Golden Gate Park

2017 SF Turkey Trail Trot

This was my 5th year and still one of my favorite races. The weather was perfect and I had a lot of fun. My race itself was not one of my better ones, but I didn’t care, it was a good time! The race is 5 miles through the various trails of Golden Gate Park. There’s also a 3 mile walk and 3 kids races for various age groups. Plus, there’s a ton of prizes for the winners and a HUGE raffle at the end. In fact, this was the first year I didn’t win anything in the raffle. Proceeds benefit the track teams for Lowell and Washington High Schools.

20171123_073257

Sunrise before the race

20171123_073210

Washington High School band

20171123_080208

the kids racing across the Polo Field!

20171123_105721

Turtles chillin on Spreckles Lake

I am very thankful this Thanksgiving Day Weekend for being healthy. I am thankful for, no matter how slow, being able to run. I can and will get faster! I have decided to really make it a top priority to attain maximal health and fitness, no matter what in 2018, so I’ll get a head start in the weeks before the new year. Sure, I overate and have a couple extra pounds, but now it’s time to get serious and dive headlong into fitness!

Keep Moving Forward!

Martha

 

 

Advertisements

Running the 47 – #38 Washington Heights

It’s been a while since I’ve written or even ran on the hills of San Francisco. You thought I forgot about them, didn’t you? Well, no, I did not. I did have to take some time away from it, though, so rethink what I wanted to do because the whole naming them Part 1, 2 etc wasn’t working so well.

20171001_163439

View of Downtown

It’s back now and I hope to bring you at least one hill per week, or close to that. I can’t promise I’ll have one every week, but it will be more often than it has been. And they will be called “Running the 47”. A much better name, don’t you think?

20171001_163208

Looking up on Anza

This week, I went west to the Outer Richmond. Washington Heights encircles the blocks of Geary Blvd, 28th Ave, Cabrillo St and 34th Ave. From the top at Washington High School during the times it is clear such as this morning (and that is never a given), the views are really nice.

20171001_163534

Looking north towards the Marin Headlands

At 260 feet high, the hills are elevating. I had to walk up one block of Anza it was quite steep, but the rest was very runable. The area is quite and residential. The birds were chirping and just a couple blocks from Golden Gate Park, it’s a lovely area.

My run continued down through the park and I finished back at home. It’s been a good day! Cheers!

Keep moving forward!

 

47 Hills – Sutro Heights Hill 45

I started my run on a clear, breezy morning. I hadn’t realized that it was the same morning as the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, a short, yet punishing tri that starts on Alcatraz with a swim to the Marina Green, then an 18-mile cycling course, finishing with an 8-mile run that returns at Marina Green. And throughout both the bike and running courses, there are hills, lots of hills.

Sutro Mansion

The original Sutro Mansion

What this meant for me, was that a lot of the area I was planning on running was going to either be cut off or a bit more difficult to get to, so I rerouted my run and enjoyed watching a bit of the tri along the way.

20170611_100758

The view from the top

Adolph Heinrich Joseph Sutro was born in Germany in 1830 but served as mayor of San Francisco from 1895 until 1897. He made his fortune in the Comstock Lode in Nevada and built not only a huge mansion at the top of a hill overlooking Ocean Beach, but also the well-loved Sutro Baths. The remains of the baths still exist and can be explored on foot.

20170611_092323

Sutro Heights grounds

Sutro Heights checks in at 200 feet. It watches over the Pacific Ocean quietly and if you happen to drive past, enjoying the ocean view, you’d probably miss its tranquil setting. Adolph’s gigantic mansion is long gone, but the site remains and it is worth a visit. The hill is one of my favorites; you can run in a circle and then continue down to the beach, or go across the street to the Land’s End path. There’s plenty to see and it’s usually pretty quiet. The backside of the hill also has a fun and very sandy way to get down if you want something a little more adventurous.

20170611_100732

I decided on the sandy back route to avoid the cyclists and ended my run watching some of the race at the end of Golden Gate Park. This hill is one of my favorites in the city. I hope you can enjoy it sometime too!

