A Simple Running Log

December 31, 2018

Training for 12/31/18

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:47 pm

I’ve got one last race report, a December summary and a 2018 summary to get through, so settle in.

Saturday, Clark and I ran the Surfin’ Snowman 5-Miler in Bethany Beach. This was the sixth year for the race, but the first time either of us ran it.

It didn’t start until 4 p.m. I’ve done a couple late afternoon 5Ks, and it’s always a challenge to eat enough throughout the day while avoiding stuff that’s going to cause problems while running. Especially for me.

We left Pepper home. Dogs weren’t allowed on the course — not that he can run that far anymore anyway — and I didn’t want to leave him howling in the car for 45 minutes. Turned out, where we parked, we ran past our car four times during the race, so that was definitely the right decision! Pepper would’ve lost his mind haha.

We got to Bethany about 45 minutes before the start. Packet pick-up was in a hotel on the boardwalk. We got our race bibs and shirts (nice long-sleeved tech shirts, but they were unisex, so I should’ve sized down) and hit the lobby bathrooms.

Then I ran an easy mile to warm up. The weather was perfect, sunny and in the low 50s. There was a substantial breeze, but it wasn’t too bad, even when running into it.

I got back in time for the pre-race instructions and the national anthem. Then we lined up at the start, got the commands and took off!

surfin snowmam start

Runners on the start line near the boardwalk.

The race course was two laps of a 2-mile loop, then another half-mile out-and-back, that veered off to finish on the boardwalk.

In addition to the 5-mile run, there was a 2-mile walk option that just did one lap of the same loop.

Anyway, my goal for the race was 37:30, a 7:30/mile average.

The first mile was pretty crowded as 263 runners tried to sort themselves out. There were another 210 walkers, but from what I saw, they all had the common sense to start behind the runners.

I finished the first mile in 7:29. Typically, my first mile is my fastest. I’ve been running races for years, and should know better, but I still let the adrenaline convince me to go out too fast a lot of the time. I didn’t have a lot of hope that I’d be able to run four more 7:30s if the overly excited first one was that close to goal pace.

Then I decided to stop being so negative only one mile in. Why can’t I maintain that for four more miles? Just freaking try.

So I tried. We finished the first loop of the course and passed the 2-mile marker — 7:32. See? I didn’t fall off too much.

It kinda sucked having to run another lap of the exact same course. I also ran mile 3 in 7:32. Still close to goal pace.

Halfway through the second lap, right before the 3-mile point, I started catching the back of the walker pack. Naturally, they were often walking three- and four-wide, so the other runners and I had to weave through them. Usually that annoys the crap out of me, but this time it was a nice distraction from the fact I’d already seen all this on the first lap.

Then we got to mile 4, and the end of the second lap. 7:34. One more to go — if I speed up a little, I can still make my goal time!

For a third time, we ran the first bit of the same loop, but instead of turning right to continue it, we made a U-turn and ran back the way we came.

I glanced at my watch as I made the U-turn. It was right on 4.5 miles. Half a mile. One more 800-meter interval. It’ll all be over soon.

I watched the runners coming at me for Clark, and met him as we were passing our car. I managed to land a high five.

Then I made the right turn off the road and up a ramp to get to the boardwalk.

I looked ahead, expecting to see a big arch marking the finish line, but I couldn’t see anything. My watch was at 4.85 miles. Where was that thing?

I ran past a spectator who told me I was sixth female. I would later find out she either started counting late or mistook several women for men, because I was actually 10th.

A few seconds later, I realized there was no arch, just a race clock next to the timing mats, and I was almost there.

I sprinted over the line in 37:30 exactly, thanks to a 7:22 final mile. I nailed my goal time and average pace!

Clark wasn’t too far behind me. He finished in 40:58.

I did a little over another mile to cool down. I made it back right as they were starting the awards. I got a medal for finishing second of 27 in the F 30-39 age group. First place beat me by almost 90 seconds, so at least I wasn’t even close haha.

F30-39 winners

Second and third in the F 30-39 age group.

I was also 10th of 123 women, and 50th overall of 263.

There was pumpkin pie and hot chocolate after the race for all the runners, but I ate so much sugar over the previous week, I didn’t even want any.

As soon as I got my award, we headed for the car. The sun had gone down and it was getting cold quick.

We changed into dry clothes and then made a few stops. First one was Dewey Beer Co., for a couple beers and some steamed clams. Then we stopped at Dogfish Head to see what was on tap. Finally, we went to the Pickled Pig for dinner, where I got a roasted vegetable salad. I’m pretty sure that was my first veggie in days!

We got home around 11 p.m. I was expecting a huge mess in the back room, since Pepper had been alone so long. But I was wrong! He hadn’t made a mess at all. What a good boy!

Sunday morning was chillier than the evening before, but there was no breeze. A no-excuse long run day.

I got to use my new water bottle for the first time. I’ve had my first one since 2011, and it was starting to look a little, well, moldy. Also, the new bottle, made by the same company, has a more ergonomic shape, so I don’t have to really grip it at all; it just kinda hangs off my hand. The pouch is also a little bigger. I easily fit two GUs and a ChapStick in it, and could’ve gotten more in there if I needed.

water bottles

New one on the left, old one on the right.

My long run pace is supposed to be around 9:14/mile. I took off a bit faster than that though, running a little under 9:00/miles, and didn’t feel like slowing down. I don’t care how many marathon training cycles I do, 16 miles is a long way to go all by myself on my very familiar back roads, so if I feel good and can get them done a little faster than I should, I’m going to.

