Running To New Places

LakeMerced
LakeMerced

In keeping up with my goal of running in new places in 2011, I ventured out to Lake Merced for this weekend’s long run. My chiropractor, who’s also a distance runner, loves doing long runs there and its not too far away from me - on the San Francisco / Peninsula border. The loop around the lake is 4.5 miles, and I had 10 on my schedule so it was perfect – 2 loops and change!

Saturday morning rolled around and I woke up tired (insomnia again) and didn’t make it out the door until well after 9 am. Despite Google Maps, and directions from both Dr. Eva (chiro) and my cousin Jeff, I still got lost. After a few detours, I eventually got there and found that it was quite populated with a lot of runners and dog walkers.

It started out cold, a little foggy and windy (this area of the Bay is notorious for fog) but I had dressed in layers and had a hat and gloves so once I was warmed up, I was fine. What wasn’t fine was the never-ending steady inclines. Have I mentioned how much I hate hills? Ever since the Marin Marathon, I am still traumatized by them!

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Once I finished the first loop, I kept running in the same direction until I hit 5 miles. At that point I stop for a few minutes to eat a Hammer gel and regroup. When I started the second loop, I switched directions to keep it interesting…and so I could see if one direction was easier than the other. I found that they were equally challenging.

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{that's the City in the background}

During Mile 7 I started feeling tired, wishing that it were over. Had my car been nearby, I might’ve even said, “to hell with it” and quit. But I was on the opposite side of the lake and had no choice but to continue on. As I started Mile 8, I had an unpleasant exchange with this old guy running by. He started it. Not one to back down, I barked a few words back at him. It fired me up, which then pumped me up to stay on his tail. Eventually I realized that if I kept that up, no good would come out of it, so I slowed down to put distance between us. In hindsight, I’m glad that little incident it happened because I finished those last 2 miles strong.

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Lake Merced is definitely a place I’ll be visiting again.

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Before I ran, I had read Tara’s blog post and promised myself I would take an ice bath when I got home. I have no problems with ice baths in the summertime, but during the winter, I’m already cold and an ice bath is the last thing I want to do after a run.

When I got home, I opened the freezer and then closed it. No way was I sitting in ice. So I bargained with myself and said I’d just take a cold-water bath instead. Well the farthest I got was standing in it. My feet felt like it was getting frost bite and I just couldn’t bring myself to submerge my whole body in the cold. That’s as far as it got this week. Maybe next week I’ll progress a little further. Baby steps.

I had grand plans to get a lot of projects done that afternoon, but I was exhausted. You would’ve thought I had just run a marathon or something. So I rested for a few hours, then tackled all my projects, like cleaning out my closet (literally, not figuratively), making drop-offs at Goodwill (old clothes) and Road Runner Sports (old shoes), laundry, house cleaning, organizing, etc.

This morning, I also managed to get in my first swim of the year. I went to the gym early, like 7 am on a Sunday early, thinking that it would be nice and quiet. Wrong. The pool was already crowded, but I was able to share a lane with someone who ended up being a good pacer for me. I ended up swimming 1800 m in 55 minutes.

Then it was off to brunch with my friend “swim friend” Sylvia (we met taking swim lessons 2 summers ago), at Nini's, a diner in San Mateo that I had never been to before. Its one of those neighborhood gems in an obscure location but has the best food. I definitely will be back here again as well.

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Great way to close out a very productive weekend!