A Simple Running Log

March 19, 2018

Whale Challenge recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:22 am

Well, the Shamrock Marathon did not go as I’d hoped — my finish time of 3:48:54 was several minutes off what I was aiming for after I fell apart in the second half — but I finished the Whale Challenge, Clark pulled off the Dolphin Challenge and we had a pretty good time doing it, so I’m still counting this weekend as a win.

We left home Friday afternoon. First stop was Dogfish Head in Rehoboth. For whatever reason, they gave free green Dogfish Head T-shirts to Mug Club members for St. Patrick’s Day, so we stopped by there to pick up ours. Of course we had to have a beer before we hit the road again.

We got to the convention center in Virginia Beach around 7:30 p.m., picked up our packets and checked in to our hotel, a Sheraton on 35th Street. I had paid for a cheaper room with a city view, but they put us in an oceanfront room, which was great. Overall, I loved the hotel — it was conveniently located between the start lines and near the finish line for both races, we got free breakfast in the on-site restaurant included in our room fee, they put out bananas and granola bars in the lobby for us before both races, parking in a covered garage was free and we got a late checkout so I could shower after the race Sunday. It was also way cheaper than any other hotel in the area when I booked it in December. Highly recommend it!

Anyway, after we got our stuff in our room, we went to Home Republic Brewing for a quick dinner and a couple more beers.

Saturday morning, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise.

saturday sunrise

It was pretty chilly Saturday morning, in the 30s, but there was hardly even a breeze, so it wasn’t bad at all.

We left the hotel with just enough time to walk the five blocks to the 8K start line. I was really glad my predicted finish time had landed me in the first corral — less time to wait around and get cold. At 7:30, we were off.

The 8K was the same as always — two miles south, get on the boardwalk, run almost two miles back north, run up Atlantic Avenue, get back on the boardwalk and run south to the finish line on 31st Street.

My splits were pretty consistent and I finished 4.97 miles in 38:49, a 7:49/mile average.

Photos were not free this year, unlike the last two years at Shamrock, so all I have from this year’s race are teeny screenshots of proofs.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 9.50.40 AM

I think this was in the first mile.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 9.50.24 AM

Coming to the finish line.

I picked up my first medal of the weekend, along with the can koozie they always give to 8K finishers, and headed straight back to the hotel. I watched runners streaming by below our balcony on their way to the finish line.

saturday finish line

Clark arrived not long after, having finished the race in 44:01.

We got cleaned up, then took advantage of the free breakfast offer in the hotel’s restaurant, from which we could watch more runners finishing the race.

Then we hit the beer tent for our first four Yuenglings of the weekend. The past couple of years, since they upped the free post-8K beers to four, I’ve been pretty responsible and only had one or two, since I still had a marathon to run the next morning. This year however, no beer was left behind.

Honestly, I think this decision — and all the beer and wine I drank the rest of the day after it — was the root of the stomach problems I had all day Sunday, and I’m kicking myself. I should know better by now!

Anyway… that afternoon, we got lunch at this place called Taste Unlimited. I only had water there at least.

Later, we drove down to Green Flash Brewing Co.’s new Virginia Beach brewery and tasting room (it’s primarily located in San Diego.) I had a few there. Then we went to Smartmouth Brewing Co., where I had one more. And finally, we got dinner at Mannino’s, an Italian restaurant, where we split a bottle of wine.

I mean, I was drinking them slowly, and I was drinking water in between, but still. That’s too much booze the day before a freaking goal marathon I’ve been training for all winter. Dumbass.

We were in bed by 10 p.m. A few hours later, I woke up for the first time with an upset stomach. Just about every hour through the rest of the night, I had to run to the bathroom to poop. I was pretty mad at myself. I knew there was no way I was going to get through the marathon without problems, and it was all my fault.

All the poop trouble was making me way more anxious about the race, which was probably only adding to the poop trouble. A vicious cycle!

My alarm went off at 6:15. My stomach still felt gross — I had to go to the bathroom twice more before we left — and I really didn’t want to eat anything, but I forced down a bowl of cereal. I also took two Imodium and put two more in a pocket for halfway through the race.

We left the hotel around 7:15 and joined the stream of runners heading north to the start line on 42nd Street. It had rained overnight and was still overcast and a little breezy, but it was overall another nice day for a run.

The marathon was a lot different this year. In the past, it started 90 minutes after the half, at 8:30, and in a different spot. The half’s start line was the full’s halfway point.

