A Simple Running Log

March 29, 2019

L.A. Marathon recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 12:19 pm

My second time running the L.A. Marathon wasn’t nearly as much fun as the first in 2016. It had nothing to do with the race itself — it was the same flawlessly-organized, well-supported event on a scenic course lined start to finish with supportive volunteers and wildly enthusiastic spectators I remembered — but I felt like absolute garbage before I’d even gotten into double-digit miles.

This was the first race I seriously considered DNF’ing for no reason other than I just could not fathom continuing. I didn’t drop only because Clark stuck with me.

Still, in spite of all my issues, we made it to the finish line, and 26 minutes faster than in 2016 — so Clark PR’d!

We had to get up at 4 a.m. Saturday to catch our 7 a.m. flight out of Baltimore. We landed in L.A. just after 9:30 a.m. Pacific time and took an Uber to Santa Monica. We were too early to check in to our hotel room, so we left our bag at the front desk and walked to get lunch while we waited.

It was another perfect day in Southern California.

santa monica pier

Our hotel was just down the street from the pier, and thus the race finish line — very convenient.

palisades park

View from Palisades Park along the same street.

I think lunch was where the trouble started. We each got a salad, and I think either the chicken or the lettuce was funky. Tasted fine at the time though, and I was starving, so I ate every bite.

Our room was ready by then. We stayed at this little place called the Seaview Hotel. It was way cheaper than anything else in that area. Judging by the lobby, it looked like we’d made a mistake, but unlike the lobby, our room appeared to have been updated sometime in the last four decades. It turned out to be a very pleasant stay.

We got settled into the room, and then we took another Uber to downtown L.A., to the expo at the convention center.

convention center

Packet pick-up was quick. The vendor area of the expo was packed, but we needed Body Glide and GU. We found a GU rep who gave us an awesome deal — a full 16-count box of Stroopwafels, seven gels and a sleeve of Chomps for $22. And in addition to the regular Glide, Clark got a stick of roll-on sunscreen made by the same company, that turned out to be a very good decision the next day.

We were all set, so we walked to Mikkeller, our favorite beer bar in the city. I got a flight.

mikkeller flight

The last time we were there was during Game 4 of the World Series last October. Our server remembered us — because we’d gotten so drunk we’d WALKED OUT ON OUR MASSIVE TAB. I guess they don’t get a lot of Delawareans there, because our IDs immediately jogged his memory.

Just to be clear, there’s no way we would do that intentionally, anywhere, but especially at one of our favorite places. That is the last bridge we’d want to burn. We both felt terrible, apologized profusely and left a gigantic tip.

Anyway, Bart and his friend Amanda, who’d both flown in from Vegas that afternoon, joined us at Mikkeller. Bart was also there to run the marathon.

We Uber’ed back to Santa Monica and got dinner at Mercado, a Mexican restaurant. It’d been hours since lunch but I wasn’t that hungry. (Cue ominous music…) I couldn’t finish the two appetizer-sized tacos I ordered.

Back in our hotel room, I immediately crashed. I didn’t even take the time to lay out my stuff for the race the next morning.

I slept a few hours before I woke up with terrible nausea that kept me up pretty much the rest of the night. It felt like I was going to start puking. That never happened, but I did have bad diarrhea at least four times throughout the night.

It did not occur to me to drink any more water to make up for everything I was losing, probably because I was worried that would push me over the edge into puking.

Clark later said his stomach was also bothering him Saturday night, but not as much.

I felt bad enough overnight I honestly thought about skipping the race entirely the next day. But when the alarm went off at 4 a.m., I’d never thrown up, I felt a tiny bit better and — most importantly — we’d flown all the way across the country specifically to run this race together that we’d signed up for a full year ago, so I decided to give it a shot and see how it went.

I got dressed and slathered on the sunscreen. By the way, that’s the one thing that did go right — between the SPF 30 on my body and the SPF 50 on my face, I didn’t get burnt, and the Squirrel’s Nut Butter prevented chafing.

sunscreens and anti chafe

The SPF 50 is pricey, so I only use it on my face, but that one tube has lasted through four summers already and is the only one I’ve tried that truly doesn’t run in my eyes or wear off.

It was a short walk to the (free) shuttle buses at Santa Monica City Hall, where we met Bart.

Our bus driver somehow got a little lost trying to find Dodger Stadium, where the race started, but she still got us there in plenty of time. We had well over an hour before the elites would take off. More than enough time to check my gear bag and hit the bathrooms in the stadium.

dodger stadium

The sun coming up over the stadium just before the start.

I still had no appetite, but I did get down one of those Stroopwafels about a half hour before the start.

There were five seeded corrals, but Clark and Bart did not have times to submit to get into one, so we all started together in the open corral.

There was a little excitement before the start. Someone had reported two “suspicious bags” just outside the entrance to the open corral. Police were trying to clear the area around them, but runners were either more focused on getting into the corral or trying to get a better look at these bags that may or may not have freaking bombs in them, so it was a losing battle for those poor cops.

I never heard a boom though, so I guess it turned out to be nothing, thankfully. So weird that we even have to think about that now.

before race start

Bart, Clark and me, rocking the Goodrs, in the crowd waiting to get into the open corral.

