A Simple Running Log

October 31, 2016

Training for 10/31/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:54 pm

I got in one last run in October this afternoon, so I guess I’ll go ahead and post my monthly summary now.

Since it’s Halloween, I did the closest thing to dressing up I’ll do this year. I just put on the race shirt from a Halloween-themed race I ran a few years ago and put some skull earrings in. I tried to take a picture with Pepper when we got home, but he was uncooperative:

pepper-smooch

What a nut haha.

We ran the 5.5-mile loop. Pepper actually seemed to enjoy running for once! The weather was perfect and he hadn’t run in 10 days, so that probably had something to do with it. I’m sure tomorrow he’ll be back to acting like I’m ruining his life when I put his running harness on him.

Anyway, here’s my monthly summary.

Mileage:

  • Week 1 (Oct. 1): 14.4 miles
  • Week 2 (Oct. 2-8): 30.3
  • Week 3 (Oct. 9-15): 60.8
  • Week 4 (Oct. 16-22): 34.1
  • Week 5 (Oct. 23-29): 27.5
  • Week 6 (Oct. 30-31): 8.5

Total: 175.6 miles

If I’d followed my training plan, I’d have easily topped 200 miles this month, but I was a huge slacker the last week in particular, while we were on vacation. Who wants to run a 20-miler on vacation? I sure don’t. No regrets!

I ran two races in October, both in place of long runs, the Baltimore Marathon and the Monster Mash Half Marathon. Both went really well, which was good, because the only solo long run I did, that 14.4-miler on Oct. 1, was awful.

I’ve also run 1,545 miles this year. In 35 miles I’ll have already topped my 2015 total, which was one of my goals in 2016.

In November, I’m finishing up training for and then running my big goal race for the fall, the Philly Marathon on Nov. 20. I can’t wait!

Other than that, I’ll probably do the Pumpkin Pie 5K we always run the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but that’s it for racing.

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New England road trip

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 1:21 pm

Happy Halloween! I hope you like pictures, because I took a ton over our weeklong, 1,700-mile drive through New England.

Last Sunday, I did an easy lap around the 5.5-mile loop, and then Clark and I loaded up the Focus and hit the road.

Since neither of us had ever taken the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, we went that way to start our trip.

last-sight-of-delaware

Last time we’d see Delaware for a while.

cape-may-lewes-ferry

Looking ahead to New Jersey.

Our first stop once we got off the ferry was the Cape May Brewing Co. We got there just in time for one beer before they closed.

cape-may-brewin

We drove through Wildwood’s “doo-wop” motel district, but most of the neon lights were shut down for the season. The Wawa was still open though:

doowop-wawa

I didn’t take this; it was stolen from Pinterest.

We drove along the coastline of New Jersey, around the outskirts of New York City and stopped for the night in Massapequa Park on Long Island.

Of course we couldn’t go to bed yet. The bars were still open for another two hours haha. Clark found one nearby. It was also close to Clark Boulevard:

clark-blvd

We had one beer there and went back to the hotel.

The next morning, I went for a run around Massapequa Park while Clark did some stuff for work. I wound up running six miles through some little neighborhoods and parks.

south-oyster-bay

South Oyster Bay

andrews-dr

The complement to Clark Boulevard.

We were right next to Amityville, so we found 112 Ocean Avenue, the house in “The Amityville Horror.” It’s been remodeled to the point it’s pretty much unrecognizable, so I didn’t bother taking a picture. I’m sure that’s why it was remodeled.

The next leg of our trip took us to the end of Long Island. We stopped in Westhampton Beach along the way to see the house Clark’s great aunt used to own. He went there once with his family, when he was 12. He said it’d also been remodeled since he’d been there.

Clark’s great aunt was Jean Patchett, one of the biggest fashion models in the 1940s and ’50s. She was born in Preston in 1926, went to New York City in 1948 and signed with the Ford Model Agency. She was on 40 magazine covers, including Vogue, before she retired in 1963.

We got back on the road. As we were driving along, we noticed there are a ton of wineries on eastern Long Island. So we stopped at one for a tasting and a charcuterie board.

sannino-vineyard

Sannino Vineyard in Peconic, N.Y.

We made it to Orient Point and took the Cross Sound Ferry to New London, Conn.

cross-sound-ferry

Leaving Long Island.

new-london-ct

Arriving in New London.

As soon as we got off the ferry, we drove to nearby Mystic. We tried to get something to eat at S&P Oyster House, but they completely ignored us after we were seated. It was so weird; the place was pretty empty, but no one even came by to take our drink order. So we left and went to Mystic Pizza instead, the restaurant that inspired the 1988 movie starring Julia Roberts.

mystic-pizza-outside

mystic-pizza-inside

The service was quick and the food was good too.

We walked through downtown Mystic a bit. There’s a really cool bascule bridge:

mystic-ct-bridge

It was built in 1922. It lifts up the entire roadway in one complete section, instead of in two smaller sections like a drawbridge. Those counterweights dangling over the road are enormous!

We got back on the road and drove into Rhode Island. We drove through Westerly and saw Taylor Swift’s gigantic estate right on the ocean. Hers was definitely the biggest house, but all the houses in that area were gorgeous.

Our next stop was Cranston, R.I. It’s Fraida Felcher’s hometown! (If you haven’t watched “Dumb and Dumber” as many times as we have, that probably won’t mean anything to you.)

cranston-ri-beer

Finally, we stopped for the night in Warwick, R.I. We had a pretty good dinner at Legal Sea Foods and hit the hay.

Tuesday morning, Clark and I went for a run together through all the road work in Warwick. Not the most scenic route! But we ran another six miles.

Back on the road! We went through Providence and stopped in New Bedford, Mass., a huge seaport. In the 19th century, it was one of the most important whaling ports in the world.

