffic — a blistering average pace of just over 12:00/mile. And I was completely soaked through in sweat. It was so hot!

Clark got back from (passing) his test about 90 minutes later, and we had lunch at a restaurant called Tableau, right on Jackson Square. I had more gumbo and a salad, because I felt like I definitely needed a vegetable or two in my life at the moment haha.

We went back to the hotel for a nap, and then we went out to really have a fun night in New Orleans.

First stop was Molly’s at the Market, this little dive bar where I got a frozen Irish coffee that really woke my ass up.

On our way to our next stop, I saw a unicorn:

unicorn

It even has golden hoofs.

It was parked, along with the rest of the carriage tours, right outside Jackson Square.

jackson-square

Our next stop was Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29, a cheesy little tiki bar with very strong, very fancy tropical drinks:

clark-and-his-fruity-drink

Clark and a Rum Barrel, garnished with a tiny umbrella, a monkey charm and edible flowers.

We wound up staying there for quite a while, because we decided to try to get dinner at GW Fins, supposedly the best restaurant in the city right now, and the earliest reservation we could get was for 8:45 p.m.

We got to GW Fins a few minutes early and were seated right at 8:45. Our waiter, Nate, shook our hands. Very fancy!

We ordered a bottle of wine. While we were waiting for that, this guy came by whose entire job was to walk around the restaurant and hand out piping hot biscuits, in lieu of a bread basket.

I am not kidding — this was the best damn biscuit I’ve ever had in my life. It was so fluffy, a little sweet and it just melted right in your mouth. If the dinner was half that good, we were in for something memorable.

Clark ordered “scalibut” — scallops and halibut — and I ordered Warsaw grouper.

gw-fins

It was incredible. This dinner goes right up there with the sweet potato pancakes at the Pancake Pantry in Nashville on the list of Things I Will Daydream About When I’m Really Hungry That Make Me Very Emotional Because They’re Too Far Away to Get My Hands On.

Also on that list is beignets from Cafe Du Monde, but I knew those were in my immediate future, so I wasn’t feeling sad about them.

We finished up dinner with espresso martinis and a slice of ice cream pie called the Salty Malty. SO GOOD.

Right around the corner from the upscale fanciness of GW Fins was Bourbon Street. I think that’s one of my favorite things about New Orleans. There’s an undercurrent of seediness no matter where you are, no matter how much someone has tried to glaze over it. There’s so much history in that city, a lot of it kinda dark. If we’d had more time, I’d have liked to have taken a guided tour — I tried to get into a running tour Tuesday morning but it was booked up. Maybe next time.

Anyway, we made our way down Bourbon Street to Pat O’Brien’s. It’s a tourist trap, but I enjoy the dueling pianos and the Hurricanes.

dueling-pianos

Souvenir Hurricane glasses in hand, we made our way toward Frenchmen Street, very close to our hotel, known for really good live jazz every night.

I can’t remember which bar we stopped in. The music was good, but the bartender was terrible! I think it took him longer to make our drinks — he kept having to stop to read the menu descriptions! — than it took us to drink them. We only stayed for that one drink.

Our final stop was Cafe Du Monde. It’s open 24 hours a day, and I can say from experience the best time of day for beignets and cafe au lait is between midnight and 4 a.m.

I spilled a little cafe au lait down the front of my shirt, which I wouldn’t have cared about at all, except I’d chosen a white, hand wash-only shirt. Smart choice. Honestly, I can’t believe I made it all the way to the end of the night before I messed it up.

Yesterday morning was rough haha. I was hungover and starving when I woke up, but getting food meant showering and getting dressed first, which sounded like way too much work. I laid in bed until I felt like my stomach was about to start eating itself.

After a shower, which made me feel a little better, I went to Croissant D’Or Pattiserie, where I had a very good quiche Lorraine. When I got back, Clark was awake and hungry, so we went back to Cafe Envie. He had a huge egg, spinach and feta wrap, and I went around the corner to Wink’s Bakery, where I got a chocolate and coconut doughnut that really hit the spot.

By that time, it was time to pack up, check out and head to the airport. When we’d woken up yesterday morning, our flight info was claiming it’d been delayed from 1:25 p.m. to 8:05, which would’ve meant getting home at 2 a.m.! Fortunately, it was soon updated to only being 15 minutes late, and then it was on time.

The flight home was fine. I was starving again when we landed, so we had one last airport meal at DuClaw. Then we stopped at the Denton pub on the way home so Clark could have dinner.

We went to Clark’s parents’ house to get Pepper. I missed his stupid face so much!

Clark’s mom said his eye had really been bothering him, so she took him to his vet yesterday. This is the same eye that I took him to the vet for almost two months ago, which the vet said was just an allergic reaction without even looking at it.

This time, the vet actually looked at it, and said Pepper has a superficial scratch on his cornea. Which means he’s had that for nearly two months! I’m kinda pissed it wasn’t fixed back in early August, when I took Pepper there the first time.

Anyway, nothing that can be done about that now. The vet gave Clark’s mom more of the same eye drops he gave me when he said it was just allergies. I’m supposed to bring Pepper back next week for a follow-up. If it’s not any better, I’m going to have to take him to a veterinary ophthalmologist.

We were home and all in bed asleep by 9:30 last night.

This morning, after Clark left for work, I took Pepper for a run, his first in a week. I wanted to do the 9-mile middle-distance run I didn’t do earlier this week.

It was warm here too, but nothing like New Orleans had been the past couple of days.

Apparently running keeps Pepper regular, because he had to stop to poop no less than four separate times in the first 3.5 miles haha.

