A Simple Running Log

October 14, 2019

Steamtown Marathon recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:39 am

Before I get into my own mid-pack marathon performance from the weekend, I would like to acknowledge two historically significant ones!

First — Eliud Kipchoge’s incredible SUB-2 marathon Saturday morning in Austria! It was an extremely controlled experiment rather than a race, to see if it was even possible for a human to run that fast, so it doesn’t count as a world record. (He also owns the actual record, 2:01:39.) But I think now that he’s proven it can be done, someone will do it in a real race. If not him, someone he just inspired.

kipchoge running

Coming to the line ahead of some of the 41 pacers who took turns keeping him on track and blocking any wind resistance for him throughout the run.

kipchoge with flag

For us average runners, that clock time is a big accomplishment for a HALF marathon!

That’s 4:34/mile pace for 26.2 consecutive miles. Most people, myself included, can’t run that pace for a single lap around a 400-meter track. He is such a joy to watch run!

Then, Sunday in Chicago, Brigid Kosgei knocked off almost a minute and a half from the official women’s world record for the marathon, finishing in 2:14:04!

womens WR collage

This was a record that seemed almost untouchable. The previous record was set in 2003 by Paula Radcliffe at the London Marathon, when she was allowed to run with male pacers to keep on her on track. Pacers are no longer allowed. Kosgei kept the 5:07/mile average pace all on her own. Amazing!

And now, my Steamtown Marathon recap!

Saturday morning, I woke up at 2:08 and couldn’t get back to sleep. I realized Kipchoge was about to start his sub-2 try in Austria, so I pulled up the YouTube channel where it was live streaming and watched the beginning. I dozed through most of it, but I woke up in time to see him pull it off live. Felt almost like I’d dreamed it when I got up for real!

I got up a little after 5 so I could thoroughly clean the utility room, in case someone wanted to look at the house while I was gone. I really hope we get this house under contract soon, because I am TIRED of trying to keep this place showing-ready at all times.

At sunrise, I went out for a 2-mile shakeout run. For the first time in months, I had a certain four-legged running buddy with me.

shakeout run with pepper

Taking Pepper meant I kept it nice and sloooow, as I was supposed to. I didn’t time it but it was pretty pokey. Even when we turned around and he tried to speed up because he wanted to get home, we weren’t moving too fast. My old man has slowed down. It was still great to run with him again though!

When we got back, I packed Pepper’s and my stuff for the weekend, sent Pepper off with Clark’s dad and got the house all straightened up. I was ready to go when Melissa and Liz picked me up.

The drive to Scranton was fine. We got to the expo in a high school in time to pick up our bibs and shirts and catch most of a talk with the race directors about the race. Liz and I had both run Steamtown previously, but Melissa hadn’t, and wanted to hear what they had to say about the layout of the hills in particular.

We missed most of that, however. But we were there for the Q&A. A lot of people were asking questions that made me wonder if they’d even trained for the race haha. By the time you get to the expo, shouldn’t you already know how much water you should drink before and during running, or how to run up a hill?

Later that afternoon, Melissa and I checked out the Scranton Running Co. on a recommendation from one of her friends. I got a couple Huma+ gels for the race (like the regular Humas, but with caffeine added) and admired this cool mural on the back wall.

scranton running co mural

We had dinner at a restaurant right behind our hotel. I did the typical runner thing and got spaghetti with marinara sauce and meatballs.

Sufficiently stuffed, we went back to the hotel, laid out our stuff for the next morning and were all in bed, lights out, by 9 p.m.

About an hour before we were supposed to get up, I got a couple of texts and then a call from Clark. California is, of course, three hours behind East Coast time, and it was about closing time out there. Clark was drunk and, as the kids say, in his feelings and just wanted to let me know how much he missed me. I’m used to the super early-morning texts and calls and slept through them, but Liz and Melissa did not, and they weren’t too happy haha. We called him back after we got up but he didn’t answer — he’d probably gone to sleep — so we left him an obnoxiously peppy voicemail.

Anyway, other than that hiccup, the morning went smoothly. The hotel opened the breakfast area an hour earlier than usual for the marathon runners staying there, which was very considerate. I just had some coffee, and one of the plain white bagels I’d brought with me.

I love the logistics of small races like this one. It was a 10-minute drive to downtown Scranton from our hotel. We easily found free street parking near the finish line by the courthouse and got right on one of the shuttle buses to the start of the point-to-point course, at a huge school in Forest City. No stress.

It was about a 45-minute ride to Forest City. The sun started coming up as we got close. It was going to be a beautiful day for a marathon! It was chilly, but not too cold, and almost completely calm. Perfect running weather, just like they’d predicted.

As soon as we got off the bus, we were cheered into the school by Forest City cheerleaders. I loved that part!

The field of runners was small enough (about 1,000 finishers) that we all fit in a gym in the school, where we could hang out until the last minute before the start. No shivering in the corral for hours. Have I mentioned how much I love this race?