It turned out to be a really good long run. I paused to eat a GU at miles 6 and 12, and the last few miles honestly got a little tough to keep running, but the Beacons felt great the whole way through, and — get this! — I didn’t have to stop to poop ONCE.

I finished 16.2 miles in 2:25:19, an 8:58/mile average.

Today, for the last run of the year, I did one more short easy run around the 4.5-mile loop at an 8:43/mile average, right at sunset, in a light rain, appropriately. It seemed like it rained a ton this year.

So, all in all, it was a VERY solid final weekend of running to cap off 2018. So let’s get to reminiscing.

First, my monthly summary.

Mileage:

  • Week 1 (Dec. 1): 6.5 miles
  • Week 2 (Dec. 2-8): 35.5
  • Week 3 (Dec. 9-15): 23.6
  • Week 4 (Dec. 16-22): 44.6
  • Week 5 (Dec. 23-29): 35.1
  • Week 6 (Dec. 30-31): 20.7

Total: 166 miles

Even though I’m always at the same point in Shamrock Marathon training in December, this is the most miles I’ve actually run this month since 2012, when I ran 161. Since then, I’ve been averaging about 125 miles.

So I finally broke my habit of slacking! I did almost all the long runs — 8, 13, 14 and 16 miles — other than that cutback week 10-miler. I also did tempo, interval AND pace runs, all by myself.

I also ran two races in December, the Rehoboth Half Marathon, which wasn’t anything impressive, and that 5-miler this past weekend, in which I pushed myself and nailed my goal time.

It feels nice to feel like I’m going into 2019 full steam ahead, rather than telling myself, “I’ll do better in January.”

And now, to sum up 2018.

Mileage:

  • January: 161.6 miles
  • February: 181
  • March: 127.3
  • April: 151.2
  • May: 100
  • June: 128.6
  • July: 136.8
  • August: 121.3
  • September: 171.1
  • October: 165.4
  • November: 123.7
  • December: 166

Total: 1,734 miles

I did slack on my training in the spring and summer, when it got unbearably hot, but I still managed to put together a consistent year. Not getting injured at all for the fourth year in a row helped.

I also put in about 440 miles on my bike. That was actually a big drop from last year — almost 300 miles — but we didn’t do the Sea Gull Century, or much riding at all after Eagleman, like we did last year.

Some highlights:

January

We started the new year with a “bomb cyclone” that plunged Delaware into some unusually frigid temps, that hung around for days. I don’t think I’d previously run in below-zero wind chills that many days in my entire running career combined. I stuck to my training plan and got through it though, thanks to trail shoes and a balaclava.

after-u-turn

February

It started out poorly. I went to San Diego and, in the space of 24 hours, experienced my first running wipeout near a busy intersection (I still have a scar on my left palm and something lodged in my right knee) and a stomach bug that forced me to skip a very expensive 10K I’d registered for.

But then I ran the second annual Algonquin 50K in Pocomoke City, in place of a 20- and 10-mile weekend in Shamrock training, and was right back on track.

15k-mark-joe-andrews-resized

Mile 9.3. I finished in 6:02.

March

As has been the case since 2010, March was all about SHAMROCK!

I ran the Whale Challenge again, finishing the 8K on Saturday in 38:49, and the marathon on Sunday in 3:48, after I fell apart in the second half, probably because I drank too much booze the day before after the 8K. (It was St. Patrick’s Day!)

screen-shot-2018-03-19-at-9-49-39-am

Near the finish of the marathon.

April

There were so many good races in the area in April, I wound up running one every weekend.

I did the inaugural Big Oyster 4.25-Mile Run on a very cold, blustery day the first weekend.

final-turn

Final turn into the brewery parking lot. I finished in 32:42.

A week later, it was 80 degrees the day of the King Crab Challenge (half marathon immediately followed by a 5K that started two hours later) at the Dorchester YMCA’s Crab Run. I had three minutes between finishing the half in 1:57 and starting the 5K. My legs were trashed and I was unbearably hot. I walked a lot of the 5K, finishing it in 34:08.

2018-crab-run-5k-finish-line

The end of the 5K.

The next weekend was the Coastal Delaware Half Marathon in Rehoboth. I really liked the course, which went through Cape Henlopen State Park and used the trail connecting it to Rehoboth, but it was just an OK run for me.

2018-coastal-delaware-finish

Finishing in 1:53 after making two bathroom stops.

The last weekend in April, I ran another 50K, this time at The North Face Endurance Challenge’s D.C. stop. I got to run the whole thing with my friend Chris, who came out here from Colorado. We both had our issues — she had some runner’s knee pain, and I popped a giant blister on my left pinky toe less than two miles from the finish — but we pulled each other to the finish in 6:58. It was a lot of fun!

chris and i at finish

Celebratory hug right after finishing.

May

In May, I got smacked by a general lack of running motivation. I barely hit the triple digits in mileage, running exactly 100.

I ran the St. Michaels Half Marathon again, on a rainy day.

mile 8

Another race, another two stops to use the bathroom. I finished in 1:51.

And I ran the Masser 5-Miler to kick off my ninth year doing the Seashore Striders’ summer series. Other than the first time I ran this race, in 2010, right after coming back from my worst running injury, this was by far my slowest effort in this race to date. The low mileage and lack of hard efforts in training caught up to me and I struggled to a 39:31 finish, about two minutes slower than my average for that distance. It was bad!

