Ending 2015 and Starting 2016 on a Good Note

It’s always weird to me to figure out how to classify a week that starts in one year and ends in another. Is this week 1 of 2016 or week 52 of 2015? I’m just not going to classify it as either for this weekly workout recap. So, let’s see how I ended 2015 and began 2016…

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I wasn’t feeling well on Tuesday night. So, I had to move the first mid-week run to Wednesday instead. I was still pretty tired heading into this run. However, I’m working on being consistent. So, out the door I went. Even thought I was tired, I am also trying to grind in the run 30 seconds, walk 60 seconds into these runs. So, I was prepared to have a slow time. Hey, slow runs are better than skipped runs. Mile 1 was slow and felt slow. I wasn’t off to a great start. The legs felt like they were running through molasses and I finished the mile in 11:21. I’ve run slower first miles before. However, I was on the slow side. Oh well. I could have opted to switch to the 90 second walk break in the second mile. But, I am determined to get this 60 second walk break my norm. Even though mile 2 is largely uphill, it only took me 20 seconds longer to finish it! Whenever I get to the end of mile 2 in less than 24 minutes, I’m happy. By mile 3, I was in good form and finished with my fastest mile of the night. Overall, I finished in 34:02!

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Thursday was New Year’s Eve. So, I decided to alter my 3 mile route a little bit so I could see all the folks who were staking their spot for the Rose Parade. Since I got off from work early, I got to run in the daylight! I don’t get to run in the afternoon very often. New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve gave me that rare opportunity. I took full advantage! This run got off to a much better start. I finished mile 1 in 10:58! Not only was I running faster, but I felt faster. Mile 2 would be different. Instead of turning up Green Street, I’d keep going all the way to Colorado Blvd. Once I got to Colorado Blvd., I realized that the crowd would slow me down a little bit. It was kind of like the start of a runDisney race. I’m sure that I annoyed a couple of guys who were taking up the entire open sidewalk. I asked if I could get by and had to start a run interval late. The look on their face was kind of funny, though. I finished mile 2 at 22:57. I was only a few seconds ahead of Wednesday. Oh well. I was having fun running along the parade route.

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So, I was pretty convinced I’d finish much slower than Wednesday because of the crowd. However, I ended up finishing in the exact same time as the day before…34:02.

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On January 1st, I already posted my pics from the Rose Parade. In the previous two years, I’ve had this 6 mile route I’d run that would take me to a couple different points of the parade. With a big weekend starting Saturday the 2nd of January, I rested and just walked up to the parade. It’s fun to live in a town that hosts such a large parade the entire world can see! It all happens a mere 15 minute walk from my apartment. I loved the Disney float. So much awesomeness on one float!

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On Saturday, January 2nd, I had 5 miles on the calendar, but decided to run my 6 mile route that takes me along part of the Rose Parade route. Just for fun. Here I was at a merchandise stand one day too late! Oh well. Anyways, this run did not start off great for me at all. For much of the first mile, I kept feeling like dry heaves were on the way. It kind of made me mad. I mean this is an easy mile. I shouldn’t have been feeling that way. One thing that was clear is that it was a total mental thing. I took me a good 3 miles to finally find my groove and this wasn’t an issue after that. My splits totally back this. Mile 1 took 11:13. Not a bad time. However, on this route, it was too slow. I’m used to running this first mile in 10:30 or even quicker. There’s a lot of downhill. Mile 2 took 11:21. This was not cool. I’m used to running the first two miles in around 21 minutes even. It worried me a little that I was this slow. Mile 3 is where the elevation begins to go up. It does so for three miles gradually. So, a slowing was expected and usually happens. I finished mile 3 in 11:59. Towards the end of mile 3, I could feel myself get back into a good running rhythm.

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Mile 4 is another hard mile. Of the three that go up, this one is the hardest. I finished mile 4 in 12:07 (the slowest mile of the day), but I was running better. If I had run this well in the first couple miles, I would have easily been a couple minutes faster. I passed Pasadena City College at the start of Mile 5 and stopped briefly for this picture with the empty bleachers. I ended up finishing mile in 12:04. Yep. The tide was turning. I was so happy to reach the end of mile 5 and stunned that I had done so in less than an hour. So much of this run was a struggle that I was convinced I’d end up with a bad finish time. Mile 6 was extra time from what the race calendar asked for. It could have been a throw away mile. But, I wanted to see how it felt to do a 6 mile run on Saturday and a 13+ mile run on Sunday. With mile 6 largely downhill, I felt great the entire way. This was my best feeling mile of the day. Even though my time for mile 6 was slower than the first 2, it felt better.

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I was one happy camper to finish in 1:10:23. I even cut my last walk break short to get a faster finish time. This was a great end to the run!

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Sunday was a big day. This was the last long run on the calendar before the Star Wars Half Marathon. My previous long run attempt (12.5 miles) ended with me cutting the run short. So, I really wanted this run to end at the end of mile 14. I decided before the run that my finish time was secondary to finishing the distance. I also decided to run back over the same ground I had run for that last long run. I wanted to remind myself that I can cover this route and survive. Much like Saturday, nerves got to me in the first mile. I’ve really got to find a better way to deal with the nerves. Mile 1 was very slow for me on this route. I finished in 14:03. I’ve never run this mile so slow. I reminded myself that finishing all 14 miles is what this run was about. The route was much more difficult than the one I’ll face at the Star Wars Half. So, I should expect to be slower. By mile 2, I found a much better rhythm and finished the mile nearly a minute faster! What loomed at the start of mile three was the crazy hill up Orange Grove Blvd. The picture above is the start of that hill.