We had lunch at The Black Whale.

black-whale-oysters

Local raw oysters.

black-whale-chair

Relaxing.

new-bedford-falls-fishing-boats

Commercial fishing boats right outside the restaurant.

Then we drove along the coast to Falmouth, where we took yet another ferry to Martha’s Vineyard.

clark-on-marthas-vineyard-ferry

Clark on the ferry.

marthas-vineyard-harbor

Vineyard Haven harbor.

We took a taxi to Oak Bluffs. There’s a historic carousel Clark remembered riding when he was a kid, but it was closed for the season. So we walked around a bit. I really liked this house:

marthas-vineyard-house

We had some beers at Offshore Ale Co., where we heard some guys talking about finding bottles of wine worth $35,000 each in the cellar of an old house they were renovating. We took another taxi back to Vineyard Haven, and had just enough time before the next ferry to have a beer and a mug of quahog (clam) chowder at the Black Dog Tavern.

black-dog-tavern

Once we got back to the mainland, we drove up to Boston. We stopped first in Quincy, home of the ORIGINAL DUNKIN’ DONUTS!

original-dunkin-donuts

dunkin-donuts-plaque

So cool! I got a pumpkin macchiato and a Boston Creme.

Then we drove to our hotel, a Holiday Inn in Somerville — not even IN Boston — that, no joke, wound up costing more than half a mortgage payment for one freaking night! This was the only time our total lack of planning for this trip bit us in the ass like that, but damn. It was a big bite!

We had dinner and a couple beers at a place called Lord Hobo, and then more beers and another charcuterie board at Deep Ellum.

Wednesday morning, I ran through Cambridge, to Harvard’s campus. Now I can say I’ve been to Harvard haha.

I found the statue of founder John Harvard as a tour guide was telling the group it’s a tradition for students to rub the statue’s left foot for good luck, which is why it’s so shiny compared to the rest of the statue.

john-harvard-statue

Well, I hate to break it to you Harvard, but Maryland students do the same thing to the noses of the Testudo statues around campus there, so you’re not that special!

On the way back to the hotel, I found a place apparently specializing in fresh-killed poultry:

fresh-killed-poultry

I wound up running five miles. We walked into Boston later that morning, first through the Beacon Hill neighborhood, which was so pretty:

beacon-hill-neighborhood

We had lunch at what was first called the Bull and Finch Pub, but is now known as Cheers, because it was the inspiration for the TV show.

cheers

When you go in, you can either sit at the original bar or a separate one that looks like the TV set.

We walked through the Public Garden, a huge park in the middle of the city.

washington-monument

George Washington monument.

And then I had to find this landmark on Boylston Street:

boston-marathon-finish-line

Boston Marathon finish line!

Then we walked to the harbor, where we saw the tea party being re-enacted:

tea-party-reenactors

And I found my tea room that I didn’t even know I had:

abigails-tea-room

Our last stop in Boston was Trillium Brewing, but it was retail only. So we went next door to Row 34, which had a pretty good selection of beers on tap.

We took an Uber back to the hotel and got back on the road. It was a quick drive to one of the spots I was most looking forward to seeing on this vacation — Salem, site of the infamous witch trials in 1692.

Earlier this year, historians pinpointed the exact location of the real Gallows Hill, where 19 “witches” were hanged.

Then it was called Proctor’s Ledge. Now it’s between a Walgreen’s and a residential neighborhood.

clark-on-gallows-hill

Clark standing on Gallows Hill.

The town plans to put a memorial there, but right now there’s nothing officially marking it as the site of the hangings. Someone did put what I assumed was a makeshift memorial there though.

gallows-hill-marker

Imagine if you lived in one of those houses and then those historians announced oh by the way, a bunch of people were killed right there in the woods!

The only other site in Salem directly connected to the trials is the Witch House, which at the time was the home of the judge who presided over the trials.

witch-house

There’s plenty of other touristy things to do related to the witch trials — museums, tours and a live action play based on it — but I really only wanted to see the hill and this house.

We got back on the road and headed up to Portland, Maine. That required passing through the southeast corner of New Hampshire, so since we were there, we stopped at Smuttynose Brewing in Hampton for a few samples. 

smuttynose

The brewery.

clark-at-smuttynose

Clark after too many beers haha.

We also stopped at Whym Craft Beer Cafe in Portsmouth, N.H. There is a ridiculous number of breweries in New Hampshire!

Then we drove to Portland. We stayed outside the city, so we took an Uber into the downtown area.

There’s one thing you have to eat in Maine — a whole steamed lobster. We got ours at J’s Oyster on the pier.

lobster

With an Allagash White, also brewed in Portland.

It was so good! Those things are so much easier to break into than blue crabs too. I also loved those steamed clams.

After dinner, we walked to Novare Res, in a little alley, which had another very impressive beer list. Another Uber ride later, we were back at the hotel.

Thursday morning, I didn’t feel like running. Our hotel was near a mall, not really a good running spot anyway. Clark wanted to find somewhere to go surfing that afternoon (we’d stopped in Fenwick on our way out of Delaware to get his short board and wetsuit), so I put on running clothes, planning to run a few miles while he was surfing.

Before we left the Portland area, we stopped at Len Libby Candies in Scarborough to see Lenny, the world’s only life-size chocolate moose.

lenny-the-moose

Lenny was made out of milk chocolate 19 years ago. They later made the bear and her two cubs out of dark chocolate.

I got some fudge, and then we headed up the coast of Maine to one of our must-see spots on this trip.

We went to Southport, Maine, and found Dogfish Head Road.

dogfish-head-road

The founder of Dogfish Head used to come to this area for vacation with his family, and named the brewery after this road. Notice Clark is wearing his Dogfish Head hat.