2018 masser 5 miler finish

Finishing just in front of the guy I kept leap-frogging in the second half because we both kept taking WALK BREAKS!

But! I did finally get my bike back out on the road. After only riding it a couple times in March and April, I rode almost 180 miles in May, to again get ready for the bike leg of the Eagleman relay in June.

June

I ran a couple slow summer series 5Ks, in 24:15 and 24:17, but the highlight of June was the Eagleman relay with my siblings. Kara, Dave and I all covered our legs faster than the year before — I shaved five minutes and almost 1 mph average off my bike split — and the Swim Bike Runny Schmidts finished in 5:34.

2018 eagleman halfway

Halfway through the 56-mile bike course, which I rode in 2:53, a 19.6 mph average.

after eagleman 2018

Kara, Clark’s dad, Clark, me and Dave after the race.

July

July was more hot, humid running weather. I did two more summer series 5Ks, improving to the 23-minute range at least, and a 32-mile bike tour with Clark and Dave, who’d just gotten his first tri bike.

On the Fourth of July, I also ran the inaugural Great American Run, opting for The Double — the 4.44-mile race plus the 17.76-mile race. It was a disgustingly hot day to run 22 miles on the trails at Pemberton Park outside Salisbury, but I plodded along until it was done.

2018 great american run post race selfie

Post-race selfie.

August

I started August with the only race I ran all month, the last 5K in the summer series, which also happened to be my fastest of the summer. I finally got my time down to the 22-minute range again.

2018 race for the paws 5k start

On the far right, at the beginning of the Run for the Paws 5K in Dewey Beach.

My age group win in that race also secured my age group win in the entire series.

The non-running highlight of August was checking off Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR track No. 15 of 23 for us.

michigan-group-photo

Julie, Mike, Clark and me after the race.

September

I ran the Bottle & Cork 10-Miler in Dewey Beach for the first time. It was a lovely course but another warm, humid day, and I barely held onto an 8:40/mile pace, finishing in 1:26.

2018 bottle and cork 10 mile 3.1

Around the 5K point.

Two weeks later, I ran the absolute worst 20-mile training run of my life. It took me 3:51 — slower than my previous two marathons — to slog through a 20.5-mile loop through Rehoboth, Lewes and Cape Henlopen State Park. It was honestly one of the worst runs I’ve ever done, period. Not even sure why I’m including it in this list of highlights, but I guess I just want to make sure I remember it. No training run will ever feel that bad in comparison!

The last weekend of September was good though. Saturday, I let Clark sign me up for my first triathlon, the Osprey Sprint Tri in Snow Hill. It was such a teeny field, I wound up third overall female and first in my age group. I HATED the swim, as expected, but the rest of it was fun. I’d like to get more comfortable in the water (just not feeling like I’m on the verge of drowning would be an improvement) and maybe do some more tris. I have all the gear now, so why not?

me after my first tri

With all my hardware after the race.

The next day, I ran the Dogfish Dash. The 8K distance is just a hair short of 5 miles. I ran it two minutes faster than the terrible 5-miler I did in May, so it was nice to feel like I’d redeemed myself at the distance.

2018 dogfish dash 8K coming to the line

On the far right, trying to out sprint the other two to the line. I finished in 37:23.

October

I only ran one race, the Baltimore Marathon, again as a training run for the Richmond Marathon a few weeks later. More digestive issues around miles 10 through 12, but it was otherwise a fun training marathon. I finished in 4:02.

2018 baltimore marathon mile 11.5

Between bathroom stops.

At the end of the month, the L.A. Dodgers made it to the World Series for the second consecutive year, so Clark did as he said he would if they made it back — we went out to L.A. to see Games 3 and 5. Unfortunately, the Boston Red Sox clinched the Series in Game 5, but it was still something cool to see in person.

after game 3 with guy stealing our cups

After Game 3 FINALLY ended. The longest World Series game in history, by time and innings — it took almost 7.5 hours and 18 innings to finally finish, 3-2, the Dodgers’ only win in the Series.

November

I ran the Richmond Marathon, my goal fall marathon for the second year in a row. I didn’t have nearly as strong a race as in 2017, but it was still a very enjoyable one. I finished in 3:51.

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 8.14.28 AM

On the steep downhill to the finish line.

The only other race I ran in November was the Huffin’ for Pumpkin Pie 5K the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which was barely my fastest 5K of the year — I ran 22:52.

December

The last month of 2018 began with, as always, the Rehoboth Half Marathon! I continued my run of mediocre half marathons for the year, finishing in 1:52 after two more bathroom breaks. But the after-party was the same amazing time it always is!

2018 rehoboth half marathon mile 5

Mile 5 ish.

My last race of the year was the Surfin’ Snowman 5-Miler in Bethany Beach, the Saturday before New Year’s. I managed to hold onto my goal pace of 7:30/mile and finished in 37:30 on the dot. It felt as much like a strong start to 2019 as it did a strong finish to 2018.

The other big thing in December was a trip with Clark’s family to New York City the weekend before Christmas to see “Hamilton” on Broadway and stay at the Plaza Hotel.

playbill

And that was my year!

