A Simple Running Log

May 20, 2019

St. Michaels Half Marathon recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 9:46 am

The first taste of summer arrived this weekend, just in time to make things tough for everyone running the St. Michaels Half Marathon. The inevitable bathroom break at mile 10 didn’t help my race either. I did not get anywhere close to hitting my goal, but I did the best I could.

Pepper and I went to St. Michaels on Friday afternoon to pick up race packets for Clark, Clark’s dad and me. Again this year, they assigned bib numbers as runners checked in, rather than pre-assigning them. Seems to work fine.

I got some Chick-fil-A chicken strips and waffle fries for dinner on the way home, and ate pretty early, for me anyway. I was hoping more time to digest would help get things moving before I started racing the next morning.

Poor Clark was gone all last week for work and, due to a series of travel-related mishaps, didn’t get home until 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning — 90 minutes before we had to get up for the race! Somehow, he pulled it off.

Anyway, yes, my alarm went off at 4 a.m. Saturday. I drank some coffee and did my ab routine and — voilá! — was able to poop before we left home. I was feeling optimistic.

We left the house at 5, picked up Clark’s dad and dropped off Pepper to hang out with Clark’s mom, and were in St. Michaels a little after 6, about an hour before the race started. We had no trouble finding a spot to park on a side street between the start and finish line areas.

I had to pee really bad by then, so my first stop was the start area, to use a port-o-potty. Then I ran a mile and a half to warm up.

It wasn’t too warm yet, but it was super humid. I was running about a 9:25/mile pace for the warm up, and even that felt harder in the thick, soupy air. I tried to convince myself it wasn’t that bad.

I also hit up a lone port-o-potty outside a house under construction and got to poop AGAIN. That’s twice before the race started! I was really feeling optimistic.

I joined the first wave in the starting corral. A girl in fourth grade sang a very impressive rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. And then we were off!

There was a drone filming the race start. It buzzed up from behind us as we made the first turn onto St. Michaels’ main street. Some guy running near me yelled “Wasps!” haha.

The first mile led us down that street, lined with little shops and restaurants, and out of town. My Garmin beeped the first split — 7:46.

2019 st michaels half mile 1

Somewhere in the first mile.

2019 st michaels half mile 1 2

Also in the first mile.

It didn’t feel unmanageable, but that would turn out to be the ONLY mile I’d run under goal pace all day!

The second mile ran along the shoulder of Route 33 and then took us into Harbourtowne. I really thought I’d maintained my pace, but the second split was 8:08. Crap.

The next few miles were in Harbourtowne. I ran 3 in 8:01, 4 in 8:09 and 5 in 8:05. A little slow, but not bad. Again, I thought the pace felt manageable, like something I could hold another eight miles.

It was really warming up though. Fortunately, the sun had not broken through the cloud cover (yet), but I was drenched in sweat that wasn’t going anywhere.

It was somewhere in the next mile I got passed by a guy running in a SWEATSHIRT. How?!

The Garmin announced the end of mile 6 — 8:21. Oof.

I slowed a little so I could eat a Huma gel as we ran up on the next aid station. (I stopped for water at every single aid station.) We left Harbourtowne and took Route 33 back toward town.

The next mile marker was on Route 33. A woman running near me asked what mile that was as we approached it. I told her it was mile 7 and she blurted out “Are you serious?? That’s it?!” and another guy near us said “You and me both!” Mile 7 was 8:35. Shit was getting tough.

On the bright side, I was more than halfway through and I hadn’t felt like I’d have to poop yet!

We ran back into town, then took a couple turns on some side streets to head out toward another little neighborhood near the water. Mile 8 was 8:28. I swear, it felt like I was running just as hard as I had been at the beginning, but my legs wouldn’t move any faster.

2019 st michaels half mile 8

Around mile 8. My sunglasses had starting fogging up in the humid, overcast conditions.

I saw the leader on his way back in the next mile. I was at about mile 8.5 when he was around 12.3. Smoking fast.

Mile 9 was 8:38. This was getting ugly.

The next mile ran into the neighborhood, where we did a loop. That was when my butt made it presence known. I was not going to make it through this race poop-free after all.

I finished mile 10 in 8:37. There was an aid station past the mile marker. I came up on the lone port-o-potty there just as another runner was shutting the door. Crap. The next port-o-potty was at least two miles away. I had no choice but to wait.

So I stood there and waited for what felt like an eternity. The 1:50 pacer ran by while I could only stand there and watch. I could hear the other runner fiddling with the toilet paper a lot. Finally, she came out.

When I got in there, I saw what had taken her so long with that toilet paper — the roll was brand new, and it was that cheap single-ply that’s impossible to start cleanly, especially with sweaty hands. It was just coming off the roll in ribbons. It’s hard to clean up with a handful of thin strands!

I clawed at that damn roll until I finally got some actual sheets to start coming off, cleaned up and went on my way. I lost a LOT of time there. I felt much better though!

I finished the loop and started running back toward town again. I saw Kelly, leading the 2:00 pace group, on her way to start the loop. I also saw Bart.

By that time, the sun had come out. That finished me off. I was in survival mode. Just put one foot in front of the other until it’s over.

There was one more out-and-back on a back road before we could go back in town. Mile 11 was at the beginning of the out-and-back — 11:02 with all that lost time thanks to the port-o-potty situation. Whatever.

I made it to the U-turn. On my way back, I made the mistake of glancing at my current pace on the Garmin. 9:30!! Slower than my warm up, but I could not go any faster!

This is why I rarely look at current pace: My mile 12 split was 8:50. Slow, but not as bad as I’d thought it would be.

Just past the mile 12 marker was the end of the out-and-back. I turned right to go back to town.