Next stop was Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg, to try to find some waves for Clark. Well, that was a bust! It was dead calm there. But the beach was pretty, so we did some exploring.

state-beach

Looking out to sea from the beach.

state-beach-from-rock

Looking back toward the beach from that large rock formation on the right in the picture above this one.

clark-walking-on-rock

If you look closely, you can see Clark walking across the rock.

drowning-victim-marker

I was surprised to find this marker on top of the rock.

teepee

Random driftwood teepee.

Since Clark wasn’t surfing, I didn’t feel like making him wait around while I ran. I was starving anyway. So we went to Topsham for lunch at Sea Dog Brewing. It’s located in an old mill on the Androscoggin River.

sea-dog-brewing

sea-dog-waterfall

I had a lobster roll there that was incredible.

Our next stop was Littleton, N.H., which is near the state’s western edge, close to Vermont. The rest of our afternoon and evening was spent driving there.

A storm moved in while we were driving through New Hampshire. First it was just rain. Then the GPS led us through White Mountain National Forest, and things got pretty hairy.

As we drove up the mountain, the rain turned to a frozen mix and then to straight up snow. We just kept going higher. Soon the snow had already accumulated enough you couldn’t even see the lines on the road.

Maybe this wouldn’t have been so bad, but I was driving a Focus ST with freaking summer tires. This car was not made for snow!

Oh, and we had zero cell service up there, so if something happened, we were screwed.

We finally reached the highest point of the highway. Then we started going down — at a 9 percent grade! This side of the highway also had a hairpin curve with a 20 mph speed limit in good conditions. Not to mention all the “moose crossing” signs.

I had a death grip on the steering wheel as we crept down that damn mountain. I was having flashbacks to the time I tried to drive home from South Carolina in a bad blizzard and drove right off the side of 95 because of the whiteout. But in that case, I just wound up on the grassy median, I called the local police and a tow truck had me on my way again in 10 minutes. If I went off the side of the road here, we’d be hurtling down the side of a mountain, and we’d have no way to contact anyone when we landed!

Finally, the snow lightened up and then turned back to rain, and we were through it. In more than 20 miles through that national forest, I think we saw four other cars. Thanks for the stellar directions, GPS!

It was a short drive up another highway to Littleton, and we got checked into our hotel. Then we went to Schilling Brewing for dinner, including another delightful charcuterie board. Seriously, if you like cured meats and fresh cheeses, New England is your spot.

schilling-brewing-charcuteri

Friday morning, I ran five miles — on the hotel’s treadmill. It was rainy and gross outside, and the hotel was near a highway, not the best place to run anyway. The treadmill sucked as bad as I remembered, but it was better than nothing.

We left Littleton and crossed into Vermont. Our next stop was probably the main point of the whole trip.

Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro has been named the best craft brewery in the world the last three years running, but the beer is very hard to get a hold of! We saw a couple on tap several places in Vermont, but other than that, you pretty much have to go straight to the source if you want it.

The source, however, is on a farm located on a dirt road up the side of a mountain in a very rural area not far from the Canadian border, and it’s only open to the public five hours a day, Wednesday through Saturday.

After our harrowing drive through the woods the night before, the drive to Hill Farmstead in the daylight really wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. It was still raining, but at least it wasn’t snowing, and I could see the road.

We also saw this place on the way there, and thought it’d be a great name for my Uncle John’s barn, which is full of everything he’s ever owned because he never gets rid of anything:

museum-of-everyday-life

We got to the brewery about a half hour before it opened, and we weren’t even the first ones there. We parked next to a car from Quebec.

hill-farmstead-sign

hill-farmstead-brewery

The owner still lives in his family’s farmhouse on the left. The brewery is on the right.

hill-farmstead-across-street

Across the road.

More people started arriving, so the owner came out and said he’d go ahead and open a little early. And we were THERE. We made it!

clark-at-hill-farmstead

me-at-hill-farmstead

I don’t know what to tell you. It is VERY good beer. It’s extremely well-balanced, with complex flavors, and it just goes down so smooth.

It’s a two-beer limit there, which makes sense. There’s absolutely nothing nearby, so they know your drunk ass would be driving, not stumbling to a hotel room.

We bought a bunch of bottles and then got six growlers filled. I thought we’d look weird, walking in with our arms full of growlers like that, but everyone else was doing the same thing. It gets so busy in there as people get multiple growlers filled, they use the take-a-number system, like at a deli, to keep it in order.

While we were getting our growlers filled, the bartender let us order another drink, so we split a bottle.

hill-farmstead-bottle

Once the growlers were filled, we loaded them back into the Focus.

focus-full-of-growlers

Headed for Delaware!

And that was Hill Farmstead Brewery. Definitely worth the drive!

We left Greensboro and headed south toward Montpelier, where we were staying that night. On the way, we stopped at Alchemist, another brewery, in Stowe. We just had a few samples there. On the wall was the best argument for farmers I’ve seen yet:

no-farms-no-beer

We drove right by the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, so we stopped in there for some ice cream. We also had lunch at the Blackback Pub nearby.

We got to Montpelier, checked into our room in a cute little inn in a house, took a nap and then went to the Three Penny Tavern for dinner, another craft beer place, and proud of it:

no-anheuser-busch

After we left there, we found the state house, which was supposed to be lit up, but I guess it’d gotten late, because all the lights were off. Fun fact: Montpelier is the least-populated state capital in the U.S. It’s a very small town.

Saturday morning, the inn served a very nice continental breakfast. I was going to go for a short run before we left, but it was absolutely pouring and barely above freezing. I hadn’t brought proper running clothes for those conditions, so I skipped it.

We started driving south. It rained pretty much all the way through Vermont. When we got into Massachusetts, it finally started to let up. By the time we stopped for lunch in Connecticut, the skies were clear and it almost 60 degrees outside.

