A Simple Running Log

May 8, 2017

Training for 5/8/17

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:26 am

Today is Bobby Labonte’s 53rd birthday — happy birthday, Bobby!

Around here, we had another full weekend of putting in miles and drinking beer.

Friday after I got home from work, I went upstairs and did some strength training, and then I went outside and ran an easy 3-miler. It was windy, warm and extremely humid in the wake of the strong storms that had passed through in the morning. The wind, unfortunately, was going to stay with us for the entire weekend.

When Clark got home from work, we went to Great Marsh Park in Cambridge to pick up our packets for the Six Pillars ride the next morning. Bart met us there, and he and Clark went for a short training swim in the Choptank, which was pretty choppy because of the wind.

Clark and I went to RAR Brewing for a couple of beers and the High Spot for dinner, and got home at a reasonable time, since we had to get up early the next morning for the ride.

Six Pillars is a non-competitive 37-, 56- or 100-mile ride through the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge area south of Cambridge, and so has an informal “show and go” start between 7 and 9 a.m., but we wanted to get started as soon as possible.

We got up at 5, loaded up the truck, picked up Clark’s dad and his bike around 6 (and dropped off Pepper to hang out with Clark’s mom), and were in Cambridge and parked near the start by 6:45.

There were already tons of cyclists going by as we started unloading. With the wind already blowing and forecasted to only get stronger throughout the day, plus a threat of rain in the afternoon, I think most people had the same idea we did.

It was chilly Saturday morning, even without the wind. Total opposite weather of the weekend before, when I thought I was going to melt trying to finish that half marathon on the boardwalk in Ocean City.

Bart met us there at the truck. He, Clark and I just took off from there. Clark’s dad still had to go to the park to get his bib.

And I was off, to ride the 56-mile course I’ll be racing as part of a relay team for the Eagleman half Ironman in about a month.

Bart and Clark, on their triathlon bikes, quickly sped away from me. I saw a couple other riders on triathlon or road bikes, probably out riding the Eagleman course for training like we were doing, but the majority of the riders were on older road bikes, hybrids and even tandems and recumbents. It was a very chill atmosphere.

I knew the wind was going to be a pain in the ass, but it really killed me the first 14-mile chunk before the first rest stop. It seemed like it was always either right in my face, or coming from the side and trying to knock me off my bike. Having just gotten up the nerve to use my aero bars on a much calmer day a week earlier, I was too scared to let go of the handlebars with the bike being buffeted around like that. It took me about an hour to get to the first aid station in Church Creek.

I really had to pee when I got there. I had to wait a few minutes for a port-o-potty to open, but I didn’t mind the extended break from pedaling into that wind, especially knowing I had another 42 miles of it to go.

I saw Clark’s dad as I was coming back out from the port-o-potty and said hi. Then I hit the food table.

I was pretty happy to see the aid stations in this bike ride were much like those in a trail ultra. Real food, and lots of it! I just took a granola bar at the first one, drank some Gatorade and got back on the bike.

We left Church Creek and headed toward Blackwater. I finally got up the nerve to use the aero bars in the wind, and felt a lot more comfortable. Every now and then a gust would come along and push me around, but for the most part, I was cruising.

Around mile 20, I saw ahead a large group of cyclists just standing around. I didn’t think there was another aid station for another 10 miles, so I was getting confused. When I caught up with them though, I found they weren’t hanging out at an aid station – they were helping a rider who’d had an accident and was lying on his back in the road. I heard a woman asking him if his neck or head hurt, and then I could hear sirens coming from behind. Clark’s dad later said when he rode by not far behind me, the guy in the road was starting to sit up, so I think he was OK.

Just past that, we made a left onto Smithville Road, a long, winding stretch through the refuge. There was enough tree coverage in a lot of places on both sides of the road to block the wind, the scenery was beautiful and I was in a good rhythm. I was feeling pretty good!

six pillars blackwater refuge

Stolen from someone else who did the ride and stopped to take a picture of part of the scenery in Blackwater.

I came up to the second rest stop at mile 30. I scarfed down an entire bag of Welsh’s fruit snacks and part of a banana, and grabbed an Oatmeal Creme Pie for later.

