So... my next half marathon is coming up in six short weeks and it's been a looooong time since I've done a decent long run. I just haven't been able to motivate myself lately. Luckily, the Nike Club Runs are here to save the day! Although I am not registered for the upcoming Nike Women's Marathon, anyone is welcome to join their free training runs. And after training with them in '06 and '07, I've actually been looking forward to starting my third season with them. So goodbye to sleeping in on Saturday mornings and hello to fun, challenging SF runs with a great group of women (and a handful of men)!
Fortunately for me, my half marathon training plan sort of lines up with the Nike full marathon training plan - for now anyway. So I jumped right in and did the 10 mile route. I also joined the 11:00 min/mi pace group again this year - I like the pace leaders in this group plus it's a nice pace for group runs since it allows for chit chat and an easier pace for the hill work.
Ah yes, the hill work - something I definitely don't get enough of in my normal route. There were hills throughout the entire 10 mile run! (My body is still a bit sore...) Here's the route we took in SF:
And here's the elevation chart:
The hills were tough but I am happy to report that I did not have to walk up any of them. (Although I may have silently cursed them from time to time - hehe)
This is my first year running with Nike with a Garmin. I've always been curious what our actual paces were and now I know. I wasn't surprised to see that we were nowhere near an 11:00 pace. I think we did average that when we were running on flat surfaces... but then you have to factor in the hills, time spent on water/gatorade stations, time spent looking at a map because our course directions were a little bit off, etc... The actual splits looked like this:
Total: 10.43 miles, 2:11:12, 12:35/mile pace
Next time I will pause it during our breaks and see how the splits read then. Despite the slower pace, this is still a good group for me to run with. I never felt like I wanted to run ahead of them and there were times I actually felt challenged in keeping up with the group. I'll focus on pushing my pace on my shorter runs, but with the long runs, I'm going to continue making it fun and and at a comfortable pace.
The rest of the day rocked as I got to spend some quality bonding time with my SF buddies. After the run, my friend - KB (who also ran with Nike that morning) - and I "Squat and Gobbled" and then went to her place to clean up and get ready to meet up with our other friend, PB (who also ran that morning but with a different running club). We spent the afternoon hanging out at the Tour de Fat at Golden Gate park, enjoying a beer (or two) while watching people ride funny bikes.
But the fun was not over yet! We later hung out at PB's bachelor's pad where I was introduced to Guitar Hero! Wow - that was a lot of fun! I don't really play video games but I did buy a Sony PS2 many years ago just so that I could play Bust-a-Groove and Dance Dance Revolution (mostly for the former though as I was horrible at DDR). Anyway, it took me forever to get the hang of the strumming part and I kept getting boo'd off stage. I think I finally got to complete a song after a half dozen attempts. Woo-hoo! I got such a kick out of it that I'm so tempted to get the game for myself. I heard there's a new version coming out this fall so I might wait for that. As a side note, I've never played Rock Band either, but would love to try that out, too! Maybe I'll invest in that one instead...
All in all, it was a very fun Saturday!