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This week in running - the funcrunch files


Apr. 26th, 2013 08:29 pm This week in running

Had some especially good experiences with running this week.

SF #runforboston


Last Friday, the San Francisco Marathon held a run for Boston along the Embarcadero. It was on very short notice, just posted to Facebook the day before, but I convinced boyziggy to get up extra-early with me for the 7 a.m. start. Runners were encouraged to wear blue and yellow; I printed out Boston bibs from RunJunkEees instead, which we pinned to our race shirts from last year's SF Marathon 5K. A few members of my running club showed up, including ultramarathon junkie Bill who snapped the above picture. ABC 7 News did a segment as well. It was a beautiful morning for a four-mile run out to Aquatic Park and back, and two lines of runners stayed to cheer and high-five finishers at the end.

BostonStrongSF, Pavement Runner

BostonStrongSF, Pavement Runner

On Monday late afternoon we headed out to Crissy Field for another run, BostonStrong, organized by a San Franciscan known as Pavement Runner but taking place globally. (Photos above are embedded from his site; no photographer credit is listed there.) Ziggy wasn't up for running this one, but I convinced him to come out and take some photos and video at the start. The video came out really noisy due to the windy conditions, so I haven't processed it yet, but ABC 7 News covered this one as well, and both Ziggy and I are briefly visible.

BostonStrongSF run at Crissy Field

It was still so warm out even by the 6 p.m. start that I was able to go shirtless the whole time, so I didn't wear my Boston bib. The backlighting and silly floral sports bra don't make for a great photo, but this shot did convince me that I'm getting pretty lean.

I enjoyed the familiar course out to Fort Point and back, though we went around the opposite side of Crissy Field from where I usually run. I ran on the more scenic side on the way back, since it wasn't a race and the official distance (about 3.5 miles) didn't matter, and I was following several in the crowd that did the same.

On Tuesday I slept in late and spent the early afternoon finishing up photos from Ziggy's lasertag event, so didn't make it out on my run until 3:30. I chose my Embarcadero route rather than the Fort Point run I'd normally do on Tuesdays (on the weeks when I'm not doing my really long runs), since I'd just been out to Fort Point the day before. I don't know if it was the later time of day or continuing Boston Marathon fever, but I seemed to see a lot more runners out and about both on Monday and Tuesday than usual. Despite being hungry, anxious, and somewhat distracted, I ended up running one of my fastest times on that route.

Then on Thursday, Ziggy and I headed to Kezar Stadium to do a timed track run for the Adult Fitness Test. We'd done this run twice before, last July and September, and I'd meant to repeat it every month or two. We had only taken the full test, including strength and flexibility components, in July however. This time, I thought at first that my running time was much faster than ever before recorded, as I wore my GPS and recorded an overall pace of just over 9 minutes per mile for the 1.6 mile run. It was supposed to be six laps for a total of 1.5 miles, but I was not running on the inside track. Checking my log later though, I saw that my total time last July was 12 seconds faster, but I don't remember what track I was on then, so I can't compare the two efforts with complete accuracy. I'll have to pay more attention to that next time. In any case, it's great to confirm that I can run at 9-minute pace for over a mile, albeit under ideal conditions (flat course/cool weather/no interruptions).

For the rest of the test, I fared only slightly better than in July, doing one more half-sit-up, two more push-ups, and three inches farther on the sit-and-reach test than before. Still plenty of room for improvement there, though my yoga teacher and dear friend, James, insists I am making quite a bit of progress, and shouldn't let these numbers make me feel otherwise.

No Meat AthleteNo Meat Athlete

Today, I went back to Crissy Field for my usual 8 mile Friday run. I wore my new T-shirt from No Meat Athlete, the first running shirt I've actually purchased (as I have so many race T-shirts now, those are what I always wear for both training runs and races). I also went bra-free for this run, as it was cool enough out that I knew I wouldn't be tempted to take my shirt off. I noticed a little bouncing right in the beginning and then it didn't bother me at all for the rest of my run. If anyone was staring at my chest, I can't be sure whether they were looking at the running carrot on my shirt or at my nipples poking through in the slightly chilly air. I really didn't care, and didn't run slowly enough for them to get a good look anyway.

My aim was to try to sustain 10-minute pace for as long as possible along the Marina and Crissy Field, where I wouldn't be slowed down by traffic lights. I hate formal speedwork and have only gone to the track to do the aforementioned fitness test, but I figured if I could build some tempo running into my regular routine, that might be tolerable. Now that I knew I could sustain 9-minute pace for a mile or more without keeling over, I figured 10-minute pace, which is close to 10K race pace for me currently, would be within my grasp. For reference for non-runners: 10-minute pace is six miles per hour, which is about twice as fast as normal walking pace. Many runners consider this speed to be only "jogging" and "real" running to be 8-minute pace or faster, but I'm trying not to let that attitude get me down anymore.

Heading out to Fort Point, a headwind kept my speed down to 10.5-11 min/mile. But once I turned around, I got under 10 min/mile and kept it there for two miles. The inevitable traffic lights and pedestrian-crowded sidewalks slowed my pace dramatically in the beginning and end miles, but I ended up with an overall pace of just over 11 min/mile. I felt exhilarated rather than exhausted from the effort, and had Ziggy snap the above photos of me while I was still drenched with sweat. Under two hours later, I actually ran up the stairs from the BART station to Mission Street on the way to my yoga class, then proceeded to have my best session in months, getting into poses that had completely eluded me up until then. I felt invincible!


Feeling good about having a fitter, stronger, more flexible body than ever before. So lucky to live in such a beautiful city to run.

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