After taking the week after the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend off from running, I was back at it this week. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is less than 3 weeks away!
On Tuesday, I headed out for the usual 4 miles after work. When I take a week off from work, that first run is a little scary. I never have any expectations going into that run. The same was true with Tuesday’s run. The first mile felt like I was going much slower than I actually was running. I ended the mile around the usual 11:45 mark. That buoyed my confidence heading into mile 2. I switched up the walk interval from 90 seconds to 60 seconds in the last three miles. This pattern seems to be working well for me. Walk 90 seconds for the first mile. Then switch to walk 60 seconds in miles 2-4. The second mile in this loop is the easiest and usually my fastest mile. Running through Old Town Pasadena gives me plenty of distractions. The third mile doesn’t have much to distract. However, the roads are flat or downhill. So, it all balances out. I liked where I was at the end of three miles. So, I kept up the 60 second walk break in the 4th mile. At the end of 3 miles, I was pretty happy that I had no back pain and no dry heaves. In the past, taking a week off could lead to these. Fortunately, everything felt normal. What the week off did, though, was hurt endurance. The fourth mile was a little difficult. I kept telling myself that I could make it through each run interval…and I did. I did slow down in the last mile, though. However, I was pleased with keeping it below a 12 minute per mile average. Success!
The good vibes continued on Thursday. I ran my fastest 4 miles since June 18th! The first mile felt slow again. However, I was completely shocked to see that I crossed the end of the first mile in 11 minutes, 30 seconds! I was 15 seconds faster than Tuesday! As I started the second mile, I was wondering how fast this run could go. The whole way of the second mile I felt fast and strong. I crossed the end of the second mile in around 22 minutes, 30 seconds. It might have been a little faster than that. I was loving how I felt and how fast I was going. I braced myself for the nothing exciting in the 3rd mile. The longer the time went along, the stronger I felt. I actually went faster in the 3rd mile than the second! When I finished the 3rd mile, my average pace was 11 minutes, 9 seconds per mile. As the fourth mile started, I knew I’d loose a little on that average. The big question for me was…how much. The closer I got to the end, the more it looked like I’d finish in under 45 minutes! Since I haven’t been that fast in a while, I was pretty stoked. The final time was 45:01. I actually crossed the end of the fourth mile in just under 45 minutes. However, by the time I stopped the Nike Plus App, I was a little over. Still, a fantastic run in really nice weather.
I hoped to continue the good vibes of the week on Saturday with a 23 mile run…the final long run before the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. On Friday night, my heart sank when I saw that the projected high temperature had soared to 97 degrees for Saturday (from 91). Sunday, it would be worse at 99. So, I couldn’t just change the run to Sunday. When the alarm went off Saturday morning, it was a mental battle to get out the door. I didn’t want to run. It was going to be too hot. At 5am it was already 70 degrees. It took some time, but I got out the door about 10 minutes until 6am.
I was running a route that I’d never run before. This too was a big risk. The first 6 to 7 miles would largely be downhill. However, the next 7 to 8 miles climbed 100 feet. It took a mile before I finally settled into a rhythm. It wasn’t too hot outside and I was gaining confidence that this might not be so bad. As you can see…even though the overall elevation was decline, there were still some little hills. Welcome to Pasadena.
As I got close to the Santa Anita Mall, I saw these guys. Kind of cool!
I ran all the way down to the Santa Anita Race Track. In hind sight, I probably should have run up to the entrance area for a fun photo opportunity. However, the oncoming heat was on my mind. So, I just got this quick picture.
Just past the Santa Anita Race Track, I made my way to this park. I’d run around the park and head back.
Since UCLA was playing, I couldn’t run around the Rose Bowl Loop. However, I still got to run around another golf course. This is where the pictures of this run end. On the other side of this picture was Arcadia High School. One good thing about the run is that I saw they track was open for runners. I might have to check out the track some time.
As I made my way back to the Santa Anita Mall, the temperatures were rising. I was fortunate to have quite a bit of shade to run with. However, I could feel the temps rising. Not only that, but I was now running the part where the elevation was increasing and I could feel it. The run intervals were getting harder.
There’s an arboretum across from the mall and race track. That’s where mile 9 ended and my run began to unravel. I was feeling tired and it was getting warmer. So, I decided to just walk through one run interval and get back at it. However, the start of the 10th mile was the start of a mile long uphill grind without much relief. Then, I did something that completely blew my chances of finishing this run…I thought about the charity I’m running for. That lead to thinking about my own adoption journey. Brooke and I have been certified to adopt for a month short of three years. The heaviness in my heat was building quickly.
I turned up this walking path to Colorado Blvd. With this being a first time running here, I didn’t know that there were no sidewalks or bike paths to run on. If I was pursuing a strong run, it would have mattered. However, by the time I started up Colorado Blvd., the sadness of my wait had become overwhelming. The tears started and running came to a complete stop. By the time I got to the end of the 11th mile, I was so overcome with emotion that I’m sure I looked horrible. All I wanted to do was sit down on the side walk and let it all out. However, that would be weird to strangers.
My run was over. I walked another half mile to Panera and my wife came to pick me up. So, now I was not only sad over this wait to become a dad, but I had also failed in finishing 23 miles. In this training cycle, the weather has not been kind to me. High temps in the upper 90’s or low 100’s where what I’ve faced in my 17, 20, and 23 mile runs.
As of writing this blog post, I’m up to $685 raised out of the $1,500 I need to raise in less than 3 weeks. Several of you guys have stepped up and made a donation. Since no one seems to be interested in my idea of sponsoring a mile of the marathon, I’ve done the math. I now need 32 people who would be willing to donate $25 and 1 person to donate $10 and I’d reach my minimum. Of course, I wouldn’t reject anyone who wanted to make a larger donation. However, I don’t think I’m asking for too much to ask for $25. So,if you haven’t already donated, please consider making a $25 donation. I have less than 3 weeks to make this happen. However, it’s not all about me. It’s about the kiddos I’m running for. The ones who need a forever home. I’m running for those kids and the families who are waiting to give them that home. I won’t reach my goal unless you all decide to help out. Do you have $25 you could donate to this cause?
TOMORROW! Registration opens up TOMORROW for the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side at Walt Disney World. If you want into any of the races and/or challenges, you need to be on your computers at 11:45am EDT and ready to go. Have your credit cards ready. Get to the Team #runDisney Facebook Group. Right at Noon EDT, you will find the link on this group to register. Don’t go to runDisney’s web site. That will add time it takes you to get in. This race will sell out FAST. So, if you want in, you must register TOMORROW! As for me, I’m going to have to sit this race out. Fund raising for the Chicago Marathon isn’t going as well as I’d hoped. So, I’m not sure how much more money I will have to contribute to keep my spot in the Chicago Marathon. So, I’ve got to conserve my funds. Good luck to all of you who are registering. May the Force Be With You!