There were a few more turns in town before we got to the finish line. The mile 13 marker was just before the last turn. I felt like I was running as hard as possible, but I only managed an 8:37 for that last mile.

2019 st michaels half final mile

Had to put the sunglasses back down for the last couple of miles.

2019 st michaels half final mile closer

Almost there!

Then I made the last turn and there it was — the finish line.

I ran 13.2 miles by my Garmin, but officially, I finished 13.1 miles in 1:52:52, an 8:37/mile average.

2019 st michaels half finish

My new favorite finish line photo haha.

I was really glad to be done running! I got my finisher’s medal and a bottle of Gatorade, then hung out by the water bottle station. TK’s mom, who had run the 5K, found me in there. I bitched to her about the humidity while I waited for everyone else to finish.

Kelly was the first to come through, finishing in 1:59:48. Perfect pacing!

Melissa was next. She ran 1:46, but had been assigned to the third wave for some reason, so she’d started almost 15 minutes after I did. She’s training for a 50-miler in a few weeks and tried to convince me to run some more with her after the race. I successfully stood my ground on that one haha. No more for me today!

Clark’s dad was next, in 2:11. Bart was right behind him, running 2:12.

Apparently, there was a line on the registration form where we were supposed to supply a “fun fact” for the finish line announcer. I didn’t see that. Most people wrote something about an upcoming wedding anniversary, or how many times they’d run St. Michaels. A woman who finished just before Clark had written she runs for her kids.

And then I heard, “Here comes Clark Andrews — he runs for beer!” as Clark came to the line haha. He finished in 2:17.

I went back to the truck to change into dry clothes, and then I rejoined everyone at the post-race party. The race bibs all had a ticket attached for one free beer, but it was only good for Bud Light. Fortunately, I’d invested $10 in an all-you-can-drink wristband, and we could also get Shock Top or Goose Island IPA with that.

It felt pretty good out there just standing around and drinking beer!

group after st michaels

Clark’s dad, Bart, Clark, me and Kelly.

When they posted the results, I’d ranked pretty well, in spite of being so far off my goal. I guess everyone was affected by the weather.

I was 9th of 145 in the F 35-39 age group (and if I hadn’t lost so much time at the port-o-potty, and had finished around 1:50, I’d have been 4th!) I was also 52nd of 806 women, and 163rd of 1,270 overall.

st michaels 2019 swag

Race shirt, bibs and medals. I used to think South Carolina residents were fanatics about their state flag, but I think Marylanders have them beat now.

We didn’t quite make it to the end of the post-race party. Clark was understandably beat. He and his dad went home, while I went to Julie’s house, to finally celebrate Christmas with my friends. We weren’t able to get together for that until July last year, so we’re doing better!

We had a good time there. Julie is renting a house on a farm now. We went to visit the cows. I found out cows can spray poop. (Good thing I hadn’t showered yet.) I also got to meet a yellow Lab named after Taylor Swift. All Taylor the Lab wanted was a good belly rub. I was more than happy to oblige.

taylor the dog

I finally showered that evening, and then Clark and I met Kelly and Corey at 3rd Wave. We went straight to bed when we got home.

Sunday morning, Clark and I washed the truck and his company car. He also cut the grass.

In the afternoon, we met Dave for some Eagleman training. It was perfect conditions — hot and windy. Just like Eagleman always is.

Normally, we would go to Cambridge to train on the actual course, but there were powerboat races being held on the river, so we went to the Choptank marina.

They swam first. I hung out on shore for that.

choptank marina

Oh look, there’s the Maryland flag again.

Then we rode the bikes to Federalsburg and back. Fortunately, the wind was mostly a cross wind both ways, but it was definitely slower on the way back. We finished 20.5 miles at an 18.6 mph average.

Then we ran what turned out to be a 4.5-mile loop. Dave took the hell off, as usual. Clark decided he didn’t want to run the whole loop and he was going to turn around and do a 3-mile out-and-back.

I ran the whole loop, but it was hot and I didn’t feel like running anymore by halfway through, so I took a few walk breaks. I wound up finishing it at a 9:33/mile average.

I had a fly with me the WHOLE way. It buzzed around my head for the first two miles or so. I thought I’d gotten rid of it, but just before the end of the loop, I felt a little tickle behind my right ear, and when I scratched it, the fly came out! Apparently it’d been hanging out between the back of my ear and my headband for 2.5 miles. Gross!

Anyway, I took another much-needed shower when we got home from that, ate a big ol’ burger for dinner and then passed out. Clark and I were both absolutely exhausted.

As of today, I’m training plan-free until Steamtown Marathon training begins June 10. My next race is the Masser 5-Miler next Sunday though, so I should do some more speed work this week. I think today I’ll do some strength training and an easy 3-miler.


  1. Ugh, that mugginess sounds awful! I can’t WAIT to run in it! (not all kidding!) Great job anyway!
    I DID know that cow spay poo…so gross. Did you actually get some on you?
    Taylor is freaking adorable!

    Comment by Chris Bouldin — May 20, 2019 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

    • You’ll be back just in time for it haha! Enjoy!
      Yep, I got a couple specks of poop on my leg, but I saw it coming and tried to move. My friend who was also in the ‘splash zone’ but did not see it coming wound up with it in her hair!

      Comment by aschmid3 — May 20, 2019 @ 1:22 pm | Reply

  2. Ugh! Sorry the weather turned on you. I’ve run the Run For The Red Marathon which was this past weekend. Seems like it is always hot that weekend.

    Comment by ocrunnergirl — May 20, 2019 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

    • It’s a real crapshoot this time of year! I’ve done this one the last seven years, always on the same weekend. We’ve had everything from 50 degrees with pouring rain to blazing heat. This year was warm but it wasn’t close to the worst it’s been!

      Comment by aschmid3 — May 20, 2019 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

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