Melissa, Liz and I did all our last-minute pre-race stuff, checked our gear bags and headed out to the start line. A few minutes later, there was a cannon blast to send us on our way, and we were running the Steamtown Marathon!

I ran the first nine miles with Melissa, who was also going for 3:36. The first mile was a few seconds slow because of the crowd at the very start, but soon we were clicking off miles well under goal pace. Of course, all the downhill in the first eight miles helps, but there are also a few gentle uphills to even things out.

Our fastest mile of the day was mile 5, which is almost completely severely downhill. I remembered that 3:36 pace band had recommended we run it in 7:55. We ran it in 7:21!

As we came up on a rest stop at mile 9, I had to use the bathroom. I knew I wasn’t going to see Melissa again until the finish. I told her to go get it as I ran off-course to a port-o-potty.

I felt a lot better after that stop. I took my second Huma gel of the day (I’d taken the first around mile 4.8) and started running again.

The next couple of miles, I was still on goal pace. But then my feet really started bothering me. I could feel blisters forming on the the inside balls of both feet. I was not expecting that! I haven’t had trouble with blisters there in years, because I’ve got calluses built up. I don’t know if it was because of the hills or what, but it was like my feet were sliding around more than usual inside my shoes and they were rubbing a slightly different, non-callused part.

Whatever was causing it, both of my feet were burning as I passed halfway in 1:48 and change. I had to adjust my stride a few times when it felt like one was maybe going to pop. That is a white-hot searing pain I was trying my best to avoid.

At that point, we were on a trail along the Lackawanna River. This was my favorite section of the course in 2011, and it was even better this year. The trail has been extended in the last eight years, so we got to spend more time on it, and it’s been paved! It used to be dirt and stones the whole way.

And it’s gorgeous this time of year, with the leaves all changing color. It was a bright, sunny day too, which just made it even prettier. I made sure to look around and appreciate it a few times over the miles we ran along it.

I took a third Huma around mile 14.5. A half-mile later, I was surprised to run up behind Liz, who’d started the day with 3:30 in mind. She said her feet were hurting too. We wished each other a good last 11 miles and then I ran on ahead.

The paved trail part of the course ended for good before mile 18. Then we ran around a baseball field (not on the field, just around the outside perimeter fence) and the rest of the run was back on residential streets.

At mile 19, I had to stop to use the bathroom again. I don’t think it had anything to do with the Humas. I never had any of the stomach cramping I was getting in the second half of marathons when I was still using GU. (Which was a BIG relief — thank you to everyone who recommended I try Huma!) This was just regular ol’ running making me poop. Sigh.

Just 7.2 miles to go. I was still running steadily, painfully aware of my feet, but nowhere near goal pace any longer. Still, I was keeping my mile splits between 8:30 and 8:40 for the most part.

Until, that is, miles 23 and 24. The worst uphills of the course are saved for miles 23 and 24. It’s cruel, but at least you know you’re almost at the end.

Screen Shot 2019-10-16 at 8.38.00 AM

Even better — the race photographer was at mile 23 to capture that uphill forever.

Melissa later said she glanced at her Garmin while she was running up those hills and she saw a 10:00/mile current pace. I did not look at current pace! I just noticed the splits — 9:02 for 23 and 9:22 for 24. Oof.

The spectators were out again though to cheer us up those hills, just as I remembered from last time. They were great!

The 25th mile mostly flattened out again, and there was even a little downhill. I sped back up to an 8:31.

There is one last hill in the last mile, however, and it goes on forever! You’re on the street where the finish line is, but you can’t see it because of that damn hill. I seriously could not move my legs any faster, and it was clear all the runners around me were hurting just as bad.

Finally, I reached the top of that last hill. The mile 26 marker was just over the other side — my split was 8:50 — and we had a nice downhill finish for the last 0.2.

Screen Shot 2019-10-15 at 3.36.07 PM

Coming to the finish line.

I crossed the line in 3:44:49!

Obviously not the time I had in mind when I started the race, but after handling two bathroom breaks and surprise blisters on both feet by halfway, I was proud of it. I really felt like I’d done the best I could that day, rather than throwing in the towel when it was clear my goal time wasn’t going to happen, and that’s about all I can ask for.

It was also in my top five fastest marathons, of the 23 I’ve finished now.

And my Garmin was super impressed with me. I’d been having trouble getting it to charge Friday night, so I did a hard reset. (Turned out the issue was with one of the prongs on the charger, which I fixed, not the watch itself, but anyway.) That erased all the records on the watch, so I ran my “fastest recorded” mile, 5K, 10K, half and full marathon and longest run ever. Big day haha.

Melissa was waiting for me just past the line, having finished in 3:38! That is a BQ for her age group by more than 11 minutes, which means she’s pretty much guaranteed to get into Boston 2021. She was ecstatic! I’m the one who’d recommended Steamtown to her so I was glad she’d had such a good race haha.

