Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Halfway to my Half!

Training Week 8: August 25

Based on our training schedule, this week is regarded as Recovery Week b/c it gives our muscles time to heal and relax our bodies a bit before we peak once again. So, prior to Saturday, I'm thinking it'll be an easy, flat 4 mile run..no biggie. Our run is scheduled to take place at Baker Beach which lies at the rugged serpentine cliffs west of the Golden Gate Bridge and I clearly have no idea where this place really is. I get lost trying to find my way there, but thanks to my own navigational expertise, I manage to join the team in the nick of time only to find out we're doing 5 miles UPHILL! Yes, up to this moment, I don't believe uphill running has been in our trainings and it just so happens it's taking place during recovery week...hmm...I think I'm in for it this time!

I start off trailing behind b/c our first mile is uphill and I notice I'm breathing heavier than usual. Well, that and my shoe laces need to be tied. In any case, I trudge on and eventually catch up with my running buddies. We turn on to the Coastal Trail starting from Lands End and leading up to Sutro Baths and the Cliff House and oh my GOD! It's situated along a winding cliff that has the most perfect and gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Pacific Ocean and Marin Headlands There are moments along the trail where I glance down and see the waves crashing against boulders...it seems so close. I can't help but run in awe of everything around me....I wished I had a camera on my forehead to document the entire run...I can't say I've ever run in a place as beautiful as this trail. There's truly nothing else like it to run and feel like you're on top of the world b/c you are actually running on a cliff. Even my description can't do this place justice, but I found this one that might help you visualize it:

"Lands End Beach is quite beautiful and exists amidst a dramatic scattering of hard rock formations. A cliff scaling path runs just above waves crashing into canyons of rock between Sutro Baths and Lands End Beach. This is the most beautiful trail in the area. Cypress trunks twist like old women frozen in recoil from the blasting wind. The area is phenomenal by any standard. That it can exist in the context of a large city is astonishing.

This general area is an emphatic highlight of natural places in San Francisco. All the secret paths which weave around between this cliff trail and the Coastal Trail up above tend to lead to protected hideaways under twisted cypress trees. The cliffs are characterized by dark, hard rock rising in immensely detailed formations up to 300' high before yielding to a softer, decaying rock and soil. Since the water table leaks out of the cliffs, there is an abundance of interesting plants which seem to exploit the watershed dribbling down, among them douglas iris, plumes of cow parsnip with huge leaves, and some very nice flowering mallow bushes. This is another great feature of the cliffs."

But you really have to check it out for yourself. I am definitely going back with my hubby for this one.

The most challenging part had to be the during the middle of the trail when I'm running up these stairs that seem interminable and downright grueling b/c it's the steepest stretch of the trail that goes up about 100 feet! But, and it's the best workout I can ever do for my bootie...that for sure! I run halfway up the stairs and then realize that my tush is getting sore, so I end up huffing and puffing my way to the top and thankfully, the rest of my run is all downhill...hallelejah! But you know what? I have no complaints b/c I feel so good....by the time I finish my 5 miles, I feel so juiced that I could have kept on running. But it's okay...another day, another run. Besides, CCFA is putting on a Halfway There BBQ today and when we get back to Baker Beach, Breanne is grilling burgers to feed a pack of hungry runners. Yum!

Reason to Smile: I can't believe it, but I'm really halfway to running my first half-marathon. If you asked me a year ago, I would have never thought I would or could be running. I probably would have laughed and said, "Ugh..yeah, right!" It's amazing what a team and weekly trainings can do for a person who never thought she could run. I am so proud of myself for committing to this and I just wanted to take a moment to thank all my biggest fans (that's you...if you're reading this) for supporting me in my run for a purpose. I think everyone has those list of things to do before you reach a certain birthday and for me, this is definitely going down in my book of accomplishments during my quarter-century mark! If you haven't done it, let me be the first to encourage you to do something you've always wanted and never thought you could do. You'll be amazed at the feeling you get when you do accomplish it. It's indescribable, but the feeling is immense. Just Do It!

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