Week 8 of Avengers Half Marathon Training is Also Disneyland Half Marathon Week

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So, week 8 of my Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Training Cycle is also the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. To say this was a different sort of training week would be a huge understatement. Although, this wasn’t the week I had hoped for when it got put on the calendar. Let’s take a brief look at the week that was. I’ll go into more details about the Disneyland 5K and Disneyland 10K races I finished this week later with a full recap. For this post, I’ll just touch on a few points about each race.

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Before the races happened, I still had mid-week training runs of 4 miles to complete. Unfortunately, I had a really bad sinus attack on Tuesday that put me out of commission. It was so bad that I had to call out sick from work. Wednesday, I was feeling better and made sure to get out and make my 4 mile training run. I wasn’t 100 percent for this run. Add to that, the goals I had for the Disneyland 10K at week’s end, I decided to just get the miles in and not worry a lot about my finish time. I went with a run 30, walk 90 seconds for the entire run.

Mile 1 got off to a respectable start. I stop my watch whenever I get to a red traffic light. I do so to keep my evaluation of my training runs consistent. After all, if I ran 4 miles in 48 minutes one day and 50 minutes the next. The difference in time could just be that I had to stop longer at traffic lights on the second day than the first. I might have stopped 3 minutes longer and ended up with a better run. However, if I keep the watch moving, I’d not know that. The reason I say that I got off to a respectable start is because what my watch said about my average pace at the first two traffic lights. I was under a 12 minute pace in mile 1. I slowed a little in the last quarter-mile of mile 1 to finish at 12:21. This isn’t a horrible start…I’ve started slower. However, it wasn’t a fast start either. Going into mile 2, I felt alright with my time.

Since mile 2 is either flat or going downhill, I’m always fascinated with my time for this mile. It doesn’t bode well for me if I’m not faster this mile than in mile 1. As it turned out, I was faster in mile 2. But, not by very much. I finished mile 2 in 12:17. With a cumulative time of 24:28, my expectations for mile 3 turned into a try to be consistent. As mile 3 went along, I could see that I was slowing down. I felt the tiredness setting in. Each quarter-mile, I could see myself getting farther and farther behind that 12 minute per mile pace I really want. I finished mile 3 in 12:53. That was disheartening. I knew I was slowing down, but expected better.

With a cumulative time of 37:31 at the end of mile 3, all I wanted was just to finish out this run and move on. The only good thing about this run was that I was going to finish it. So, even though I wasn’t 100 percent at the start of the run, I was going to finish and take the loss. These are the hard miles to run. The miles where you know you aren’t going to end up with a good finish time. I like to think that these are the miles that teach you the most. On this night, I learned what I can do when I feel crummy at the start of a run. I can finish all 4 miles. I can even finish them when I have no hope of a great finish time.

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This is how it ended. One of my worst 4 miles training runs in quite some time. But, I finished it nonetheless.

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Thursday was Disneyland Half Marathon Expo Day! Nothing will help you get over a bad run like a runDisney race weekend. Especially, going to the Expo. There’s so much positiveness at the Expo. So much…dream big dreams and you’re a winner just for making it to the start line. Anything seems possible.

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I’ll recap the Expo better in another post. For today, I want to mention that I got to talk with Jeff Galloway at the expo. With the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon on my mind, I wanted to ask him for advice regarding how to prevent blisters. Jeff told me about a company called 2 Toms which sells a product that helps prevent blisters. If you’ve followed my blog long enough, you know that both the 2015 Los Angeles Marathon and 2015 Chicago Marathon were ones that I saw my finish time marred by blisters in the last few miles of each race. In the Los Angeles Marathon, it was right at the 23 mile marker. At the Chicago Marathon, it was in mile 22. I still believe that I would have set a new Marathon PR at Chicago if not for those blisters popping. Anyways, since I do want to set a new PR at the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon, I know I need to make sure that I don’t have that blister problem again. Jeff also stressed how important it is to have a training run of 26 miles before the marathon. So, that 26 mile training run I have on my calendar will be very important.

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Speaking of the 2017 Sketchers Performance Los Angeles Marathon…on Thursday, I registered for the race! So, I’m officially registered to run!

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Friday morning, I was up before the chickens to head off to run in the Disneyland 5K! I haven’t run in a runDisney 5K race since the 2013 Neverland 5K. So, I was really excited about running in a race that was only 3.1 miles long! In the corrals, it was really cool to talk with folks who were running their first race and/or first 5K. It was a great reminder of how far I’ve come. I still remember how nervous I was at the 2012 Neverland 5K and how running for 3.1 miles can be so intimidating at first. Now days, 3.1 miles is something I don’t worry about finishing. I only worry about my finishing time. That said, I think it’s awesome to listen to these first timers and be able to encourage them.

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This race was all about having fun. I’ll give a proper recap in a later post. However, I had tons of fun with this race. One thing that was kind of cool about the race is that I got to start towards the front of my corral (corral C). I started off running all the way until we turned into the backstage area of DCA. Since I was towards the front, I didn’t experience any kind of course crowding. Which was why I ran so far to begin with. Then, I remembered that I wasn’t running this race for time. So, I’d probably be better going to some sort of intervals until I got “on stage” at a park. What frustrated me about this race, though, was that I couldn’t get the back light on my new Garmin Vivofit Active watch to come on. . So, it was hard to keep track of my time.