After lunch at Smash Burger, we drove to the next place I really wanted to see on our trip — Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

We got there about an hour and a half before it closed. Turned out the Saturday before Halloween was a very popular day to visit that cemetery. There was a festival being held on the grounds of the adjacent Old Dutch Church, the site where, according to “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the headless horseman began his ride every night.

old-dutch-church

The Old Dutch Church.

old dutch church sign.JPG

Historical marker outside the church.

old-dutch-burying-ground

Cemetery behind the church.

washington-irving-gravesite

Gravesite of Washington Irving, who wrote “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” in 1820.

Also in the graveyard that day was the headless horseman himself, and his very patient horse, who didn’t mind the never ending stream of people taking their picture with him, myself included.

me-and-the-headless-horseman

Then we walked over to the bridge on the other side of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the goal if the headless horseman is chasing you, because this is where he disappears.

sleepy-hollow-bridge

Anyway, it’s a huge cemetery, and very pretty.

sleepy-hollow-cemetery

carnegie-marker

Andrew Carnegie’s gravestone.

We happened to be trying to leave Sleepy Hollow and nearby Tarrytown as they were getting ready to start a Halloween parade. It took forever.

Next stop was Brooklyn, where we were spending our final night of our road trip. After we got checked in, Clark wanted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

manhattan-bridge-from-brooklyn-bridge

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge.

We took an Uber back to a different part of Brooklyn. First we had a couple of beers at a place called Torst, which is the Danish word for “thirst,” and then we had dinner at 21 Greenpoint, a little restaurant run by Homer Murray, one of Bill Murray’s kids. Apparently sometimes Bill will show up to guest bartend, but the night we were there was not one of those nights.

No matter though. The food there is excellent. For me, the highlight was the steak tartare. I love raw steak! We also had fried trout and salmon pastrami, and warm brie for dessert. (I ate a TON of cheese on this trip!)

We stopped at Torst again for another beer, got another Uber and called it a night.

Sunday morning, I guess I could’ve run through Brooklyn, but I didn’t feel like dealing with all those… people. I went to the hotel’s fitness room and ran three boring miles on a treadmill.

The drive home was fine. When we unloaded the car, we found there’d been one casualty — one of the growlers had exploded, emptying half a gallon of beer into the floor mat! We thought it’d smelled faintly of beer in the car when we got back in it Sunday morning. That’s why! Other than that though, everything made it home in one piece.

We took my car to Clark’s parents’ house to pick up Pepper, who seemed just as excited to see us as we were to see him.

It felt so good to be home!

pepper-and-nascar

Even if Jimmie stupid Johnson had to go and win the race, guaranteeing his spot in the championship round in Miami.

Dave came over last night and helped us put quite a dent on the growlers that had made it home in one piece. Out of the six we got filled, there was the one that exploded, and Clark took another one to one of his coworkers today, so that left four for us. All that’s left is part of the fourth haha. But we still have plenty of bottles, which don’t have to be drank quickly like the growlers.

And that was our trip! It was a lot of fun. I drank a ton of good beer, I ate a lot of good food and I saw six new states: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. I’ve now been to 31 states total.

Today is the last day of October, which means it’s time to sum up the month, but I don’t feel like doing that right now. I haven’t run yet today, so the total’s not set in stone yet anyway. Maybe I’ll post again later, or just wait until tomorrow.

October 22, 2016

Monster Mash Half Marathon recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:49 am

It’s a bonus Saturday post! Turns out we are, in fact, leaving tomorrow for a weeklong road trip through New England, so I’d rather get this race report up now, before I take a week off from posting.

Yesterday, Pepper and I drove up to Dover to pick up my race packet at the track, which took three seconds. One of the volunteers asked if Pepper was going to run with me. I was pretty surprised to hear dogs were even allowed. I briefly thought about bringing him back for the race, but decided it probably wasn’t smart to make him run that far after his little episode earlier this week. Maybe next year though!

Here’s all my stuff:

swag

Short-sleeved race shirt, bib, Halloween candy, magnet, bracelet and PEZ dispenser, which was a first for me.

I was a little torn on what to lay out to wear in the race. Yesterday was warm enough to wear shorts and flip-flops to packet pick-up, but a front was supposed to come through overnight with rain, wind and much cooler temps. I laid out shorts and a long-sleeved T-shirt, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure.

I had a big plate of spaghetti for dinner and tried to go to bed at 10:30, since I’d set an alarm for 4:30 a.m. (Ugh!) Of course, since I knew I had to be up so early, it was impossible to fall asleep. I hate that.

I woke up a few minutes before the alarm went off, and immediately went to the back door to step outside and check the weather. WTF! It was so cold and windy!

Change of plans! I swapped the shorts for capri-length tights and the light long-sleeved shirt for a heavier one.

I was out the door a little after 5. During the hour drive to Dover, I ate a plain bagel and drank water. As soon as I had the car parked at 6, an hour before race time, I took two Imodium.

I really had to pee, so I set out for the bathrooms under the grandstands. It felt a lot colder in Dover than it had at home, and it was raining on top of it.

When I got back to my car, already cold, wet and miserable, I seriously thought about how bad could it be if I just drove outta here, went back home and crawled back into bed with Clark and Pepper.

But, I paid for this. A lot, because I’d waited so late to register. The tightwad won out over the lazy ass. So I stayed.

At 6:30, they called everyone to the Miles the Monster monument for pre-race instructions. I could hear the loudspeaker just fine in my car, where it was warm and dry, so I stayed there until they wrapped up the instructions and told everyone to head to the start line on the track.

After one more pee on the way in, I made it to the start line, on pit road, about five minutes before the gun. I lined up with the 1:50 half/3:40 full pacers (same pace, different distances.) I was surprised how close to the front we were. I could’ve easily spit on the guys in singlets and split shorts about to go out and reel off 6:00 miles.

It was still about 20 minutes before sunrise at this point, so obviously pretty dark. Still, it was really cool just to be on the track! Things were looking up already.

