If you’ve been following along on this blog, you know that signing up for the Dumbo Double Dare this year was a total last-minute decision. I fully intended to run the Disneyland 10K and that race only. It’s so hot on Labor Day Weekend here in So Cal that the Disneyland Half Marathon is not high on my list of favorite races. As a back of the pack kind of runner, the last three miles are brutal and almost entirely in the sun. Who wants that? Well, the lure of a 10th Anniversary Disneyland Half Marathon medal was too much to resist. So, I signed up. The problem? The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend is only about a month before the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
As I put a training calendar together, I could see that August would be brutal. I would have a 20 and 23 mile runs to finish to get ready for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Running back to back days as the Dumbo Double Dare requires isn’t an easy thing to do. It is a goal of mine to attempt a 10K PR for the Disneyland 10K race. I love the course and think it could be a good one for this attempt. But, I needed to know how running hard for 10K on Saturday would leave me on a Sunday. So, I decided to include 2 weekends with back to back runs to prepare.
Initially, this past weekend, I intended to run 4 miles on Saturday and 20 miles on Sunday. However, the Rose Bowl had their Flea Market on Sunday. So, the route I wanted to run when I went for 20 miles was out of the question.
On top of that, Saturday was my 6th wedding anniversary. Brooke and I planned to go and see the new World of Color show. So, I wouldn’t be home very early.
With all of that, I decided to do a Dumbo Double Dare simulation instead and move my 20 mile run to this coming weekend. Here’s how it went…
Saturday morning, I headed off to the Rose Bowl loop for 6.2 miles. This is as good of place as any to test your speed. After all, there are no traffic lights to stop you. So, it’s a good race simulation. The first mile started off slow…12:23 first mile was not the best way to start. However, I started off running my marathon intervals for that first mile. Run 30 seconds, walk 90 seconds. I didn’t want to kill myself on the first mile. I knew it was a hard mile to start with. So, I figured that I’d start slow and make up time on the next two miles. That strategy worked pretty well. Mile 2 was finished in 11:36 and Mile 3 was finished in 11:26. I was feeling pretty alright. My pace was under 12 minutes per mile! So, I was in great shape for the last lap. I decided that I’d go back to the marathon intervals for mile 4 to repeat my previous lap. Mile 4 was the slowest and most difficult mile of the bunch. I finished in 13 minutes even. It was my slowest mile. In that mile, I went back up over the 12 minute per mile average mark. That didn’t make me happy. I felt like I needed to finish 6 miles in 1 hour, 12 minutes to have a shot at my race 10K PR. So, I went to work on mile 5. Much like mile 2, I was able to pull back some time. I finished mile 5 in 11:48! That left me 15 seconds over a 12 minute per mile pace. Then something unexpected happened. I ran my fastest mile of the 6 in mile 6! I finished mile 6 in 11:10! I was 35 seconds under my goal for 6 miles! My pace slowed a little bit over the last 0.25 miles. However, I finished 6.25 miles in 1 hour, 14 minutes, 33 seconds! If I do this time at the Disneyland 10K, I will have a new 10K PR! So, day 1 was a huge success!
For Sunday, the goal was to run 13.1 miles around Pasadena to simulate the Disneyland Half Marathon. Since I couldn’t run around the Rose Bowl, I planned on running the 6 mile loop I’ve run many times before twice and add 1. miles at the end. After being out way too late the night before, I was pretty tired when I got up. Due to the late night on Saturday night, I slept 1 hour later (big mistake). Even though I wouldn’t get a full night of sleep, I did get close. This is the challenge of the Dumbo Double Dare. You’ve got to have energy on BOTH days.
I got out the door a little too late for a day where the temps were going to get pretty warm. However, I had to get the miles in. I was going to stick to my marathon intervals for the entire run. That was the plan. Even though the first mile of this route was largely downhill (as opposed to the first mile of the Rose Bowl loop which is largely uphill), I actually ran the first mile a few seconds slower than the day before…12:27. Ugh! This was not good. In this 6 mile loop, the first two miles are largely downhill or flat. Then, I’ve got 3 miles that are either flat or uphill. So, I need a good start. The second mile was even slower…12:58. Yikes! Being over the 12 minute per mile average at this point caused me a lot of worry. The next miles would be even harder.