This year, the half and full started together, an hour before the marathon used to start. We ran what used to be the second half first, with the half marathoners, then ran what used to be the first half.

It had its pros and cons. First, I loved starting an hour earlier; 8:30 a.m. always felt so late, especially for a marathon. I also liked getting Fort Story out of the way first, when there were more people around. When it had been miles 20 to 23, it felt endless.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 9.49.54 AM

Running past the lighthouse in Fort Story.

There were two big cons though. The whole way back toward the boardwalk, which was mile 10 through 12.7 for the half, the spectators were yelling “You’re almost there! Just a couple more miles to go!” Which was true for the majority of the runners, but not for a lot of us!

Then there was the split at mile 12.7. Oh my god. Pretty much every single runner near me turned left to go to the finish line, while I had to stay right toward the halfway mark. I felt like the last runner in the marathon! It went from throngs of spectators cheering on tons of runners to three spectators quietly clapping for me as I trotted by.

And I had my own troubles on top of that. The first half had gone well — I averaged an 8:18/mile pace and crossed halfway in 1:48:35, on track for a 3:37 finish. But I could feel the wheels already starting to come off as I passed the halfway mark, and I knew it was going to get ugly.

There was a water stop just past halfway. I took a cup of water and slowed to a walk to dig out the other two Imodium from my pocket. That took forever — they’re so tiny! Then I started running again. The course took us out to the boardwalk.

Running down the boardwalk, I felt my guts start rumbling. Just before mile 14, there was a port-o-potty off the boardwalk, down on the beach, probably put there by the city for public use. I ran down and used it. Guess what — no toilet paper! I had to make do with the cardboard roll, which was better than nothing.

I rejoined the race. I did feel a lot better after using the bathroom. Mile 14 was 10:47 with the bathroom break, but mile 15 sped back up to 8:17.

A little past 15, we left the boardwalk and headed toward the bridge over the Rudee Inlet. I saw the marathon leader on his way back around mile 15.5.

After that one last decent mile, I started slowing. I honestly never walked, other than while drinking water from the aid stations, but some of my later mile times look like I might as well have been walking!

First, my feet hurt like hell. I was wearing my 90th pair of Zantes, which I keep buying because my feet have always gotten along with them, but for whatever reason that was not the case in this race. My feet wanted OUT. Sorry, we’ve got 10 more miles to run!

But the main issue was my upper body. I never had to use the bathroom again, but I started getting horrible side stitches and stomach cramps, like I was dehydrated from drinking too much alcohol the day before or something. Go figure!

Miles 16 to 23 were still well under 9:00 each (except 22, when I walked to down my fourth and final GU of the race), but those last three — hoo boy.

Somewhere in the 24th mile, we got back on the boardwalk, rerunning the roughly two-mile stretch we’d run in the 8K (and had run the other direction right after halfway.) The wind had picked up enough to be a pain in the ass, and it was right in my face.

I was “running,” but it was a shuffle against the wind — mile 24 was 9:24 and mile 25 was 9:38! I swear I ran both of those. I was dying!

I took some water and Gatorade from the last aid station before mile 25, then started shuffling forward again toward the finish.

As I made the turn onto the boardwalk for the final stretch, I looked up at the Sheraton and saw Clark on our balcony, waving at me. I waved back and he started making a motion telling me to hurry up for the finish line haha.

I picked it up as best as I could. Mile 26 was 9:25, but that last .2 (which was .36 by my Garmin) was run at an 8:04/mile pace at least.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 9.49.39 AM

Running for the finish.

I crossed the line in 3:48:54 — a two-hour second half, 12 minutes slower than the first! Talk about positive splitting.

I’m not going to lie and say I’m not disappointed with my time. But it’s still another marathon finish — No. 18 to be exact — and not one of my worst, despite feeling like absolute shit the entire second half.

I collected my marathon finisher medal, this year’s finisher’s hat and beach towel, some food, water and Gatorade and finally my Whale Challenge medal. Then I booked it for the hotel — we had a noon checkout and it was already 11:24 a.m. since I’d taken my sweet time running the second half.

Clark had done well in the half, finishing in 2:06.

The hot shower felt great, other than the chafing from my sports bra band near the bottom of my sternum. I have no idea why that’s become a problem all of a sudden recently, but I even Body Glided that spot and it STILL chafed.

