Saturday, July 28, 2007
'What the Hill?!'
We all have courses that we love because of how we feel while we’re running them and because of how we feel when we're finished. I’ve done one for years that’s never disappointed me for both its challenge and its rewarding views. It’s hilly and it’s often hot. It’s also one of those runs that remind me of how blessed I am to live and train in America’s Finest City.
Today about 30 others got to experience that slice of heaven (and hell?) for themselves.
Stephen Burch, the guy behind the San Diego Track Club’s summer training program, was on vacation, so I volunteered to fill in and “direct” this weekend’s production, which I dubbed The Lake Rim Run. We met at Lake Miramar in Scripps Ranch at 7, warmed up and then headed into the hills above the reservoir. The first four miles are intense: you’re either going up or down (mostly up!) some seriously steep hills in residential areas. Then we head down a long dirt path with wonderful vistas to the water’s edge for the final half.
Prior to the actual run, I had to design the course, which I pared down from my typical 10- to 12-miler to make it simpler to follow – and to keep the group always running against traffic. Our mapping team, a.k.a. the talented Cindy Evans, then created this map for everyone to follow.
The only last-minute change was moving the third aid station farther into the lake portion, to Natalie Park, which turned out to be a good move. It was shadier for the aid station volunteers and out of the way of others using the roadway.
Then I recruited volunteers, which was easy for this one. My friend Louise was immediately on board, as was my training partner Tara and her little girl, Aleena. My husband and older daughter took a little more convincing (“Oh-ho no, you are both doing this and that's it!”). They were, however, very good sports. Newcomer Stephanie volunteered to help as well, and my friend Mark showed up, despite getting home late from Boston, to protect home base (WS #4) until other aid station volunteers arrived. Jamison led the warm-up and post-run core and stretch exercises, well done as always.
Mark shows up in a later photo. Here are (in order) Elise; Gilbert; Jamison; Steph and me; Louise, Tara and Aleena:
I gathered hydration supplies, baked blueberry muffins and froze grapes for afterward and made a few signs to place at pivotal turns. At Natalie Park, runners were treated to a nice surprise: Louise brought a cooler filled with ice-water-saturated cloth towels for everyone to douse themselves. Shivers of pure joy ensued.
The first half, as you can see from the elevation chart, is mighty hilly. Hey, the races we’re all training for have big hills too. It was really hot, but it’s summer and it’s inland, so this shouldn’t have been a big surprise. Still, the heat can wear you down, even more than the relentless half with hills. But I’m happy to say everyone weathered it well and finished up strong -- many strong enough to tackle core exercises immediately afterward. Others get full credit for just being able to carry on.
All in all, good times were had by all (I hope). Check out all the smiles from this partial-group photo for yourself.
Special thanks to Elise for taking and then creatively editing the photos!!