Between all his poop stops (surprisingly, I didn’t need one), and my general sluggishness from nearly a week of eating and drinking too much, it was a slow run. But it felt good to be out there again!

September 16, 2016

Training for 9/16/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:54 am

Clark’s parents came and picked up Snoopy last night, so our houseguest is gone. Pepper will be reunited with him soon though — we’re going to the beach all weekend for Clark’s triathlon Sunday in Bethany Beach, and his parents had already offered to watch Pepper. I’ll miss him, but it’ll definitely be easier not having him with us.

Since we’re going to the beach, I did something smart for once. This morning, I got my scheduled long run done at home, instead of telling myself I’d do it tomorrow at the beach when I know full well I’d just find some reason to cut it way short.

The long run this week was 14 miles. I set out for a lap around my 14.5-mile loop sometime after 8 a.m. That was a little later than I wanted to leave, but it was such a gorgeous day — cool, sunny and low humidity — that it really didn’t matter.

What did matter was the miles I’ve been piling up lately! My whole body was just not into it, physically or mentally. I need a freaking day off.

Several times I told myself I’d take a shortcut home, put Pepper in his harness and take him out for a short second loop to finish the whole run. But then I’d try to picture myself actually leaving the house to run some more, and I knew that was a crock of shit.

I passed up all the shortcuts and did the entire 14.5-mile loop. It was not fast, but it was 14.5 miles on my feet and in the books. And now I don’t have to pretend I’m going to do it tomorrow!

I still have a 7-miler on the schedule for tomorrow morning. Maybe I’ll drive up to Rehoboth and run part of the trail used for the marathon. I love my back roads here at home, but I’m kinda sick of looking at them at the moment.

Sunday is absolutely, definitely, without a doubt a rest day. I can’t wait to spend it cheering for everyone else swimming, biking and running their tails off while I sip coffee on the boardwalk haha.

Anyway, this weekend should be fun. There’s a big welcome party for everyone in town for the triathlon tonight at The Starboard in Dewey. Tomorrow, I’m not sure what we’re doing. Sunday, the transition area opens at 5:30 a.m. and the race starts at 7:30, so we will be up bright and early for that.

I think this one is a 0.62-mile ocean swim, 18.5-mile bike and 4.5-mile run. Piece of cake haha.

There’s a post-race party right there on the boardwalk, with barbecue from Bethany Blues and beer from 3rd Wave. I’ve already got my wristband.

I’m not sure when I’ll post again. We come home Sunday, but then we’re leaving Monday morning, to fly to New Orleans for a few days. Clark has to take another state contractor license test, and it just so happens Monday is our seventh anniversary, so I’m tagging along so we can celebrate there. His test is Tuesday morning, and then we won’t be home until Wednesday evening. So it might be Thursday before I get around to this again.

September 15, 2016

Training for 9/15/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:12 am

Yesterday, I took Tweedledee and Tweedledum to the trail for a walk.

The parking lot was empty when we got there, so I only put Snoopy on his leash. He would take off like a rocket if he wasn’t, while Pepper tends to stick close and always listens when called. And I didn’t feel like untangling their leashes the whole time.

I think we probably wound up walking about a mile. At first, Snoopy was trying to drag me down the trail as fast as possible so he could sniff and pee on everything, which Pepper then peed on immediately, of course. That lasted about five minutes until Snoopy started to wear out haha.

The rest of the way, Pepper kept trotting ahead. I’d call his name, he’d stop, give me a “what’s the holdup?” look and wait for us to catch up, then trot ahead again. Snoopy’s legs are one-third the length of Pepper’s, of course he couldn’t keep up!

We got back to the parking lot just as what I assume were members of Seaford High School’s cross country team started arriving.

This morning, Clark got up really early to go to Cambridge and swim in the Choptank with a coworker, who is also doing the triathlon in Bethany this coming Sunday. I stayed home with the dogs.

I was dressed for my run and ready to go as soon as Clark got home. I had 7 miles on the schedule, which I wanted to get done before he left for work.

It was warm enough to run shirtless this morning, but cool enough to stay comfortable the whole way. A little breezy, but that was only in my face for the first mile.

Even with the inevitable bathroom break about two miles from the end, I finished the 7.3-mile loop in about an hour. It was a pretty good run.

I got home just as Clark was finishing up brushing his teeth before he left for work. Perfect timing.

September 14, 2016

Training for 9/14/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 9:52 am

As of yesterday afternoon, we have a houseguest: my brother-in-law’s beagle, Snoopy.

Snoopy and Pepper get along fine, but they’re not exactly best friends.

snoop-and-pep

Pepper’s jealousy always crops up at some point, like last night, when Clark tried to give both dogs a treat — Pepper scarfed his down and then smacked Snoopy in the face in an effort to steal his treat too haha. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE GOOD BOY AND I WAS HERE FIRST.

Anyway, this morning, Clark left pretty early for work, which meant Pepper was going to have to go running with me. Snoopy is not the kind of dog who can run that far, but lucky for me, he’s also not the kind of dog who has a panic attack if he’s left alone for 40 minutes, so it worked out fine.

I decided to take it easy and just do 4.5 miles today. It wound up being even easier than I’d intended. The first half of the run was sooooo slooooow. I don’t know what Pepper’s deal was. It wasn’t just all the sniffing and peeing. He did a lot of slow moseying in between, instead of running. Finally, he found a stick and we ran the second half much faster.

Since then, both dogs have been too busy worrying about the other one’s breakfast to eat their own, and Snoopy randomly puked on the carpet. It’s been a fun morning haha.

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