So first of all, don’t yell at me. I happened to be on vacation last week and missed all the big snowfall in the North East. If it makes you feel any better I had to dig my way back into my driveway when I got home from the airport and I was not appropriately dressed warm enough. Okay, now on to the blog post 🙂
Last week while on vacation I took advantage of the time to run a mini-Dopey Challenge. I was fortunate to have:
- My parents looking after our two boys
- My wonderful Wife to run along side me for most of these runs
- Warm weather and little elevation (not many hills in Florida)
- Extra time in the day so I didn’t have to run in the dark (except for one day)
On my first day in Florida I was finishing up my previous weeks training. I was tired from the late night arrival and got up a little later than usual but headed out to run 16. Having run up in Pennsylvania for the last few weeks, while not frigid cold, I was not used to the change in heat and humidity. It was a brutal 16 miler in which I ran out of water by mile 14. I was running with my Camel Bak hydration pack which I have never before emptied on a long run, even in summer’s up in PA and NJ. Ugh. I felt drained by that and was relived to have a rest day coming where I could sit and relax (as much as a 3 and 7 year old can allow you to).
Next up was the mini-Dopey.
My Wife had run a 6 miler on my rest day and she joined me the following day for another 6. This was not part of the training plan as I had set out. I had planned on just 4 miles as the plan was to run 4, 6, 10 and 20 as part of my 4 day plan but we ended up running 6 on Monday as it felt okay and wasn’t too hot to do so. No-one ran out of water that day.
As I have written about previously, I am using an adjusted version of Hal Higdon’s multiple marathon training plan. I used this last year and adjusted my Saturday runs to be at least half the Sunday long runs to simulate the Goofy and this year I planned on doing the same with the difference being throwing a couple of 4 days into the mix. My plan for this week as mentioned above was 4, 6, 10 and 20 miles. The 4 and 6 went off without a hitch. I had to pull myself back from running more than 4 on the Tuesday and my Wife ended up running 5. I stayed back and made sure to stretch while she ran that extra mile.
We were staying on Bradenton Beach which is a small strip of land on the Gulf Coast near Sarasota, FL which runs from Anna Maria Island at the top of the strip to Lido Key at the other end. In between the two there is a stretch of about 20 miles which encompasses Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach, Coquina Beach, Longboat Key and St. Armand’s Key. We set off in different directions every day to explore the island.
Tuesday’s 4 miler took us from Bradenton Beach to Holmes Beach and back. Wednesday’s 6 miler took us over the bridge that stretches from Coquina Beach to Longboat Key and back.
On Thursday we planned to run 10 together from Bradenton Beach up to Anna Maria Island but we kind of got lost and ended up running an ‘unofficial’ half marathon on the Island. Still the views were pretty and we were running in sunshine along the beach. What could be bad about that? My Wife actually ran out of water and we ended up sharing the Camel Bak over the last mile or so. You may know from my blog that my Wife is about 12 inches shorter than me so you can imagine how I was hunched over to one side every time she took a drink 🙂
My parents like to walk the 2 miles from Brandenton Beach to Holmes Beach and back everyday (with a stop for coffee at the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe). At the Beach Cafe they have an ‘all you can eat’ pancake breakfast option. Guess who took advantage of that after 13 miles 🙂
On Friday I got up early before dawn so I could get my planned long run in and be home early enough not to tie up the whole family waiting for me. I decided to venture up to Longboat Key as we typically drive the 13 miles or so of the Key and I hadn’t really run along there before. It was much cooler and there was a fair breeze which made it much easier to run. The terrain is fairly flat but the long stretch is paved all the way up. It is also well lit although I did keep my headlamp on until around sunrise. Not many people out at that time so I took it nice and slow. My splits were all around 10:15 minutes per mile, a little slow for me but come my 5th consecutive day of distance running it wasn’t too bad and I was feeling okay. I just wanted to make sure I finished. I actually took myself to 11 miles before I turned back. That would make this run a 22 miler and would be my longest ever training run. I was feeling okay and decided I would go for it as you don’t get the option to run shorter in the Dopey Challenge. I didn’t take any pictures that day as I was in full concentration mode but I did look at all the magnificent homes along this stretch. Wow. I need a lottery win to live here.
After an ice bath (although the water was never actually that cold from the taps in Florida) and a quick shower I was out the door with the boys as my Wife headed out for a run. She met us along with my parents at the Beach Cafe where as you can guess I ordered my ‘all you can eat pancakes’ breakfast again. Hey, I ran to eat that day for sure.
It was a tough but fun week. I felt good at the end and I have had 3 rest days since. It has given me the confidence I need to get to the Dopey Challenge in just over 3 weeks time. I’m really excited right now and looking forward to racing through the parks and meeting up with friends. It will be over before I know it but my goal is to savor the experience that I have trained hard for.
Thank you for reading.