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Day: December 8, 2012

Running San Fran

Running San Fran

It’s been a solid two years and change (so I guess not so solid, after all) since I was last here for the San Fran Marathon in 2010, the one I ran freshly pregnant (as in, freshly-conceived-and-didn’t-realize-I-was-pregnant type of pregnant).  I had a super pleasant experience at this race and have been itchin’ to get back here when C’s here for work, though my school/A schedule usually prohibits it.

This time around, I got lucky.

I’ve been able to run every day we’ve been here, in part because I wanted to take in and see as much of the city as I could, and also in part because I was trying to streak for the month of December.  I’ve since decided to forgo the streak–not because I’m not running regularly (hello? <40 days til Houston!) but because I think it ends up being junk miles–but from Sunday on, I’ve done some pretty great running here.

Some of my runs were little baby ones, between 2-4 miles, though Monday’s was just shy of 16 and today’s (Friday) was just over 11.  Both of these runs were my week’s highlights.

On Monday, I tried to replicate the first part of the marathon course by running along the Embarcadero, through Fort Mason, and up and over the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was a beautiful day, and since I had my phone with me (safely nestled in my sports bra or on my hip… more on that detail in a minute), I got some great pics.

Yup, about 9 and change into the 15+ run… just making sure you knew I was legitimately there, haha
Made the trek totally worth it for this picture. Gorgeous!
Made it over the GG Bridge! Note the shadow… yours truly 🙂
Good morning, San Francisco… pleasure running you!

Apparently, two Masters degrees isn’t sufficient to make me realize that it’s not a good idea to keep my silly-expensive smartphone in my sportsbra (or on a hip in a pair of tights) for 15.7 because holy humidity, it gets hot in there.

My phone worked the entire time I was running, since I was snapping away pictures and rockin’ out to some music (a rarity), but later that day, as I was coming back from Alcatraz, it started wiggin’ out, and a visit to the TMobile store first thing the next day revealed the worst: that I had water-damaged my phone and thus, voided the warranty.


Of course, that meant no functioning phone from Monday afternoon onward.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem being unplugged, but not having a phone when you’re not in your home city is something of a challenge, to say the least.  Anytime I’ve wanted to go anywhere (which is everyday), I’ve come back to the hotel, looked up all the directions and times I could possibly consider taking on GoogleMaps, have taken copious notes on my routes and route options, and then have gone about my business.

It has made for a lot of out-and-backs and backtracking, as you can imagine.

That said, my runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were much shorter and much closer to home–around and through SoMa, Tenderloin, and Chinatown, though I had the pleasure of getting lost in the latter in the pouring rain during morning rush hour.

Today’s run, on the other hand, took me back to the middle part of the marathon course,  Golden Gate park.  This was a super cool area of the marathon, even though we didn’t run it in its entirety, so I was thrilled to come do it today.  I started on Haight and ran toward the ocean, saw the bison/buffalo guys that I recalled seeing from the marathon, stopped and soaked in the ocean view for a couple minutes, and then turned around and somehow managed to get “disoriented,” let’s call it, a few times before making my way back to the Academy of Science and, eventually, the same place I started (more or less).

By then, I was pretty close to the Panhandle, so I thought “let’s keep going…” and eventually, when I thought I’d stop at 10, I knew I was getting pretty close to Market (and thus, just a couple miles away from the hotel), so it didn’t make any sense to stop running and catch a bus for only a 1-1.5 mi ride.

Oh, how we distance runners rationalize things…

My run really came to an end, at 11.16 miles, once I made it back to the hotel and, with less than half a block to go, once I had the privilege of seeing a dude pissing on the sidewalk on Folsom/First, in a hugely crowded and public area, at probably 10am.  I don’t usually see penis on my long runs (or any runs, for the matter), but hey, I also usually don’t see ocean or bison, either.

When in San Francisco

This is such a great city, in and of itself, but also such a great place to run.  My legs (read: quads) are tired, and my muscles surrounding my calves and shins are a bit tight when I first start running, but otherwise, no aches and pains… and I’m convinced (or, at the very least, optimistic) that this week of solid hills-running will be helpful come Houston in <40 days.

Tomorrow?  Back to the midwest.

Another catch-up: Home Run for the Homeless & Berlin Amish Country Half

Another catch-up: Home Run for the Homeless & Berlin Amish Country Half

I’m beginning to realize I’m a horrible blogger.  I think it’s a problem of consistency.  If I blogged as often and as regularly as I ran, I’d be golden.  Alas…

Greetings from San Fran.  I’m here with C for his work (he works, I play, it’s a great thing we’ve got goin’), and this is coming off of two weeks we spent with the wee one in Ohio for Thanksgiving.  In the Buckeye State I raced twice– a Thanksgiving Day four-miler through a hilly cemetery, as I usually do if I’m in the state for Thanksgiving, and an inaugural half marathon through Amish Country in Berlin, Ohio.  Here’s a quick and dirty YT vid I did post-half marathon:

So… where to start?