I left the aid station with a large group of other riders. Now, I knew they could be 100-milers, but I also knew the 56-mile course was marked with pink arrows, while the 100-mile course was marked with blue, so when they all went right, I followed them, because there was a pink arrow on the road pointing that way.

Well, guess what. It was the wrong way. Surprise! I was supposed to have turned left, while the 100-milers turned right to do an out-and-back. I didn’t realize my mistake until I came up on the Hoopers Island bridge, which I didn’t remember seeing on the course map. When I stopped at a mini aid station there before the bridge, the guy there showed me my mistake. I turned around and went back, but my little detour added another 9 miles to my day. Great!

When I rode back by the second aid station, I looked at the course markings on the road – that was definitely a very PINK arrow pointing right. What the hell!

Anyhow. Nothing I could do about that now. At least the wind was pushing me at this point.

Around mile 38 (mile 47 for me), as I was coming up on what I thought was the next right turn, I saw riders coming back from the other direction. Not wanting to make yet another wrong turn, I stopped there to check the map in my pocket (yes, I had a freaking course map with me and still managed to go off-course.) Turns out they had been the ones to go the wrong way that time. Phew.

I still had another eight or nine miles to the next aid station, so I ate the Oatmeal Creme Pie in my pocket, and texted Clark to let him know I’d ridden a few extra miles.

The next stretch was along a rather rough road. Biking is low-impact compared to running, except on your crotch. Holy crap was I tired of that bike seat by the time I made it to the next aid station! All the fancy padded shorts and Body Glide in the world can’t change the fact you’re basically perched on a post that jams you right in the bits every time you hit a bump in the road. Seriously, I don’t know how guys put up with it.

The final aid station was just before mile 47 (56 for me – I should’ve been done at that point.) I ate some Fig Newtons and hopped back on the bike.

The final stretch went back over much of what we’d ridden on the way to the first aid station, just with help from the wind this time. Before I knew it, I was cruising down the final stretch back to the park. I caught a glimpse of Clark just before I got to the park – he’d finished so long ago, he’d had time to change his clothes, run three miles and nearly walk back to the truck before I finished the bike ride haha.

I rode through the finish arch to complete 65 miles. It was about 11:15 when I was done, so it’d taken me 4:15 to ride that.

So, had I stayed on course, I’d have probably finished the 56-mile ride between 3:40 and 3:45, about where I expected to be. I’d like to shave off 20 minutes or so from that time in the actual race in a month.

I’m really glad I did that ride. I’m positive I can ride the distance, I know I can handle the wind if it’s like that again (which it most likely will be) and now I know where NOT to turn haha.

There was a picnic in the park at the finish. I got a cheeseburger, some three-bean salad and a slice of banana walnut bread.

I got back on my bike to ride back to the truck. As I was leaving the park, I saw Clark walking in. Then his dad just happened to ride by too, on his way to the finish – he’d made the same wrong turn I did, only he went all the way to the 100-milers’ turnaround, which tacked on yet another three miles!

Clark and his dad got lunch too, we reloaded the truck and then we headed home.

bikes in truck

The only picture I took all day — the bikes loaded back up and ready to go home.

It started to rain just as we were leaving. Perfect timing.

That afternoon, Clark and I took Pepper to 3rd Wave for a few beers. Then we stopped at Evo so Clark could pick up his race packet for his sprint tri the next morning, and finally we went to Hopper’s for dinner, since Pepper is allowed indoors there.

For whatever reason, the sprint tri didn’t start until after 10 a.m., so I had time Sunday morning to get in a run before we had to be on the road.

I went out a little after 6:30 for a lap around the 5.5-mile loop. I really didn’t feel that bad! I guess the leg muscles used for biking are different from the ones used to run. It turned out to be a good run, other than the bathroom break at mile 3.5.

Isn’t that funny? I pedaled a bike hard for more than four hours Saturday, stopping every hour or so to eat sugary junk food, and I never heard a peep from my digestive system. I run for a half hour Sunday, on an empty stomach, and boom. Into the woods I go.

Clark had his truck loaded up when I got back. We left around 8. The trip to Cedar Hill Marina in Bivalve took about an hour, and we were parked with plenty of time for Clark to get all his stuff set up in the transition area.

