A Simple Running Log

May 1, 2017

Island to Island Half Marathon recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:05 am

I ran an absolutely horrible race Saturday at the Island to Island Half Marathon — not only did I run my slowest half ever, I did it when I was supposed to be leading the 1:55 pace group!

After the race, I found out only two of the 10 pace group leaders managed to finish on time. One rolled her ankle really badly during the race and had to drop, but the rest of us just flat out got our asses kicked by the heat and humidity.

The pace group organizer emailed us all and told us not to worry about it, and we’re all invited back to pace again next year. Hopefully in better running weather!

Anyway, I’ll go back to the beginning. To make it to the shuttle bus to the start, Clark and I had to get up at 3:45 a.m. Saturday. Naturally, since I knew I had to get up really early, I had a tough time getting to sleep at a reasonable hour. I barely slept at all Friday night. I hate that.

Clark, Pepper and I were on our way by 4:20. Clark’s mom had offered to watch Pepper while we were running, so we met her about halfway between the beach house and the inlet to drop him off. That took two seconds, and we were in the inlet parking lot with plenty of time to catch the 5:45 shuttle bus.

It was already really warm at that early hour, before the sun had even started to rise, warm enough I didn’t need a sweatshirt or anything over my short-sleeved pace team T-shirt. All of the bus windows were completely fogged over thanks to the 100 percent humidity too. Great.

I knew the weather was going to suck, but I really thought I’d be able to hang on to an 8:46/mile pace without too much trouble. I just ran a 1:44 half marathon three weeks earlier, and I ran both halves of Shamrock in 1:53, so why should a single 1:55 half marathon be too much to ask? Ha!

The bus dropped us off in the state park parking lot on Assateague Island about an hour before the race started. I immediately got in line for a port-o-potty. I only had to pee though, which was just another thing I was pretty sure I was going to have to deal with at some point in the race. I took two Imodium before the race, but I didn’t have high hopes they would actually do anything.

The last three years I’ve paced this race, I’ve been in a sweatshirt and sweatpants, huddling in the tent to keep warm before the start, and then running a couple warm-up miles to get my blood moving. I’ve always started the race with arm warmers, and twice finished still wearing them. None of that was necessary this year.

I found the rest of the pace team, and we took a group photo:

2017 oc half pace group leaders

We’re smiling because we have no idea what’s coming!

Then everyone gathered in the starting corral, someone sang the national anthem and we were off.

The first mile was OK. It was crowded, and we ran up the Verrazano Bridge, the only “hill” of the entire course, so I ran it a little slower than goal pace, 8:55, but I knew I’d make that up.

We came down off the bridge and hit the first water stop, where I paused for a second to drink a cup of water.

Back on land, the course followed the road back to Ocean City. It was lined by trees on both sides, which blocked the breeze completely. Normally, that would be a good thing, but it was so warm and humid, the breeze in the first mile had been the only thing that had helped. Now it was just stifling. I could feel my shirt was already soaked through, since the sweat had nowhere to go in that damp air.

Still, mile 2 sped up to 8:32, which made up the lost seconds from the first mile.

Miles 3 and 4 were 8:45 and 8:36. I was not even a third of the way through, and that pace was feeling really hard. What the hell?

I stopped for more water at the next water stop around mile 4.5, then finished mile 5 in 8:48. The course left the main road to do a loop through a development. I finished mile 6 in 8:50, but as I came up on the water stop there at the mile marker, I knew I was toast.

First off, I had to poop. Of course. I had to wait a minute for one of two port-o-potties there to open, so I used that time to transfer my race bib from my shirt to my shorts, and I took off the shirt. For a moment, I felt brand new after I took off that shirt. It was like removing a wet plastic bag.

I finally got in a port-o-potty, but I found the runners who’d used it before me weren’t able to get the single-ply toilet paper to come off the roll in complete sheets – it was sticking to itself and just coming off the roll in ribbons. It was pretty frustrating!

When I was done in there, I walked back to the water stop and left the 1:55 pace sign there. I kept the shirt though, which I balled up and used as a sweat rag the rest of the way. And then I took off again.

Thanks to all that, mile 7 was 12:22. We left the development and got back on the road toward Ocean City. I ran mile 8 in 8:58, the last mile that would be anywhere close to my “easy-peasy” goal pace.

