Thursday, November 27, 2014

The BHM & Cool Runnings

The Berkeley Half Marathon RR

On November 9th I ran The Berkeley Half Marathon after some off and on illness and it was a total blast! My time was not exceptionally special (1:44:30), but I did have an amazing time seeing old running friends, jamming through my old digs in Berkeley (some of my very favorite runs of all-time), and hitting the pavement for a half-marathon distance. I hadn’t run a half marathon race since junior year of college, so I was thrilled that afterward I could still function properly (not the case with marathons).

The course this year gave a whirlwind tour of the city – through the university, up into the hills of North Berkeley, and rolling down to the marina to loop back up into the downtown area. Having been better acquainting myself with the hills in SF, and with plenty of Berkeley hills history under my belt, this route was exactly what the doctor ordered. The only portion of the course that gave me trouble was the last 5k – all up hill and high sun exposure. Even on a November morning, it was much hotter than I would have preferred. All in all, I left with a big smile on my face and some extra bling from running The SF Marathon in addition to The Berkeley Half.

The California Runner A La Winter

At the end of October I was off and away in St. Louis, Missouri, visiting one of my best friends for Halloween. Let me be the first to alert you: the mid-west has SEASONS. That’s right folks, people here have 2 wardrobes because there is actual cold and hot in these places. The leaves change colors. Temperatures venture outside the 50-70 degrees range. One must look at the weather report to gauge what to wear and prepare for. It’s beautiful and lovely and foreign. IT IS MADNESS. And by madness, I mean, of course, entirely novel for me – the ignorant California native.

While visiting Add (she’s a 3L at WashU), I had some time to adventure-run while she was in class/test taking. At a balmy 36-degrees, I was vastly under-dressed and under-prepared for the numb-faced chill of that 8 miler. How are there athletes in these places? How do they train? What do they do in the snow? I pondered these things as I layered on sweaters and scarves later that day.

St. Louis ft. SEASONS

Fast forward to this week, the end of November. And today: Thanksgiving Day! I’m sitting in a cozy cafĂ© near the East end of Berlin. In the 2 years that have passed since I was last in Germany, one very important change has occurred: I train year-round now. Meaning, of course, that winter running was inevitable on this trip. On Tuesday I set out on an adventure run in 34-degree fog. The wonderful and frightening thing about running in cold temperatures in a very-nearly-completely flat city is that you can just keep going. After training at around the 5-6 mile mark for the past few weeks (excluding the Berkeley Half), 10 miles passed without a care on the Berlin streets. And fast too! I was hitting an easy 7:45 – 7:50 pace throughout and feeling great. It’s funny how out of shape the hills of San Francisco can make you feel. As it turns out, being too numb to register fatigue is an effective way to get in a solid run.

The same logic was less useful this morning, however, as the 27-degree morning mist really took a toll on my tolerance for distance. I made it 3 miles and called it quits – Under Armor, a ¼ zip, fleece headband, ¾ length spandex, and compression socks were not even close to enough coverage. It felt really good to get out and get moving though. And, if you can even believe it, I actually like running in the cold – it’s so refreshing. It is also an amazing way to see a city from the different perspective and appreciate the heat a body can create and control. Bodies are pretty freaking cool.
Frozen in Berlin.
Spending Thanksgiving 5,600 miles from home is 100% worth-it to sit next to Camille and inhale that sweet, icy Berlin air. A best friend’s hugs, gluhwein, Berlin food, and testing my body’s temperature thresholds are all things to be very Thankful for.

Much Love.


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