IMG_20170611_102734_639 (2)

Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Note: All the hill elevations and listings were taken from another website http://www.47hills.com and used for a personal challenge so bear that in mind if there are any discrepancies.

Keep Moving Forward!

Chocolate in the Rain

This is the fourth year the RAM Hot Chocolate race series has been in San Francisco. I’ve always enjoyed this race series. Every year it’s run with professionalism and grace, something that doesn’t always happen with these big races. But this one has always done a great job.

Some things are beyond anyone’s control .Like weather. All week long I’ve been checking the forecast for today and it said nothing but pouring rain with winds. And that’s exactly was it was most of the morning, with the hardest rain coming down just as I left the house around 6:30am.

It was a miserable morning to prepare for a race! I wouldn’t have blamed anyone for deciding to have their medal shipped to them and doing the distance on their own. But, that’s just not me, so I braved the wind and rain and took MUNI off to Golden Gate Park.

The ONLY saving grace was that is wasn’t cold. The temperatures hovered around 59 degrees so I was VERY happy it wasn’t freezing when I was soggy wet!

The 15k course was shortened to a 9k course, due to the Great Highway along the Pacific Ocean becoming part of the ocean. That happens due to high tides and winds. Sand doesn’t like to stay in place and during winter, the highway does close occasionally. I didn’t mind at all running a shorter distance, my feet were soaked before the race already. I chose to wear my race running jacket for the race, which turned out to be a really good decision. I was a little warm, but inside my jacket, I wasn’t soaked and that was a good feeling.

20170108_080751

The rain is coming down while we wait for the start….

My time wasn’t bad; I placed in the top half of the women in my age group and even though I would have run faster had it not been as rainy and slick, I’m still pleased with how I did.

20170108_080735

Here I am, trying to stay dry!!! 

Had the RAM organization not been so organized and great at communicating the course changes and weather conditions, this could have been a disaster, but as it turned out, things went through smoothly. They did a great job.

Now I need to get serious about losing this weight. I’ve been slacking and not really focusing on it as I should. That ends and my focus will be on losing 20 pounds and being a faster runner.

Cheers!

20170108_095809

The medal and chocolate (!!) make it worthwhile! 

 

 

FIT, FIERCE & FRUGAL – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I fell asleep at 10:30 last night. New Year’s Eve isn’t my deal. I don’t drink and the thought of being around a club or bar filled with people partaking doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe if there was a band in town that I’d like to see I’d go out, but it seems like the best time to cuddle up under the covers, get some rest and wake up early on New Year’s Day.

What I DO love is running early New Year’s Day. Even though it’s really cold out, I love it!

20170101_081847

Conservatory of Flowers

So, I forced myself into the cold, dark morning street air. All was quiet as I walked to the bus stop. Surprisingly, there were quite a few people on the MUNI 5, making their way or to work or to wherever they were going.

I started my run on the Panhandle, trying to stretch out the distance on the park as much as I could, for I knew that Ocean Beach would be colder and windier. Very few people were out. There were a couple other runners, dog walkers and cyclists, but really, Golden Gate Park was near empty. And that’s exactly why I went out early. The weather was, in spite of being cold, beautiful. There was hardly a breeze until I got to the beach.

20170101_081854

Empty park streets

I noticed the clues of the high surf on the beach. Small pools of water remained close to the sidewalk, far away from the ocean. I don’t think I’d ever seen the surf that high before, so when the weather warning says “Dangerous High Surf”, it’s probably a good idea to pay attention.

I finished out my run on the Great Highway. By then, there were a few runners and walkers out and I had finally gotten warm. I’ll be running the Hot Chocolate 15K next week right here and it was worth nothing how the weather was this morning.

20170101_090715

Ocean Beach – windy & cold

During my run, I thought of the year passed and the one ahead of me. I probably set my goals too high last year, as I didn’t reach half of them. I am running faster, I got my personal trainer’s certificate, I did finish the San Francisco Marathon and I finished running 1,000 miles, but I didn’t run all the races I wanted to, I haven’t found the job I’m looking for and I have yet to lose the weight I would like. So, there are things I need to work on this year.