Oh, this was funny — Clark had three or four GUs in his hands, to eat throughout the race (a pretty average number of GUs for a marathon, by the way) and some rando next to him practically laughed in his face and said “You’re not gonna need all those today, buddy.” Um, thanks for your input. Worry about your own GUs, “buddy.”

ANYWAY, the first corral was sent off at 6:55 a.m. and about 25 minutes later, the three of us crossed the start line.

start line

justin turner

Justin Turner of the Dodgers, second from right, and Albert Pujols of the Angels, far right, saw us all off. They play real sports, instead of trying to be the best at exercising haha.

The first few miles of the race weren’t bad. We had done a pretty good job of correctly placing ourselves in the corral, so we’d started with other runners mostly doing the same pace, which resulted in a lot less weaving through the crowd than the last time Clark and I ran this one.

By the second mile, I’d warmed up enough to throw away that old sweatshirt. It was a beautiful morning for a run.

I could tell I was dehydrated from the start though (derp.) I tried to get ahead of it by stopping for water and/or Gatorade at every single aid station, of which there were plenty.

I’d brought my phone with me, intending to take a bunch of pictures along the course, like in 2016. This was the only one I took though:

chinatown performers

Performers in Chinatown, about three miles in.

The good feeling from the start wore off pretty quickly. Clark and Bart, neither of whom had trained much, were running a 10:30/mile pace — more than two minutes per mile slower than my pace for the first half of Shamrock a week earlier — and it was starting to feel hard.

At mile 8, we all went in a McDonald’s to use the bathroom. There were plenty of port-o-potties along the course, but they all had massive lines. I only had to pee there — in fact, I never had to stop to poop once during this race! So I guess two things went right.

But when we started running again, my stomach was in knots, and I knew it wasn’t going to get better. I didn’t say anything, but I didn’t have to — around mile 9, Clark glanced back at me and asked if I was OK. He later said I looked hunched over and not like myself at all.

I was still miles from halfway and I felt awful. Running made my stomach seize up. I was already having to take walk breaks.

We were on Hollywood Avenue, lined with some of the best landmarks in the race — the Walk of Fame, the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre — and a ton of spectators making a lot of noise to pump us up. Three years ago, I LOVED this part. I took all kinds of pictures and cheered back at the spectators. This time around, I was just staring straight at the ground in front of me, thinking about how I still had 15 miles to go, and wishing all those loud-ass people would kindly shut up.

By mile 12, I was thinking about dropping when I got to halfway, or saw the next medical tent. There was no real reason why I couldn’t go on — this was not like Shamrock 2010, when I’d had an actual injury — but I felt like absolute shit and mentally I was over it. All I wanted was a ride to Santa Monica.

Just past halfway, we were trudging along because my stomach cramping had spread into full upper-body cramping. Bart said his legs were going to start tightening up if he kept walking that much, so he ran ahead. We wished him luck and told him we’d see him at the finish.

I told Clark to leave me several times. He was on track for a massive PR, but I knew if I made it to the end, I was going to have to walk a lot of it. He wouldn’t hear of it though. He stuck with me the rest of the way.

I walked a LOT of the second half. As soon as I’d try to run, something would cramp — usually my stomach or my upper back, between my shoulder blades. But I could barely drink anything. I’d take a cup of water from an aid station and sip on it for the next half-mile like it was straight vodka, because it didn’t feel like it was going anywhere when I’d swallow it.

Somewhere past halfway, my legs really started feeling it too. I’m sure they were pissed I was putting them through another marathon again just a week after the last one. They were the least of my problems though.

The miles slowly crept by. Most of them, I tried to run at least a little, but there were entire miles we walked.

Around mile 21, I told Clark I hated running. Not running marathons, but just running in general.

Here’s the first picture of Clark and me from the whole course, around mile 25:

clark and me walking at mile 25

My shirt says “Weekends are for running” haha. Or walking a lot, whichever!

A little past that mile marker, we made the final turn onto Ocean Avenue. Clark started running and I tried to keep up with him.

clark and me turning onto ocean ave

That last stretch seemed to go on forever. I didn’t remember the finish line being so far away down Ocean Avenue.

clark and me running toward the finish

Those Goodrs aren’t prescription and I couldn’t see shit. It was a while before the finish line was even visible to me.

When I was finally able to see it, I glanced down at my Garmin — we could squeak in under 5:30 if we pushed it. No wonder Clark kept picking up the pace.

clark arms up at finish

finish line clark stopping watch

Official time: 5:29:47.

That was a 26-minute improvement over the 5:55:06 we ran in 2016. The running part probably wasn’t any faster, thanks to me, but neither of us had to wait to use a port-o-potty, compared to two stops three years ago, so that’s where we saved a lot of the time.

I’m always glad to finish a race, but I was even more relieved than usual to be done. Our race bibs each had a ticket for one free beer at the post-race party, but we just walked straight down Ocean Avenue, pushing our way through the crowds (seriously, WHY do spectators congregate right at the exit of finishers’ chutes like that??) back to the hotel.

Bart texted that he’d also gone right back to his hotel, after finishing his first marathon in 5:14.