We didn’t have to wait long for Liz to finish in 3:57. She’s run 3:32, before she had two kids, and she’s on her way back. She was happy to keep it under four hours.

We got massages and then hit the food tent. Liz and I were both feeling a little nauseated and just took something to drink, but Melissa took full advantage of everything in that tent. They had pizza, subs, soup, pierogies, cookies and probably lots more I didn’t notice.

Then we got our gear check bags and took some post-race pictures.

post steamtown with liz and melissa

Liz, me and Melissa.

post steamtown selfie

We walked less than a block to get back to Melissa’s truck and changed our clothes. I had some visible blood on one of my (black) socks, so I guess one of those blisters did pop at some point. Overall though, my feet didn’t look as bad as they’d felt.

We hit the road. By the time we were near the end of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, we were all ready to EAT. We stopped at a Red Robin near the Christiana Mall in northern Delaware. I wolfed down a mushroom and Swiss burger and a couple of beers. I felt like a new person after that!

Also, our Realtor called and asked if it was OK for another Realtor to show our house in 30 minutes. I was glad I’d taken the time to get the house ready before I left!

I was home around 6:30 p.m. I unpacked all my stuff and then went over to Clark’s parents’ house to get Pepper. They had Punkin Ale there so I had a couple with them.

So, to wrap up this race report, here’s all the swag from Steamtown this year:

steamtown swag

Super nice long-sleeved shirt, cool medal and my bib, with the purple ribbon we all got for good luck as we entered the school that morning.

And my (still unofficial) stats:

  • Chip time: 3:44:49
  • 14th/62 F 35-39
  • 74th/385 women
  • 311th/1,001 overall

This week, I am looking forward to recovering! My calves are sore and my feet still hurt where they were getting blistered, but other than that I feel OK today.

I’m glad I ran a relatively early fall marathon this year. I don’t have to worry about it anymore, on top of everything else going on, and I get about a month off of training until Shamrock training starts in mid-November. I’m just glad the weather cooperated and summer moved on when it was supposed to.


October 11, 2019

Training for 10/11/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 9:07 am

This is it! My last post before my second crack at the Steamtown Marathon.

Training started June 10. Since then, I’ve run just shy of 600 miles to get ready for this. It wasn’t perfect — it never is — but I think I put in enough hard workouts and long runs to have a shot at my ‘A’ goal, which is to PR (sub-3:40.)

There’s a very useful tool at findmymarathon.com for half and full marathon runners. It’s a course-specific pace band generator — just find your race course and enter your goal time, and it adjusts your goal mile splits to account for elevation changes.

I thought about ordering one to wear in the race, but I forgot about it until a couple days ago, so it’s way too late for that. So I’ll just try to memorize this:

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 9.48.11 AM

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 9.48.24 AM

Basically, the worst uphills are at the end (see the last four mile splits) so I should aim for slightly under goal pace most of the first 22 miles. Simple enough!

Anyway, this is for a 3:36 finish, about an 8:15/mile average. That’s the ‘A’ goal.

My ‘B’ goal is anything under 3:40:44. ‘C’ goal is better than my Shamrock time from earlier this year, 3:49:21. ‘D’ is sub-4 and ‘E’ is to just finish. One of those should be doable.

The weather still looks perfect, I’ve got my Huma gels ready to go (I’m hoping the GU really was the cause of all the stomach cramping I’ve had in the second half of marathons the last couple of years) and I’m doing a load of laundry right now so I have absolutely every piece of running gear available when I finally settle on a race outfit.

Two other big running events are happening this weekend too. Eliud Kipchoge will make his second attempt at being the first person to break two hours in the marathon sometime this weekend, depending on when the weather is right. And the Chicago Marathon is Sunday. I love fall marathon season!

October 10, 2019

Training for 10/10/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:09 pm

Today was warm and windy. I did a very easy 3-miler at an 8:53/mile average. Other than a slow 2-miler Saturday morning, that was my last run before Steamtown.

Speaking of Steamtown, I hate to jinx this, but the weather forecast right now looks absolutely ideal. Overnight low of 44, daytime high of 63, reasonable humidity, light breeze, partly cloudy. I mean, if I could program marathon conditions, that’s pretty much it.

I was honestly worried about it all summer. While it was perfect weather when I ran it in 2011 as well, the past two years, the weekend they held this race, it was like July. Super high humidity and temperatures in the 80s. Looks like it will actually feel like fall in northeastern Pennsylvania this time around!

October 9, 2019

Training for 10/9/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:49 pm

Today, I just did another easy lap of the 4.5-mile loop at an 8:33/mile pace. I’m probably going to do a few more miles tomorrow, take off Friday and then do two miles Saturday before we head up to Scranton for the marathon Sunday. I seem to feel better in a marathon if I don’t take a lot of days completely off running before the race.

