Saturday, September 25, 2010

Trails are my drug

For some reason I was kind of a giant stress-ball yesterday, which makes no sense because who gets stressed out on a Friday afternoon!?! I knew I needed to run, but the idea of doing our usual loop for the millionth time kind of made me feel like cracking open a beer instead.

So Mike and I jumped in the car and headed south to San Pedro Valley County Park in Pacifica. We didn't really know where we were going, but we were definitely climbing! We ended up on the Montara Mountain trail, and reached the summit 3.5 miles and at least 1700 feet of elevation gain later. The visibility was PERFECT!  This is looking north over Pacifica and towards San Francisco.  We could see the Golden Gate Bridge, which always makes me abnormally happy.

This is looking across the bay towards Oakland:

And here are my beautifully clean legs/shoes at the end of the run:

It's not very often it takes over 80 minutes to go 7 miles, but I seriously enjoyed every single mile.  Then we came home and had pizza and beer, which obviously tastes a whole lot better after a good sweaty, dirty trail run!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lake Merced Half Marathon (and checking in with my goals)

Rocking my 2nd place (age group) medal and participant ribbon
This was just a test.

To say running hasn't been highest on my priority list might be a little bit of an understatement.  A new apartment and a new job kind of edged out speedwork in the "important life things" category, so for the past month or so I've been running a maximum of 35 miles a week, with long runs up to 13 miles. 

Then Mike found this race, which is a mile from our house and on the loop we run all the time, so we both decided to sign up and use it to gague our fitness levels.  Anything faster than my half split from San Francisco (about 1:46) would be a PR, but I honestly wasn't expecting to run anything faster than 1:50 because my runs have been so inconsistent.

The course was 2 4.5 mile loops plus a 4.1 mile loop.  Mike stayed with me for the first loop and a half but I could tell I was totally slowing him down.  I was feeling OK but not great, and was not totally thrilled about having to do roughly the same thing 3 times.  I finished the first loop in 34:58 and started in on the second just kind of going through the motions.  Halfway through the second lap Mike took off, which was fine with me because I didn't want to keep slowing him down.

I spent the rest of that loop passing then being passed by the same girl, and felt like I was slowing down. Sure enough, my second lap was 35:47.  By this point I had passed the girl from lap 2 for good and was just ready to be done.  I was coming up on another girl (who looked about my age), and for about a mile or so we were running right next to each other.  I caught myself thinking "this sucks, obviously she's just going to beat me," but then I realized that attitude was ridiculous.  I could tell she was working harder than I was, so I just relaxed and decided I'd wear her down and take off....which I kind of did (although I wouldn't call it taking was more of just a slight pickup).

The rest of the third loop went by pretty quickly.  I was passing a lot of people doing the shorter race, which is always a big mental boost even if I'm not in direct competition with them.  I rounded the last corner into the parking lot well below my goal of 1:46, and crossed the line at 1:42:30.  I was the third female, and 2nd in my age group!  (Mike ran a huge PR too...1:38:59!!)

Going up to collect my medal:

I got some pretty sweet stuff in the goodie bag, too

So now that we're nearing the end of 2010 (holy crap how did that happen), I wanted to take a look at the goals I set back in January:

Goals for 2010:
1. Qualify for Boston (hopefully at the LA Marathon) - DONE (San Francisco Marathon)
2. Run at least two full marathons - DONE (LA and SF)
3. Set PRs at 2 or more different distances - DONE (5K, Half Marathon, and Marathon!)
4. Run at least one trail race - hopefully in October or November

Whew, it's been a pretty awesome year!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Perks of the Job

I've now completed 2 weeks as a PE teacher, and I am pretty stoked on the job. I have 4 periods of PE, which means plenty of opportunities to be active with the kids (my PE teacher in Middle school was a short, pudgy, obnoxious guy who just yelled at us and never did any physical activity himself).  Yesterday, I ran with the girls in each class for a total of 3.2 miles, and also did 40 pushups over the course of the day.  The girls were pretty excited that I was running with them, and of course an extra opportunity to run (while on the job) is pretty nice.

My own running has been up and down.  Fortunately there are TONS of amazing places to run around here.  Last week I managed to get 35 miles in, and on the weekend we did an awesome run along the coast with beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Having Lake Merced about a mile away (a 4.5 mile paved loop with no stoplights!) has been pretty nice, and today we're going to run up to Golden Gate Park for a total of 13 miles.  I'm not surprised at all that San Francisco is consistently ranked in the top 10 cities for running by Runners World. I love it!

There are races all.the.time up here, so hopefully I'll get back into that and train more consistently so this blog will see some action again.  In the meantime, happy running!