Looking ahead to 2019, I want to:

  • Keep sticking to my training plans — that means doing the long runs and speed workouts as written.
  • PR in the marathon.
  • Ride my bike more. I’m getting a new saddle sometime in the spring that should make it more comfortable.
  • Do another sprint tri or two. Maybe even step up to a 70.3 in the fall. (I’m committed to doing the bike leg for the relay at Eagleman again, even though my brother wants to do the whole thing himself. Kara found a replacement runner for our team.)
  • Consistently strength train again, at least twice a week.
  • STAY HEALTHY AND UNINJURED!

Cheers to 2018!

2018 medals

Clark’s and my medals from the year.

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December 28, 2018

Training for 12/28/18

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:26 pm

Today was gross. It was windy and pouring all day. I waited as long as possible, hoping for a break in the weather, but by 4 p.m., I had to accept it wasn’t getting any better before sunset.

I just had another short easy run on the schedule, so I did a lap of the 4.5-mile loop.

I got completely drenched, but it wasn’t so bad. I wore the Beacons again and, again, ran faster than my recommended easy pace. I finished the run with an 8:25/mile overall average.

This weekend, I’ve got a 5-mile race tomorrow afternoon, in Bethany, which Clark is doing too, and a 16-mile long run Sunday. Other than that, I don’t know what we’re up to.

December 27, 2018

Training for 12/27/18

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:31 pm

I’ve tried out two pairs of my new running shoes on short runs the past couple of days.

Yesterday, I took the Beacons out for their first run. These are a brand new model to me. Honestly, I wish I’d gotten them instead of the last pair of Zantes back in September. They felt THAT good right out of the box. Just the right amount of cushioning, and they are so light. I loved them!

I couldn’t help but run a little faster than I meant to, finishing the 4.5-mile loop in 37:30, an 8:21/mile average. I’m excited to see if they feel that good for 16 miles this coming weekend. I think I might have found my new marathon shoe!

I also wore the Goodr sunglasses I got for Christmas. I was impressed with those too. They really didn’t bounce on my face at all, or slip after I got a little sweaty. The only bummer was they did fog up a bit after I’d been running a while and got warmed up. Still, for $25, it was a pretty solid performance. I see why they’re so popular.

Today, I was supposed to do hill repeats. But Clark had taken the truck to work because the car has a tire that keeps losing air (that probably needs to be replaced) and he didn’t feel like firing up the air compressor to pump it up this morning. And then I didn’t feel like doing that either this afternoon so I could drive it to the Sharptown bridge.

Also, I signed up for that 5-mile race in two days, so that will count as this week’s speed workout anyway.

So I just did another lap around the 4.5-mile loop. All the candy and cookies I’ve been inhaling the last few days caught up to me, and while I didn’t have to stop to use the bathroom before I made it home, I did have to slow it down a few times because I was getting uncomfortable. I ran the loop in 39:28, an 8:46/mile average.

I wore the 1400s, my second pair of that particular version, so I knew what to expect. They felt good too.

December 26, 2018

Training for 12/26/18

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:40 am

And another Christmas is in the books.

Monday, after I baked about nine dozen gingersnaps and hot chocolate cookies (and ate the equivalent of probably another dozen in raw dough and “test” cookies straight out of the oven), I went out for my run.

I wasn’t expecting much, having eaten nothing but sugar and butter all day, but it turned out to be a really good run. I did a lap around the 8.4-mile loop at an 8:41/mile pace.

Just before the end of the fifth mile, I got a strong twinge in my left ankle and had to slow to a walk to work it out. For me, this is always the sign that the shoes I’m wearing are done. Conveniently, Santa was bringing me new ones the very next day, so that worked out.

That evening, Clark’s parents stopped by to get Pepper for the evening, since he wasn’t invited to Dave and Kasey’s house for my family’s Christmas Eve party. Then we went to the party.

Clark was again rocking the turtleneck and blazer. My dad thought Clark was just making fun of him again haha. He was pleasantly surprised to find out Clark was dressed like him in earnest, because he’s in style now.

dad and clark

My dad and Clark showing off their jackets’ elbow patches or lack thereof.

Kaylee opened all her Christmas gifts from our side of the family that night, since Dave and Kasey were going to spend all of Christmas Day with Kasey’s family.

kaylee and gifts

She got quite the haul, just from us!

Clark and I wound up staying there, along with Uncle John and Becky, until Dave had to kick us out so he could get “Santa’s” gifts under the tree and go to bed himself. We stopped by Clark’s parents’ house to get Pepper, and then we went home.

A few hours later, it was Christmas morning.

Clark had bought Pepper a ton of dog treats, and four individually-packaged rawhide chews. We gave Pep a couple of the treats and let him pick out a rawhide to gnaw on.

Well, that little jerk got tired of the first rawhide and started chewing on a second haha. He was about to get started on a third when we caught on to what he was doing and put the other two up out of his reach. We do not need four in-progress rawhides sprinkled around the house.

Then I opened my gifts from Clark. He got me two pairs of the New Balances I asked for, and the third pair — the trail shoes — were from Pepper.

shoe line up

NB Beacons, 1400 v6s and Hierros v3s.

I’m all set for long runs, speed workouts and trails!

He also got me a few more pairs of Balega running socks and a bunch of Ghiradelli and Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

The other big thing I asked for was a butcher block of really nice knives, and a good cutting board.

knives and cutting board

I’m pretty sure these things will slice through bone. They’re so much better than the old dull chopping knives I’ve been using.

Then Clark opened his gifts. I got him a couple surprises, a Carhartt beanie and an L.A. Dodgers ornament.