I think I started taking walk breaks in the next mile. I just could not breathe, which really makes it tough to run.

There was another water stop right before the end of that mile. Normally I avoid Gatorade in races, because it’s so sugary it just causes me more digestive problems, but I needed something more than water that day. I took two cups of water – one to drink and one to pour over my head – and one of Gatorade. Mile 9 was 9:38.

The next mile ran down a road parallel to Route 50. I needed a couple more walk breaks. Mile 10 was 9:40.

Just after mile 10, a photographer was documenting the carnage:

2017 oc half mile 10

Not so smiley now!

We ran up on the next water stop. More Gatorade and water. More walking. I took off run-shuffling again. The course joined Route 50, and we crossed the drawbridge to Ocean City. Mile 11 was somewhere on the bridge. I finished it in 10:07.

Once off the bridge, we turned right toward the inlet, ran to the boardwalk and then turned left to do an out-and-back before we’d return to the finish line.

There were a ton of spectators right there near the end of the boardwalk. I really wanted to walk but there were too many people watching haha. As we ran out away from the finish line, the crowds thinned out, and I got back to my walk breaks.

2017 oc half mile 12

A rare running moment on the boardwalk around mile 12.

Mile 12 was 10:03. I made the U-turn to head back to the inlet, and that stupid finish line.

I had no idea where Clark was. I didn’t know if he’d passed me while I was in that port-o-potty at mile 6, so I’d looked for him on the other side of the out-and-back as I was running toward the U-turn. I didn’t see him, so I kept looking for him behind me as I ran toward the finish.

I still didn’t see him, but I did see Diane, the 2:10 pacer, not far behind me. She’s also the pace team organizer. She yelled at me, “Hey, how’s it going?” and I yelled back, “Not great!” She yelled not to worry about it.

I dragged myself to the inlet. Mile 13 was 9:58. I ran another 0.3 miles, by my Garmin, in 2:33 to finish in 2:05:50, a 9:28/mile average.

2017 oc half finish


Holy. Shit. I was so relieved to be done. Then I was mad at myself for finishing 10 minutes off my goal time. Some pacer!

Eventually it dawned on me that I’d just ran my slowest half marathon ever by more than eight minutes, not counting the times I led the 2:30 and 3:00 pace groups in that same race. Woof.

I got my finisher’s medal, but I didn’t even want to wear it. I downed a ton of Gatorade and water, found a picnic table to sit down and waited for Clark to find me.

I took off my shoes and socks, but other than that, I just sat there, feeling dazed. I couldn’t believe how awful that run had turned out to be. I’ve been running races like that for eight years now, and I keep finding new lows haha.

Soon, I saw Clark emerge from the finish line area. He’d had a crappy run too – he finished in 2:20:47. He didn’t look too worried about it though.

I was really glad I’d brought a complete change of clothes. Once I was in dry clothing, I felt a lot better.

Each runner got a ticket for a free beer, but by the time Clark and I got around to getting ours, the only thing left was Bud Light or Michelob Ultra. Oh well.

We took our beers out to the beach and sat down to drink them. My friend Melissa just happened to be walking by. She stopped to commiserate about the awful race. Last year, she ran this race in 1:39 and won her age group. This year, she won her age group again — but she ran a 1:52.

Later, I found out that even though I’d finished in 2:05, I was still 14th of 114 in my age group. In fact, had I managed to hold on to my goal pace and finish in 1:55, I’d have been second! Normally, that wouldn’t be anywhere close to a second-place time in a race that large. It looked like just about everyone had a bad run in that July-like weather. That made me feel a little better.

The final stats:


  • 2:05:50
  • 14th/114 F 30-34
  • 100th/767 women
  • 262nd/1,226 overall


  • 2:20:47
  • 56th/90 M 30-34
  • 255th/459 men
  • 494th/1,226 overall

2017 oc half bibs and medals

Clark and I skipped the free pizza at the post-race party and went to the Satellite Cafe for breakfast instead. I had a big plate of banana-stuffed French toast, sausage and a huge latte. I felt a lot better after that too.

We went to Fenwick and got Pepper, but we couldn’t hang around long. We still had quite a bit to do Saturday.

