The Giant Race – Half Marathon

IMG_3409Last Sunday I ran the The Giant Race Half Marathon.  This is the second year I have run the Giant Race in SF.  Last year I ran the race because it sounded fun to finish a race at AT&T park.  Being from Boston I’m not a huge Giants Fan but I do love AT&T park and have gone to quite a few games since moving here two years ago. This year I decided to run again because the course is flat, easy and pretty and the race was for the most part, well-organized.

At the race last year I set my new Half Marathon PR for 2012.  I ran a 1:49:14.  I had been trying really hard to break the 1:50 barrier and I finally did!  It was really fun but I definitely really struggled at the end to keep my pace and set that PR.  As I approached the race this year I did not want to try to set another PR.  I’m in the height of marathon training for Portland right now and really had not had a good week of runs.  I ran 18 miles the weekend before and it took me a lot longer to recover from that then I expected.  My legs felt like lead all week!  I decided to treat this run for what it was, a training run until the gun went off…

The race started at 7am this year.  I think it was much earlier than last year because it felt really early!  I parked and headed over to meet people from my running club around 6:40am.  I never ended up finding them because I tried to find a bathroom to use before the race but the lines were ridiculous.  I ended up in my corral just before the start with a running club friend that I had found.  We were towards the front of the race and shortly after 7am we were off.

Mile 1 was as usual, dodgey.  I spent most of the mile trying to get in front of the slower runners but was still just planning on an 8:45ish pace to keep it more like a training run.  My Garmin was messed up the first mile, maybe because of the all the other runners?  It was telling me I was running a 6:16 pace at one point.  Haha, I don’t think I could run that fast if I tried.  It then hit Mile 1 about 2 tenths before the Mile Marker so I reset the lap when I hit the marker to get a more accurate read on my pace.  I ran about an 8:20 first mile, FAST.

I kept going and trying not to look at my pace, I was trying to run where I felt comfortable.  I had a great day because “comfortable” at Mile 2 was an 8:07 then an 8:18.  I was shocked, I just kept telling myself to keep it up as long as I could.  I kept thinking I’d crash on the second half.  I hit Mile 6,7, and 8 and still felt good!  At Mile 9 we hit a hill that I run pretty consistently, sometimes it’s really hard, and sometimes it’s easy.  Well it felt easy that day and I managed to keep an 8:19 pace for that mile and PASS the 1:50 pace group that had started before me!  I was right behind a friend from running club but I didn’t want to use up energy trying to catch up to her so I just stayed right behind her the last 4 miles.  I couldn’t believe when I hit Mile 11 in 8:06 and Mile 12 in 8:03!  I knew at that point I was well on my way to a PR so I stuck with it and ran an 8:09 last mile and crossed the finish line at 1:48:16!  I PR’d but just shy I was 1 minute!  I was thrilled.  I was even more excited that while I felt like I had pushed really hard, I felt strong at the finish.  I usually go out to fast and end up really slow the last few miles, not this race, I pushed hard and strong and never missed a beat!

I found my friend Susan at the finish line, she had run a 1:48 as well and it was her best Half time over 6 years!  She was also really excited.  The race finishes in AT&T park in the outfield.  We got our medals, water and snacks and walked up around Home plate while waiting for some of our friends.  We found a few more friends, took pictures, stretched and headed out for a celebration lunch at one of the Road Runners apartments!

The Giant Race Half Marathon Finishers

Members of SFRRC at the Finish!

The Giant Race Finish Line

The Giant Race Finish Line

The medal is awesome, it looks like the World Series Ring!  It’s definitely one of my favorites, if only it was had a “B” and Blue/Red ribbon! 😉

The Giant Race Half Marathon Medal - 2013

The Giant Race Half Marathon Medal – 2013

My only complaint about the race was that Packet Pick-up was awful. I  waited over a half hour in line to get my bib.  It was a bit ridiculous.  Aside from that I love the Giant Race and will be back again next year!

Ridiculous Packet Pick-up Line.  At least it's a pretty view!

Ridiculous Packet Pick-up Line. At least it’s a pretty view!

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Eugene Marathon Training – 18 Miles

Saturday

I ran 18 miles in prep for the Eugene Marathon.  I had a really tough long run the week before and really wasn’t looking forward to this run.  In order to motivate myself and switch it up I decided to try running with a local running club – the San Francisco Road Runners Club.  They run on Saturday mornings (my preference) and you can run anywhere from 5 miles all the way up to 24 miles.

