This morning, I ran my first double digit run this year. Coincidentally, this was also the first hill-y run of the year. Oh joy.
It was definitely challenging. Starting at the marina, we went pass Crissy Field and then through the Presidio where we faced lots of different hills. They weren't too bad and I managed to run through all of them. We then went across town to run through Golden Gate Park. This part was nice because 1) it was pretty flat and 2) I got to see several areas of the park that I hadn't seen yet. For example, a rose garden, a waterfall, and a big purple head! That was covered about the first seven miles. Then we took the Arguello, Jackson, Baker Sts. route that we often used during the runs last year. Unfortunately, that meant the second set of hills appeared in mile 8 when I was already pretty beat. So I chose to walk a lot of those and I noticed a lot of the other runners did the same. But by mile 9, it was all downhill (literally) so it was all good. It took me over two hours to finish the course which was OK with all the hills plus the fact that I stopped at every one of the four aid stations. :)
I tried something new today, too. I guess you're supposed to take an ice bath after long runs to help with muscle soreness. So a lot of the Nike runners will dip into the bay after we return from the run since it's right there at the marina. And you know? My legs did feel pretty good afterward! Plus it was a beautiful day in SF this morning so it was kind of fun to be hanging out in the water with a gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, too. It was pretty funny seeing all these runners (myself included) holding their shorts up standing around talking in water up to their thighs. Kind of reminded me of a bunch of flamingos.
Another thing I've been doing is leaving my iPod at home when I do these group runs. Although I was running by myself for most of the run, there were always other runners nearby and everyone was really good about checking in with each other and making sure we all knew about any changes in the course route. But it was interesting to run with no music, especially for over two hours. I thought I would be bored, but it was actually kind of nice. Some time to think. :) Although, I couldn't tell you what I had thought about then - hee, hee.
I did meet some other runners that are also training for the marathon that are at my pace as well. That made me feel better since I was worried about being stuck alone during these training runs.
One last note on something I thought was pretty funny. During the run, I saw a guy wearing a Michigan T-shirt, so of course, I had to yell, "Go Blue!". Then about five minutes later, we passed a guy running up Lyon stairs wearing a St. Ignatius Wildcats T-shirt!!! Now, what are the chances of that???