It felt amazing to take off my shoes. It felt even better to take a shower and wash off all that sweat and sunscreen, especially since there was no surprise chafing for the hot water to find.

I still had a wonky stomach the rest of Sunday though. We met Bart and Amanda for a little while later that afternoon. I got down one beer and a single tater tot. Later, for dinner, I had about four bites of mac and cheese. We went to bed pretty early.

I slept like a rock Sunday night, and Monday, I felt like a brand new person. My appetite had returned with a vengeance, and for breakfast, I destroyed a stack of blueberry pancakes the size of my head and a plate of chicken sausage.

The rest of the week, I didn’t run a single step. We just ate, drank beer and walked a ton, enjoying the gorgeous weather.

venice pier view

View from the Venice Beach pier, looking toward Santa Monica, after we rented bicycles to ride along the beachfront path.

dudes beers

Sitting in the sun, drinking beer at The Dudes’ Brewing Company. My green beer was a mint cream ale called a Shamrock Shake.

Clark in rolly chair collage

Clark in this chair that looked like a thumbtack and rolled around on its rim. We could not get it to tip over.

me in rolly chair collage

Me in the same chair — I like the look on the face of the woman in the upper left corner of the first shot haha.

coastline rancho palos verdes resized

Our last day there, our friend Brad took us to Rancho Palos Verdes, where we hiked along some cliffs and had lunch at a fancy resort.

rocks and catalina island

We also climbed over rocks at the shoreline. Catalina Island is in the background.

brad clark and me

Brad and his mustache, Clark and me.

clark and me resized

Clark and me.

Two days after the race, I made Clark go down to the beach and take some dorky pictures of the medals and bibs, since I hadn’t felt like making him do that right after the run.

bibs medals and goodrs

We had special “LA Loyal” bibs since it was our second time running.


I had both medals in my carry-on for the flight home, and they got my bag flagged for inspection.

clark and me with medals

With our medals on the end of the pier, feeling like normal people again.

Here are our official stats from the race:


  • 5:29:48 
  • 543rd/1,047 F 35-39
  • 3,643rd/8,326 women
  • 11,186th/20,021 overall — 45 percent of the field was still behind us!


  • 5:29:50
  • 1,126th/1,588 M 35-39
  • 7,549th/11,785 men
  • 11,196th/20,021 overall

My takeaways from the race: I don’t think I was really prepared for what it’d feel like running marathons on back-to-back weekends. Also, salad is the devil. Fuck salad.

March 22, 2019

Training for 3/22/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:46 pm

This feels weird to say only five days after my last marathon, but I think I’m ready for my next marathon in two days.

Today, I took the day off running, but I did some more strength training. I am sincerely trying to get back into it on a regular basis, as in at least twice a week, now that it’s warmed up enough so the attic isn’t frigid. I’m OK with the ab exercises, push-ups and invisible chair-sitting, but it’s painfully obvious how long I’ve been slacking on the weights; just one set is completely kicking my ass, when I used to be able to do three. Gotta start somewhere. I know it helped a lot with running form and efficiency — in other words, speed — when I was diligent about it.

We leave very very early tomorrow morning for L.A. Our plane lands on the other side of the country before 10 a.m. (Pacific Coast time.) That will give us plenty of time to do the only thing we absolutely have to do tomorrow, picking up our race packets at the expo.

Sunday is, of course, the marathon, and then Clark and I are staying to make a little vacation out of the next few days. Be back late next week!

March 21, 2019

Training for 3/21/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:43 pm

Today started out fine. I got up early and ran another short easy run while Clark was still home. I did a lap around the 4.5-mile loop at a 9:20/mile average. It’d clearly rained a lot overnight, but it was barely misting the whole time I was running. Not long after I got back inside, it started pouring again. Perfect timing.

That was where the good luck ended though. About an hour later, Pepper randomly puked on the carpet, so I had to clean that up. Then I had to drive all the way to Annapolis for a work assignment — the whole reason I ran so early — and when I got home 5.5 hours later, Pepper had not just pooped on the floor in the utility room, but stepped in it several times and smeared it on pretty much every visible square inch of linoleum. It took an hour to clean up him (twice, because as soon as I got him out of the tub the first time, he ran right back into the room to try to eat his breakfast and got poop all over his paws again) and then the room itself.

And now I still have to write the article about what I had to cover today for tomorrow’s paper.

March 20, 2019

Training for 3/20/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:32 pm

Happy first day of SPRING!

I celebrated a little early yesterday by swapping out the winter-scented hand soaps and Yankee Candles for spring scents. I have some basic tendencies.

Today, I went early, before all the kids got out of school, to take advantage of the annual first-day-of-spring giveaways at DQ and Rita’s:



Pepper was giving me the stink eye before I even got anything I couldn’t share with him.


I don’t know why he sits like that. I make a turn and he goes tumbling, but he’s not smart enough to make the connection.

Also, that picture really shows how gross Clark’s truck is now. We gave up trying to keep up on cleaning the dog slobber and fur. The interior of that truck belongs to Pepper now.

Anyway, today I also ran for the first time since Shamrock. I just did the 3-mile out-and-back at a 9:04/mile average. I can’t believe I ran a whole freaking marathon at a faster average pace three days ago; that felt like my absolute limit today.

Some of that perceived difficulty might have been due to the fact I actually did a little strength training before the run, for the first time in a while. It wasn’t even that much but I can already tell I’m going to feel it in my legs tomorrow.

March 18, 2019

Whale Challenge recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 12:02 pm

The Shamrock Marathon went almost exactly like last year — solid first 15 miles, followed by an increasingly slow final 11 miles due to some bad stomach cramping after I had to stop to use the bathroom — and I didn’t even beat last year’s time, let alone PR.

But still, I managed to successfully complete the Whale Challenge for the seventh time, and the rest of the weekend more than made up for those awful miles!

Friday afternoon, Clark and I dropped off Pepper at Clark’s parents’ house, much to Pepper’s horror, and then made the long, boring drive down the Eastern Shore of Virginia. We got to the expo sometime after 6 p.m. and quickly picked up all the necessary race bibs and event shirts.

About a month ago, I got an email from the race directors with an offer to pre-order a Whale Challenge finisher T-shirt, so I jumped on that. It turned out really well:

whale shirt front

Everyone registered for the Whale Challenge by the end of February had their name printed on the back. It’s in alphabetical order, so I’m easy to find:

whale shirt back

Obviously, I did not so much as try this shirt on until I was an actual finisher, because that would just be asking for it.

Next stop was our hotel. This year, we were in the Clarion Inn and Suites on 26th and Atlantic streets. It wasn’t my favorite location, but it was fine. The 8K started within sight of the hotel’s back door, so that was nice, and it was a relatively short walk from the end of the finisher’s chute both days. But it was a pretty long walk to the half/full marathon start Sunday morning, and there was no ocean view. After waking up to ocean views in the hotels I’ve gotten the last few years, I’ve become spoiled.

The Clarion was about all that was left for this weekend when I booked it LAST JUNE, however, so I guess I need to get on that even earlier for 2020.

We walked to The Bunker Brewpub for dinner, the restaurant opened by Young Veterans Brewing Co., whose original brewery/tasting room location we first visited five years ago. I only had to run five miles in the morning, so I had a few beers with Sriracha tuna tacos.

Saturday morning, I didn’t have to get up too early for the 8K, since, as I mentioned before, the start line was so close. It was a really nice day for a run, other than being a bit on the breezy side.

I walked out of our hotel five minutes before the start, and got into my assigned second corral just before it moved up to the start line.

My plan for the 8K was to take it slower than the past few years, when I’ve let myself get caught up with the faster runners and wound up running not a whole lot slower than when I actually race that distance. I was trying to save my legs for the marathon.

I did a pretty good job. I only picked it up at all for the last stretch to the finish line on the boardwalk, and I finished in 41:45, an 8:24/mile average.

Once again, there were no free photos this year, so all I have are little screenshots of proofs.

8Kmile 4

Making the last turn onto the boardwalk around mile 4.5.

8K finish

At the finish.

I got my first medal of the weekend and the beer koozie they give to 8K finishers, and went straight back to the hotel.

I changed into dry clothes and then Clark and I headed to the post-race party.

8k party band

Live band in the party tent.

This year, I split my four free Yuenglings with Clark, instead of drinking all of them myself, which I thought was a good first step toward not overindulging, and not experiencing the same digestive issues in the marathon the next day.

8K party

With my medal and koozie.

sand sculpture

Dude working on this year’s sand sculpture outside the party tent.

In the early afternoon, we met Emma, who I first met at this race in 2011 but hadn’t seen since this race in 2014, and her husband, Bruce, for lunch. She was here for the half, her first race in quite a while after some injuries. It’s great to see her running again!

lunch with emma

Bruce snuck this picture of us.

I was being good here too — I only had water! I also had a chicken sandwich and some fries.

Later that afternoon, Clark and I did a little shopping. He got some more Goodrs (we are up to six pairs in this house now) to go with a specific look he’s putting together for the L.A. Marathon next weekend, and some Rock Tape (like KT tape) to hopefully get his foot through the race pain-free. Then we went to Reaver Beach Brewing Co. to kill some time, where I had one wheat ale and more water.

Then Randy got into town! We met him at the hotel. It was time for dinner by that point, so we walked to Abbey Road Pub and Restaurant. I had ONE more beer, a Paulaner Hefeweizen, plenty of water and shrimp scampi.

I am listing all the beer and water because I honestly thought I was doing a good job of not drinking too much alcohol while taking in more than enough water. I had to pee all day! I did not feel the least bit dehydrated.

We went back to the room and watched some college basketball and listened to a bunch of REO Speedwagon and Gordon Lightfoot (who doesn’t get pumped up by “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald“?) OK, I had a little more beer just before bed — Randy had brought us a couple crowlers from his favorite local brewery and one of them was a really good IPA — but again, I drank way more water.

We hit the lights around 11 p.m. Except for when I had to pee around 2:30 a.m., I slept right through the night, unlike the night before this race last year, when I had to get up every hour with an upset stomach to poop.

