The Road to Dopey Goes Through RnR San Diego

For the first time since 2017, I’m on a training plan for a long distance race! It’s exciting…it’s scary… but it’s real. All of those goals I have for 2023 start right now with week 1 of training for the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon. Here’s how the week went…

My first training run was supposed to happen last Monday. However, when things don’t go the way they are supposed to go, you decide to switch things up. After all, I only have 3 training runs to complete each week. 2 of them should be on the week nights and 1 weekend long run. So, by Wednesday, I was itching to get out there and run. I am training for a half marathon after all….and I haven’t run that far since the end of 2017. When I started this run, I expected the worst. After all, a cold had sidelined all my pre-RnR San Diego Half Marathon training plans. So, went out just to see how it would go. I must admit that I was happy to see a finish time in under 30 minutes! The route I’ve been running since moving to Arcadia isn’t super easy (or maybe that’s how undertrained I am), but it isn’t super hard either. Most of the first mile is going slightly downhill. So, the last mile is largely going uphill. As expected, my first mile was faster than the last. I was able to keep a run 30 seconds, walk 90 seconds run/walk interval going for almost a mile and a half! The last half mile, I ran for 20 seconds and walked 100 seconds (with one missed run interval). For a first run, I’ll take it!

My second run was on Thursday. Can’t remember the last time I ran on back to back days. However, given my schedule of this week, it was needed. Just like the previous night, this run turned out to be better than expected. I was just over a minute faster! I could tell right from the first run interval that I was going to be okay. Everything felt fine as I went along. By the end of the first mile, I knew I was going a little quicker. That was both cool and scary. If you can’t tell, I’m still so unsure of myself right now. Since the last half of the out and back is tougher than the first half, I’m always scared of completely flaming out in the back half of the run. This run proved to be something where I didn’t need to worry. By the time I got into the last half mile, I really wanted to beat my time from the day before and wondered where I’d land. As it turns out, I was just over a minute faster! I’ve got to admit that it felt fantastic to be under a 14 minute per mile average pace again!

For my third 2 miles on the schedule, I decided to take it to the track. I had been toying with the idea of running a Magic Mile for my first mile on the track. I had really wanted to run one of these on the weekend before starting my formal training plan to see where I’m at. As I drove to the track, I decided to just make it two miles on the track. The reason for this is (1) I haven’t run in the morning in forever and felt extremely unsure about how that was going to go and (2) it wasn’t part of the plan I’m following. So, it’s really unnecessary. My training runs will give me an indication of any progress/regression I may be experiencing. By the time I get to that first Magic Mile, I will put out what I think will happen beforehand to see if I’m tracking accurately. Running on the track again was super challenging. After all, the track is flat. So, there are no declines to help you recover and/or go faster. Likewise, there is no incline to worry about. After walking a lap to warm up, the Garmin GPS finally kicked in and found me (had tried to get Garmin to track me on the first two runs with no success). Then, as I went to the Nike app to track me again, it gave me issues. So, Garmin was the winner this time. As I got into my first lap of tracking, I could feel some of the nerves falling off. I was actually pretty happy with my first mile on the track. By the end of mile 1, I realized that Garmin was not on point. The end of my 4th lap had my Garmin watch reading 1.10 miles. The second mile is where the mental games began with me. By the seventh lap, I started having problems running the full 30 seconds. So, I took a run interval off in that lap. However, I wasn’t liking my time. So, I only ended up taking one full run interval off. The rest were in the 20 to 25 second range. I would have loved to have finished in the time that I was at when my Garmin put me at 2 miles. However, I knew I hadn’t finished that last lap. So, to keep everything honest, I did finish all 8 laps. Garmin records this as 2.25 miles.

On top of the runs, I’m also tracking weight loss. I haven’t got my focus where I want it to be quite yet. So, I was thrilled to learn that I’ve lost 2 lbs since January 16th! I guess I haven’t weighed myself in the following weeks. So, I did get on the scale to see where I’m at currently. Still working on the plan for this. However, I do want to track this. I’m losely hoping to lose 50lbs by the time I get to run Dopey. We shall see if it all works out. For now, I’m happy to see a couple pounds lost!

Final thoughts and observations in week 1…

First off, please don’t be confused by the graphics that talk about the Road to Dopey 2023. My road to Dopey 2023 starts with the road to the 2022 Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon. After this race, you’ll see me mention a week 1 again (end of June/beginning of July). That will be the OFFICIAL Dopey Training as this second training cycle will take me all the way to Dopey. I’ve got everything calendared and planned. I’ve got to admit it’s kind of scary to see those weeks in October, November, and December. But, I do remind myself that I’m just starting up again. The goal in this first training cycle is to get myself back into a fitness level of someone running half marathons. Once I get there, it will be all about the marathon!

One thing I realized this week is that I may not get the kind of result I’d like to get at the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon. So, I do have plan to add the Long Beach Half Marathon to my schedule in October. As any runDisney runner knows, placement is everything! Right now, it’s way too early to predict my finish time at Rock n Roll San Diego. I don’t want that finish time to stress me out too much and make the focus simply getting back in half marathon shape. By realizing that I can add the Long Beach Half Marathon to my schedule, I hope it will take the pressure off Rock n Roll San Diego to get a certain time. I really want to run that race with the mindset of seeing where I’m at on race day. If I get a good enough result (like between 3 hours and 3:15:00) there will be no need to an extra half. However, if my training for Dopey is going really well and I think I can finish in under 3 hours, I might add that race anyways.

Another observation is how much different it is to be re-starting my running life from when I initially began. I’m probably in worse shape than I was back then. However, I have enough experience to not stress out about things I would have stressed out in the first go around. On the downside, I still have certain expectations in my head from pre 2017 NYC Marathon that I’m fighting with. It creates so much uncertainty with each run. This week, I had back to back training runs and my first morning run in forever. I seriously hated the uncertainty and what low expectations I’m giving myself. I look forward to when I get a month or two into this training to see if that uncertainty persists. I do expect it persist in the increase of distance. But, I’m hoping that I will mellow out a little bit more on the mid week training runs as I do more of them.

Last observation is this… running in the sun is so much different than night runs. Yikes! My Sunday run, the temp increased nearly 10 degrees from start to finish. Boy was I feeling it!

One more thing to share to close this post out…I’m planning on putting our a weekly update on Monday or Tuesday every week because I plan on having training runs to report. Beyond that, at this point, I’m thinking that I’d love to put out other content as well. So, I am hoping to do some quick posts to the Facebook group. If I can do more blog posts in the week, I will. But, my schedule right now is too busy to commit to that. It feels amazing to be on the journey towards a half marathon again! I have truly missed this over the past few years. I can’t wait to see what happens along the way! See you next week!

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