LA ornament

But his main gift was one he’d picked out, a Lego Technic set that builds a working 1:8 scale Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

lego porsche

We saw one fully built at the Lego store in New York City over the weekend. It’s huge! With 2,700 pieces, this one’s going to take a while to build.

Clark loved it so much, he took it with us to show off to our families. I don’t think I’d done that with a gift since I got my Game Gear when I was 10. It was cute haha.

We went to his parents’ house next. Clark’s mom always makes a brunch on Christmas morning that is one of my favorite meals of the year. This year, we had eggs Benedict (or Hemingway, since I like the ones with smoked salmon instead of Canadian bacon), a strawberry danish, pumpkin bread, spinach or crab quiche, sausage and fresh fruit. It was all delicious, as always!

His parents’ main gift to us all was the trip to NYC, but of course his mom couldn’t resist giving us all a few stocking stuffers.

We each got a pair of Goodr sunglasses. They’ve gotten very popular among runners, because they’re cheap ($25 a pair as compared to $200 or more for a lot of brands), don’t slip or bounce around while running and come in a ton of bright colors with reflective lenses, so they’re very “Instagrammable,” for runners who are into that.

Anyway, I’d never tried a pair, because I’ve tried more expensive running glasses and I’ve never found any that really did stay put on my face. But I’m going to give the Goodrs a shot.

She also gave Pepper a Bissell pet stain remover. He really needed that! Of course, Clark and I are the ones who are going to use it.

clark and pepper

Pepper was finally ready for a nap after brunch.

That evening, we went to my aunt’s house for my family’s Christmas dinner, and then exchanged gifts. My mom got my name in our secret Santa exchange, and gave me some very cozy new pajamas, which I’m wearing right now, and a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.

Right after dinner, Clark was talking to someone and said “JK,” as in “just kidding.” My 15-year-old nephew told him he couldn’t say that because he was too old, and claimed HIS generation came up with those acronyms!

So he learned about AOL Instant Messenger and T9 texting on flip phones, which we were all using when he was BORN in 2003. Kids these days!

Anyway, we were again among the last to leave my aunt’s house. We picked up Pepper from Clark’s parents again, and then came home and crashed. I love Christmas but I am always exhausted at the end of it.

Today, I’ve got a short easy run and strength training on the schedule. I’m going to take the Beacons out for their first few miles!

December 24, 2018

Training for 12/24/18

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:25 am

Merry Christmas Eve!

This weekend was a bit of a whirlwind, but we had an amazing time in New York City with Clark’s family.

Clark borrowed a Ford Expedition from work, so we could all ride up to the city together Saturday morning, except for Chad and Samira, who were driving separately from D.C.

This thing comfortably held six people and all their stuff, but driving it through midtown Manhattan was kind of like trying to maneuver the proverbial bull through a china shop. I made it though!

expedition

We got to the Plaza Hotel around 2 p.m. Clark’s parents had booked two regular rooms, but neither were ready, so they upgraded one of the rooms to a suite, so we could all hang out there while we were waiting on the second room to open up.

It was definitely the nicest hotel room I’m ever going to stay in. We had a corner room on the 15th floor overlooking Fifth Avenue.

IMG_7949.JPG

IMG_7967

The master bath had a chandelier, radiant heat in the floor and the nicest shower I’ve ever used — the handle had a thermometer on it, so you could set it to the exact water temperature you wanted. Turns out I like my showers around 106 degrees.

After we got settled in, Clark and I tried to go to the Lego store, five blocks away. I wanted to get my niece a starter set of Legos for Christmas.

We walked up Fifth Avenue, which was absolutely packed with tourists, looking at all the window displays and Christmas decorations at high-end stores like Tiffany’s and Bergdorf Goodman.

cartier store

The Cartier store with its ribbon and bow and prowling panthers was my favorite.

It turned out the Lego store was right next to Rockefeller Center. The store was so packed, they had a line of people wrapped around the building just waiting to get in.

So we didn’t go in. Instead, I just took a picture of the giant tree, and then we went on our way to find something to eat.

rockefeller tree

We wound up at a bar and grille called Wayfarer. We had dinner reservations before the show in a few hours, so I just got my first acai bowl, a slice of warm banana bread with chocolate chips and a local beer.

acai bowl

Back at the hotel, the second room still wasn’t ready, and Chad and Samira were hung up in bad traffic, and weren’t going to make it in time to go to dinner.

The rest of us got ready in the suite and then headed out for dinner. We stopped at the huge tree in the Plaza’s lobby for pictures first.

group in front of plaza tree

Clark’s Aunt Joanne, Mom-mom, Clark, me, Clark’s dad and mom.

Clark and me with Plaza tree

Clark and me.

We took an Uber to dinner at Sardi’s Restaurant, close to the theater.

sardis

The walls were lined with caricatures of famous people.

Then we ran over to the Richard Rodgers Theatre for Hamilton!

marquee

playbill

Chad and Samira made it too, and met us there just before the show began.

I didn’t know much about this show beyond reading a summary on Wikipedia a few days before, but it didn’t take long to get sucked into it. It was incredible! Who would’ve thought the life story of a guy who I don’t remember even being mentioned in my U.S. history class would make for such an engaging show. I loved every second of it.

The theater was very close to Times Square, so after the show, we walked over there.

IMG_0662

It was just like it looks on TV. Super bright and packed with people, even at 11 p.m.