We went home and showered, and then Clark and I went to Martinak State Park in Denton, where Mike and his girlfriend were holding a 13th birthday party for his girlfriend’s daughter. We hung out there for a while, drove back home to feed Pepper, then had to leave him again to go to Cambridge, to go out with Bart and Marybeth to celebrate Bart’s birthday.

We had a couple beers and some appetizers at Jimmie and Sook’s, then had dinner at Portside. Before Clark and I went home, we made plans with Bart to meet him again the next morning for some Eagleman training. It was about 11 p.m when Clark and I finally got home and went to bed. Long day!

Sunday morning, Clark and I were getting our stuff together to head back to Cambridge, when Bart texted first that he didn’t feel like swimming, just biking, and then that he didn’t feel like biking either haha. So Clark and I did a long training ride around home instead.

It’d been three weeks since I’d last ridden my bike. Three weeks! The last time I rode it, we did just under 19 miles, and I felt like crap when I was done.

Yesterday, however, was completely different. First of all, I finally got up the nerve to use the aero bars — before, it’d always felt too unstable to me to let go of the handlebars and rest my arms on the aero bars.

But it’s so much more comfortable that way, since you’re supporting your upper body on your elbows, instead of holding it up with your hands, and it’s definitely easier to pedal harder in that position too.

For the first time since I got that bike, I felt really good on it, and the long stretches between stops for water were fun, not draining. It really felt like a breakthrough.

We wound up riding just under 30 miles, and, unlike last time, I felt like I could’ve kept going. Which is a good thing, since I’m signed up to ride it 56 miles this coming Saturday for the Six Pillars ride, and again in a month for the Eagleman relay.

Speaking of the relay, my brother texted and said he’d run 8.2 miles that morning and felt really great. I don’t think it was as hot Sunday morning as it’d been Saturday, but it was close, so that’s encouraging that he felt so good running in that weather.

Dave is running outside, I’m actually riding my bike and Kara is swimming as she always has, so I think we’re going to be OK in this relay!

About an hour after we got back from our ride, I went out to run an easy 3-miler, mostly just to try out the new 1400s I got Friday. It was hot and sunny, and my legs still felt a little jelly-like from the ride, but the shoes felt as good as all the 1400s I’ve had before.

Sunday afternoon, we went to one of Clark’s coworker’s house in Seaford. He just got a new grill, with a smoker, and smoked some pork shoulder and chicken. It was amazing! We wound up staying there until almost midnight.

Today, it’s back to work. I have an easy 3-miler and strength training on the schedule.

Yesterday was the last day of April, which means it’s time for a monthly summary.


  • Week 1 (April 1): 7.3 miles
  • Week 2 (April 2-8): 33.2
  • Week 3 (April 9-15): 29.3
  • Week 4 (April 16-22): 32
  • Week 5 (April 23-30): 46

Total: 147.8 miles

I’m happy with that mileage total. I’m especially happy I actually ran all the long runs on my training schedule this month, for once!

Racing was a mixed bag. I did the King Crab Challenge in Cambridge on April 8, where I ran a half marathon in 1:44:24, immediately followed by a 5K in 26:09, which I was pleased with. But the only other race I did was the half marathon this past weekend, which was supposed to be an “easy” pacing gig, but turned out to be my worst half ever.

As far as biking goes, I only rode it 60.6 miles, but nearly half of those miles were in one ride yesterday that went really well, so I think I’m finally making progress there.

In May, I’ve got two races planned, the St. Michaels Half Marathon on May 20, and the Masser 5-Miler to kick off the summer series on Memorial Day weekend. I would say it’s hard to believe summer is almost here, but after the weather this weekend, it feels like it already is.

I’ve also got the Six Pillars ride coming up this Saturday, which covers the same 56-mile course used in the Eagleman relay, and I hope to get in a lot more miles on the bike this month.



  1. Man, the weather was brutal. I’m a little surprised that they didn’t move you guys back a spot in terms of your pacing group, which is something that I’ve seen at other races.

    Good job with holding on best you can. I hate humidity and absolutely wilt in it.

    Comment by afastpacedlife — May 1, 2017 @ 12:16 pm | Reply

    • I’m not sure moving me back to a slower pace group would’ve helped — I was having a hard time maintaining any consistent running at all haha. Humidity is definitely the worst!

      Comment by aschmid3 — May 2, 2017 @ 8:55 am | Reply

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