We got the countdown and the command to go, and we were off!

I’d brought a heat sheet I’d saved from another race to use as a throwaway layer. I wore it like a cape the entire first mile around the track haha. Lots of other runners also had old heat sheets or garbage bags.

That first mile around the track was really cool. We stayed on the paved apron, since the concrete racing surface is so steeply banked.

I finished the first mile in 8:16, a bit faster than I’d intended, but how can you not put on just a little speed when you’re running around a NASCAR track?

We ran out of the track where we’d come in, passed the Miles the Monster monument and headed toward Dover.

The next few miles of the course were pretty cool, as we ran through downtown, definitely the nicest part of Dover. We passed Silver Lake, Wesley College (where I took some classes while on active duty) and the state government area, which has a lot of history, not surprising since it’s the capital of the first state.

The 1:50 half pacer had moved ahead, but I was hanging with the 3:40 full pace group. Miles 2, 3 and 4 were 8:10, 8:20 and 8:19.

At mile 4.3, we passed an aid station handing out Hammer Gels, so I took one. About a half-mile later, we crossed back over Route 13 and headed out of Dover, into the rural area that made up the rest of the course.

Mile 5 clocked in at 8:26, and mile 6 was 8:22.

At mile 6.3ish, the half and full courses split. Every single runner I’d been following turned right to continue on the full course. I went straight and suddenly found myself very, very lonely.

But not to worry! Soon I had a familiar friend to keep me company — my rumbling guts. Awesome. I’d been expecting it. I hadn’t been able to get out anything other than a lot of pee before the race started.

Unfortunately, every single corn field we were running past had been cut down already. Things weren’t at emergency levels yet, but I knew it was only a matter of time.

It dawned on me I hadn’t seen a single port-o-potty on the race course yet, and we were already halfway through it.

Anyway, I kept running. The wind was at our backs here, so I took advantage of it and ran an 8:07 seventh mile.

In the next mile, we passed an unharvested corn field, so I took advantage of that. I felt a little bad when I came busting back out of it like some kind of scarecrow come to life and startled the hell out another runner who just happened to be passing at that moment haha.

I felt much better though! I guess the bathroom stop took about two minutes, because mile 8 was 10:20, but the next two miles sped back up to 8:07 and 8:11.

Then we turned onto another road, and the wind was in our faces. My pace slowed a bit to an 8:25 11th mile.

But then we only had a couple miles to go! Halfway through the next mile, we made another turn and got out of the head-on wind. That felt amazing.

Mile 12 was 8:21. I could see the race track looming ahead. The end was near!

Before we got to the track, there was a very short out-and-back down a side street with a U-turn, which sucked, and then we had to run up an overpass with less than a half-mile to go. That sucked too.

Of course, the other side of the overpass was a sweet downhill. I ran 8:07 in the 13th mile and sprinted in the final 10th of a mile at a 6:23/mile pace to the finish line, finishing in 1:50:26, an 8:24/mile overall average.

2016-monster-mash-half-finish

Coming to the finish line.

I was pretty happy with my run! It was definitely faster than I should’ve done a long run, but I didn’t feel like I’d raced it.

I got my giant dinner plate-sized medal and then went to the massage tent. Usually, a free post-race massage lasts about two or three minutes, but those people were going to town on us! I asked my masseuse to only concentrate on my legs, and she prodded them for a solid 10 minutes. It felt amazing!

I went to my car and changed out of my cold wet clothes. I got back to the finish line just in time to see the marathon winner come through in 2:42.

Then I took some pictures.

The finish line in front of the monument:

finish

monster-wide

Miles the Monster.

I don’t know when they put that fence around the plaques on the base. I found the plaque from my first NASCAR race ever:

ricky-rudd

Ricky Rudd beat Bill Elliott that day. I was so disappointed!

Finally, here’s me with Miles:

me-with-the-monster

And a closer shot of the medal. It’s the size of my face!

me-with-monster-closer

I checked my results on some computers set up under a tent. I was the 22nd woman to finish (of 226), but 11th in my age group (of 60). F 30-39 showed up today! I was also 50th overall of 345 total finishers.

Bottom line, I really enjoyed this race! It’s small but well-run. Obviously my favorite part was the first mile on the race track, but the rest of the course was nice too, if you like running past fields with no spectators, like I do. I’m not sure I’d want to run another 13.1 miles through those fields though. Pretty sure I’ll stick to the half distance for this race.

See ya a week from Monday!

October 21, 2016

Training for 10/21/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:06 pm

Today, I took Pepper out for a short easy run around the 4.5-mile loop. He did a lot better than when we ran that same loop three days ago. He only needed one poop stop near the beginning, and it was very productive. So that was good news!

The rest of the run was nothing notable. It’s not quite as hot here as it was earlier this week, but it’s still pretty warm in the middle of the afternoon. We took our time.

I didn’t mind lollygagging along because I’ve got the Monster Mash Half Marathon in Dover tomorrow morning. Not that I’m trying to do anything more than get in another good long run (with a mile on the track!) but it’s always good to start a half marathon not feeling lead-legged.

Supposedly a front is coming through just in time for this thing. Tomorrow is going to be quite a bit chillier. Unfortunately, it’s also going to be windy. Oh well, wind happens.

Anyway, packet pick-up at the track just opened two minutes ago, so Pepper and I are headed up there soon.

Tomorrow afternoon, I’m going to a 30th birthday party at Suicide for my cousin Becky. Sunday, I want to get in another 6.5 miles in the morning, and then there’s a good chance we’re leaving to take the Focus on a road trip through New England. It’s 3 p.m. Friday and Clark has yet to tell me if we are for sure going so I can put in the time off request for next Monday through Friday. Just in case we are, I worked my ass off the last few days to get done everything that absolutely needed to be done for the next two papers, so either way, I’m going to have a pretty lax week next week.