Saturday morning I was up at 7am.  I had prepared the night before getting my Gu and Water Belt all ready to go.  Typical long run morning routine, roll out of bed, wash up, make an English muffin with Almond butter and jelly, glass of water, dress and head out the door.  I met the club down at the Marina Green at 7:35am.  I introduced myself to one of the leaders and he gave the run down on pace groups and introduced me to another new member.  As I was chatting with the other new member I heard another lady say “I just moved from Boston 2 months ago” so of course I went over and introduced myself to her as well.  I ended up running with both of them in the 9:00 min/mile pace group.  The run was sort of typical run for me, through the Marina and out to the Presidio but when you live in a city that is 7 miles by 7 miles the options are limited.  It was so nice to have people to chat with!  Most of our group turned around for the 8 mile run but 2 girls stayed to do 10 so I stuck with them.  We headed back the Marina green and finished at about 10.5 miles.

I had 7.5 miles to go but I planned it well!  My friend Katie wanted to join me for part of my run so she met me at the Green at 9:30am.  We headed off down the Embarcadero for another 7.5.  She stuck with me the whole time which was great.  It’s just nice to have company, even if you aren’t talking, having that person there is nice.  It’s a nice change from iPod too.  The music starts to get old day after day.

Overall, I had a great run!  I think the company definitely helped but physically I felt much better than the week before.  My legs were strong and only started to tired around 15 miles.  I powered up the Fort Mason Hill at Mile 17 without an issue and felt great after my run!  I was a little sore but nothing crazy.

New running shoes!

That afternoon I headed out for some errands.  I made my first stop at Sports Basement for more Gu and Electrolyte Pills that my Dad got me into for the last marathon.  I ended up buying new running shoes as well.  I needed a new pair but kept putting it off.  I ended up with the same shoes Brooks Adrenaline  but after trying on the 2011 and the 2012 models ended up with the new model.  They are much lighter than my previous pair.  The best part was they had them in pink – I have never had pink running shoes, they are bright and obnoxious but I love them.

The rest of my day was spent running errands and then I crashed on the couch.  I was in bed at 9:30pm on a Saturday night.  That’s what marathon training and a long week of work does to you.

Sunday

I was up at 9:30am, made a good breakfast (egg whites, english muffin and fruit) and off to the gym by 10:30.  I spent about 45 minutes doing a weights workout.  I focused mainly on my upper body and core to let my legs rest after 18 miles but got a few leg exercises in.  I hit the foam roller for about 15 minutes after that.  I’m a little concerned my right IT band is acting up.  I spent a lot of time trying to roll that out along with my right calve.  It felt great to stretch and foam roll after my long run on Saturday.

I headed out on a hike with friends around 1pm.  The weather was ify but who cares – just nice to get out in the mountains.  We went south of the city to Pacifica and hiked up Mount Montara.  It’s an 8 mile hike with a good incline but nothing crazy hard.  It got my heart rate up and was definitely challenging at parts.  It turned out to be sunny for most of our hike.  We had a great view of the coast and could see all the way to SF and see the top of the Golden Gate bridge.  It was a perfect hike for a recovery day, challenging but didn’t beat me up.  After that we got post-hike beers in the Mission and headed home.  It was 7:15 when I got home and the sun hadn’t set yet – love it!

View from about halfway up Mount Montara (SF is towards the back of the photo)

Monday

Last night I went to yoga.  It was a great class, I definitely pushed myself and got a great workout in.  I love when I have a good Yoga class!

Tonight I’m off to my first track workout with the running club.  I’ll share more in the next few days!

100 Mile Month

In August, I ran 101 Miles.  I haven’t logged 100 miles since March when I was in full training for the Boston Marathon.  It feels awesome!  In addition to my 100 miles I got up out of bed and ran 5 days this week.  Another accomplishment that hasn’t happened in a very long time!  It feels good to be running consistently again!

Two weeks ago I tried trail running with my friend Katie up on Mt. Tam.  It was AWESOME and hard.  Did I mention it was hard?  Wow.  I actually had to stop at one point because we were running stairs up the side of a mountain.  CRAZY.  Katie is awesome at hill running but she’s got 4 months on me.  I hope I get there at some point!

I also tried Bikram yoga.  It’s the yoga that’s like a 100 degrees and you just sweat from the second you walk in.  I don’t mind it, however it’s very different from traditional yoga.  I like sweating and cleansing my body of toxins but I miss the traditional yoga poses and sun salutations.  I am going to give a try a few more times and then try some other studios.  I was actually sent a great article on Hot Yoga and it’s benefits to running.  Check it out here.

I’m off to the Disneyland Half Marathon tonight.  (Writing from the airport)  I can’t wait to run my first Disney race!  I’m meeting my cousin Heather there who is going to receive her “Coast to Coast” medal on Sunday.  She’s also running ALL of the Disney Races in 2011.  You can read about all her adventures here.  More about Disney after the race!

I haven’t written much in the last few weeks, it’s been a bit crazy settling in here but I figured I would share some pictures from my August running…my own “Coast to Coast”.