My annoying alarm went off at 6 a.m. Sunday. I had some Belvita breakfast biscuits and a banana and MORE water.

Sunday was cooler than Saturday had been — the “feels like” temp at race start was in the upper 30s with the breeze, well below my minimum temperature for racing in shorts. I went with cropped tights and a long-sleeved quarter-zip.

I also made one of the smartest decisions of my life. Last week, I went to Goodwill and paid $4 for an old bathrobe that turned out to be the hands-down best throwaway I’ve ever had for a race.

throwaway bathrobe

I loved this thing. It was warmer than any old sweatshirt, trash bag or heat sheet, and big enough I could wrap myself up in it. It was also very easy to take off to discard just before the start. I gotta hit up some more thrift stores and make a stockpile for future races.

Randy and I left the hotel a little before 7. It was a 16-block walk (I first typed 16-mile there haha) to the start line on 42nd street, head-on into the wind. It wasn’t the strongest wind I’ve ever had to run in for this race, but it felt cold when we weren’t running. At least, it seemed cold on the little bit of exposed skin on my face and lower legs. The rest of me was pretty cozy in that bathrobe.

Again, my timing was impeccable and we got there just before they sang the national anthem. (Yes, I am patting myself on the back for that. I hate standing around in the starting corral for hours if I don’t have to, especially when it’s cold.) Randy got in the second corral and I made my way back to the third, just behind the 3:35 pace group. A few minutes later, the bathrobe was draped on the railing along the side of the corral and we were off!

marathon beginning

Somewhere in the first couple of miles.

The first half of the race felt pretty good. I didn’t take off as slow as I’d said I would, but I wasn’t keeping up with the 3:35 pace group right off the bat either. By the time we hit mile 3, I was nice and warmed up, so I closed in within sight of it. But I never joined it — it was massive and it looked like a pain in the butt trying to grab a cup of water in the middle of it at the aid stations.

marathon mile 8ish

Running by the lighthouse in Fort Story around mile 8.

My splits for the first half were all between 8:05 and 8:22 (I slowed a few seconds at every single aid station to drink some water, and I ate GUs around mile 5.5 and 9.5.)

I wasn’t so lonely after the half/full split at mile 12.7 this year, since I wasn’t far behind that pace group. I crossed the halfway timing mat in 1:48:25, a minute behind goal pace, but I could make it up. Uh, lol.

There was another aid station just before we turned on the boardwalk at mile 13.5-ish. I’d thought the course map said there’d be more GU at that aid station, but I didn’t see anyone offering it. As I was running by, I heard one of the volunteers very faintly say “vanilla,” as in, vanilla GU. But I was already past and didn’t want to backtrack. Fortunately, I’d put one emergency GU in my shirt pocket.

Anyway, we ran south to the end of the boardwalk. Looking at the splits on my Garmin, I was already starting to slow — miles 14 and 15 were 8:28 and 8:25.

Then I felt like I had to poop. It wasn’t bad yet, nowhere near emergency levels, but I decided I’d take advantage of the next port-o-potty I saw and take care of it. Once in a marathon isn’t bad (for me.)

That port-o-potty appeared around mile 15.3. I ran in, took care of business, came out to the aid station, ate the one GU I’d brought with me and washed it down with water, then started running again, up and over the Rudee Inlet bridge for the first of two times. Mile 16 was 10:57 with all that.

All the pressure was off my guts, but I had a TERRIBLE side stitch in my right side. I dug my fingers into it and tried breathing out when I landed on my left foot. It eventually went away, and my mile 17 split was 8:33, but then I had a new problem.

For the last 9.2 miles of the race, my entire stomach was one big cramp. I tried drinking water AND Gatorade at every single aid station, but there wasn’t much else I could do. I felt like I might puke every time I tried to speed up. I was basically running my everyday easy run pace, just trying to keep putting down one foot in front of the other.

Mile 18 slowed to 8:50. We made the last U-turn and headed back toward downtown Virginia Beach. Mile 19 was 8:49.

We passed mile 20 as we were running into a little state military installation. That one was 9:05. Mile 21 was along the road in the military installation — 9:01.

Five miles to go. Every year I get to that point and think how I wish there was an option to give back the 8K medal from the day before and count those miles as the last five in the marathon haha. But then I couldn’t wear that sweet Whale Challenge finisher’s shirt… never mind. I trudged on.

There was another big aid station just before we ran out of the military installation. I took one last GU, some water and Gatorade. We finished mile 22 as we ran out — 9:33.

We had to go up and over the Rudee Inlet bridge again. Mile 23 was around the corner. 9:13.

Then we were back on the boardwalk. I just kept slowing, trying to keep my stomach in line for just a few more miles, please! I passed the mile 24 marker in 9:25. For some reason, it dawned on me right then that I was signed up to do this all over again in L.A. in exactly one week. Uggggghhhhhhhh.

The boardwalk section finally ended and we were back on Atlantic. Mile 25 was 9:29. This will never end, will it?

There were a ton of spectators in the next half-mile, as we ran back through downtown toward the final turn onto the boardwalk. I tried to look happy for them as they yelled my name, which was printed on my bib.

