Epic 14 Miles on the Beach

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This past Sunday, I completed the last long run in the training cycle for the Disneyland Half Marathon. On that day, 14 miles was on the calendar to complete. I’ve never run 14 miles in my life. So, I knew that this run would be the most challenging run before running at Disneyland. As things turned out, this would a training run that would put me through the ringer in every way I could imagine a training run would. There was so much to write about that I had intended to make it the story for week 16. However, once the surprise party happened, I decided otherwise.

If you read the post yesterday, you probably know that I had a busy week and an even busier weekend. Not the best way to go about life when you have training runs of 5 and 14 miles on back to back days. The 5 mile training run went alright. It could have been better. But, a few too many traffic lights stalled my time. To go from that to playing mini golf and taking in a professional soccer game in the evening was a lot. Getting home at 11pm when you have to wake up at 6am the next morning was also not ideal. However, I thought..”Hey! The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend might find me just about as busy and I might get about the same amount of sleep. So, this will make great practice.”

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By Sunday morning, I totally regretted scheduling so much the day before. There was so much going on, that I woke up with a lot of negative thoughts. I was moving slowly Sunday morning and left almost 10 minutes late. Then, as I got on the freeway, I realized that I forgot my sunglasses at home. Oh well, I’d just have to go without them. Then, one of the freeway on ramps was closed which caused further delays in my arrival at Huntington Beach. When all was done, I finally started my run around 8am, instead of 7:30.

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As I started, I did my usual 5 minute warm up. Listening to music started to drive off those pesky negative thoughts. Combining that with just how awesome it is to be at the beach put me in a much better mood to start off. Miles 1-4 went really well. There were lots of runners out on this path. There was an amazing view of the ocean the entire way!

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Huntington Beach is a real surfers beach. So, there were lots of waves to see and hear. I was enjoying my playlist. I kept to my intervals. My times were coming in at a normal pace for me. It all felt good. Even with the inclines that I was surprised by, it was all going good. As each mile clicked away, I would tell myself that I knew I would have to go double it at the very minimum. After all, I had an out and back route planned.

Somewhere between mile 4 and 5, the battle started. All those negative thoughts creeped into my mind. I started focussing on how I didn’t get enough sleep the night before…how I put too many activities on my Saturday. It was in this mile that I decided that I’ve got to keep my Saturday during the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend a light one. I tried switching to a 30 second run/ 30 second walk interval. However, mentally, I had checked out and it’s hard to get yourself to run once that happens. So, there were a few missed run intervals.

A little past mile 5, I came to the end of the path and it was time to turn around. So, I knew I was going to have to complete at least 10 miles. Telling myself that I’d just have to make it to 10 miles provided me with a little mental relief. Because I was mentally defeated, I thought I would walk all of the 6th mile and see if I could get back to running later. I also wanted to know how long it would take if I just walked a mile. By around 5.5 miles, I decided that I just had to run a little. So, I went to the 30:30 ratios and that carried me through the end of that mile. I think it took me around 15 minutes. At that point, I started calculating how long it would take me to get to 10 miles and freaked out that I might get back later than the time I had paid for at the parking meter.

Mile 7 was the hardest for me because I was worried that I wouldn’t get back before the meter ran out of time and I just didn’t have it in me to run anymore. As I attempted running and while I walked, a lot of emotions came out. During that mile, I felt the loneliness of training by myself and how much time I have spent doing this. I thought how much I hated the back to back long run days. There are also some issues with my family that I thought about. I finished mile 7 in about 15 minutes as well.

The battle continued through mile 8. Around mile 8, I came here…

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Stopping for a few seconds to take this picture helped me out mentally. It gave me a moment to get away from the negative thoughts. As I took the picture and looked at the beautiful Pacific Ocean, it was like God just spoke to me and reminded me that he could get me through anything. He designed this amazing place. He is bigger than all of those negative thoughts I had. So, I started off running again at the 1 minute run/1 minute walk intervals I want to be doing. Surprisingly, I finished mile 9 in under 12 minutes. The same happened in mile 10. Que the Rocky music…

After calculating my time, I realized that if I could hold a 12 minute mile pace, I wouldn’t have to worry about the parking meter if I chose to complete a half marathon distance. So, by the time I got to the end of mile 10, I had a new distance I was chasing…13.1 miles. I really wanted to see how much time it would take. I also was keeping my eye on how long it took for me to finish 12.5 miles. I wanted to know how much slower that time would be compared with what I did 2 weeks ago on the streets of Anaheim. Much to my surprise, I was only a few minutes slower!

At that point, I decided that I just had to finish all 14 miles. After all, it felt like it would be lame to finish less than a mile from my original goal. Even if I had to walk most of that last mile, I was going to finish. So, I continued on…

I finished 13.1 miles in 2 hours, 51 minutes and change…a little over 10 minutes slower than my goal has been. However, that was still around 20 minutes faster than I did at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon! From 13.1 to the end, I walked most of it. I did run a little. However, I was more than content to walk it out. I finished 14 miles in a little over 3 hours. Again, not the best. However, I still beat my Tinker Bell Half time by around 7 minutes!

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At the end of the day, I still finished 14 miles! To top it off, I did it quicker than I finished my previous half marathon! It was a total battle and there was a long time where I didn’t think I would finish all 14 miles. But, I did it. The only thing that was shaken in this long run was a belief that I will finish the DL Half in 2 hours 40 minutes. Right now, it doesn’t seem like that will happen. However, I am completely confident that I will set a new Half Marathon PR in a couple of weeks. Everything in the past 16 weeks has shown me that I will do just that. There are 5 more runs to complete before Disneyland…Four runs of 4 miles and One 5K Race this Saturday. None of these runs can do anything to my confidence of a Half Marathon PR on September 1st.


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