10 Mile Run in Maine - Marginal Way

Ogunquit Beach - 10 Mile Run - Maine

View of Bay from the top of Lombard St - California

Marina - My new neighborhood - (the flat part)

Golden Gate Bridge on my run through Chrissy Field

Alcatrez from Chrissy Field

Sausalito - View from lunch after trail running (Believe it or not this is the same day as the previous two pictures - SF weather!)

Alameda Beach Wednesday Morning

Baaaahhhhhhh!

This Blog Post is for Aunt Marie…she’ll know why 🙂

Last week I wanted to get a 7 mile run in during the week. It was time to step up training a bit because my first fall half was less than 3 weeks away.

I made the decision to run after work in San Francisco down along the Embarcadero. It run along the Bay and takes you by a ton of tourist things like Fisherman’s Wharf and the Aquarium. However, for those of you who have visited SF in the last 20 years you might be familiar with another attraction this guy…

Bushman! The guy walking with the coffee is about to be surprised by a man jumping out from behind a “shrub” that just happens to be in the middle of a cement sidewalk….

It’s actually quite fun to watch, some people get really scared (Aunt Marie) and make a scene. If you want some laughs go to YouTube and search for “Bushman San Francisco”. Supposedly this guy makes over 80k a year for jumping out behind branches and scaring tourists.

So my 7 miles run was great. I kept a strong pace and enjoyed the lovely scenery…

It still hasn’t hit me that I live here. I look at some of the beautiful views and think “Wow, this is my home now!”.

Friday afternoon I did a run by my cousins apartment in Nob Hill. It was my first official hill experience. It was a rough 30 min run but an awesome workout. I ran to the top of Hyde and Lombard (curviest road in the world) and snapped a shot of the view.

I’ll share more details of last weekend in a another post. I tried hot yoga and trail running!

San Francisco

So it’s been quite some time since I wrote.  I didn’t mean to neglect my blog but life got VERY crazy in July.  Packing up your life and moving cross country while starting a new job is very time consuming.  It didn’t leave much time for running or blogging.  I will assure you that I did more running/exercising then I did blogging!

So I arrived in SF on August 7th with just a little bit of luggage.

I guess that’s how you travel when you move across the country.  It’s certainly cheaper to check boxes at $25 each then to ship them UPS.  Fortunately, my brother and sister-in-law were nice enough to drive me to Boston at 6am on a Sunday morning and my new co-worker was super nice to pick me up at the airport in SF.  Couldn’t have done it without them (not kidding).

My parents, friends and family were pretty awesome to me before I left.  Showering me with gifts, wine and dinner.  Here are a few highlights:

Dinner with my parents at MC Perkins:

My dinner:

View from dinner:

My 10 Mile run through Ogunquit:

I little Mani/Pedi with Aunt Marie and a little R&R on Friday afternoon:

My “see you soon” cake (It may or may not have traveled a long way to get to me and melted/slid in the car)

Back to SF….

The first week and a half has been really great.  My co-workers are friendly and welcoming.  My cousins have been nothing but great to me.  I currently have 4 boxes at my cousins apartment in SF and 4 boxes and 4 suitcases in Alameda where I’m spending most of my time.  They are super helpful and have invited me right into their family.  It’s been really wonderful to have them.  I’ve been learning public transit very quickly.  So far I’ve taken the Bus, Ferry and BART (subway) to work.

View when I walk off the Ferry...I love the Palm Trees!

Sidenote: My car did arrive on Monday morning safe and sound!  It will be nice to have it to do some shopping this weekend!

I found an apartment last week!  I quickly decided that I wanted to live in the Marina area.  The area basically has 2 Newbury streets that run parallel to each other and have all kinds of bars, restaurants and cute places to shop.  It’s also in a flat part of San Francisco (great for running) and close to the Golden Gate Bridge.  My apartment has a roof deck overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s beautiful and I can’t wait to use it!  The one problem with the Marina is it is VERY expensive.  I had to face reality and SF housing prices and get a studio instead of a one bedroom.  It’s a large studio apartment with a giant walk in closet and a separate kitchen area that even has room for a table.  The plus side is – I have a lot less furniture to buy!  I move in on September 5th – I can’t wait to get settled in my own place!

I have gotten a few runs in since I’ve been here.  I most have run in Alameda which has a nice beach to run along in the morning.

View of SF from my Alameda runs - just a little bit of fog...

That’s all for now but more about trying Bootcamp and upcoming races soon!

It’s official – I’m going to be a California Girl

A few weeks ago I traveled to San Francisco, one of my all time favorite cities.  I wrote about my trip here.  I actually travelled out to San Francisco for a job interview.  I have been thinking about moving out to SF for quite some time now and I stumbled upon a job at a great start-up company that was a perfect match for me.  The company is actually a spin-off of my former company so I had some connections.  I emailed my contact, he talked to the VP of Marketing for me and within days I had a phone interview.  The next day they called me and said they wanted to fly out me out to SF to interview at the office!  The rest is history!  It’s been so hard to keep quiet about the news but I had to wait until I resigned from my current job.  Now the news is public so I can share it!

