Sunday, October 31, 2010

T Minus 7 Days (and an Upcoming Give-Away!)

This past Friday I had the honor of meeting up with fellow San Francisco runner/blogger RoadBunner to talk all-things running. (No, really, we seriously only talked about running. Everyone seated around us at the restaurant left because they got tired of us nerding out about tempo runs, hill repeats, and doing speedwork in the city.) Regardless, I have to say that this was one of the most engaging conversations I've had in a while, and I'm glad we found time to meet up! (Thanks for saving me from a bike ride home in the rain, too, RoadBunner!)

RoadBunner is a truly motivated and contagiously persistent marathoner, running 15 marathons in 2010 alone, because the other 9 she had under her belt from previous years obviously wasn't enough. She also runs plenty of half marathons in the Bay Area and is well-versed in the U.S. Half Marathon, which, by the sound of things, is a half marathon she does "for fun" and "as a favor to Ron" (who kindly introduced us). Additionally, anyone who runs what she describes as the "hardest half marathon course ever" -- and repeatedly -- is someone who has a brain I'm eagerly willing to pick away at.

Apparently the U.S. Half Marathon course has even more hills than I'm imagining (and in my mind, I really couldn't imagine many more). I've been running plenty of long, gradual uphills as well as a number of short, steep hills, but it sounds like the course has way too many massive hills spread all throughout the course. I guess there is one evil hill that runners go up, then back down, only to go right back up, just so race directors and spectators can have a good laugh. I wanted to hear that this course isn't as scary as it sounds, but no such luck. After talking with RoadBunner, I knew I needed to get in one more solid long run with some major hills to bring my confidence up before next weekend. After our dinner on Friday, I went home, chugged a beer, woke up to a rainy Saturday morning, and hit it.

According to RoadBunner, the U.S. Half Marathon course does not block off a lane of traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge. This was terrible news, because not only am I afraid of falling off the side of the bridge, I'm downright afraid of being on the bridge. The first obstacle on my Saturday long run was to run up to the bridge and then over it. Luckily, not many tourists were out since it was raining, so I got over and across the bridge in a couple of minutes. Not much dodging and weaving here.
Okay, so I have a different new phone (don't ask), and apparently I can't hold the video recorder correctly on this one either.

Notice me running on the left-hand side of the pedestrian lane because I'm too afraid of the ledge. Let's hope it'll work out this way -- and will be this empty -- next weekend.

At points during my run across the bridge, I couldn't even see the city through the rain clouds.

Alcatraz Island and the city, I think.
The next obstacle on my hilly long run was to, uhhh, keep running steep hills, so I continued on through the Presidio.

The clouds parting over the ocean. The sun trying to peek out over the Richmond District.

I then made my way through Golden Gate Park back up to the Presidio, only to see a glimpse of the bridge mocking me through the trees.

We shall meet again next weekend, Scary Bridge.

I ended up finishing today's 13.1-mile training run just 20 seconds short of my PR. I'm chalking it up to a Garmin fluke, since apparently I ran below sea level while I was on the bridge.

And I guess I jumped over a mesa while I was at it.

Regardless of what my watch said about my training run, I now know that if I have an on-day, next weekend's race could be awesome. If I have an off-day, this could be the suckiest thing I've ever done. Based on the long runs I've actually completed, I could seriously flip a coin as to what is going to happen next weekend.

Now, onto the details you're really reading this for: I'm having my very first give-away after the U.S. Half Marathon next weekend! I meant to do this after I hit 50 followers (When did I get to 54 + a bunch of lurkers??!), but I've been a little side-tracked. Details to come after the hardest half marathon I'll ever run...

Happy Halloween! (Go Giants.)


  1. Hey A, I guess I'm one of your recent additions.. Just wanted to say that I totally understand about the bridge thing. I hate metal structures over water, so I think the Golden Gate bridge would completely freak me out! I reckon it'll be easier on the day though, with lots of other runners with you. Good luck! (And awesome hilly training session!)

  2. Hi A,
    Welcome back, I have missed you!! You are really getting your runs in and I am impressed to hear about this half marathon that you will be running this weekend! I am sure that the hills that you will need to get over make our hills here in Minnesota look like tiny little rollers:) Awesome job on the GG bridge:) I usually don't have any issues running over bridges but that one is so massive! I could see myself getting a little freaked out too!

    Nice pictures:) My hubby and I drove through Presidio when I ran in the Napa to Sonoma half. I had to pick up my race packet at the Sports Basement. It is a pretty area with tons of runners:)

    Good luck with your crazy hilly half! Can't wait to hear how it goes:)

    I miss you A!

    BTW, I really love Team Ortho races so I am going to let the little bus deal slide. I know that several people were really pissed off! I was so tired and out of it that I just sort of went with the flow. The thing that sucked was that it was so cold standing in line! I wish that I would of brought more clothes with for after:) It was a fun race and I would do it again...the course was so pretty and the costumes were amazing:)

  3. Looks like a great run A. Pretty soon you will be running hills and not even thinking about it! Love to see the great pics of the bay area!! Have a great week prepping for your race.

  4. Wow. So you ran 13.1 miles with no traffic control, took pictures and ended up 20-seconds off of your PR? I actually thought we could be friends ;-)

    I promise not to be offended if you and Miss Roadbunner pretend not to know me on Sunday. I’m just going to try to find some runners closer to my pace to hang out with now (like that’s possible).

    I was a pleasure meeting you and thanks for being nice to me until you figured out how slow I am.

    On Sunday, I’ll be the guy in the Punk Rock Racing shirt pouting at the start and crying at the finish.

    See you next weekend!!


  5. Good luck at that half marathon! I'm sure it will be awesome. Great views!

  6. Pff, not even with the adrenaline amogst other racers and runners? You got it in the bag yo!!!!!!!

    You are the bridge conqueror and that's that! I am proud of you and wanna pinch your cheek (I will save that for next week)

    Go Awesome A!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. You are too sweet. I am SO excited to have a running friend who lives so close by. And maybe next year I can do some short-distance speed work and keep up with you on some runs :)