This past week gave me something I haven’t had in quite some time…room to breathe in my training. I ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 11th. Two weeks later, I was running the Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon. Three weeks after that, it was the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge. That’s a lot of racing in just over one month! My next race isn’t until Martin Luther King Weekend! The Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend will be awesome. However, I’m digging the fact that I have some time to experiment with my training before that race.
Monday, the day after finishing the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge, I was up early to go to work because I had to leave early. Monday was one of my absolute favorite rehearsals in the Disneyland Candlelight season. This is the one rehearsal that the entire Disney Cast Choir gets together as one. You see, for most of our rehearsals, the folks that work up by me rehearse in Glendale on Mondays. On Thursdays, those that work in the OC rehearse at Disneyland. I love this practice! It’s the last true rehearsal for us and so much fun!
Here we are singing We Three Kings as will be performed in the Disneyland Candlelight Processional. Ever wonder what it sounds like with out all the production? Take a listen. Just piano and choir.
They took out my favorite song from Candlelight…Candlelight Carol…this year and replaced it with Away in a Manger. Since the guys don’t sing on this song, I’m not exactly sure about this. But, I think there will either be a children’s choir or soloists added to what you here in this clip. Sometimes, when you listen to a finished product, you don’t get to hear all the other parts. By listening to this, you’ll hear some of the background as the women are ooo-ing.
The rehearsal ends with one run-through of the entire Candlelight Program. I got to sing by these fine people. Another fun part to this rehearsal is that we don’t have to stay in our parts (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass).
At the end of the rehearsal, I needed to get a quick pic with our choir director. Jim is an amazing director and makes all of our rehearsals so much fun!
After running on Thursday the week before, going to the Expo Friday, running a 10K on Saturday, running a half marathon on Sunday, and the long day of work and Candlelight rehearsal in the OC on Monday, I was wiped out on Tuesday and did not run. I pushed the run back to Wednesday instead. Truth be told, I needed that Tuesday off.
On this Wednesday run, I was able to have some fun experimenting with my intervals. For this run, I decided to run at my marathon intervals the entire 3 miles. That meant running 30 seconds, walking 90 seconds for 3 miles. In reality, when I usually do this, I’m running 45 seconds, walking 1 minute 15 seconds. Mile 1 took a little over 12 minutes to finish. I was feeling pretty good with the longer walk breaks keeping me fresh. Mile 2 was the same as I had been going since switching back to 3 miles in the mid-week runs. I finished the second mile in around 24 minutes, 30 seconds. I was slightly over a 12 minute per mile pace. Even though this concerned me, I reminded myself that this run was an experiment to see how much extra time it takes with the marathon intervals vs. the combination of marathon and half marathon intervals. So, the goal was to stick to the plan and see what would happen. The result? I ended pretty close to 36 minutes. So, as you can see with the average pace, I was pretty much at a 12 minute per mile pace. That’s an extra 3 minutes over my previous run over this route.
On Thursday, I kept on experimenting. It’s not ideal to to training runs on back to back days. However, that’s how this week played out. For Thursday, I wondered what kind of time I would get if I actually stuck strictly to a run 30 seconds, walk 60 seconds intervals in miles 1 and 3. Then, ran 30 seconds, walked 90 seconds in mile 2. These are the intervals I claim when I write. They are the intervals I’m thinking while I’m running. However, usually, I start my run interval 5 seconds before I’m supposed to and end it 10 seconds after it’s supposed to end.
Mile 1 already a minute faster than Wednesday. I finished the first mile in 11 minutes. That’s only 10 seconds slower than the previous Thursday run. I found out in mile 2 that 90 seconds is a hard walk break to keep to for an entire mile when you’re only in mile 2. There were several times I wanted to end the walk break early. However, I stayed with the plan because I really wanted to see how these strict intervals would effect my time and the feel of the run. I finished the 2nd mile in just over 23 minutes. I think mile 2 for both Wednesday and Thursday were about the same. However, by the time I got to the start of mile 3, I was raring to get back to the shorter walk breaks. In mile 3, I kept finding myself going over the 30 second run by 5 seconds a lot. I had a lot more energy in this mile than in previous runs. I think I could have run entire quarter-miles if I had wanted to on Thursday. However, I tried my best to stick to a strict 30 second run. My finish time was 34:09 (nearly 2 full minutes faster than Wednesday).