Oh, that reminds me — there was one spectator around mile 14 who’d noticed my challenger bib and said “Abby is a WHALE!” as I ran by, which made me laugh, because any other time that would be pretty insulting, but at that moment, I appreciated the acknowledgement haha. That’s right, sir! I ran yesterday too and I AM a whale!

Then I was on the boardwalk for the homestretch! I could see King Neptune and the finish line arch about six blocks away. I tried to pick it up as much as my stomach would allow, but my mile 26 split was pretty pathetic — 9:12.

marathon coming to the finish

I don’t know why I wear “throwaway” gloves, like these purple ones I got from Walmart for $2. I never throw them away.

By my Garmin, I ran the last .35 in 2:57.

Officially, I finished 26.2 miles in 3:49:21.

marathon finish

Someone was feeling even worse than I was there at the end!

That was 27 seconds slower than last year, so I didn’t even hit my C goal of beating 2018. I did run my D goal of sub-4 at least!

I had to book it for the hotel. They’d let us extend our checkout to noon, but by that time I only had a little more than a half-hour to shower, pack and get out. So I gathered my marathon finisher’s medal, food and water, finisher’s hat (green this year) and fleece blanket and finally my Whale Challenge medal and just kept walking.

I was only a few minutes late getting out of the hotel. Clark had to leave the post-race party and meet me at the car because he’d accidentally taken the car key with him. As soon as we got the stuff loaded, it hit me how bad my stomach felt, and I had to sit in the car for a few minutes there. I was starving but the thought of eating anything was gross.

I eventually got down a little jug of chocolate milk Clark had bought me the day before, plus a banana and granola bar I’d taken in the finisher’s chute. I felt a little better.

We both hit the hotel lobby bathroom once more and I finally felt well enough to go celebrate my 21st freaking marathon finish in the party tent.

Randy had run the half in 1:36 (after two poop stops, a personal worst — apparently whatever I have is contagious so he’ll probably think twice before sharing a hotel room before a race again haha) so he and Clark were already several beers ahead of me when I got there.

By that time, there were several empty-cup beeramids under construction around the tent. We watched this woman stand on someone else’s shoulders to carefully top off the tallest one I’ve ever seen. Everyone pulled out their phones, ready to catch it on video if she slipped up and knocked the whole thing over. She did knock a few off the top, but it mostly stayed intact. I was impressed!


We left the party a little early so we could get some more substantial lunch than the beef stew in the tent before we all had to drive home. We went back to the same place Clark and I’d had lunch the day before, Dough Boys, for pizza. As usual, my appetite had not really come back yet — the day after a long run or race is when I am a bottomless pit — but I got down a couple slices.

We dropped off Randy at his car and said goodbye. It was a short visit, but I’m really glad he got that race entry at the last minute and got to come hang out with us!

I like taking the slightly longer way from Virginia Beach to the Bay Bridge Tunnel because it covers the first five miles or so of the marathon course. That came in particularly handy yesterday, because Clark and I both had to pee within minutes of leaving. Race port-o-potties to the rescue!

mile 4 port o potties

They even still had plenty of toilet paper in them.

See you in 2020, Shamrock!

When we were in the beer tent yesterday, Clark’s brother — the one who ran a 3:26 marathon the weekend before and wants to BQ — texted asking which area fall marathon I thought would be the best to go for it. I suggested Steamtown. I think we’re both running Steamtown now.

That race in 2011 remains my only perfect marathon experience — it’s not my PR anymore, but at the time, it was a HUGE PR after I nailed my goal pace. I’ve always wanted to go back.

The only thing that concerns me is that it’s a mid-October race. In 2011, the weather was perfect, but the last couple of years it’s still been hot and humid. So, if we do run it, fingers crossed the weather cools down earlier than it has.

But that’s a long ways off. Right now I’m just thinking about getting through L.A. in six days!

I think it’ll be fine. My upper body is way more sore from all the cramping than my legs are after yesterday’s marathon, so my legs should be more than recovered by Sunday.

I’m not racing L.A. anyway. I’m running it with Clark, who, as I’ve noted, has not really been able to train at all due to his foot issues. He said he’s just hoping to beat the 5:55:06 we ran in that race in 2016, after he, again, did not get to train due to a foot issue.

Anyway, to wrap up this post, here is all the swag from the weekend:

bibs and medals

Bibs and medals.

race shirts and giveaways

Event shirts (the 8K’s is now a short-sleeved tech shirt, instead of the long-sleeved cotton they used to do), 8K finisher’s koozie and marathon finisher’s hat. The pin I got for being a legacy runner (at least five consecutive Shamrocks) is also on the hat, with my Bobby Labonte 2000 Winston Cup championship pin.


Marathon finisher’s fleece blanket. (Broke the streak of beach towels every year since 2014!)

pepper with blanket

It’s become tradition to take a picture of Pepper trying out the new blanket.

And finally finally, my race stats:

TowneBank 8K:

  • 41:45
  • 36th/730 F 35-39
  • 211th/4,733 women
  • 779th/7,759 overall

Yuengling Shamrock Marathon:

  • 3:49:21
  • 15th/136 F 35-39
  • 124th/718 women
  • 432nd/1,673 overall

Whale Challenge:

  • 4:31:06
  • 2nd/22 F 35-39
  • 4th/110 women
  • 29th/228 overall

March 14, 2019

Training for 3/14/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:54 am

I’m all done training for this year’s Whale Challenge!