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It winds uphill for around a full half mile. The grade of the incline gets pretty steep at times as well. So, even the walk breaks are hard. At the pace I’m going, there are 3 run intervals. The first two run intervals, I managed 26 of the 30 seconds before quitting. By the last run interval, I just decided to walk it out. Once I crested the hardest part, I got right back into my run/walk intervals. I was slow and it was hard. But, I really want to get better with hills. So, I’ve got to get out and run them. I finished mile 3 in 14:33.

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Mile 4 flattens out a little bit, but still is going up. There were lots of people out and running or walking up Orange Grove Blvd. So, it was fun to be out and among them. The flatter mile lead to a quicker mile. I finished in 13:39. One thing I love about mile 4 of this route is finishing by the Tournament of Roses House. This is where the Rose Parade headquarters is located.

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In mile 5, I got to run under these bleachers by where all the television cameras were at during the Rose Parade. If you watched the parade on TV, this is where the cameras were at. It was kind of fun to run under the bleachers! I made my way over the freeway on my way to the Rose Bowl to run two laps around the Rose Bowl loop. On the other side of the freeway, my plans quickly changed. There was a police car blocking oncoming traffic. I stopped at the traffic light to figure out why. The police officer had a pretty hard core kind of weapon. Maybe an AK47? There was another police officer off in the distance with the same. I thought I’d try a different way into the Rose Bowl and went across the street. There were several cyclists there watching. I asked one if he knew what was going on. He didn’t know but thought maybe there was some some person they were searching for. All the police officers they saw were pretty well armed and there was a police helicopter overhead. So, I needed to change my plans. I didn’t want to be in harms way.

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From what I remembered, I thought I’d possibly be in mile 7 when I got back to my apartment. So, I decided to run 2 laps around my mid-week run route and see where I was at then.

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The first part of heading back down Colorado Blvd. is fun. I ran by the Norton Simon Museum. Again, if you watched the parade, you probably saw this throughout the coverage. Once you get by here there’s a pretty steep downhill that is fun to run. Then, I’d get to run through Old Town Pasadena. With all the confusion and re-direction, I slowed a little bit and finished mile 5 in 15:58. By this point, I wasn’t happy with my time. I was coming into an easy part of the route, though. So, I continued on. I was running on familiar ground. I got to my apartment complex at the end of mile 6. It was time to start that mid-week loop I’m very familiar with. Mile 6 gave me a huge boost. I finished the mile in 13:11! Mile 7 was another good mile. I finished in 13:10. Mile 8 was the mile 2 of those mid-week runs. So, I knew it would be harder and slower. I finished the mile in 13:25. Maybe this wouldn’t be too bad is what I was thinking. I knew I still had the last mile of this lap and one more lap to finish first. In mile 9, I was surprised to see my time slowing. I felt slower. But, this was supposed to be an easy mile. As I got closer to the end of the mile, I started psyching myself up to get going on a second lap. I wasn’t going to stop even though I was at my apartment complex. I had to continue on. Mile 9 was finished in 13:27.

The slowing continued through mile 10. I don’t know why. I was just running slower. The slowing had nothing to do with missed run intervals. I was still running 30 seconds, walking 90 seconds. However, I was moving slower. Mile 10 was finished in 14:16, my slowest mile since mile 5. This is where I started planning on how I’d finish the last 2 miles. I didn’t want to come back here. So, I spent a large part of mile 11 plotting. I was once again running that 2nd mile of my mid-week runs. It was harder. But, I was still running 30 seconds, walking 90 seconds. Also, I was sill slowing down. Mile 11 was finished in 15:47. By the end of mile 11, I knew I wouldn’t get to the end of mile 13 in under 3 hours. That was kind of a bummer. I was contemplating quitting at the end of mile 12. After all, I would have still finished more miles than my last long run.

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By the end of mile 12, I decided to go run by the house from the Father of the Bride movies. I knew it was close enough to where I lived that I could do this. What’s funny is that the idea of running by here again got me back on track. I finished mile 13 in 15:03. I think that having a plan for the finish helped me greatly. Want to know something crazy? Mile 14 was an even better mile. I finished that mile in 14:49. I know that it wasn’t my fastest mile. However, the closer I got to the end, the more it drew me to finish.

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My final time was far from spectacular. However…

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I was thrilled to have finished all 14 miles! Not only that, but I finished 20 miles for the weekend! In spite of the slower time, I feel ready for the 2016 Star Wars Rebel Challenge! Bring it on!

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Posted in running workouts, Star Wars Half Marathon, Weekly Recap

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My Next Race
TCS NYC MarathonNovember 5th, 2017
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My Next runDisney Race
???? - Hopefully Star Wars Rebel ChallengeJanuary 17th, 2018
87 days to go.
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Official PR’s
5K - 32:46 - 2012 Pasadena 5K

10K - 1:15:42 - 2013 Pasadena 10K

Half Marathon - 2:43:25 - 2013 Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon

Full Marathon - 6:21:46 - 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon
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