This will be the first of several blog posts looking back. Today, we’ll just look back on Christmas week and how everything turned out.
My first run came on Tuesday. I was a little under the weather on Monday. So, on Tuesday, I was initially hesitant about how I would structure my run/walk intervals. I decided to go with the run 30 seconds, walk 60 seconds route. It had worked out pretty well for my on the Thursday before. As I started, I thought that, if mile 2 got to be too difficult, I could always switch. However, I really want to pound this run 30, walk 60 into my short runs.
Mile 1 was slow. As I got going, I could feel like this would be a little rough. By the end of mile 1, my thoughts were confirmed. I finished in 11:38. This was well behind my previous mid-week run. It just goes to show that the intervals alone will not be the reason for slower or faster runs. I kept the 30/60 intervals going in mile 2. Somehow, knowing that I was already off to a slow start helped me in mile 2. I finished the second mile in 12:01. It was predictably slower on this route . Even with the slow times, I was under a 12 minute per mile pace. So, as I started the last mile, I had that going for me. Once again, my last mile was the fastest of the bunch. I finished that mile in 11:19. I did feel better in that mile. However, with it being a largely downhill mile, it is sort of expected. My final time of 35:04 isn’t horrible. However, I know I’m capable of faster. Still, I want to mention that I ran this 3 miles on a very chilly night on ground that was largely wet due to the rain we had most of the day. So, some of the slowness could be due to me being a little more cautious. Either way, I got the 3 miles in and it was time to move on.
I want to throw this in here. On Wednesday night, I took advantage of the fact that I wouldn’t get to see our Christmas tree on the Studio all lit up again. This is our tree at the Walt Disney Studios. Every night it has been lit up. Since I knew we’d get to leave early on Thursday, I also knew it would be the last time I’d see it up and all lit up. Disney doesn’t waste time taking down all the holiday decorations. Most likely by Monday night, it will all be gone.
On Thursday, Christmas Eve, I did the same with Dopey’s Santa Hat. I also thought it would be fun to make it a little more artistic by including this statue in Legends Plaza.
Since we got off early on Thursday, I took advantage of a cool, but sunny day to get my second run in for the week. Plus, with a Christmas Eve dinner on the plans with the family, I needed to get this run in before the evening. As you can see in the graphic, this was a much better run for me.
Right from mile 1, I felt much faster. Even though I was using the same run/walk intervals as I used on Tuesday, I was running and walking faster. I had Christmas music blasting in my ears and was feeling great! Mile 1 was finished in 10:56! Yes! This was a better day. As I did on Tuesday, there was no switching things up. I want this interval to work for me. Even if it means slower times. My body will catch up. Mile 2 was predictably slower. When you are going largely uphill, that happens. However finishing the second mile in 11:45, I was still 16 seconds faster than Thursday! You know, these afternoon runs are kind of cool. Too bad the temps for most of the year do not accommodate me as well as December. Anyways, I was feeling great and had a fantastic finish to the run! Mile 3 was finished in 10:52 to keep the title of best mile! My final time was 33:41! I’ll take it.
Friday was Christmas Day. I took full advantage of Christmas landing on a normal rest day for me. Brooke and I had a blast hanging with her family for the entire day. It’s always more fun to open Christmas presents with children in the room. We had a fantastic Christmas with family, opening presents, games, movies, and just great times hanging out. I sincerely hope that all of you had a fantastic Christmas as well!
Saturday morning, I was up and out the door in the morning for 6 miles around the Rose Bowl. It was a cold but sunny morning. I wanted to see if I could run 30 seconds, walk 60 seconds for all 6 miles at the Rose Bowl. The week before I took it easy. On this day after Christmas, I knew I would be pushing a little bit. I wanted to see what the difference in time would be if I kept consistent intervals. It turned out AMAZING!