I also accomplished another thing today. I bought the 2016 Ford Focus ST Clark had been driving as his company car for the last three years from his now-former employer, and got it tagged and titled in Delaware.

Originally, I’d planned to wait until I got to California to buy a car there, but Clark’s old company offered us a price on that Focus we just could not turn down, even with having to pay to tag it here for what will only be a couple months until we have to do it all over again in California. It has high miles on it for the model year, but we know who put them all on it and how it was driven. That should be a good car for many more years, and I’ve always loved driving it.

Also, it already meets California ultra-low emissions standards, so we don’t have to worry about that.

As devoted to Ford as I was growing up watching NASCAR, it’s hard to believe this is the first time in my life I’ve owned one!

October 8, 2019

Training for 10/8/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:18 pm

I felt pretty tired all day yesterday, so I took a rest day.

Today, I felt a lot better. I did the last little speed workout of this training cycle, four 400-meter repeats.

As usual, I programmed the workout into my Garmin and ran them on the road, aiming for 1:45 splits. After a 1.5-mile warmup, I ran 1:45, 1:44, 1:37 and 1:41, with a quarter-mile of recovery between each. I did one more mile to cool down, finishing the 4.5-mile loop in 37:15, an 8:17/mile overall average.

October 7, 2019

Sea Gull Century recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 8:26 am

Saturday, Dave and I rode the Sea Gull Century, from Salisbury University to Assateague Island and back. This was my second time riding it, and Dave’s first.

It’s a show-and-go start with a two-hour window. We tried to get started as close to the beginning of that window as possible, which got us to the start area in time to see one guy tip over on his bike before he’d even technically started the ride. Not a good sign for how his day was going to go!

It was a chilly morning, and breezier than I’d expected. That breeze became a wind that steadily picked up through the morning. Unfortunately, the wind direction put it right in our faces on the way to Assateague, which follows a significantly longer route than when we turn around to go back to Salisbury — 62.5 miles to get there, 40 miles to get back.

That headwind killed me. I’m sure not riding my bike at all since July didn’t help either!

Anyway, the first segment of the ride went fine. I hung with Dave until about mile 12, when he joined a pace line that was passing us. You can ride a lot faster in a pace line than on your own, thanks to drafting, but there’s a lot of etiquette and rules that go into it that I don’t know, and I didn’t want to piss anyone off. Plus, the bikes have to ride really close together and that makes me nervous. Just like in a restrictor plate race in NASCAR, when the cars all race close together to draft, if one person has a problem, it can set off a chain reaction that collects a lot of other people.

The first rest stop was in Snow Hill around mile 23. I saw Dave there. We got some food and took off.

That was the last time I saw Dave until the finish haha. He jetted away from me before we’d even gotten out of Snow Hill.

The second segment, I was already feeling beat. My quads were on fire! I know cycling uses them a lot more than running, and I’ve pretty much only been running all year, but still. It was ridiculous, and disheartening. I still had so far to go.

I got to the second rest stop at mile 44, in a park in Newark. It was water only, so I ate one of the gels I brought. Cycling makes me so freaking hungry, and it doesn’t do anything to upset my stomach, no matter how much food I put in it, unlike running.

It was “only” 18 miles to the third stop in Assateague, where I knew there’d be a ton of food waiting for me. I thought about how much I was going to eat the whole way there.

The climb over the Verrazano Bridge to get to the island was kinda nerve-wracking. The wind was a cross wind, and my bike was shaking the whole over it. Felt like I was going to get blown right off the side of it!

I survived it and got to the aid station. As I pulled in and laid down my bike, I suddenly had the strongest craving for a burger. I’ve seen them at aid stations in ultras, so why not a century ride? I wanted one so bad I thought I could smell it.

It was all my imagination though, dang it. But they had plenty of other stuff. I wanted salt and carbs so I downed potato chips, a pickle spear, a shot of pickle juice, cranberry bread, blueberry bread, chocolate chip cookies and Fig Newtons.

I left Assateague and started the longest segment of the whole ride, 25 miles, to the final aid station.

I was kinda with a pace line as we got into Berlin, where we all had to slow down anyway because there were a ton of turns through town streets with traffic. We left the town and I decided to hang with them.

We were cruising right along. It was nice being able to ride faster while working a lot less!

Eventually our group absorbed another, four or five women wearing matching jerseys, clearly part of a club.

Around mile 80, it happened — someone touched someone else’s wheel and a chain reaction was set off. I don’t know how many riders went down. Fortunately I was just ahead of it and did not get involved, but all the club members stopped to help, and that was the end of the pace line.

I rode alone the rest of the way to the mile 85 rest stop at a VFW in Powellville. More pickle juice and Fig Newtons, and I was on my way to the finish.