We all Uber-ed back to the hotel again. The second room was finally available, so Clark’s parents, aunt and grandmother moved their stuff over there.

When we went in our suite, there was a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries, a bottle of wine and two wine glasses waiting for us, in addition to the chocolate sculpture that’d been there when we first got there. Apparently the guy who’d originally booked the suite (Mr. Frey, according to the welcome note on the table) had also booked these extras. He had to back out for whatever reason, and we wound up in the room, but the staff let us have them.

So Samira and I had a full blown photo shoot with her very nice iPhone X haha.

chocolates and wine

After we’d taken enough pictures, we broke into that chocolate sculpture on the left. There was even more inside — chocolate coins, M&Ms printed with the Plaza logo and chocolate-covered pretzels.

inside chocolate

So I don’t know why Mr. Frey’s weekend didn’t happen, because judging by the extras he’d ordered, it looked like it was supposed to be pretty romantic, but it worked out for us. Thanks, Mr. Frey!

Clark and Chad were sitting in those chairs on the other side of the coffee table when I noticed they were wearing the same outfit — suits with turtlenecks — but the colors were inverted.

clark and chad

We used to make fun of my dad and uncle for always wearing blazers and turtlenecks on Christmas Eve, but it’s in style now, so it turns out they were just 30 years ahead of the curve.

It was only 12:30 a.m. at that point, and Chad and Samira still hadn’t had dinner, so we found a gastropub near the hotel that was still serving food and went over there. Clark’s aunt and grandmother were ready to go to bed at that point, but his parents went with us too.

We finally went to bed around 3.

The next morning, Clark and I went for a run in Central Park. I wanted to take at least one picture, but my stupid phone froze up and shut down before I got a chance. It wasn’t even THAT cold. I hate that old piece of crap phone.

Anyway, we did a lap of the road that loops all the way around the park, a little over six miles.

There were some hills in there! And a ton of dogs, and lots of other runners. It was a nice run. We ran 6.1 miles in about 57 minutes, a 9:18/mile pace.

Later, we all went to brunch at Fig & Olive, and then we all walked down to Rockefeller Center.

The line to get in the Lego store wasn’t as bad as the day before, so Clark and I went in. And they didn’t even have the set I wanted! So that was a bust.

We left the city around 2:30 p.m. The drive home was fine. We stopped at a Lego store at the Christiana mall so Clark could run in and get the Lego set. Finally done with Christmas shopping.

Clark and I got back to our house a little before 7 p.m. Pepper was very happy to see us. My younger sister took care of him while we were gone, and stayed with him at our house Saturday night, but he’d spent a lot of the rest of the weekend alone. He’d apparently peed on the kitchen floor once while she was here, wouldn’t even eat the peanut butter we give him with his pills and slept under the covers on our bed, instead of in the guest room where she stayed.

When we got home, he scarfed down all the food and peanut butter-encased pills he hadn’t touched all weekend, demanded (and got) plenty of treats and then curled up on the couch between us.

And today is Christmas Eve! I bought stuff last Friday to bake cookies, which I’m about to do, and then I’m going for a run, this week’s 8-mile middle distance run, a day early since I’m not running tomorrow. Dave and Kasey took over hosting our family’s Christmas Eve party, so we’re headed over there tonight.

Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2018

Training for 12/21/18

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:10 pm

Happy first day of winter! As of tomorrow, the days are getting longer, and spring is a mere three months of snow and bitter cold away.

Today did not feel like winter at all here. It was in the low 60s and very breezy. The rain stopped late this morning, and the sun even poked through a few times. It turned out to be a decent day.

I followed my training plan this week, which meant today was supposed to be a rest day. But I’m busy all day tomorrow, so I ran today.

I really meant to do this weekend’s long run, which cuts back to 10 miles. But I had more stuff to do to get ready for this weekend than I thought, and it just kept getting later and later. Finally, by the time I got to a point I could go knock out my run, there wasn’t enough sunlight left, it being the shortest day of the year and all.

So I just did an easy lap around the 5.5-mile loop. It was a struggle anyway. Today was my eighth day in a row of running, and brought the total number of miles since my last rest day to almost 57. I felt clunky the whole way, but ran it at an average pace of 8:48/mile.

The big plan for this weekend is — we’re going to New York City!

This is the third year Clark’s parents have taken us and the rest of the family out for dinner and a show, rather than buying us all a bunch of presents we don’t really need. The first year, we kept it local and went to Easton. Last year, we went to D.C., since Chad and Samira live there.

This year, however, they’re going big — we’re going to NYC to see “Hamilton” and stay at the Plaza Hotel.

The show is tomorrow night. Sunday morning, I’m hoping to go for a run in Central Park, since the hotel is right there, and Clark wants to see if we can skate at Rockefeller Center. And then we’re coming home that afternoon.

My little sister is staying at our house with Pepper, which is why I had so much to do around here today. I never think our house is filthy until someone else is going to see it haha.

I also finished up wrapping Christmas gifts, other than one I’m going to buy in NYC this weekend. With all the gifts Clark wrapped last night, the floor under our gigantic Christmas tree is looking pretty well covered.

IMG_7947

Merry weekend-before-Christmas!

December 20, 2018

Training for 12/20/18

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 1:21 pm

I got my run done relatively early today, partly so I could beat the coming rain, and partly because I have some errands to take care of this afternoon.