Mile 1 wasn’t that much faster than the week before. I knew it and wondered if going with a 60 second walk break vs. a 90 second walk break was the way to go. I think that the cold temps contributed to it taking longer than usual for me to warm up. The entire mile was a struggle. However, I hit each interval and kept reminding myself that it would get easier on the other side. So, I kept the 60 second walk breaks in mile 2. Again, I wasn’t feeling it. I still felt rather cold for most of the mile. I think in the last quarter-mile, I started feeling my running groove come back. So, it was just that the cold temps contributed to a slower than usual warm up. Mile 1 was finished in 12:16 and mile 2 took 12:14. Even while I ran, I knew I was pretty close to even splits over the first two miles and felt okay about that.
Mile 3 is where I really started feeling good. I finished in 11:49 for the mile and couldn’t wait to see what mile 4 would bring. After all, this was the last uphill mile for the day. At the end of mile 3, my overall time was 36:20. For most of mile 3, I was expecting to finish at 36:30. So, to see that I was faster was a huge confidence boost. I think that helped me for the first quarter-mile of mile 4. As expected, mile 4 was a grind. I was hitting my intervals as planned. However, I could feel the slowness. I kept reminding myself that it would get easier. All I had to do was finish the mile. I really wanted to finish the mile at 48:30. However, it wasn’t until 48:47 before I finally finished. Still, mile 4 took 12:27 (only 11 seconds slower than mile 1 (over the same ground))!
Mile 5 gets tricky. Because mile 4 feels like a grind, I think I very often will slow down too much on this mile to recover from the effort in mile 4. I’ve seen far too many mile 5’s in this Rose Bowl loop go too slow. So, as I got to the end of mile 4, I wanted to keep the focus going and not slack off in mile 5. The result? I was a second faster than mile 2! Score! Even though, I would have liked to finish mile 5 at 1:00:30 and I finished at 1:01:00, I knew that I was on a good run and just had to finish my last mile strong. It wasn’t as strong as mile 3 was, however, I finished mile 6 in 11:57! Not too bad. My overall time was, 1:13:02. One week prior, on the same course with different intervals, I finished in 1:16:14. That’s more than a 3 minute improvement! I’ll take it! It was fun to get out to the Rose Bowl again as preparations are now in high gear for the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl game. Plus, they has some barriers out along in my last mile. So, it kind of felt like coming to the finish line of a race!
I needed to get my run in so I could take part in a tradition of my wife’s family. The day after Christmas, when they are in California, they always head out to Santa Anita Race Track to take in some horse racing. I’ve never seen a horse race in person before. So, I was really looking forward to it.
Seeing these horses race up close, is pretty amazing! My in-laws aren’t big gamblers. However, they do place bets on the races for fun. So, I learned about that part of the experience as well. We sat in the infield and had a picnic in between the races. Plus, the nieces and nephew got to do some of the kid activities they have there.
They even had the horse used in filming Disney’s Seabiscuit!
Brooke wasn’t feeling well. So, it was just the rest of us having fun at the track!
On Sunday, I hit up the gym for a second week in a row! This was also the last week before all the new year’s resolutioners decide to invade the gym. It’s all good…they’ll gradually whittle down to more normal levels by Valentine’s Day. The workout was a pretty good one. I do think that last week’s workout was slightly better. However, I was feeling the tiredness of this week with my family and the excitement over Christmas. So, it was kind of a win just to be there.
I used the same settings on the elliptical machine as the week before and ended up really close to matching my performance from then as well. I’ve got to tell you that the elliptical machine can feel like a beast at times. Sunday was one of those days. The thing that wore me out, however, was the assisted chin ups and dips machine. I felt a little nauscious during the second set of chin ups. So, I had to stop for a few minutes. I ended up completing all the sets and reps. However, that one set, I needed a break. The leg press machine was next and I felt really good about that. On my next time at the gym, I’ll have to up the weight. The ab crunch machine was last and it felt really comfortable as well. So, I’ll have to up the resistance on that one as well.
I really want to feel that gym vibe again in the new year. I won’t be back at the gym next week because I have my last back to back long runs on the calendar before the Star Wars Rebel Challenge. Back to back long runs means I won’t be at the gym. However, I am planning on being back in two weeks. It will be great to get through the Rebel Challenge so I can make the gym a weekly activity.
Overall, I’m feeling really good about how my training is going. There are only two more runs on the calendar for this year. Then, I start 2016 off with a bang…5 miles on January 2nd…14 miles on January 3rd.