The Hills

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I am fortunate to get a wealth of knowledge handed down to me from RoadBunner. After the 15-mile run that we did 3 weekends ago, she gave me some advice on how to prepare for CIM. Having run it herself in 2009, she strongly encouraged me to run hillier routes. While there aren't steep hills on the course, there are a lot of rollers. She said they felt never-ending and suggested that running hillier routes now would be a good way to mentally prepare for them. So I did.

17-Mile Run

Two weekends ago I decided to do my 17-miler at Sawyers Camp. I know I've mentioned this trail before. It has been my "go-to" trail for the past 6+ years, although I haven't run it much this year.

SawyersCampMap
SawyersCampMap

Sawyer's Camp is a paved 6-mile trail. It runs along the Crystal Springs Reservoir and is popular with runners, walkers, cyclists, etc. There are half-mile markers, bathrooms (outhouses) every few miles and a water fountain at Mile 6. It is flat for the first 4.5 miles (if you start on the San Mateo side), then a climb for the last 1.5 miles.

My plan was to run the entire trail for the first 6-miles, run back for 2.5 miles, then repeat the last 2.5 miles (the hill), then run the entire trail back for a total of 17 miles. This gave me 2 chances to run up the hill, as well as 2 opportunities to refill my water bottles.

SawyersCamp-Miles1-2
SawyersCamp-Miles1-2
SawyersCamp_Miles2-17
SawyersCamp_Miles2-17

My running coach had set some pace targets so I had set my Garmin to alert me if I went out of the target pace range. After 2 miles I couldn't take the constant beeping of "Slow Down" or "Speed Up", so I reset the Garmin to stop the alerts, hence the 2 screenshots.

The hill was challenging, especially the second time, but not soul-crushing or defeating. After the run I felt pretty good about my effort.

19-Mile Run

This past weekend I set out to do a 19-mile run. I did a 19-miler back in April along the San Francisco Embarcadero + Crissy Field + Golden Gate Bridge and back. It was so enjoyable I decided that I needed to do another one during this training cycle. However, I wasn't keen on navigating through the tourists at Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, so I improvised.

Back in July a bunch of us did the DSE 6-Hour Endurance Challenge where you ran a 1-mile lap around Crissy Field as many times as you wanted. So for this run, I decided to do that, along with a couple of trips across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Rain was in the forecast for the weekend so I expected it to be cold and foggy. Instead, it was a perfect cool, clear, crisp Fall day.

photo
photo

{There is something about the GGB that makes me feel so light and free. I swear, I run my best miles on it.}

The run went like this:

SF_Run_Map
SF_Run_Map

Miles 1-3: Three loops around Crissy Field Miles 4-8: Up and across the Golden Gate Bridge and back Miles 9-10: Two loops around Crissy Field Miles 11-15: Back up and across the GGB Miles 16-17: Around Crissy Field (I ran to the base of the bridge and slapped "Hoppers Hands") Miles 18-19: To a friend's place in Russian Hill

SF_Run_Elevation
SF_Run_Elevation

Here’s a summary of the 19-miler in April:

April_19_Summary
April_19_Summary

And here’s a summary of Saturday's run:

Nov_19_Summary
Nov_19_Summary

While the routes weren’t exactly the same, I think Saturday’s run was a little more difficult since I climbed the GGB twice. It was a little encouraging to see some improvement here.

The best part about both of these runs is that I felt pretty good about climbing the hills. They were tough, but nothing like the soul crushing (my favorite term) hills on the Nike course. While I still have a lot of things to work on, I don’t believe any of the hills on the race course as tough as the ones on either of these runs, so I feel pretty good about facing the rolling hills on race day.