I had this week’s speed workout on the schedule, five 800-meter repeats. And I actually did it!

As usual, I just programmed the Garmin to measure out half-mile intervals, with quarter-mile rest intervals between each, plus a warm up and cool down, and ran it on the road, rather than waste the time driving in town to use the high school track.

I ran a mile to warm up in 8:58, then all five intervals, then 1.75 miles to cool down, for a total of 6.5 miles in 55:12, an 8:30/mile average.

My goal for the intervals was 3:33 each. When I checked the splits after I was done, the first two were slow — 3:42 each — but the last three, though they didn’t feel any faster, were 3:30, 3:32 and 3:31.

Of course, a half-mile is slightly longer than two laps around a 400-meter track, so the 3:42s weren’t as far off as they seem, but still. It’s weird how much slower I always run the first interval or two in one of these workouts. Maybe I need to do a longer warm up.

Anyway, first stop on my list of errands today is another attempt at getting Pepper’s nails done at PetSmart. Fingers crossed he doesn’t take another massive dump on the floor!

December 19, 2018

Training for 12/19/18

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 7:00 pm

Today was my last day of work until next year! I had a ton of accrued time off I needed to use by the end of the year or I’d lose it anyway, so I’m off until Jan. 2.

As usual, I put off my run until the afternoon, but it worked in my favor for once. Kelly invited me to run with her in Salisbury, so I got to do that instead of another solo run at home.

I met her at her gym, where she’d already run six on a treadmill, and then we ran a little over six more through Salisbury, including one lap around the park, where we got to see the Christmas decorations around the pond. We got back to the gym parking lot about an hour later, a little after sunset. I hadn’t seen her since Richmond, and it was great to catch up.

I also signed up for one more race in 2018 today, the Surfin’ Snowman 5-Miler in Bethany Beach on Dec. 29. It starts at 4 p.m. so we’ll be finishing as it’s getting dark and all the Christmas lights are coming on. I’ve never done this one before but it sounded like fun.

December 18, 2018

Training for 12/18/18

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:16 pm

Yesterday, I had something to cover for work in the middle of the afternoon, which meant I’d get home when it was getting dark, so I went out just a little past noon and did a lap around the 4.5-mile loop. Again, I pulled my sleeve over the Garmin so I couldn’t see splits or paces, but I wound up finishing with an 8:46/mile average.

Clark and I made plans to do strength training together when he got home, but instead, we drank beer and watched “The Great Christmas Light Fight.” Close enough haha. The winners of the second episode were the Schmidt family in Waco, Texas. They were my favorites because part of their display was one of my favorite Schmidt jokes — Santa and his reindeer falling off an outhouse, with Santa saying, “I said the SCHMIDT house!” My grandmother had a framed cross stitch picture of that scene that’s now hanging in my uncle’s bathroom.

Today, I had this week’s middle distance run on the schedule, a 7-miler. Hal doesn’t specify the pace for these, but it’s not a speed workout or a pace run, so I assume it’s supposed to be another easy run.

So I did a lap of the 7.3-mile loop, again with the Garmin hidden. I felt pretty good the whole way and ran an 8:43/mile average, almost exactly the same as yesterday.

I was almost home when I realized a car coming up from behind me had stopped in the road and the driver was trying to tell me something. I found my iPod and paused it, then asked him to repeat it.

“Jim Fixx died of a heart attack!”

Jim Fixx is the guy credited with setting off the first running boom in the U.S., when he wrote “The Complete Book of Running” in 1977.

He also died of a heart attack — while running — seven years later.

He is the go-to argument for people who don’t merely not want to run, but want to let everyone who does run know how stupid they think it is.

Never mind that before he started running at age 36, he was a two-pack-a-day smoker and had a family history of heart problems. That one guy died that one time, so clearly running is the worst!

Bizarrely, when I laughed off that argument, the driver pivoted to a completely new one, that we live in “the most polluted part of the country” (something to do with all the farms) and Clark, who he’s also seen out running, and I are beyond nuts to be out there breathing all that in.

Then he said he was just joking and that he actually admired our fortitude or something, and went on his way.

I don’t know, but maybe that guy should get out and breathe in some of our chemical-laden farm air a little more. He seemed stressed.

December 17, 2018

Training for 12/17/18

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:40 am

This weekend was mostly good, but I also experienced probably the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me in public, thanks to Pepper.

Friday evening, Clark and I went with Mike to Cambridge. One of our favorite restaurants, Stoked, just switched it up and is now called Yardbird, with a menu heavy on Southern food, so we gave it a shot.

I had a pork belly sandwich on a big fluffy biscuit that was absolutely delicious, but I don’t think anyone else was impressed. Clark and Mike both got the chicken and waffles, and said the waffles tasted (and definitely looked) like Eggos.

Anyway, we went to RAR for a couple beers and then called it a night.

clark and the crab basket tree

Clark with Cambridge’s annual crab basket Christmas tree.

Saturday morning, it was raining as forecasted, but it wasn’t too cold. I put on shorts, a long-sleeved shirt and a light rain jacket, and headed out.

I’m trying to actually train for Shamrock this time around, as opposed to just doing the miles at the same easy pace every day. Hence the tempo run the day before, and the pace run Saturday.

I’ve decided to go for a PR. Specifically, 3:35. That’s also a BQ for my age group. It probably won’t be enough to actually get into Boston, even now that the standards were lowered another five minutes across the board, but I just want to say I’ve run a marathon fast enough to be allowed to apply.

