June 21, 2012

Running in the Bay Area

I remember training for my first marathon (the 2001 Chicago Marathon) with Carolyn. I remember finishing the Skyline 50k ultra and being proud of covering so much terrain. I remember training very hard for the New York City marathon in 2009. I remember tough tempo runs around Lake Merritt and hardcore track workouts in the January rain. There have been lots and lots of races. I have amassed a solid collection of medals and ribbons from races in SF, Oakland, and even Santa Rosa! And most of my PRs were set around the Bay Area. I remember fun runs with old and new friends in San Francisco and on the East Bay trails. I've also done plenty of running by myself- on good days and bad days- to dig deep, to figure stuff  out, to reflect, to celebrate, and to move on.

The glories of being a runner in the Bay Area include:
-awesome routes just out our front door with challenging hills
-foggy runs over the Golden Gate Bridge
-flat runs in Alameda, Walnut Creek
-DSE races all over SF- for $5- and the lure of delectable chocolate chip cookies
-long runs in Golden Gate Park- with car free roads on Sunday
-hot, sunny runs in the South Bay
-trail running galore in Tilden, Chabot, Redwood Parks, Mt. Tam
-the San Francisco marathon
-the Kaiser half marathon
-Nike women's
-yummy restaurants for post-run refueling
-running in shorts in January and February :)

June 10, 2012

Iron Horse Trail

I decided to go out to Walnut Creek for today's long run. I ran 8.7 miles on the Iron Horse Trail, and it was nice and toasty out today!  I thought it would be good to begin acclimating myself to running in warmer weather :O  My legs felt quite good, and they seemed to 'want' to run at 9 minute pace.

I said goodbye to the dry heat, brown hills, and adorable horses.  I recalled a couple great workouts on the trail, as well as a few tough days out there.  And I'm determined to find greenways and rails-to-trails out east.....

June 4, 2012

Canyon Meadow Trail Race

For several reasons, I wanted to run another race in the Bay Area in 2012.  This year marks my 20th runniversary.....I ran middle school track in 1992 and, today, totally identify as a runner!! Since May's Coastal race went so well, I signed up for one of their half marathon trail races which was conveniently located in Oakland's Redwood Park.

A few days before the race, I had a pretty bad cold. I sent some pathetic text/google messages to my running buddies who encouraged me to try my best.  I was pretty determined to just run it---even if my nasal passages felt disgusting :(

On race morning, it was kinda gray and cool (oh, Bay Area summer) but I wore shorts and a tank top.  This was a good choice because, at points during the race, it was sunny and warm (and I always get hot while running/racing). The start of the race was tough with a cruel uphill.

I was running and hiking and attempting to keep my heart rate down. I struggled at points and, during the third mile, I was questioning why I was running the 1/2 distance. I bribed myself to just get to the first aid station at mile 5. I managed to keep going and treated myself to m & ms and pretzels at the aid station (hooray for the junk food at trail races!!).

Around mile 6 or 7, my legs started to feel much, much better. I found my groove and told myself that, yes, I could run a strong 1/2. There were some fun downhill sections, and I felt strong yet relaxed.  I definitely wasn't pushing myself all-out. I let myself soak up the scenery, including the tall redwood trees. I started running back and forth with a couple other women. On other sections of the trail, it was very quiet, and I felt like I was totally alone in the woods. In fact, at a couple points, I double checked to make sure I wasn't lost ;)

The next aid station was at mile 11. After drinking a small cup of coke, eating a few treats, and grabbing an oreo to eat while running, I reminded myself that there were just a couple miles left. So I let myself work a bit harder.  I knew I'd be proud to finish this race.

The last mile was on a flat path, and the women around me were picking up the pace. I decided to stick with them and ran the last mile at 8:50 pace (my fastest mile of the day). I suppose that means that my legs still had some pep left in them! I think I ran a smart & strong race---in trail races, you can't sprint the entire way, but I did push myself on certain sections, and it was a great workout.  After the race, I enjoyed some snacks and delicious watermelon plus a beer. This was a fantastic racing experience.  I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to fall in love with trail running in the Bay Area. Whether I'm running on the west coast or east coast, I'll treasure the ups and downs of running and racing.