October 20, 2016

Training for 10/20/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 9:36 am

Today was the first one all week I didn’t have something to cover for work first thing in the morning, so I went out and got my run done early for once.

It was a good 20 degrees cooler at 7:15 a.m. than it had been in the middle of the afternoon yesterday, but it was still in the upper 60s and extremely humid, almost 100 percent.

It was an OK run. I didn’t have to use the bathroom in the woods, or wait for Pepper to sort himself out (he seems to be feeling better now, by the way), but I just felt slow and clunky.

I dragged myself around the 6.5-mile loop. Half a mile from home, a Prius slowed to a stop when it got to me. The driver was the mom of a girl I went to high school with. When we had our high school reunion a couple months ago, somehow it came up that her mom lived right around the corner from me now, but this was the first time I’d actually seen her.

Anyway, she stopped to say hi and to tell me her boyfriend worries about me out running by myself all the time, so if I’m ever near their house and I feel like someone is following me, I should feel free to run up to their house like I own the place. OK, thanks!

That’s two days in a row someone has stopped me while I was running to comment on the apparently astronomically high risk of getting abducted I’m facing every time I leave my house. Step away from the Investigation Discovery channel every now and then, people!

October 19, 2016

Training for 10/19/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 1:46 pm

Late yesterday afternoon, I got home from work, immediately changed into running clothes, put Pepper in his harness and hit the road for a short easy run.

We only did the 4.5-mile loop, but it took us an hour, because Pepper was apparently not feeling very well. He kept stopping to poop, but nothing was coming out. It was a lot of straining and frustrated groaning noises on his part, while I just stood there and waited.

We finally got home. Clark got there two minutes later. Pepper had to go back out, where he continued hobbling around the yard in a half-squat, straining and groaning.

Not wanting to leave Pepper home alone like that, we decided to skip dinner at the Brick Hotel. I think staying home was smart anyway. Clark and I were apparently pretty tired, because we were both out cold before the end of Jeopardy. (That sentence makes us sound like we’re about 80 years old haha.)

This morning, I had yet another early morning assignment, which meant I couldn’t run before work. Normally that would not be an issue this time of year, but for some unknown reason, it’s back to hitting the mid to upper 80s in the afternoon here.

It was close to 90 when I went out to run today, around 12:30 p.m. Clark had come home for his lunch break to hang out with Pepper, so I didn’t have to take him with me or feel guilty about leaving him home alone again after he’d already spent the morning alone.

The whole run was kind of a mess. First, it was hot. Second, I had to use the bathroom in the woods a little more than two miles in. The unseasonably warm weather, combined with the standing water from all the rain the first two weeks of the month, has led to a mosquito explosion I don’t usually have to deal with anymore this far into fall. Seriously, it was like a carpet of mosquitos in those woods today.

About another mile down the road, a woman driving an SUV stopped to tell me I’d scared her father-in-law almost to death recently. I thought she was going to say he’d come up on me after driving around a blind curve in the road or something. That wasn’t it at all. She said he’d come up on me on one of those roads, and there was a car behind me, driving very slowly. Now that’s not weird — usually when two cars meet at the same point where I’m running on the edge of the road, one will slow down and wait for the other one to pass me first. But I guess this guy thought the other car looked “creepy” and he thought it was following me.

He was so worried about it, he turned around and came back to make sure it had passed me. However, I was nowhere to be found!

I’m 100 percent sure I was just in the woods, using the bathroom yet again, but of course he didn’t know that. He was so convinced the driver of that car had abducted me, he caught up with it, wrote down its plate number and called the state police, so they’d know where to start if someone reported a missing woman from this area!

Talk about a bad time to need a bathroom break! I told the woman to tell her father-in-law I was totally fine, no one has ever tried to abduct me, I had probably run into the woods that day and to thank him for watching out for me.

Another mile after that encounter, I came up on a roads crew installing new culverts under the road, which was completely dug up. Going back and running home a different way would’ve added at least another 1.5 miles, so I kinda picked my way across a stream on the opposite side of where they working and snuck through the work site.

I finally made it home. Another 5.5 miles in the books.

October 18, 2016

Training for 10/18/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:05 pm

Nothing to report today. Instead of running yesterday, I skipped it and went to Dogfish Head with Clark after he got home from work. I had another early assignment for work this morning, so I haven’t run yet today either.

This is about the most exciting thing that’s happened today:

img_5552

I’d like to get at least 200,000 miles out of this car before I replace it, probably with another Civic coupe, if they ever release the manual transmission for the new turbo engine.

Anyway, I’m heading home from my office here pretty soon, and I’m going to try to get Pepper to run the 5.5-mile loop with me.

Today is the eighth anniversary of the day Clark and I got engaged. Since we weren’t here on our wedding anniversary last month to go back to the Brick Hotel for dinner, we’re going there tonight.

October 17, 2016

Baltimore Marathon recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:47 am

I finally had a good long run in this training cycle! Saturday morning, I ran the Baltimore Marathon in 3:54:34, and I feel like I can take a good chunk off of that in my goal marathon in Philly next month.

I drove up to Baltimore on Friday afternoon to pick up my stuff at the expo, held this year in the convention center. I got my very nice Under Armour race shirt (with thumbholes!), my race bib and a smaller bib that said “FULL” that I definitely pinned to the back of my shirt during the race this year.

The only thing I wanted to buy at the expo was a pair of those ugly $2 throwaway gloves, because it was supposed to be chilly at the race start the next morning, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. I couldn’t believe it. There’s usually piles of those things at expos, especially bigger ones like Baltimore’s. The cheapest gloves I could find were $12, too much for something I would probably toss on the side of the road by mile 3. I decided I’d just risk slightly cold fingers.

Next stop was Meredith’s house, where I was spending the night. We had chicken tenderloins, spinach and sweet potato fries for dinner, and I had a couple beers with her. Last year, I held off on the beer the night before the marathon and had bad digestive problems during the race anyway. Apparently the beer hadn’t been the problem, so why not?

I was in bed by 11 p.m., alarm set for 6 a.m., planning to be parked in Baltimore around 7. I didn’t know anyone else running the marathon this year, so I had no reason to get to the race site more than an hour ahead of the 8 a.m. start time.

Saturday morning, my pre-race plan was going off without a hitch — up at 6, out Meredith’s door at 6:30, eating a plain bagel and a banana and taking two Imodium on the drive into the city, in Baltimore and flying past the parking scammers on my way to the free parking lots near the football stadium before 7.

Until, that is, I got to the lots and found they were full, and the volunteers there had no idea where to tell us to go instead. Even if I’d wanted to give up and give the parking scammers $10, I couldn’t, because I had zero cash on me.

I took off in search of parking. Traffic was backed up everywhere because of all the roads closed for the races. I had no idea where to go and I couldn’t get there anyway. The minutes were ticking by. I was starting to feel a little panicky.

I felt a little better when I spotted this idiot, who’d somehow run an Audi up on an embankment.

audi-wrecked

I might have been getting desperate for parking, but I wasn’t that desperate yet!

Just past the Audi was a turn for more lots on the opposite side of the football stadium from the ones I’ve usually used. I took a chance and found those lots were also open, for free, and there was still plenty of space. I parked my car not a moment too soon!

I took off running. I don’t normally warm up for a marathon, but I didn’t have a choice this time.

I dropped off my bag at gear check, found a mostly empty bank of port-o-potties to empty my bladder, crossed the road where 5K runners were coming to their finish line and made it to the marathon start line with minutes to spare before the gun. They sang the national anthem, counted us down, fired a confetti cannon and bam! The Baltimore Marathon was under way.

marathon-start

I was happy to get going. The weather was absolutely perfect — no breeze, humidity didn’t feel bad, cool but not cold temps. I didn’t even need throwaway gloves!

The first three miles of the course are a long, low-grade uphill. I settled into the crowd and didn’t push the pace. I ran them in 8:46, 8:53 and 8:57.

Then the course turns into and runs through Druid Hill Park and the Maryland Zoo. The zoo handlers had a penguin out welcoming us into the zoo. So cute!

This part of the course is mostly flat or downhill. The next three miles sped up to 8:37, 8:29 and 8:27, in spite of a slight course adjustment due to construction that added two sharp uphills at the end of mile 6.

We passed the first relay exchange point just before the mile 6 marker. At the water stop past the mile marker, I ate the only GU I brought with me and took a salt cap.

The second relay leg is the best part of the course. It’s mostly downhill as we run toward the Inner Harbor. Miles 7, 8 and 9 were 8:52 (I slowed to eat my GU), 8:28 and 8:16, my fastest of the day.

2016-baltimore-marathon-first-half

Somewhere in the first half.

The Inner Harbor was nuts, as usual. The half marathon is about to start at the marathon’s halfway point, so those runners are watching us come through before their race starts. There’s also a ton of spectators. It’s very high energy.

After the course runs through the Inner Harbor area the first time, there’s a two-mile out-and-back. It’s not very scenic, as it’s mostly an industrial area, but the spectators are out in force.

The turnaround, just before mile 11, is at Under Armour’s headquarters, and they have a big aid station with a ton of GU. I took two, one of which I ate there, along with another salt cap. I held on to the second one to eat at mile 16.

Miles 10, 11 and 12 were 8:39, 8:39 and 8:27. We passed the second relay exchange point.

Past the relay exchange, we ran back through the Inner Harbor. I had to use the bathroom, and found a bank of port-o-potties near the half marathon start that were mostly empty at that point, as the half marathon was starting. I was in there a couple of minutes. I didn’t pause my Garmin, but when I uploaded the race info, it doesn’t show the stop.

So when I passed the mile 13 marker during the race, the Garmin said it’d taken me 10:26 to finish that mile with the bathroom stop, but the race data says mile 13 was 8:27. Anyway.

2016-baltimore-marathon-halfway

I think this a little past the halfway point.

I passed the mile 13.1 point – halfway! – just under 1:56. I kinda knew I’d blown my chance at negative splitting and getting those free New Balances from Strava. I’d bought a couple minutes by stopping to use the bathroom before the end of the first half, but the real hills were coming up.

Plus, as I kept reminding myself, this was a training run. I’m not going to have time to recover from this race before training for the goal race continues. Be smart!

I really like the next three miles of the course. The half marathon is still separate from the full marathon, we’re spread out enough no one has to weave through other runners and there’s enough spectators to keep the runners pumped up. Miles 14 and 15 were 8:40 and 8:27.

Mile 16, I’m not sure what happened. I had taken two more Imodium at a water stop in mile 14. I’ve done that before, but this time, I’d brought soft gels instead of caplets, which are bigger and easier to find in a pocket while trying to run. I don’t know if the soft gels weren’t settling well while I was still running or what, but my stomach was starting to feel like it might revolt. I took a couple short walk breaks as we started hitting the first hills.

At the end of that mile, the marathon joined the half marathon for the final 10 miles of both races. I passed the mile 16 marker in 8:56, ate the GU I’d been carrying and took my last salt cap. (I meant to take another one before the end of the race, but I accidentally dropped it on the ground here. Oh well.)

My stomach was starting to settle, but it still felt a little iffy. The course had gotten a lot more crowded all of a sudden, right as we were getting into the biggest uphills. I didn’t feel like weaving any more than I had to, so my pace slowed. Miles 17, 18 and 19 were 9:29, 9:11 and 9:06.

At mile 19, we passed the final relay exchange point. Now we were in the homestretch! The next mile went uphill some more, then ran down to Lake Montebello. I ran mile 20 in 9:13, and passed 20 miles in 2:58. I couldn’t help but think if I’d just stayed home and run a 20-miler, I’d be done now!