The last segment was tough. I knew the route was longer than 100 miles, but it still sucked when the Garmin beeped 100 and I was nowhere near the college.

Finally I was coasting through the Route 13 tunnel to get back on campus. Dave was there, having already finished ages ago.

me finishing 2019 sea gull century

He even took a picture of me.

I made it to the quad and hit stop on the Garmin — 102.4 miles in 6 hours and 11 minutes, a 16.6 mph average. A full mile an hour slower average pace than the last time I rode it. Stupid headwind!

I was so grateful to climb off that bike for the last time! I put it away in Dave’s truck and changed into dry clothes, and then Dave and I got our complimentary pie and ice cream and had a couple beers while watching other people roll through to the finish.

2019 sea gull century collage

Left, top to bottom: Powellville VFW stop, final Garmin data, cherry pie and vanilla ice cream with my bib. Right: The prettiest bike in all the land!

We went back to Dave’s house, where we both took showers, and then we went to Kara’s house for our nephew Jamie’s 16th birthday party. God bless Kara and Huey, because they grilled burgers for everyone. I finally got one!

I picked up Pepper from Clark’s parents’ house on the way home (they did not go to the beach that day as I’d thought.) I unloaded the car when I got home, and then I went straight to bed.

Sunday, I was up early again to meet Kelly and Susan for a run in Salisbury. My in-laws the night before had asked how that was going to work, after biking for six hours Saturday. Honestly, running never feels so good as it does after a long bike ride. It’s like my body appreciates it more because biking feels so weird or something.

That was definitely the case Sunday. I did 8.4 miles on the trail loop at a 9:17/mile average and felt like I was gliding the whole way. It was nice to feel like I knew what I was doing again.

Anyway, Pepper had gone with my in-laws for the day again, so when I got home, I vacuumed all the carpets that had been steam cleaned Friday, put all the furniture back in place and then went to Dover to meet my family for the NASCAR race.

This year is Dover’s 50th anniversary. Since there have been two NASCAR races a year there every year since it opened, yesterday’s race was the 100th.

I got two promotional beers. First was Splash & Go, a lager made by local brewery Fordham & Dominion to commemorate the track’s 50th anniversary.

splash and go beer

And then I paid $5 for a single can of Busch beer, because they changed the name to Harvick, just for this weekend’s race, because Busch is the last name of two drivers Kevin Harvick competes against, brothers Kurt and Kyle.

It was a genius stroke of marketing, really. I would never buy or drink Busch because it tastes awful, but I did both yesterday, just so I could have one of those “special” cans with my favorite driver’s name on the label.

me with the harvick beer

Kyle Larson broke a two-year winless streak, which also automatically advanced him to the next round in the playoffs, so that was cool. Otherwise it wasn’t a very exciting race.

larson burnout

Victory burnout.

Oh, I saw this guy who’d been working on this spray paint art all weekend:

dover street art

I picked up Pepper again, came home and once again was dead asleep by 10 p.m.

Training this week is pretty light, since the Steamtown Marathon is now only six days away! I have a short easy run on the schedule today.

Finally, Clark made it to our apartment in time to watch the sunset over the Pacific from our balcony Friday, and he starts his new job today. I miss him even more than I like Delaware — and I know Pepper does too — so fingers crossed we can get this house sold soon so Pepper and I can go out there.

October 4, 2019

Training for 10/4/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:12 pm

This weekend is race weekend in Dover. Last night, my mom’s favorite driver, Joey Logano, made an appearance at the new Planet Fitness they just opened in Seaford. (I guess Planet Fitness is one of his sponsors.) He’s my mom’s favorite driver, because she thinks he’s just a sweet young man haha. So we went and met him.

mom with logano car.jpeg

My mom with Logano’s car outside the gym.

Logano won the Phoenix race we went to in 2016, so I took my ticket from that for him to sign. Julie had the same idea so she gave Mom her Phoenix ticket to get signed too.

2016 phoenix ticket signed by logano

He was really nice and took the time to talk to everyone he met. I told him about trying to see a race at every track and he said he’d talked to a woman earlier who was going to every race this year, all by herself! That’s pretty cool, but I think I’d be sick and tired of NASCAR by the end of the year for sure.

mom and me with joey logano

Joey Logano, me and Mom.

Speaking of those destination races, we’ve been saying all year we were going to check off Texas in November, now a month away. Mom said she wants to go too, along with Julie and of course Clark. So last night, we sat down and booked everything — flights, hotel, rental car and race tickets.

Mike already bowed out, so it looks like Clark and I will be the only ones left from the original group that went to Talladega back in 2009 and said we wanted to see all the tracks.

Today, I did another lap of the 4.5-mile loop. I didn’t get to leave until right at the beginning of the window Stanley Steemer had given me for when they might show up, so I didn’t run as easy as I’d wanted to, just in case they got here closer to the beginning of that window. I wound up running an 8:22/mile average.