Mainly though, I want to finally PR for the first time in years! I set my current marathon PR of 3:40 at Shamrock in 2013. Back then, I used to really commit to following my training plan. But then I went through a series of injuries that forced me to drop to the half after registering for a marathon — three times in a row. After that, I started to feel like there was no point to really training hard, because I was just going to injure myself again.

Well, it’s been more than four years since the last injury. I think it’s time to stop coasting through these training plans and see what I could do if I actually tried again.

So, 3:35 is the goal, which means my weekly pace runs are to be run at 8:12/mile.

Saturday’s went OK. The first couple of miles were slow — 8:28 and 8:21 — as I warmed up. They were also into the wind.

The rain jacket had gotten too warm, so just after the two-mile point, I took it off and stuffed it under an abandoned Styrofoam cooler on the side of the road.

That helped, and the next three miles were too fast, 7:58, 8:05 and 8:01. I got it back to 8:15 for mile 6 (and had to stop in the woods for a bathroom break.) The last mile again sped up to under goal pace, 8:02, and I finished the 7.3-mile loop in 59:43, an 8:11/mile average.

So the end result was almost perfect, but the actual splits were all over the place. Also, not gonna lie, that pace did not seem at all sustainable for another 19 miles! But that’s what the next three months are training are for — to learn exactly what 8:12/mile feels like and be able to run it for an entire marathon.

Back home, I took a quick shower, and then Clark, Pepper and I went to the bike shop in Delmar (with a stop on the way to get back my abandoned jacket.) Specialized just released a new women’s saddle that’s supposed to be way more comfortable. Apparently they did a good job, because they’re sold out in my size. Clark ordered one for me as a Christmas gift, but it won’t be in until March. Not that I’ll need it before then. I don’t ride in the winter.

After that, we went to 3rd Wave, until they had to close early for a private party.

And then, we made the fateful decision to take Pepper to PetSmart to get his nails done.

This is where it got embarrassing, fast.

The grooming salon was absolutely packed. I was standing at the counter, waiting to find out if they’d even be able to squeeze Pepper in.

Then I glanced down and saw it. Poop. Everywhere.

Pepper had waited until we got in the salon to take a massive dump on the floor in front of the counter. And now he was RUNNING THROUGH IT.

It was at that moment one of the groomers finally got a moment to ask what I needed. I blurted out, “My dog just pooped all over your floor — can I get something to clean it up?”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy. PetSmart has a whole protocol for dealing with accidents. One of the already overworked employees had to come clean up his mess.

I tried to move him to the one side of the floor he hadn’t pooped on yet, but of course, he dropped a couple more turds over there too.

I could at least help pick up the piles, but there was nothing I could do to help wipe up the residue (since he’d stepped in every pile and smeared them into the tiles), or clean up the poop he’d flung onto the counter. It was EVERYWHERE.

I also had to try to hold him still, since he had poop all over his feet, while the employee cleaned up his paws with sanitary wipes.

Meanwhile, other customers kept coming to the door to pick up their own dogs, and I kept having to apologize to them too, because they had to wait while we cleaned up my dog’s gigantic mess.

I have never wished so hard for a giant hole to open up and swallow me AND my dog! (And all his poop!)

The groomers were all very nice about it, even the one who had to clean it up. They said it happened a lot and was most likely “stress poop.” It wasn’t though. It wasn’t loose at all. It was just a big ol’ dump that Pepper held until the worst possible moment.

They asked what I’d brought him in for. I said I’d wanted to get his nails done, but seeing as they’d just gotten caked in poop, I’d bring him back another day. As soon as we got everything cleaned up, I high-tailed it out of there with Pepper.

He still needs his nails done (and every time we try to clip them we wind up making at least one bleed), so I’ll try again this week. And bring a BIG tip for those groomers!

We went to Rubber Soul after that. Their tasting room just recently reopened.

This is the brewery where the bartender always has his dog, Banjo. The first time we met Banjo, he was 5 months old and kept trying to get Pepper to play with him. Now Banjo is 3, and a lot more chill. He even sits at the bar.

banjo at the bar

He and Pepper did finally interact a bit right before we left, but for the most part, Banjo was Pepper’s favorite kind of dog — the kind that completely ignores him.

Anyway, we took Pepper to Hopper’s Tap House next so we could get some dinner, and then we went home.

Sunday, I had this week’s long run on the schedule, a 14-miler. It was still raining, and it’d gotten a bit cooler.

I ran the 14.5-mile loop, with my Garmin hidden under my shirt sleeve the whole way so I’d just run by feel instead of worrying about splits or current pace. Of course, I had to use the bathroom twice — once at mile 4.8, where there was a PORT-O-POTTY! and again at mile 11, where there was just the usual woods. Other than the miles where I had to walk a bit before I found somewhere to use the bathroom, my splits were very consistent and I finished the loop in 2:10, a 9:02/mile average and a good long run pace.

The rest of Sunday was pretty relaxing. We watched the Ravens and Steelers both win. Clark’s parents came over in the evening to check out our gigantic tree. And when I went in town to get Pepper’s prescription refilled, I also got some Christmas cards, and we got those written and addressed and ready to be mailed out today.

Today, I’ve got another short easy run and strength training on the schedule. Strength training is the other important part I used to be really consistent about but have slacked on big time for a long time, so I need to get myself back into that too.

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