By the end of mile 4, I was gassed and just wanted to quit right there. I was slow. Nothing was going good. It took me more than 53 minutes to get to the end of mile 4. I can’t remember being this slow over such a short distance. It was a little demoralizing. So, I walked the next half mile. I needed to pull myself back together. Get to the end of mile 6 and I could quit if I wanted to. After all, by then, I’d be back by my apartment. At 4.5 miles, I tried to get back into my run/walk intervals. The sun was coming out in the 5th mile. But, I was finding a way to get back into the game!
Mile 6 is the easy mile of the loop. I knew that I didn’t want to do another loop of this route. The previous 3 miles took a lot out of me and I didn’t want to repeat it. At the end of mile 6, I took a small break to decide what I wanted to do next. One nice thing about this mile is that it helped me feel a little better. As I ran it, I came up with a new strategy. Instead of running the 6 mile loop again, I’d run the 3 mile loop I do around my apartment twice instead. It’s a little easier. So, off I went. Mile 7 was a little faster than mile 6 and I was thinking that this strategy would pay off. I’d actually make all 13.1 miles! There was more shade on this route than I had on the other 6 mile route. So, just maybe this would work out okay.
Mile 8 was the difficult mile of this loop. I knew it would be. So, I kept telling myself to just make it to the end of the mile and I’d be rewarded with another easy mile. So, I gutted it out. Mile 9 was my fastest mile since mile 2! Even though I was in the sun for quite a bit of time, I was making it. So, I started mile 10.
Unfortunately, in mile 10, I ran out of liquids. It was getting warmer and I knew that mile 12 would be almost entirely in the sun. Also, the shade that I experienced in mile 7 was not as much in mile 10. Every time I got into sun, it felt more and more brutal. By the end of the mile, I was out of liquid entirely. So, I stopped and tried to think about whether or not it was wise to continue.
With temps getting close to 80 degrees, I decided it would be better to call it a day and not risk any kind of heat related problems. I walked the last half mile to get back to my apartment.
To say I was disappointed with my time, would be an understatement. I was actually initially pretty disappointed with my overall performance. I wanted to quit at the end of mile 4, 8, and 10…ultimately quitting at the end of mile 10. As I’ve thought about this simulation, I did learn a few things…
- Running back to back races requires more rest after the first race. So, I might limit my time at theme parks after the Disneyland 10K race and try to rest up.
- This run has helped me with expectations for the Dumbo Double Dare. I still intend to race the Disneyland 10K for a PR. However, as of now, I’m not going to stress too much about my finish time in the Disneyland Half Marathon the next day.
- On a positive note – I was able to recover after wanting to quit at the end of mile 4. If I didn’t run out of liquids, I probably would have finished all 13.1 miles.
- Don’t beat yourself up over one run. Truth be told, this was just one attempt. I still have one other weekend before Disneyland where I can do another simulation if I choose.
Overall, I’m glad that I did what I did. I needed the miles and this did teach me something. It was a test. If I was running the Disneyland Half Marathon race on Sunday, I would have finished. After all, runDisney does provide us with plenty of water and Gator Aid. So, the thing that caused me to stop, won’t be an issue on race day.
Overall, I need to continue to be patient. Meb talks a lot about how long distance running is all about patience. August is a crazy month for my training. Last weekend was all about the Dumbo Double Dare. This weekend is all about the Bank of America Chicago Marathon as I run 20 miles. The next weekend, I’ll do two runs again. When I get to that weekend, I’ll decide about whether or not to do another Dumbo Double Dare simulation or something else. Then, the weekend after that will be 23 miles for Chicago. I’ll follow that up with the actual Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland. It’s crazy. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.