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My overall impression of the Disneyland 5K is totally positive. I loved running in this race! I did run more than I would have thought before the race. However, there was no consistent run/walk interval going for this race. I loved how much time we spent inside the theme parks! I also loved how many characters were out for photos! The photo above is with Kenai and Koda from Brother Bear. I did skip a few characters on the course. That was mostly because I was going through the battle of running for time and not running for time. I finished with a time of 51:24. As I got into mile 3 of the race, I realized that I was going to finish slower than I had finished 4 miles just two days before. Oh what a difference of running for fun can be!

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By the way…check out that medal! When runDisney first released the pics of the race medals (and the fact that, beginning with the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, they were going to be giving out real medals for the 5K races), I wasn’t overly impressed with this medal. It took some reading to figure out what the medal’s design was. Up close, I loved this medal. If you took off the ribbon that goes around our neck, you’ll notice that the medal is in the shape of a jug…perfect for the Country Bears theme to the race!

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I hung out at Disney California Adventure after the race and even got to see the new Frozen show at the Hyperion Theater. It’s a fantastic show…even if it’s a bit long. I was told later that the show is an hour long. My show had a technical problem that delayed the show by around 10 minutes. If you have the opportunity to see the show…GO! Some of the technical aspects of this show are simply stunning.

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On Saturday, I was back to Disneyland for the Disneyland 10K race. This was the race I had targeted in my training plan as a test race to see how far I’ve come and still need to go. When I put my training schedule together, I had this race as a potential goal race, with PR potential. I wasn’t entirely sure that I would be able to PR this race. So, it wasn’t as much a goal to PR the race as I want to PR the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon in November. My training had shown me I would need something really special to PR this race. So, heading into the race, I didn’t expect to hit the PR. Still, I had a reasonable goal of finishing in 1:17:00 – 1:20:00.

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I will give a proper recap later. For now, I’ll just say that this race wasn’t a PR. Miles 1 and 2 were alright. However, I saw a short looking line for a picture with Mr. Incredible and couldn’t resist. I was in line for around 5 minutes (not bad by runDisney standards). My time had already started to get away from me by this point. I didn’t completely stick to the plan of run 30, walk 90 for mile 1 and then switch to a 60 second walk from miles 2 through the end. Part of the reason for this is that I couldn’t count on my watch to show me my time. Another part was how I decided to compensate. I decided that I would use the Nike Plus App on my phone until the sun came out enough to read my watch. Well, I couldn’t get the Nike app to work at first. By the time I started it, I wasn’t entirely sure where I was exactly. Even with that, though, I crossed he 5K mark at 40:42. So, a 1:20:00 10K wasn’t out of the question.

As the miles went by, I started to grow frustrated with lines of slow runners/walkers extending 5 or 6 people across the road. I can’t fault the people that were running slower than me. They were running. However, with no way to pass, my run pace slowed each time. So, there were run intervals I’d do at a slower than training tempo. I really need to get more aggressive with politely asking to pass. By the end of mile 5, I saw my 1:20:00 goal leaving me. So, I decided to just have fun in the last mile.

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I finished in 1:26:01. Before commenting too much on this finish time, I really want to reflect on the race. However, I was initially bummed out about this time.

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However, after hanging out at Disneyland…and visiting Tigger…my mood was raised by realizing that if I skipped the photo op with Mr. Incredible and some First Order Storm Troopers, I would have easily taken 6 – 7 minutes off my finish time. That alone, would have placed me within my realistic time goal. So, it’s not all bad. The race could have been better. But, it could have been worse. I do want to take some time to think more about this race to see what I can learn from it to help me better prepare to race the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon.

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In addition to hanging out at Disneyland after the Disneyland 10K, I attended the We Run Social meet up at the Disneyland Hotel. We had quite the turnout! I even won a box of KT Tape! It was tons of fun to chat it up with some of the other We Run Social peeps!

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Even though I was pretty tired at the end of the meetup, I headed back to Disneyland because I wanted to see the Paint the Night Parade one last time. Disney has said that the parade would return for some limited time magic. However, you never know when that will happen or how often.

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I loved watching the parade one last time!

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Considering where I was for the parade, I had to stay for one last viewing of the Disneyland Forever Fireworks show. It did not disappoint.

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After the fireworks, it was time to head home. This would be the last time I’ll see all the Disneyland 60th Celebration stuff around the parks. So, it was a little bittersweet kind of day.

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I will miss seeing Sleeping Beauty’s Castle all decked out in 60th gear.

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Just like that, my 2016 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend was over.

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On Sunday, there was no exercise. However, I let Colton check out the new medals. He was busy trying to figure out what they were in this picture.

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After running the past 3 Disneyland Half Marathons, it was really strange to see my race weekend end without running a half marathon. Last year, I got to post this picture of my new bling. This year, I got to watch several friends posting their pictures from the 2016 Disneyland Half Marathon. I think there’s a future post reflecting on that. For now, I’m glad I took this year off. I need to know it’s okay to run at Disney and not run a half marathon. This past weekend was certainly easier than my previous Disneyland Half Marathon Weekends.

Anyways, this was not a week that was about any particular race. While I didn’t hit the 10K PR, I originally envisioned to end the week, and I missed one training run, I leave the week ready to take on week 9 of Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon training. As the week progresses, I’m going to be evaluating where I’m at right now in relation to my goal of setting a half marathon PR at the Avengers Half. Adjustments are certainly coming. What’s most important for me this week, though, is realizing that I haven’t reached the end of any training plan. I’m entering week 9 or 17. So, it’s time to keep on moving forward. This coming weekend, I’ve got 11 miles to run. Bring on those double digits!


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