I’m really excited about this move.  It’s great for me for both career and for personal growth.  I’ve been thinking about moving away for years.  I was originally thinking of going back to school and moving for that.  Back in November I had a job offer in San Francisco but decided not to take it.  It wasn’t the right job for me and I have no regrets about not taking the job but I do regret not making the move.  So this opportunity was too good to pass up.

I am going to really miss my family and friends.  That I know will be the hardest part of moving so far away.

I will really miss Maine in the summer time too.  I enjoy spending weekends up their with my family and love spending time on the beach.

I will definitely miss Boston for many reasons too.

My runs out to Castle Island…

Red Sox Games…

Living in the city of Champions….

My friends…

But this will be home now…

And Napa and Sonoma will just be a short drive away!

I’m really looking forward to a fresh start in a new city.   So many new places to explore and visit.  I can find all kinds of new runs to try to I think I might even try trail running!

It’s been a year of ups and downs for me and I’m excited to be taking my life in my hands and creating change.  Change can certainly be scary but I know this is the right thing for me.  It was one of the easiest decisions I have made in a long time.  I think sometimes you just need to follow your gut.  This is a very exciting time in my life and I can’t wait to get out to San Francisco.  I’m sure the next few weeks will be filled with emotions but once I make it out to the West Coast it will be full of new adventures.

My friend Meredith reminded me of this great quote from Sex and the City….

Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate. Without them, what would shape our lives? Perhaps if we never veered off course, we wouldn’t fall in love, or have babies, or be who we are. After all, seasons change. So do cities. People come into your life and people go. But it’s comforting to know the ones you love are always in your heart. And if you’re very lucky, a plane ride away. – Carrie Bradshaw

Race Week

So I did it, I took 6 whole weeks off from running.  It wasn’t easy because I had to miss running in the spring which I love.  Of course in Boston, we didn’t really have a spring.  May was rainy and cold and it’s now it’s hot and humid.  Oh well!

I spent a few days out in San Francisco last week.  It was a great trip.  I wanted to run down along the water but I resisted knowing that I was only a few days away from the 6 week mark.  I made it over to Sonoma /Napa for a few wine tasting too – very fun!  Here is a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge from my trip last fall and a picture of the Bay (this trip) from the Presido.

I spent most of last weekend up on Maine.  I absolutely love it up there.  I actually got 2 days of beach time in. That is almost unheard of for Memorial Day weekend.  Monday it was so hot at the beach I took a swim in the pool when we got back.  (I rarely swim in the pool, never mind swim in May)

On Monday morning (before the beach) I ran a 5k in Scarbourgh with my dad, Aunt Marie, Uncle Sonny and cousin Sarah.  The weather was less than ideal.  It was mid-70’s but so HUMID.  It was practically steaming.  It rained a little before the race started making it even more humid.  After a little practice run on Saturday on the treadmill, this was my first run since the marathon.  It was rough.  I think a lot of it had to do with the humidity.  I ran the first mile with my dad and both of us had really labored breathing.  (It made me feel better that it wasn’t just me)  I let him go and slowed down a bit.  The course ran along a trail for most of it, it was pretty to run in the woods.

My dad had an awesome race finishing in 24:53 and I was about a minute behind him at 25:57. It was not my best race but I was just happy to be back to running and more importantly pain-free!  The results were posted and I was listed in 3rd place for my division!  I thought I was going to get a trophy and was so excited.  Turns out they had another girls age wrong and I got bumped down to 4th place – no trophy.  Oh well!  My cousins Sarah and Greg had us over for brunch after, it was a fun morning! (Sorry no pictures I’m out of blogging practice and forgot to bring my phone with me!)

Last night was the JP Morgan Chase Boston Corporate Challenge!  It was a fun night.  I managed to get 3 other people from work to run with me.  It was a nice night for a run, high 60’s and sun but it was a little windy.  Last year I ran but didn’t take the race all that serious.  I finished the 3.5 mile race in 31.35 (9:01 pace).  This year I wanted to run it like I meant it.  (I also have a little competition going on with my cousin Derek – pictured here in the 5k group shot – he’s in the “running sucks” shirt)  I finished in 28:40 (8:11 pace) and cut almost 3 minutes of last years time!

Berkleemusic.com Team

My attempt to take a picture while running - 12,000 runners going down Comm Ave

Boston Common after the run - great night for a run!

After the race it was of course time to go out for beers.  I spent some time with my Berkleemusic co-workers and made it over to say hi to my old ZoomInfo co-workers.  It was a great night!

Up next:  York Maine 5k with the family tomorrow!