Naturally, I had plenty of time left when I got home until they did arrive. Now they’re cleaning and deodorizing all the carpet while the carpet-stainer (Pepper) keeps a close eye on them from the kitchen.

Tomorrow is the Sea Gull Century in Salisbury. Dave and I are going to try to get started as early as possible, around 7 a.m. It was about six hours of riding last time I did it. I didn’t do anything to try to condition my butt for that much time on the saddle, but oh well. I’ll survive. At least the weather looks nice. Then I have my nephew’s 16th birthday party in the evening.

Sunday, I’m meeting Kelly and Susan not-so-bright and early for the last “long” run of my Steamtown training cycle, an 8-miler, and then I’m going to the NASCAR race in Dover. It’ll be weird not to live close enough to Dover to go the races next year. I guess Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., will be our new “home” track, a 90-minute drive away. It only gets one race a year though.

Pepper, meanwhile, is spending the weekend at the beach with Clark’s parents.

And Clark made it to New Mexico last night, and should be in our apartment in Oceanside tonight.

October 3, 2019

Training for 10/3/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:05 pm

It cooled off a lot here compared to yesterday, but it was still warm and very muggy when I ran this afternoon. It was also windy. I did a lap of the 4.5-mile loop at an 8:24/mile average. I can’t wait for this much cooler running weather that’s supposed to be coming in soon.

We got some feedback from the people who looked at the house yesterday. Garage — love it. House — not impressed. They specifically cited the two things Pepper is responsible for: the utility room, which we’ve already said we would pay to have fixed before closing but after Pepper is out of it for good; and the carpet, which is stained up because of this annoying habit he had for about six months over the winter and spring where he’d get up in the middle of the night and, instead of waking up one of us to let him out, just find somewhere nice and warm inside to pee.

So! I’ve got Stanley Steemer coming out here tomorrow to steam clean every square inch of carpet to at least help the first impression, and we’re adding to the listing we will also replace the carpet before closing. Honestly, it probably needed it anyway — it’s the original carpet from when the house was built in 2006 and it wasn’t that nice to begin with — but he didn’t have to go and make it so glaringly obvious. Thanks, Pep!

As for Clark, he made it to Arkansas very early this morning, slept a bit and hit the road again, shooting for New Mexico tonight. He just texted me he’s in the Dallas area, about halfway through the drive. So far, so good.

October 2, 2019

Training for 10/2/19

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:21 pm

Today has been a long yet mostly unproductive day!

I did get in a run first thing this morning, a lap of the 6.5-mile loop at an 8:35/mile average. I wound up skipping running yesterday and Monday for various reasons, so that did feel good to finally get in some miles. I know I’m supposed to be tapering right now, but not that much.

I had just hit ‘stop’ on my Garmin and started walking my cool down when I saw a neighbor near the road. I said good morning and she said she’d noticed we were selling our house. I told her about California. She said she was happy for us, but she was sad to see us go. Our next-door neighbor called me Monday after she’d noticed the For Sale sign and also said we were good neighbors. That was nice to hear. At least the whole road isn’t sighing in relief because everyone thought we were jerks!

When I got home, Clark cut our grass with the Hustler, probably for the last time:

clark last time on hustler

He was even wearing the Hustler T-shirt the dealership threw in when he bought it haha.

Then he hit the road. He’s trying to make the drive in three days, which means about 1,000 miles a day. That should get him to Arkansas tonight.

clark in truck to leave delaware

clark leaving delaware

Most likely the Nissan’s last time pulling out of this driveway.

Then I got the house set for its second showing. (We never heard anything from the first lookers, so I guess they weren’t interested.) Pepper and I went in town and I took care of a couple errands. I gave them more than an hour.

We got back, I started to set myself up to get some work done and then I got a call from our Realtor — the agent who had requested the 11 a.m. showing had just submitted a reschedule request for 12:30 p.m., 15 minutes away. WTF.

I got the house reset, then took Pepper and left. Five minutes later, our Realtor called again. The other agent thought our house was much farther north than it is, so they were going to be even later.

There are not many places to hang out with a dog in the middle of the day, especially when it’s 95 degrees!

First we went to the little park near the ferry. I tried to get Pepper on the kayak launch they just built over the winter, but he wasn’t a fan of the metal dock.

pepper at ferry kayak launch


It was hot (and boring) there, so I drove past our house again to make sure someone had actually shown up finally — they had — and then we went in town and got some lunch.

It was 2 p.m. when I made it back to our house for good. This whole house-selling process is already a pain in my ass and we haven’t even been in it a week!

Anyway… the photographers at Sunday’s race posted some of their pictures today. There were some good ones of Melissa and me gunning it for the finish line.

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I also liked this one they got of just me, because I look pretty happy to be there:

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And, last but not least, I still need to post September’s summary, though I guess I could’ve done it Monday after all, since I never ran.


