Yesterday, I organized my first group run with my "Rockin' Mama" running group.* It was very humid (I was a sweaty mess before I even felt hot). It did get pretty darn hot by the end. However, it was a fabulous run. It was beautiful (I wish I had brought my camera) and a ton of fun. I am going to try using some bullets to describe how the morning unfolded.
*Four of us** met at Balboa Park (our end point) at 6 a.m. and headed to Shelter Island in one car. We started our run and naturally fell into a two and two running combo. Perfect.
*Around mile 2, I decided to make sure that Heather and Jenna, behind us, knew which turns to take, so I ran back to check on them. I ran with them for a minute or two and then wanted to try to catch Sally again.
*I ran fast to try to catch her. My third mile was an 8:26. Hmmm... a bit faster than race pace at the beginning of a long (hot) run? I was worried that it would spell trouble later, but I was fine. I didn't catch her, by the way, until the meeting point where we met up with the other half of the group.
*All of us met at Spanish Landing (at the three mile mark). We made sure everyone had water, Gu etc. and we were off for the last nine miles. Once again, everyone found others to run with. Alicia, Jenna and Heather ran together (they were all going to try a run/walk strategy for the day); Pam, Lisa F and Christina ran together; and Sally led the way. I kept my "floater" status. Sally, who is a speedster, turned up her iPod and got into a zone. I felt bad that she was the only one running alone, but she didn't seem to mind.
*At one point I was running and chatting with Pam and realized that the Harbor Island turn was coming up and I wondered if Sally would remember. She was a couple hundred yards ahead of us, so I sped up to catch her. Note: it is NOT easy to catch someone running nine(ish)-minute-miles when you have been running ten(ish)-minute-miles. I yelled to her, but her iPod must have been too loud. Note: When running with a group, turn your iPod down (it is actually always a good practice to be able to hear someone yelling for you). I saw her cross the street, completely missing Harbor Island (a three mile loop of the run). So I sprinted to catch her (throwing out "Sally!" between gasps). By the time I caught her, I could barely breathe. She felt bad for making me do "unexpected speedwork." After downloading my Garmin info, it looks like I ran at sub 7:00 for .15 mile. That, my friends, is an interval. The difference is... when I do speed intervals on the track, I stop and walk or jog for a bit. Yesterday, I ran back onto Harbor Island with Sally at her speedy pace. When we caught up to one of the slower groups, I let Sally go on while I took it a bit easier.
*Harbor Island was a pleasant little loop. It was SUCH a change from the last time I ran around that manmade spit of land*** It wasn't the beginning of the end of my run (as it was in AFC 2008). I checked in with each of the runners and everyone seemed to be doing ok.
Picture of San Diego skyline from Harbor Island courtesy of Marques Haven on Flickr
*Sometime during our time out on Harbor Island (7:34 a.m.) there was a 4.0 earthquake about twenty miles off the coast! None of us felt it! You'd think we would have heard something, at least.**** Kenny thinks that since Harbor Island is mostly on top of sand, it might not have shaken as much as our house did twenty miles east of where I was running. He told me it woke him up and gave him quite an adrenaline rush. I hate missing a good earthquake!
*I ran for the next several miles with the middle group. The were running at a very comfortable pace for me. As we ran away from the bay into the city, the shade was a welcome relief. We were mirroring the AFC course exactly.
*The hills started at A Street (around mile 10). Since that street goes pretty much due east, it had full sun. Nice. A hill in the sun. Bring it.
*The thing about AFC is the fact that it is a) in August, so it is usually HOT and humid and b) has a long, gradual hill beginning around mile 11.5 and flattening out around right around mile 12.5. It isn't a particularly big hill (about 300 feet over a mile or so), however, there is something about that hill that kicks people's butts.
*I ran up 6th street with the group. Lisa F looked at me and said, "get me up this hill, Lisa. Don't leave me." I started to start a pep talk and she put on her headphones and proceeded to get into her "zone." Lisa and I have logged hundreds of miles together. She got me through my first marathon when I was struggling. We don't really need to pep talk each other. I just ran next to her until we were at the top.
*When we got to the top, I congratulated them, and sent them to the end. I then turned around and ran back down the hill. About a half mile back, I came across the other group. They were looking pretty hot and sweaty. Heather looked like she was limping a bit. I asked if she was ok and she replied that she wasn't. She told me she was "done." I walked with her a bit and said, "Heather, you ran up Torrey Pines without walking, you are NOT walking up 6th street." I got her running and helped her open her jelly beans.***** We only took one or two more short walk breaks and made.it.up.that.f'in.hill! She found her second wind and she, Alicia and I ran it in to the finish. I was very proud.
*We sat in the grass to stretch and eat the Otter Pops I had brought. Note: Otter Pops are quite possibly the yummiest thing EVER after a hot, long run.
*I was quite impressed with Heather and Jenna. Heather looked at her Garmin and realized that she had only run 11.5 miles (my original map calls for running around the parking lot to even out the mileage and when we ran in, we were ready to join the others). She and Jenna ran around the parking lot to get the additional half mile.
*I ended up with a little over 13 miles total. The extra running between my group helped give me an additional mile and a half.
*Several of my friends posted to me on Facebook later that they appreciated my organizing the group run and the support I gave. And.... they called me "Coach." ****big grin****
*We all met through Stroller Strides. After my coaching certification, I offered to coach any of my Stroller Strides clients (and my friends) for free.
**Half the group is up to twelve miles in their training and the other half only nine. We are all training for the America's Finest City (AFC) Half Marathon next month.
***"[Harbor Island was] formed by the dredging of San Diego Bay in order to deepen the berths for military ships, the U.S. Navy built this recreational island in 1961. More than 12 million cubic yards of sand and mud created this mile-and-a-half long tropical island, now home to upscale hotels, restaurants and marinas. Along the bay side, you can see the view from the tip of Point Loma, across to the island of Coronado and southward to the U.S - Mexican border. This is a beautiful spot to watch the sunset, and a breath-taking skyline vantage point at night." courtesy of MyTravelGuide.com
****Earthquakes often sound like freight trains as they approach. I suppose that under the ocean, there wouldn't be a sound.
*****We've all been there... she couldn't get the package open and it was frustrating her to tears. It was adding insult to injury. Oh, for the times to have someone open up jelly beans for me.