Week 29

Elevation
Elevation

Why do I always think that Golden Gate Park is flat? It's a lot hillier than I remembered. At least parts of it are.

That was my main takeaway from today's run. I'll elaborate in a second, but first, let me recap the past week.

Sunday

7.44 mile run in North Seattle. This should have been 10, but it wasn't the best area to run in. I looped back to the hotel at 7.44 miles and I wasn't interested in venturing into more unknown neighborhoods, so that was it for Sunday.

Monday

AM: My flight home landed really late. I had wanted to get to the gym by 5am and so some strength training, but I couldn't make myself get up. Instead, I got there at 6 am and rode the Spin bike for 30-minutes, then went to my usual Core Training class where we used the small, weighted balls filled with sand for some oblique work.

PM: I was still really tired and skipped my weekly yoga class. This would be the 3rd week in a row of no yoga. Gonna have to rectify that tomorrow.

Tuesday

Ran 6-miles at the track at paces that are much faster than I usually run; 3 miles between 9:09-9:23 min/miles and another 3 between 8:31-8:52. It was hard and I had dig deep and channel some angry energy to get me to finish this. When I finally finished I laid on the grass, utterly exhausted, wondering if I had really finished or died and gone to heaven. I was so tired for the rest of the day.

Wednesday

AM: Swam 2500 meters of drills at the pool. This swim may have been my best one yet. Everything felt so smooth, I just glided in the water. After the workout, I sat in the whirlpool for 15 minutes - always my favorite part of swim workouts!

PM: My trainer and I had conflicting schedules so we skipped this week's strength training session. Been seriously lacking on strength training for the past 2 weeks. Gonna have to change that this week too.

Thursday

Though not as hard as Tuesday, this was still a tough 6-miler. I had a warm-up mile and a cool down mile and ran 4 tempo miles in between at paces ranging from 8:38-8:59 min/miles. This one left me exhausted for the rest of the day as well.

Friday

Rode the spin bike for 70-minutes. After Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday's workouts, this one felt like a breeze. There aren't any scheduled Spin classes on Friday's so I had the Spin studio to myself. I put on my iPod and rode 5-minute intervals, switching between being seated, standing, flat, hill, etc. The time flew by and I was finished in no time.

Saturday

Rest Day.

Sunday

Since I'm running the second half of the San Francisco Marathon NEXT Sunday, I thought I'd do another run through Golden Gate Park. The second half course starts in GGP and ends on the Embarcadero.

Sandra was kind enough to map out a route for me. She, Audrey and I were all running different distances and paces so we planned to all finish our runs at 11am-ish, then go out for ramen (what else?) for our post-run lunch.

I started running at 8:30 am, right when the second half is scheduled to start. It was overcast and in the 50's - perfect running weather! I wore a t-shirt and shorts and wasn't cold at all.

Sandra had me start on JFK Dr, in front of the Conservatory of Flowers. This area is closed to traffic on Sunday's so it was great to have free reign of the roads.

Unfortunately for me, I had to pee and there weren't any bathrooms around there (at least that I knew of). I knew there was one further down the route, I just didn't know exactly where. Turns out it was 2 miles away. Those 2 miles were stress miles. It was all I could think about.

I thought that once I took care of business, I'd feel better, but I really didn't. I just couldn't find a groove. And somehow, I managed to miss the turn I was supposed to take and ended up at the Great Highway at Ocean Beach. Gah!

I pulled out my iPhone to check Sandra's route, then checked Google maps to see how far off I was. I saw that I could run down the Great Highway for a bit, then loop back onto the route at MLK Dr. So that's what I did.

And this is where I learned that MLK Dr is just one big uphill that seemed to go on forever.

I still wasn't feeling very comfortable but just trudged up that hill as best as I could. I got to a point where I just wanted to walk, but I looked around and saw a bunch of shopping carts and homeless people. I realized that I was the only person there with them. No offense to homeless people, but this made me nervous so I put my legs into gear and got out of there as fast as I could.

Once I got to the top of the longest hill ever, I had no idea where I was so I had to pull out the iPhone again. *Sigh*. I saw that I was right below Stowe Lake which would put me back on route!

My body finally felt comfortable and I ran the mile around Stowe Lake but missed the road to get back on to MLK Drive. At this point, I wasn't interested in running around it again, so I exited out of there and back on to JFK Dr. I decided to head back towards where I started.

I passed Sandra on the way and hit Mile 8 right at my starting point. I still had some time before we were all supposed to meet, so I decided to run a mile back down JFK Dr and back which would put me at 10 miles for the day. With the race 7-days away, it seemed to be a good idea. Those last 2 miles were the best ones of the day.

This is the route that Sandra mapped out for me:

planned_map
planned_map

This is the route I actually ran:

actual_map
actual_map

Clearly I am not able to follow directions…

I was originally supposed to run the 1st Half of SFM which would take me across the Golden Gate Bridge and finish in GGP, but since I'm still coming back from my foot sprain, I switched to the 2nd Half, which is flatter, but as I learned today, not flat.

This was my first double digit run since May so I'm not expecting a lot out of myself for next week's race, but it is the first of 5 between now and October, so I'm just seeing it as the start to a whole of lot races for the rest of the year.

Race weeks are always exciting, but the hometown race is special and I'm looking forward to a great week!