  • Week 1 (Sept. 1-7): 40 miles
  • Week 2 (Sept. 8-14): 43.6
  • Week 3 (Sept. 15-21): 42.8
  • Week 4 (Sept. 22-28): 31.7
  • Week 5 (Sept. 29-30): 6

Total: 164.1 miles

It started off well, but I kinda fell off the wagon there at the end. I’m glad I got the first two 20-milers in, because I completely skipped the third one.

I ran some good races though — a 10-miler at better than goal marathon pace, even with a bathroom break; a 5K that was one of my fastest of the year; and then an almost-5-miler that was much better than the only other 5-miler I ran this year.

In October, I only have one race, the Steamtown Marathon on Oct. 13. I’m trying to focus on the high points of this training cycle and not the couple of skipped long runs and speed workouts. I really think I can finally PR (sub-3:40:44), even if it’s just by a little bit.

I’m also riding the Sea Gull Century with my brother this coming Saturday, and the weekend after my marathon, I’m taking Pepper to Baltimore to cheer on Clark and the guys he’s running the marathon relay with there. (That’s the next time I’ll see him.)

Now I just have to sell this damn house so I can join Clark in California!

September 30, 2019

Dogfish Dash 8K recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:36 am

It’s crunch time here. Today is Clark’s last Monday at his current job, and tomorrow is his last day, period. We had our first potential buyers look at the house Saturday. And in the middle of all this, I volunteered for the swim course safety team at Ironman Maryland on Saturday morning and ran a surprisingly good race at the Dogfish Dash yesterday.

It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows though. I’m generally pretty chill but big changes freak me out, and this is a BIG one. I haven’t gotten much sleep for like four days now and Clark had to talk me down after a meltdown this morning due to a slight snafu that came up related to buying his company car off his current employer. It’ll all work out in the end but I am kinda stressed at the moment and I’m admittedly not handling it great!

Anyway, a bunch of Clark’s soon-to-be former coworkers came over after work Friday night. I hadn’t eaten much all day because my stomach felt iffy after my long run that morning (typical for me) and then we didn’t bother to do anything about dinner until it was too late. The Punkin Ale caught up with me quick and I was out like a light by 8 p.m.

That was definitely for the best though, because I had to be up at 4 a.m. Saturday for volunteer duties. I met my brother at his house, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts so I could get a gallon of iced coffee and we made it to Great Marsh Park for the swim safety team briefing a little after 5:30.

After listening to a long, detailed description of everything that can go wrong for a swimmer and what to look for to identify it (I didn’t like swimming before but I am NEVER swimming again, thanks very much), we all launched our kayaks and paddleboards from the swim start.

The swim course was two laps of the same loop they use for the half Ironman in June. Dave and I paddled out to the far side of the course and waited.

It was still dark but the sun started to come up just before they let the elites take off.

ironman 2019 before swim

Then we heard the cannon fire to send the elites on their way. Eventually they made their way around the second turn of the course and swam past us.

ironman 2019 lead swimmers

Then the age groupers started passing us. This was my view for the next couple of hours:

ironman 2019 age group swimmers

Mostly we just watched and helped wrangle swimmers who were headed off-course. A few swimmers grabbed on to the kayak for a breather (totally allowed as long as they stay in place.) Two wanted to drop out. Dave and I talked the first one out of it (she just seemed like she was panicking a little because of a jellyfish sting — they were BAD this year) but the other one was clearly physically done, so we got him a rescue boat.

As the last swimmers were finishing their second lap, all the kayaks and paddleboards went to the end to form kind of a funnel between the final turn and the exit/swim finish line, to give swimmers a better visual of where to go. The way the current was going, however, the swimmers were being pushed right off the correct line, and a lot of them were so exhausted and disoriented by that point, they were having a lot of trouble staying anywhere near the course. One lady started swimming backwards on the course!

Unfortunately, there were several still in the water when the course officially closed at 9:22 a.m., exactly two hours and 20 minutes after the final swimmer had started. They were pulled out of the water and DQ’d. I felt pretty bad for all of them. When Dave and I were driving out, I saw one woman (might have been the one who’d been swimming backwards), dejectedly walking back to her car while her husband pushed the bike she never got to ride that day beside her. All that training time (and money) spent, and her day was already done. Ugh.

But no one died, so I would call our swim safety team a success!

While I was on the river, Clark texted that the Realtor had set up a showing at 2 p.m. Dave had to take the kayak back to Fenwick on his own, because I had to go straight home and help do the deep clean the house needed before a potential buyer saw it in real life.

After three hours of that, Clark and I took Pepper to drop off some recycling at the landfill while the house was being shown. We got back, took a quick shower and then went to Mike’s house for a going away party he threw us.

We had a good time there but didn’t stay too late, since we had to get up early for the Dogfish Dash the next morning. I went right to sleep when we got home, but again, I woke up hours before my alarm so I could lie there in the dark and worry about stuff. I don’t like this new trend.

