With that said, I'm going to come at it from a different angle.
In preparing to do this run, I went on a handful of walks and a few short runs—not the best training method. And, if you've followed The Mousekebeers Podcast for any time, or seen any photo of me, you know I'm a big guy and do very little strenuous exercise, if any. I'll let you know that the food I brought with me during the run consisted of Fig Newtons and gummi bears (Elaine found a website that suggested these items as food to pack in your running belt and I was all about that).
It irritates my wife to no end that I go out and do these runs without training, while she works at running. It concerns my mom that I have the "weekend warrior" strategy, which I know often leads to heart attacks, and other medical issues. And, I can't blame either of them. They're both right. I should train, and I shouldn't go out and push myself like this.
But, let's look at the flip side. I finished! I ran 6.2 miles, and I had a blast doing it. I now know that I can run that distance, and not hurt that badly when it's all said and done. That's what makes runDisney events so great. If running every day was like running at Disney World, I wouldn't have any trouble running each day. Running at Disney makes me want to run.
The other benefit is that I now have a time to beat. I have something to train for. This time around, I knew I could run it. I knew I could finish. And, with that being my only real goal, I didn't have much to train for. Next time, I've got a time to beat. This time around, we stopped a lot to take pictures with characters, mile markers, and in a fairly empty park. We'll do that next time too, but we'll run faster in between. This time, my time was horrendous. It took over two hours to complete the 10k. Out of 1249 guys in the race, I was number 1238. But, we stopped to take pictures with Tinkerbell, Marie (the cat from Aristocats), Jiminy Cricket, Goofy, Donald, every mile marker, etc. We probably waited 15 minutes to take a picture with Tink, and 5 or so minutes each for the others. And, that's great. That's what makes these runs fun. That's why I had such a good time.
I don't really care that I was only faster than eleven other guys. That's not the point. I also don't really care how long the race took in total. That time will always include our wait time. What I care about for next time is the time it takes me to get from one character to the next.
For this race, I figure my actual running time was around 14 minutes per mile. That's the time I'm looking to improve. I'm also looking to improve to amount of time it takes me to recuperate after a run. I've already gleaned a few things just by participating in runDisney events and being around the expo. I'm already sold on a method for improving--Jeff Galloway's Run, Walk, Run.
Jeff Galloway advocates a run/walk method using a timer. Elaine is much more knowledgeable on this than I am, but based on what she knew and a presentation we heard Jeff give at the expo, Elaine and I decided to use a split of 40 sec./20 sec.(running for forty seconds, walking for twenty) during our run. This helped out a lot. By taking breaks to walk early and often, you allow your body to erase muscle fatigue mid-run. Having a short run time is helpful for me, because I can make myself do it. It's difficult for me to run with any speed for a full minute and a half. But, for forty seconds I can run as fast as I can. So, I'm concentrating on that forty seconds of running and making that forty seconds take me further. Jeff also talks about running with short, low strides, which will likely increase your speed and lower the risk for injury. Eventually, I'd like to work towards a split like 90/30, or 60/20, but for now I'm concentrating on running faster for that forty seconds. Alternating walking really does help. After running in the morning, as long as I don't sit for too long, it's not a problem to walk around the parks the rest of the day. You can finish a run, and feel great.
If you're ever at a run, look for Elaine and I. We'd love to meet up with some people. We're already set to run the Everest Challenge in May, and we'll be signing up for the Food & Wine Half as soon as they open up registration.
Here are some photos from our run this weekend: