It’s Disneyland Half Marathon Week! I must admit, it’s a very different kind of Disneyland Half Marathon Week for me. For the past 3 years, I ran the Dumbo Double Dare. Even though I was training for the Chicago Marathon last year at this time, I was still using the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend as a key part of the training. This year, it’s not as key. I’ll talk about that more later this week. For today, I’ll just focus on last week’s training. It was week 7 of 17 in preparation for the 2016 Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon. It was quite the bounce back week!
On Tuesday evening, I got back at the training. With only 1 training run in week 6, I needed every single run this week. It was another run where I was tired and unsure of how things would go. So, I decided to make this week one where I ran 30 seconds, and walked 90 seconds on all miles for the mid week runs. It was the right strategy for Tuesday’s run. I know that in training, we all try to push ourselves. However, there also needs to be some time for recovery and revitalization.
Mile 1 was very sluggish. I was moving slowly and could tell I was. Even though I wasn’t planning on switching my walk breaks up, I’m always open to making a change if the first mile goes better than expected. This was not one of those days. I finished mile 1 in 12:23. It was a little faster than the week before by a few seconds. However, it was nothing that convinced me to alter the pre-run plan. So, I kept the 90 second walk breaks throughout.
This time, mile 2 went much better. In mile 2, I focused on staying positive and enjoying the run. This is the mile where I get to run through Old Town Pasadena and by the location of my wedding reception. It’s a pretty nice stretch to run. It also is a stretch that can get crowded by people out and about. On Tuesday, it was a little busy and that slowed me down a little. I finished mile 2 in 12:04…bringing my 2 mile total to 24:28.
Mile 3 was about staying consistent. I wanted to keep my pace consistent with mile 2 because the elevation chart is roughly the same. Even with the 90 second walk breaks, I felt like I was pushing myself. I finished mile 3 in 12:07. I loved it! 3 seconds slower isn’t too bad.
Mile 4 was a bit rough as usual. I was running out of steam. At 12:48, it was my slowest mile of the run. This mile on this loop is still very much a work in progress. Here’s how I finished…
I was really pleased to have finished more than 30 seconds quicker than a week ago! And, I did so while keeping the 90 second walk break for ALL 4 miles!
On Wednesday night, the wife, boy and myself headed out to a local book store called Vromans to support our friend Robin Puelma who had just released her second self published book…entitled the Naming of Colton Black. The title of this book was chosen BEFORE we even knew there would be a Colton in our lives. So, when we named our boy, it was kind of cool to our friend. By the way, if you’d like to check out this book, you can order it on Amazon by clicking here. I haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet, but my wife LOVES the book!
Thursday night, I needed to get out and run. I did not want a repeat of week 6. So, no matter how I felt, I had to get out and run. I decided to keep the walk breaks to 90 seconds for all four miles before starting. I was feeling better than Tuesday night. However, with a 9 mile run coming up on the weekend, I thought it would be better to save myself for Saturday.
This time, I got off to a better start. I felt stronger and like I was running faster right from mile 1! This time it only took me 12 minutes, 9 seconds to finish the first mile! That was 14 seconds faster! Even with a better first mile, I kept to the plan of not making any switches for mile 2. As I started mile 2, I wondered how it would go without making any switches. Well, I finished in 12:08. It wasn’t the rousing mile 2 I hoped for. However, I recognized that I was still ahead of my time from Tuesday. So, there was that.
I kept pushing through mile 3. The goal I came up with in Mile 3 was to finish in under 49 minutes. That’s what drove me to keep up what I had been doing for the first 2 miles. It worked out pretty well. I finished Mile 3 in 12:14. I was quicker over the course of 3 miles than Tuesday. However, my mile 2 and 3 splits were slower. So, I had given back some time from the gains of mile 1. By the end of mile 3, I was at 36:30. I knew that if I wanted to keep my sub 49 minute goal, I would have to make sure not to loose too much time in mile 4.
So, I switched to the 60 second walk break in mile 4. I thought it would help me. In hind sight, I don’t think it did. I was pushing harder in mile 4 which took more energy. I pushed really hard in this mile. However, I finished in 12:26…my slowest of the entire 4 miles.
The good news? I met my goal of a sub 49 minute, 4 mile run! I beat the time by a full second. Not much. But, I’ll take it! This run did leave me wondering how I would have fared if I kept to the 90 second walk breaks.
All of this lead me to Saturday’s 9 mile run. This was going to be my 3rd 9 mile run for 2016. The first one was a few days before Brooke and I would find out about Colton’s birth! Here are the splits…
The next time was back in June as I was going through my pre-Avengers training. This was the training cycle that gave me the confidence to dream big dreams as a runner with a child! Here are the splits…
As you see, I was a little slower. So, the challenge of this past weekend’s 9 miles was to see if I would be faster or continue to go slower. I also was faced with question of how to do this run. I could have used this training run as 6 miles at race pace for a 10K and 3 miles at half marathon pace. Or, I could do this 9 miles as a pure half marathon training run. I decided to leave that decision for how the first two miles went.
Mile 1 pretty much sealed the deal. I finished in 12:22. As I look back on it now, I started off slower than either of the two 9 mile runs before this one. I didn’t have all the splits from my previous 9 mile runs in my head while running. I had some general sense of where I was at the end of each 3 miles in those runs. But, nothing solid. I was feeling slow. So, I decided to keep the 90 second walk breaks through the entire 9 miles and see what happened.
I won’t go into each mile. Here are the splits. There were moments where my legs felt like rubber. There were moments where I was so out of breath. However, each walk break lead to recovery. No matter how I felt at the end of my run intervals, I’d recover well after. While I wasn’t thrilled with my times heading into mile 6 (and even after mile 6), I felt like I was running stronger. If I could some how weather the storm of miles 7 and 8, I might actually have a faster time. So, I kept my head down and went to work. By the middle of mile 8, I started believing that I could beat that 9 mile run from right before I became a daddy. I just had to keep running. Guess what???
I DID! Not only that, but I beat my 9 mile time by nearly a minute! Talk about a confidence booster. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll wind up with that half marathon PR at Avengers after all. Time will tell. After this run, I feel like I’m on the right path!
On Sunday, I turned 43 years old. To celebrate, I headed off to Goofy’s Kitchen with my wife and boy. It was Colton’s first experience with Disney walk around characters. He did amazingly well!
Colton absolutely LOVED Minnie Mouse! He was mesmerized. When Minnie left our table, he kept looking at her as if to say…why are you leaving? Can’t we play some more?
Minnie seemed to be the winner of the day until Pluto showed up. He loved playing with Pluto!
Later on, Goofy made the rounds and Colton squealed in delight! I think that, once he got used to the strange looking things walking around, he had a blast. I loved that he reached out to each and every character that came by our table. He was fearless! This kid is definitely a Disney Kid!
Since it was my birthday, I got the special cup cake. However, I think Colton had his eyes on it and wanted it for himself. He’s been big people food lately.
Right outside Goofy’s Kitchen, they had an Autopia car for pictures. Colton loved being in the car!
We did some shopping. It was MY birthday and guess who got presents??? The boy! We took him by the plush at the World of Disney store. When we got to Minnie, he squealed in delight. He was making it clear that he loved Minnie. I presented him with a Mickey and he smiled at Mickey as well. So, we bought the set. You can’t break up Mickey and Minnie.
Overall, this was a great week for me! This birthday is a top 5 birthday all-time for me! Colton’s reaction to being at Goofy’s Kitchen couldn’t have gone any better and far exceeded my expectations. We haven’t taken Colton to a theme park yet. But, it’s coming. Just not yet.