We were only a few minutes late checking out. We loaded up the car, then went to Pocahontas Pancake House for food. I was kinda hungry but my stomach still felt weird and nothing sounded appealing. I managed to get down about half of one of their absolutely amazing Belgian waffles though.

Then we went to the beer tent for the rest of our free Yuenglings. We each had four beer tickets on our bibs. By the time we got there, people had been leaving behind their unused tickets on tables for whoever wanted them. Then the volunteers stopped even collecting tickets — the more beer that got drank, the less they had to drag back through the sand.

sand sculpture

This year’s sand sculpture.

We didn’t stay quite until they started kicking people out, but it was close. I got some iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts and we hit the road, driving out of town on the same road that had been miles 1 through about 5.5 of the races that morning.

When we got to Clark’s parents’ house to pick up Pepper, we wound up ordering pizza with them for dinner and staying until almost 11 p.m.

That was our weekend! Today is obviously a rest day. My legs aren’t that sore, but my upper body feels like I did a million crunches yesterday from all the cramping. I have an appointment later today to donate blood for the first time this year.

And now, the swag:

medals and bibs

Finisher’s medals and bibs. My marathon and 8K medals each have the “legacy runner” pins they gave for the first time this year to runners who’ve done at least five consecutive years at Shamrock.

shirts hats and koozies

Race shirts (Clark’s half marathon shirt is short-sleeved; the marathon shirt is long-sleeved), finisher’s hats and 8K finisher’s koozies.

2018 finishers towel

One of two finisher’s towels we brought home.

Finally, the stats:


TowneBank 8K

  • 38:49
  • 13th/586 F 30-34
  • 102nd/4462 female
  • 476th/7347 overall

Yuengling Shamrock Marathon

  • 3:48:54
  • 21st/89 F 30-34
  • 105th/592 female
  • 403rd/1473 overall

Whale Challenge

  • 4:27:43
  • 1st/21 F 30-34
  • 6th/103 female
  • 29th/226 overall


TowneBank 8K

  • 44:01
  • 79th/329 M 35-39
  • 773rd/2884 male
  • 1117th/7347 overall

Anthem Shamrock Half Marathon

  • 2:06:30
  • 182nd/295 M 35-39
  • 1162nd/2158 male
  • 1984th/5156 overall

Dolphin Challenge

  • 2:50:31
  • 27th/60  M 35-39
  • 210th/505  male
  • 341st/1302  overall

These were my last two races in the 30-34 age group!


  1. Holy shits, girl!! That really sucks that you didn’t get the time that you wanted, but at least you’re able to admit that is was self-inflicted! You still ran faster than my PR, even with a poop break, if that helps any!
    Those new medals are awesome and I love the legacy pin! They’ve changed so much since I stopped running it, even giving out those sweet towels.
    Have you ever tried eating ginger for your stomach? Do you have a Trader Joe’s close by? They have bags of uncrystallized ginger that is amazing and I’ve found that it helps with my stomach. They are the only store I’ve ever seen carry the uncrystallized kind. If you don’t have a TJ’s, I’ll send you some! I realize you could order it but it’s more fun to just sent it to you 🙂 And maybe add in some extra things!
    Congrats on toughing it out and still getting an awesome finish time! Will you get an award for the 1st in 30-34 for the whale challenge?? Congrats on that too!

    Comment by Chris Bouldin — March 19, 2018 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

    • I’ve heard ginger is great for upset stomachs but I’ve never tried it. I also don’t have a TJ’s anywhere close to me so I’d love if you wanted to send me a care package!
      I could just NOT drink so much beer the day before next time though… damn St. Patrick’s Day haha.
      Nah, I don’t think they do any extra awards for the challenges. Just bragging rights there 🙂

      Comment by aschmid3 — March 19, 2018 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

      • Text me your address!! Also, I meant to add before – kudos on using a freakin toilet paper role as TP! LOL

        Comment by Chris Bouldin — March 19, 2018 @ 9:44 pm

      • Haha thanks — I don’t know what I would’ve done if the cardboard tube hadn’t still been there! I’ll text you my address 🙂

        Comment by aschmid3 — March 20, 2018 @ 6:58 am

  2. Somehow, “hoo boy” says it all. 🙂

    Comment by runeatralph — March 20, 2018 @ 11:55 am | Reply

    • Ha! Pretty much!

      Comment by aschmid3 — March 20, 2018 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

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