The Heights

I grew up in a neighborhood compromised of four streets that ran straight up a steep hill. Hence its name, "The Heights." We lived (my parents still live there) on the first heights which is the least steep of the four. You'd think that growing up in such a hilly neighborhood, and now living in the Bay Area, I would be used to running up hills. But that is soooo not the case.

With seven (!!!) weekends left until the San Francisco Marathon (SFM), I plan to do my long runs on various parts of the course, or areas similar to it.

This past weekend my plan was to start off with a flat warm-up mile around Crissy Field, run up and across the Golden Gate Bridge (GBB) and then make my way up to Golden Gate Park and back. This would more or less simulate the first half of SFM.

The first nine miles were great. Although the climb up to the GGB felt harder than last week (side note: I swear the climb up to the bridge is harder after the bridge renovations they made last year...am I imagining this?), the weather was cool and foggy which is my favorite running weather.

On the climb up I was stopped by tourists who asked me to take a photo of them (sure no problem!), with my camera (that was a first)...

Random tourists who asked me to take their pic with my camera, then text it to them...
Random tourists who asked me to take their pic with my camera, then text it to them...

After I texted them the photo and they ran off I took this one, the only bridge photo for the day...

Favorite running weather...
Favorite running weather...

As always, I had my best miles running across the GGB. I made my way back down to Crissy Field, and then headed toward the Presidio.

I ran by the Palace of Fine Arts...

Palace of Fine Arts
Palace of Fine Arts

...then up Lyon Street, where I had my Chi Running classes.

This is where things went south. I was overly ambitious when mapping out my route which included running up the Lyon Street Stairs...

The first section of the Lyon Street Stairs
The first section of the Lyon Street Stairs
The second section of the Lyon Street Stairs
The second section of the Lyon Street Stairs

Once got over the stairs (290 each way!), I found myself in Pacific Heights where the downhills are just as scary as the uphills.

Running around Pacific Heights
Running around Pacific Heights

My legs went dead and I never made it to Golden Gate Park. I turned around and with shaking legs made my way back to where I came from.

I thought I could just finish out the last few miles with laps around Crissy Field, but when I got there I encountered a charity walk. The clusters of people walking along with the heat, my hunger, and raging allergies did me in. I called it quits when I ran past my car at 12.5 miles, skipping the last 2.5.

The run left me convinced that there is no way I can run the SFM full. Thankfully my friend Alyssa talked me off of the ledge and pointed out that the stairs and hills in this run exceeded the ones on the race course. Having run bothhalves (the second half twice) I know this to be true.

After Saturday's run I honestly thought I wouldn't be able to walk the next day, but I was able to run another 6 miles on Sunday.

Shady Sawyer Camp
Shady Sawyer Camp

Other than a little tiredness in the legs I surprisingly felt pretty good.

Maybe running through the Heights wasn't such a bad thing after all...