Saturday, the training calendar called for 2 miles as part of a back to back long run weekend. It’s hard for me to deal with anything less than 3 miles on the streets. Plus, I wanted to make strength training a bigger focus in this training cycle.
I started off with 2 miles on the treadmill. As you can see, the time was slow. I still haven’t figured out what my speed should be when running and walking on the treadmill. It’s okay because I got the miles in. Treadmill running is different from street running. The treadmill was more a of a means to an end this weekend. I didn’t want to run 2 miles and then head to the gym. So, I did the miles on the ‘mill. After running, I finished off my gym workout as I did the last time I was there. I had no problems with any of the machines I was using. Yes, I felt like I was pushing slightly. However, not as much as the last time. So, progress!
On Sunday, I had 9.5 miles on the training schedule. We had a warm weekend here in So Cal. So, it was a great time to head off to the beach for a beach run! In my 17 mile training run for the Chicago Marathon, I hit up a running path called The Strand and went beyond that. For 9.5 miles, I didn’t need to leave The Strand at all.
There are days where I wish I was an early riser. On warm days that I have to run long distances is one of them. I got up at 6am and headed off to Redondo Beach. At the start of the run, I got lots of shade like the picture above. This made for a lovely first half of my run.
When I saw that I had come to the weekend of the 10K/Half challenge training plan that has a 2 mile run and a 9.5 mile run, I was a little worried. Each of the previous two attempts at doing this were huge failures for me. The only challenge race I’ve trained for with the Jeff Galloway training plan has been my first 2 Dumbo Double Dares. So, this week usually fell on the Fourth of July weekend. I think that played a role in the failure of the 9.5 mile run on those occasions. Each time I did like this week. I ran 2 miles on the treadmill Saturday and 9.5 on the streets Sunday. Only, with those other two weekends, I could use the Rose Bowl loop as part of my run. On Sunday there was a 5K at the Rose Bowl. So, I had to go elsewhere.
On my way to Redondo Beach, I decided to run a strict 30/90 run/walk ratio for this run. I did this for two reasons. First, I wanted to see what my time would be. Second, I wanted to see if I could hold this ratio for an entire 9.5 miles. On a lot of my long runs, there are periods of time where I’m not exactly on point with my run/walk intervals. So, with this run, I had a big goal of making each and every run interval exactly as I had planned.
The first half of the run went pretty well. I made it to the mid way point right around 1 hour, 2 minutes! At first, the run/walk intervals were pretty easy. Isn’t that always the case? I didn’t start to feel like I was pushing myself until mile 7! So, that was a huge boost for me! I hit the end of mile 6 around 1 hour, 18 minutes. So, I know that, if I want to set a 10K PR, this isn’t a good run/walk strategy.
From the time I got into the 7th mile all the way through the finish, I saw a lot of this…lots of sun and almost no shade. I knew I’d see this at some point of my run. When I did my 17 mile run, this is what I saw for the entire last 10 miles. Once I got to the point where there was almost no shade, I thought about that run and how much different this one felt from that one. What a difference 8 extra miles makes.
In mile 8, I could feel that fatigue starting to settle in. I kept telling myself that I’d skip a run interval, once I got to … and then I’d pass that point and forget about this promise. I made it through all my run intervals decently well. By the ninth mile, I could actually feel when 30 seconds were up. It was kind of weird. I could actually feel it. Three run intervals in a row, I felt I was at the end of 30 seconds, looked down at the watch, and saw ….30! It was pretty funny to me at the time.
It took me until the last half mile, but I could feel the finish pulling me. I was doing it! I was keeping every single run interval exactly as scheduled for an entire 9.5 miles. No cheating
The result? Not a bad time. The first time I attempted a 2 mile/9.5 mile back to back was in 2013. On that day, my 9.5 miles took me 2:14:34. In 2014, I attempted the same. On the day I was supposed to run 9.5 miles, I only completed 8.2 miles. The time??? 2:05:16. So, yeah. This was a very successful way to end my week and a huge confidence boost.
Another winning week for me! What I loved about Sunday is that I may have fond my run/walk interval for the Star Wars Half Marathon. Time will tell. My finish time puts me on track for that sub 3 hour half marathon I’m hoping for at the Star Wars Half Marathon and I still have around 2 months of training left!