The wind, which had been a light breeze when I’d gone for my run, had really picked up again by the time we got there. The swim was in the Nanticoke River, which had white caps. The swim was still on though.

I can’t tell you how glad I was to not be in a wetsuit getting ready to swim in that nonsense! The people doing the tri had to swim a half-mile, which sounded like more than enough to me, but then there were also people doing a 2- or 3-mile swim, separate from the tri.

The distance swimmers went out first. A lot of them weren’t even in a wetsuit. The water is still pretty chilly. They must be part polar bear or something.

All the guys doing the tri went out next, and then finally all the women doing the tri.

Pepper and I stood near the swim exit and watched for Clark. He came by, and then Pepper and I ran to the bike out so we could see him leave for the 15-mile ride.

He had a bit of a struggle in the transition area with a long-sleeved shirt he wanted to put on over his trisuit for the ride, but he finally got it on and got going.

Then the leaders started coming back on the bike. There were some pretty serious triathletes at this little sprint tri in the middle of nowhere – the overall winner just turned pro last week!

When Clark came back on the bike, it looked like he’d passed quite a few people who’d beaten him out of the water. He later said no one passed him on the bike.

I was going to stand there and watch him leave for the 3-mile run, but then Pepper started to get into his poop squat, so I had to run him into the woods to take care of that instead. I’ll just say he clearly ate something he shouldn’t have the day before haha.

Pepper and I found a spot near the final turn of the run course and waited for Clark to come back, which he did pretty quickly, in spite of his own bathroom break on the course.

pepper watching

Pepper watching for Clark.

pepper looking at me

And then giving me a “WTF??” look every time I clapped for a passing runner who wasn’t Clark haha.

clark finishing run

Clark blowing by a competitor on the way to the finish line.

Before the race, he’d said he wanted to finish under two hours, and he did – 1:39:55. He seemed happy with everything but the swim. It was really choppy out there.

After Clark got all his stuff out of transition and back in the truck, and changed back into dry clothes, we went back to the post-race party. They had free 3rd Wave beer and food for everyone, spectators included. It would have been a really nice day to hang out in the park by the marina and help drain the kegs if it hadn’t been for the ridiculous wind blowing straight off the water. We just had a couple beers and cheeseburgers, and then we hit the road.

nanticoke river

The river was a lot choppier than it looks in this picture.

When we got home, I wanted to watch the Talladega race, but apparently I was exhausted, because I woke up a few hours later, right after the end of the second stage.

It was time to get ready to go to last call at Dogfish Head’s original brewpub. We showered and drove to Rehoboth.

The place was already packed when we got there, around 7 p.m. I put our name in for a table – a one hour, 15 minute wait at that point – but then we got lucky and found ourselves right behind a couple at the bar when they got up from their seats to leave, so we took those and settled in.

clark and me at last call

Obligatory grainy selfie at the bar.

It just got more and more packed in there over the next couple of hours. The bartenders were running around like crazy trying to get everyone’s beers. I just nursed a few beers myself, because, No. 1, I had to drive home, and No. 2, I really didn’t want to have to fight my way through that crowd to use the bathroom.

Around 9:30, Sam and Mariah, the owners, came downstairs and said a few words, and then one of the bartenders rang the bell behind the bar for the final time.

last cheers at dfh

Sam, on a stage on the far right, making his final remarks in the original brewpub.

Right after that, the kitchen started sending out pans of free food, of whatever was still back there. I saw bacon, calamari, bunches of grapes they put on the cheese boards, giant brownies (I took one of those) and mushroom pizza go by. There weren’t many takers on the bin of leftover lemons though haha.

Around 11, Clark and I closed out the tab and left. I guess that building will stay there through the summer, as a tasting room and growler-filling station, but the restaurant will move over into the new building next door next week. Eventually, they’ll knock down the original building, probably after the tourist season dies down in the fall.

We got home around midnight and went straight to bed. And that was our weekend.

Today, I don’t think I’ll be doing that long run. I’m just going to call that one scrapped and get back into the training plan, which calls today for a short easy run and strength training.


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