I was supposed to do my last run yesterday, but I had a couple things I had to do during the day and just didn’t feel like getting dressed to run two measly miles at any time before, between or after them.

So I ran those final two miles today, at an easy 9:01/mile average. It was warm and breezy so I got to wear shorts and a T-shirt, the peepers were out and my crop duster neighbor was buzzing around over the field along the road I ran. Really felt like spring out there!

That’s that. Now all I have to do is drink plenty of water and try to not eat anything over the next three days that’s going to cause digestive distress during the race.

The weather forecast is even cooperating. Both days look like decent temperatures, no ridiculous wind and NO precipitation.

I am still aiming for 3:35 in this marathon, which would be a five-minute PR. That’s the A goal. There’s a 3:35 pace group, so I think I’ll start a little back of it in the corral, ease into the pace and catch up with it. I clearly remember running the first half of the Marshall Marathon in 2014 with Dave, one of the Loop runners; his goal was 3:30 and he ran the first few miles well over goal pace, then dialed it down, and finished in 3:28. It’s hard to start slow and have faith that it’ll work out, but I’ve seen it work firsthand.

Anyway, the B goal will be anything under 3:40:44, my current PR; C goal is under 3:48, my time in this race last year (not consuming a lot of beer and half a bottle of wine the day before should help); and D goal is under 4:00.

There won’t be much else to say tomorrow before we leave for Virginia Beach, so I won’t be posting here. I’ll be back Monday to post all about it!

March 12, 2019

Training for 3/12/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 4:08 pm

I’ve done the next-to-next-to-last and next-to-last Shamrock training runs. All that’s left is the last one!

Thanks to Daylight Saving Time beginning Sunday, I now have an extra hour to procrastinate on my run, which is exactly what I did yesterday. I went out just before 6:30 p.m. to finally do an easy 3-miler at an 8:49/mile pace. It was a really nice evening for it.

Today, I have something to cover for work this evening (when the sun will still be up!), so I had to go out this afternoon.

The wind had picked up and it’d gotten a lot chillier since yesterday. I did a lap of the 4.5-mile loop at an 8:41/mile pace.

There have been two developments in regards to Shamrock since yesterday, one good and one bad.

First, the bad news. Clark tried running again last night and said his foot was still bothering him this morning, so, with the L.A. Marathon only a week from Sunday, he’s deferring Shamrock this year. Today is the last day to do it.

It’s been almost two and a half months since his foot first started hurting after that 5-mile race just before New Year’s. I’m annoyed for him that it’s taking this long to stop complaining.

Now, the good news! Our friend Randy scored a comped entry for Sunday’s half, so he’s crashing with us Saturday night, running the race in the morning and then partying with us after, as much as we can party, since we all have to go home that evening and work the next day. That should be a blast!

March 11, 2019

Training for 3/11/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:25 am

Saturday morning, I met Kelly at the park in Salisbury for my last long-ish run before Shamrock.

It was still cold, but at least all the rain from the day before had stopped. The trail loop was sloppy in places, but not as muddy as last week.

We did three laps, for a total of 9.2 miles, at a 9:20/mile pace. Long runs are supposed to be slow, and we definitely take them easy enough to be able to talk every step of the way, but we couldn’t help but commiserate over how neither of us felt like we could go any faster that day, even though we both have longer goal races coming up that we want to run at a faster pace (and we’ve both run much farther, much faster before.) It’s so weird how that works. It truly is all in your head.

Late in the afternoon, Clark and I took a bunch of cleaning supplies to the beach house to clean up some dog poop that had gotten smeared into area rugs the weekend before. (Pepper had pooped on the FRONT STEPS, in the dark, and people kept stepping in it and then tracking it into the house, because who expects dog poop right on the front steps??) That wound up not taking long at all, so we dragged Pepper over to the beach while we were there. He still hates it.

Then we took him to Big Oyster for dinner, made a stop at Brimming Horn to pick up some mead and then went to Clark’s coworker’s house for the rest of the evening.

The next morning, I made myself get up close to my usual time, even though I’d gotten to bed late and we’d lost the hour to Daylight Saving Time. I had another run on the schedule, but I was really tired and it was pouring rain outside anyway, so I put it off at least until the afternoon.

Later, the rain had ended and I was sitting on the couch trying to will myself to get up and run. Then Clark asked if I wanted to go on a bike ride with my brother. Apparently Clark had set one up with him the day before, but then Clark didn’t feel like doing it haha.

So I got my bike and myself ready to go for a ride for the first time in nearly five months. It had not warmed up as much as they’d said it would, but it was warm enough to ride with the cropped biking tights I’d gotten for Christmas… in 2017. (This was their first ride ever.)

Dave got to our house around 2 p.m. and we went out to ride the 18.6-mile loop. It was his first time on his road bike since the fall as well, though he’s been training on a stationary bike at the gym.

It was a little windy outside, so that sucked when we had to ride into it, but obviously it was pretty awesome when it was at our backs. It all evened out and we finished the loop in just over an hour, an 18.3 mph average, about where I usually am.

Then we went for a run “together.” I put that in quotes because as soon as I’d told my brother the route for the 4.5-mile loop, he took the hell off haha. I’d have brought my iPod if I’d known I was actually going to be running alone!

As is always the case, running felt super weird after biking. I also felt like I was running so much slower than the day before, but my first mile was 8:14, more than a minute faster. I pretty much maintained that the rest of the way. I ran all the way back to the house instead of walking a cool down, since I could see Dave standing in the driveway waiting for me, and wound up running 4.7 miles at an 8:14/mile pace. So I’d basically just done an extra marathon goal pace run.

It might have had something to do with my new Zantes, but again, my legs felt so weird after biking, I couldn’t even tell if I liked the shoes. I’ll try them again today.

Eagleman is three months away. I think Dave is going to do pretty well. It’s his first triathlon, and he seems nervous about it, which is part of why he’s ramping up his training already. (He’s also swam with Kara at the Y, and he has a wetsuit ready to go when the river warms up enough.) The other part is the fact he’s a farmer, and work is slow at the moment. He’s getting in a lot of training while he can, because there will be some busy seasons before June, when he won’t have so much time. Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing how he does.

Oh! Speaking of brothers, Clark’s brother, Chad, ran his second marathon this weekend at Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. He finished in 3:26, a 25-minute improvement on his first marathon in Baltimore last October. Very impressive! He has said he wants to BQ, which is 3:00 for his current age group. That was a big step toward that. Both of the marathons he’s run have been hilly, so he could probably get down to 3:20 at this point just by finding a nice flat course.

In the half marathon at the same event, my sister-in-law, Samira, finished her first in 2:35, and my father-in-law ran 2:12, so, congrats all around!

My goal marathon for the spring is now six days away. I feel pretty good about it. I’ve just got a few short runs left this week, and then it’s go time.

March 8, 2019

Training for 3/8/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:32 pm

Today, I had a couple of articles I had to get done by the end of the day, and they turned out to take a lot longer than I expected. (They always do.) Then I had to go in town to pick up my new glasses. So it’s already after 5 p.m. and I haven’t run yet. I might get in a short run if Clark gets home soon. If not, oh well.

I also got something else today:

zante pursuits

New Balance Zante Pursuits!

So far I’ve only worn them to walk from the kitchen to the couch, but they have an all-knit upper and feel like a snug sock. I’m excited to try them out on the road, but that won’t be today, because it’s started raining.

Last night, I picked up the pictures from the two disposable cameras I dropped off last week.

First of all, it’s expensive to develop film now. The Rite Aid I dropped mine at no longer has an in-store lab, so they had to send them off, which I’m sure adds to the expense. But still, I only got a handful of pictures off each camera, and they cost almost $11 a piece to develop!

Not only was it expensive, the film was so old, everything turned out very grainy too. So overall, I don’t think it was worth it.

Anyway, here are a couple pictures that turned out OK (as in, you can at least see what they’re supposed to be) from the first camera, which I used when Clark and I were trying to surf in California in June 2015:

ocean pic 2


ocean pic 1

A wave?

The other camera was from January and February 2003, when I was getting ready to graduate from and leave tech school in Texas, and then when I got home. Most of the pictures appeared to have been taken outside at night, which only added to the poor quality.

But here’s a great one from inside my dorm room:

me in tech school

Geared up for PT, or to walk to one of the group fitness classes I sometimes took on base. I have no idea what I’m doing with my hands here.

There were a couple pictures of this Ford Contour SVT one of my classmates had. SVT stood for “special vehicle team” and was Ford’s performance division, but this kid’s Contour was clearly a base model whose SVT “badges” were mailbox stickers. None of us had the heart to tell him we could tell it was a fake though. He was only 17 and had bragged to us for weeks about his SVT Contour, and then he drove it back to tech school from his home in Louisiana after Christmas break to show it off. We weren’t sure he knew it was fake anyway — it really seemed like he had been duped into buying it like that. Unfortunately, none of those pictures turned out, but it made me laugh remembering it.

Speaking of cars, right after I came home from tech school, I traded in my rickety old ’87 Accord for a ’99 Civic. It snowed right after I bought it:

billy in the snow

And here is my little sister, 9 years old, in a snow drift created after my dad plowed the lanes:

julie in the snow

And that’s about all I got for nearly $22 worth of film!

This weekend is the last one before Shamrock. I’m meeting Kelly tomorrow morning again for a run. I’ve got 8 on the schedule, but I’m pretty sure we’re doing loops of the park trail, so I’ll get 9 miles instead. I’d also like to get in a run Sunday. Other than that, we don’t have any big plans for the weekend.

March 7, 2019

Training for 3/7/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:41 pm

Today warmed up just a hair, and the wind backed off a few mph, so I went for a run. I mean, it took me all day to do it, but I did it.

I just did an easy lap around the 4.5-mile loop. It really wasn’t that bad out. In fact, I think I overdressed a little. Anyway, I finished the loop in 38:55ish, an 8:38/mile average.

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