But I didn’t, so I still had a 10K to run. I thought back to this race last year – this was exactly where my digestive system had gone into a meltdown and I’d had to stop to use the bathroom twice in the final few miles. This year, however, the Imodium had stopped torturing my stomach and I felt pretty good!

Halfway around the lake, at mile 20.5, was the final aid station with GU. I took a vanilla bean and slowed to eat it. Mile 21 came up before we finished the lake loop. I ran that one in 9:12.

2016-baltimore-marathon-mile-21

Near the end of the lake loop.

2016-baltimore-marathon-mile-21-2

Ten steps later.

The next mile still had some significant uphill running. There were also some spectators handing out Natty Boh. When in Baltimore, drink like Baltimorons. That cheap beer actually tasted pretty damn good at the moment. I finished mile 22 in 9:34.

The 23rd mile was one of my favorites. The spectators are among the best on the whole course. Right near the mile marker are a couple of guys who always dress up in tiger costumes and stand in the bed of a pickup parked on the side of the street, blasting “Eye of the Tiger” on repeat for hours while all the runners go by.

eye-of-the-tiger-guys

Before we got to them, I saw a woman dancing around in a hot dog costume, holding a sign that said YOU’RE A WEINER, which I found absolutely hilarious. I ran that mile in 9:08.

Just a 5K to go! I checked the elapsed time on my watch. I could definitely coast my way to a sub-4 finish.

There was quite a bit of downhill in mile 24. I used that to my advantage and ran that mile in 8:55.

In the 25th mile, we hit one last uphill, as we had to cross a bridge. That mile slowed a hair to 9:05.

Final mile! Baltimore has one of my favorite finishes — down Eutaw Street, between the warehouse and the stadium in Camden Yards, and then out to the parking lot between the ballpark and football stadium. The crowds got thicker and louder as we neared the ballpark. I high-fived every little kid who had a hand out and rode the spectators’ energy to an 8:27 26th mile.

And there was the finish line arch! I crossed the line in 3:54:34 — 10 seconds faster than I ran Shamrock in March. (My Garmin helpfully pointed out if I hadn’t had to stop to use the bathroom, I’d have finished a couple minutes faster, as my moving time was 3:52:22.)

I’d just run a sub-4 marathon on a challenging course to cap off a 61-mile training week. I was pretty happy with it!

My time placed me 21st of 157 in the F 30-34 age group, 130th of 981 women and 527th of 2,353 total finishers.

And then I got my medal. I love this stupid medal so much.

medal-closed

medal-open

I made my way to the runner reunion area, to briefly meet up with one of my Runner’s World friends, Ken, who had run the half in 1:36.

2016-baltimore-marathon-post-race-with-ken

I got my gear check bag, changed into dry clothes and hit the road, stopping at Qdoba on the way to scarf down some tacos.

Anyway, I really love this marathon. Between the hills and the merge with the half marathon at mile 16, I’m not sure I’d ever run it as a goal race, but Baltimore puts on an extremely well-run and highly supported event. Pretty sure I’ll be back in 2017. I’ll just have to either get there earlier or remember where the alternate free parking is.

Saturday evening, I went to my sister’s house for my youngest nephew’s 13th birthday party. I can’t believe he’s a teenager! I picked up Pepper from Clark’s parents’ house on the way home, and then went straight to bed.

Other than going over to Clark’s parents’ house again the next afternoon to take Snoopy for a walk while they were gone for the day, I did not move from the couch at all Sunday. The day-after long run hunger hit and I spent the day trying to fill the void while watching football and NASCAR.

Clark finally got home from Ohio late Sunday, hopefully for good this time.

This morning, I had an early assignment for work, so I didn’t do a short easy run yet. It’s another gorgeous day here, and they finished up the work on that road that was closed for repairs last week, so later this afternoon I will take Pepper out for a lap around the 4.5-mile loop. My legs were a little sore yesterday morning, but I feel back to normal today, so training continues as scheduled.

October 14, 2016

Training for 10/14/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:41 am

This morning, Pepper and I went out for one more short, easy run before the marathon tomorrow. I was going to do the 4.5-mile loop, but then I remembered one road near the end of it is closed for repairs, so we just turned around at the 1.5-mile mark and did a 3-miler. Pepper was obviously totally fine with running shorter than originally intended.

In a couple of hours, I’m heading up to Baltimore to pick up my race packet at the expo. The weather looks absolutely perfect for the race — 51 degrees, sunny and basically no breeze at all at the 8 a.m. race start; 60 degrees and a 5 mph wind at noon, when hopefully I’ll be finishing. Really doesn’t get much better than that.

As far as a time goal goes, I don’t have one. I’m planning to really take it easy the first half so I can run the second half faster, because I’d love to get a free pair of New Balances from Strava out of this deal by negative splitting. Of course, if that doesn’t happen, I’ll have another shot in Philly next month. Other than that, I’m just looking to get a decent long run under my belt before Philly.

Anyway, other than the race tomorrow, the only other thing I’ve got going is my nephew’s birthday party tomorrow evening. Sunday will be a day off from running. And Clark will finally be home sometime this weekend!

October 13, 2016

Training for 10/13/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:10 am

Late yesterday afternoon, I put on some running clothes, put Pepper in his harness and went out intending to run the 5.5-mile loop. Pepper had other ideas though. He wasn’t just pokey; he was pretty much refusing to move. We made it about to the last neighbor’s house when he just stopped in the road and looked at me like, “This is not happening today. Give it up.”

Since he’d run so far the day before and then had such a rough night, I gave in. We went back to the house, and I went upstairs and did strength training while he lounged on the floor.

This morning, I tried running with him again. It went much better. We breezed right through the 8.3-mile loop.

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