Well, this was round three or four of doing the Home Run for the Homeless 4 miler in Akron.  It’s really a quite lovely and low-key race but really, pretty tough because the course is constant ascension and descension, from beginning to end.  The race is the organization’s one and only fundraiser all year, which is pretty impressive in and of itself, but even more so when you consider that the organization is completely volunteer-driven.

This year, the race got a bit abbreviated because of some work in the cemetery, so it ended up being 3.8 miles instead of 4; it doesn’t make a huge difference though because it was still a PR for me at the distance (3.8 miles or 4) and enough for me to net an age group award (3rd place I think– a ribbon, Santa coffee mug, and a frozen pumpkin pie!).

My time? 27:25, a 7:13 pace.

This race has really grown in the past few years, and I heard recently that it’s the second-largest race in Summit County, presumably second only to the Akron Marathon and Half Marathon.

What’s even cooler is that I got to meet and shake Butch Reynolds’ hand!  And if you don’t know who he is… well… read up on him.  Very cool and very TALL man.

Here’s a great lil race video about the 4-miler; check it out here.

While I was in Ohio from mid-to-late November, I streaked for about two solid weeks… surprising because even though I log my mileage every day, for some reason I didn’t catch on to it.  I felt well, though, aside from some minor tightness that comes with running hills in Ohio (because remember, there aren’t any to write home about in the city of wind).

Speaking of hills… let’s talk Berlin Amish Country Half Marathon.

Holy hell.


My dad (not a runner), upon me telling him that I had signed up for this inaugural half marathon in Amish Country, in part because I had never been to Amish Country, kinda looked at me and said “really?  That’s really hilly there… ya know that, right?” Yea yea…I thought.

The next day, C and A and I went to a little hotel/inn there for packet pickup, so we got to drive through Amish Country and experience some of the hills for ourselves (from the comfort of a car)… and wow.

I knew my work was cut out for me.

One of the guys working at the packet pick-up said that on this course, times and PRs are completely irrelevant because it’s tough as nails.

My cocky self began to deteriorate rather quickly by that point and instead, some fear (but also a healthy dose of intrigue and “c’mon, try me”… I’m so damn competitive…) seeped in.

Well, come race day morning, circa 2am, my gastrointestinal system woke me up to give me a big F-U, so when I awoke later at 5:30 or 6 for the race (because I had a good 70 minute drive ahead of me), I debated whether I should take my earlier episode as a sign that I shouldn’t run.  I figured I was in the clear, but just like my episode at the women’s half in Chicago in June, I should learn to listen to my instincts more…

Yup, we went there again.

Four miles in, on the course, at an aid station.

It was awesome.

Fortunately, once my gastrointestinal system told me to fuck off for the second time on race day, I actually felt pretty well.  I lost a couple minutes in the porta-potty, and while I wasn’t able to recover my place in the race, I flew through the few flat sections there were, as well as some of the downhills, on a sub-8 pace.  By the end of the race, when it was clear that many other runners were dwindling on energy, I was passing folks pretty regularly on the hill climbs, of which there were PLENTY.

I really should have taken some pictures post-race of the hills, but I was pretty tired (because remember, by race’s end, I was running on empty, save for the few calories I had ingested from a small glass of orange juice a nice Amish lady gave me [why not??!] and some gels I had taken on the course) and cold because, oh yea… it snowed and/or wind-whipped us the whole time on the course.

Not bad for an inaugural race: snow, 30-degree temps, diarrhea, wind…

Talk about making some memories.

All told, though, I wanted to do a 1:35-1:45 at the race, expecting to do something closer to the 1:40s range, given the course difficulty, so I was happy with my 1:45 finish.  Had I not had my gastrointestinally-dictated pit stop, (which wasn’t an option, I couldn’t forgo it), it would have been a 1:43 for sure.  It was enough for a 5th woman OA finish and a 2nd or 3rd AG award, which is in the mail.

So, apparently, judging from this half and the one in June, I can start off running a half at a decent pace, get the big D, and still finish in a respectable mid-1:40s time.  Crazy how things change, seeing as how when I started running in 2007, mid-1:40s was the best I could do.  Now, it’s indicative of a shitty performance (horrible pun, I know, but I had to…).

The other, probably coolest, thing about the Berlin race was that I was running through very rural Ohio and actually ran alongside or got passed by horses and buggies!  You never see that in Chicago.

These guys in November will be my last races of 2012.  I wasn’t thrilled to end on a not-amazing note with the GI distress in the half, but I guess I gotta remember that I did the best I could with what was thrown at me that day, and ya never know, it could happen again, in a race or otherwise.  Just gotta roll with it, I suppose.