The alarm finally went off at 5:30 a.m. so I could get up and think about something fun like the race. Clark, Pepper and I left way earlier than we should’ve had to for a 9 a.m. race 45 minutes away, because we wanted to get premium parking right there at the brewery. Mission accomplished, but then we had two whole hours to kill before the run started.

It was kinda cool when we got there at 7 a.m., but by the time Melissa, Dave and I ran a warm up mile at 8:30, the sun had come out and it was HOT. I was already sweating when we finished that easy 9:43 mile — more than two minutes slower than the pace I was hoping to hold in the race.

Clark didn’t run. We didn’t have anyone lined up to watch Pepper, we can’t leave him at home for hours because of what he’ll do to the utility room while we’re trying to sell this place, and Clark didn’t want to leave him in the truck while we ran because he deep cleaned it last week and didn’t want Pepper to undo that either.

I think he was just using Pepper as a convenient way to get out of it though, because I offered to ask TK if she’d hold on to him (she wasn’t running because of her pregnancy restrictions but she was there to cheer on her mom, sister and sister’s fiancé) but Clark said he was worried Pepper would yank her arm too hard and, I don’t know, “unplug” the baby haha. I told him that’s not how it works but he said nope, too risky.

So I went to the start line with Dave, who went right to the front, and Melissa. We didn’t start as far up. Kelly and Corey found us in there too.

dogfish dash 2019 start

From the Seashore Striders’ Facebook page. Pretty sure Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head founder) took this. There were more than 2,600 finishers this year, the biggest turnout yet.

We got the commands and ran off into the blazing sun.

The first bit of the course, through the truck entrance/exit at the back of the property, was crowded as always.

2019 dogfish dash start

I’m No. 526.

Then we crossed into the town of Milton and it started to spread out. I ran the first mile in 7:34, a bit slower than goal pace, but I hoped it was just because of the crowd.

The next couple of miles, however, slowed down to 7:42 and 7:48. It was hot as hell and I’d felt thirsty from the very start, so I took water at all three aid stations and just figured it wasn’t going to be my day.

But then, to my surprise, I started speeding up and picking off runners. We hit the last downhill of the course, followed immediately by a turn and then the worst uphill. Mile 4 was on that uphill — 7:36. I was going in the right direction.

The last 0.97 miles of the course, I really picked it up. I have to thank Melissa for that. She’d gotten away from me at the start but I saw her ahead as we ran that last near-mile, and I pushed myself hard enough to catch up with her just as we turned back onto the brewery property.

I saw Clark, Pepper, TK and Dave (because he’d already finished so long ago!) cheering for me on the sidewalk just before the last turn. Then I sprinted it in with a huge smile — it was actually fun! — alongside Melissa and we both finished officially in 37:11.

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That was a 7:29/mile average and more than three minutes faster than that awful 5-mile race I ran in May.

My time placed me 11th of 577 in the F 30-39 age group, 25th of 1,398 female runners and 135th of 2,636 total runners.

I was really happy with that time! The first few miles had not felt good but I managed to turn it around and finish strong.

I ran into Susan right after the finish. She ran 35:07, which turned out to be fast enough for overall female masters! Gretchen got a good picture of us trying not to touch too much because we were both absolutely drenched in sweat:

susan and me after dogfish dash 2019

Then I found Clark and Dave. Clark was happy because he’d been the first one to get a beer with a bib ticket, since he didn’t run haha. And Dave was happy because he’d hoped to run a 6:45 average but averaged 6:30 instead and finished in 32:20 — 33rd overall of more than 2,600 runners! (But, as I later pointed out, only good enough for 13th in his age group, so I beat him by that metric. Gotta take what I can get, you know.)

The rest of the morning was spent using our beer tickets and hanging out on the lawn there at the brewery. I love this race!

Later, Clark, Dave and I went to Woody’s in Dewey for crab cakes. Then we stopped by Dogfish Head in Rehoboth for one more beer. Dave went home after that, but Clark and I hit Revelation Brewing and then went to Fenwick so he could get his beach cruiser and a long board he wants to take to California, along with the short board that was already in the truck and his tri bike. The essentials, obviously.

When we got home, we stopped by Clark’s parents’ house to see his mom for her birthday, and then my parents’ house so Clark could see them before he leaves. We were there until almost midnight. Pepper was so tired! So were we.

Today, I have a short easy run on the schedule that I haven’t done yet, so I’ll wait until tomorrow to post my official September summary.

Steamtown is now less than two weeks away. Not gonna lie, I was more excited about it a couple weeks ago, before we started making big moves toward actually moving to California. Running feels a little more like an afterthought at the moment. But I’m going to try to stick to the taper as prescribed in the training plan. Clark will not be here that weekend to go with me, but I get to ride there and back and room with Melissa and Liz, so that should help get me in the spirit.

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