And I will work my hardest to get them done. In essence, what I want to accomplish this year, can be said in three words: Fit, Fierce, Frugal

I need to keep running, keep sticking to healthy eating, stay on track at the gym. I must not be afraid by self-imposed fears of inferiority, instead I need to jump in and take chances and go for what I want. I also have to keep track of my finances. Things are going to be tight, moneywise in 2017. I will not have the choices to do many of the fun things I did in 2016, so I have to take stock in priorities and never lose track of the prize.

May you All have great 2017s, and may you run many miles and do great things!

Cheers!

20170101_090729

MILE AFTER MILE…

I finally bought new running shoes, with finances as difficult as they are right now, it takes a couple months to plan out strategically but fortunately, I won’t be training for a marathon for a few months, so these new Brooks Ghost 9s should last a little longer.

img_20160923_200736

Golden Gate Park trail 

I’ve also set some new and different goals for myself. For a few months anyway, I’ll be focused on get leaner and faster rather than just running longer distances. With the exception of this weekend when I ate a box of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Jojos (I know, I know, but they’re delicious!), I have been good about my eating and I’ll get back on track tomorrow.

20160923_181345

GGP trail

It isn’t going well finding work in fitness, so I’ve changed that goal. I don’t know if I’m going to find a paid part-time job in fitness, so I’m going to look for more volunteer work to get more experience until I can afford to get my certificate in Senior fitness. That cert will help me get a job in the area of fitness I desire. I can’t afford to work for minimum wage fulltime at a gym in town, but if I can get the experience and knowledge, maybe I can a position at a senior center.

20160923_190052

Sunset!

I’ve had good runs over the last week, including a terrific trail run Friday night. I was lucky enough to see one of the most beautiful sunsets! Yes, times are not easy right now, but at least I can still enjoy the scenery of my city!

Cheers!

SAN FRANCISCO HOT CHOCOLATE 15K, 1-10-16

HC 2016

I’m late with my race report. It’s been a busy week. I’ve been studying as much as I can AND running AND going to the gym AND getting to bed at a decent time AND eating right. So, it’s late.

On my way home from the race expo, which is in the suburb of South San Francisco and not easy to get to without a car, I had decided this would be my last Hot Chocolate race. The jacket this year was just OK, not nearly as nice as last year and the expo itself was disappointing. There were so many people who seemed more excited about free samples than getting in shape that it seemed more like one of those “fun runs” than a race.

Hot Chocolate 1-10-16

Pre-race in Golden Gate Park

I have nothing against “fun runs”. I think it’s great people want to get out and walk. It’s better than sitting on the couch. But I’m a running. I’m trying to better myself with each race I do. It’s fun, sure, but it’s also a chance for me to PR or go farther than I ever have. Races to me are serious affairs. I enjoy myself, but I am also competitive. Mostly with myself, true, but I want to always do better than I have previously if I can.

The Hot Chocolate expos are usually quite sparse. They have very few vendors and the ones that give away samples are usually over crowded. In fact, at the Lara Bar booth, I nearly got pushed out of the way by a few people. This one guy tried to push me to get ahead of me in line and I stopped him. How rude can people get!

The next morning, I got to the race too early, as usual. I tend to do that at races. So I hung out at the merch tent, huddled with others, trying to stay warm, until they kicked us out. I met some really nice runners, including a couple of marathon runners and I felt more a part of this race.

Hot Chocolate Goodies 2016

Race Goodies and Buster

What made me feel sort of separated to begin with was this year the race directors tried something new. If a runner wanted to be in a starting corral other than just the general, mass one, they needed to show proof of an average pace per mile in a race faster than 12:30 minutes. Since that was my time in my part races (or a little slower), I couldn’t, so I got stuck in a corral with walkers and woggers (runners/walkers). The corral said “No Walkers”, but I don’t think many walkers pay attention to that, to be honest.

Let me just say that I think it’s great people want to be active and go do something, as I’ve said, and I hold nothing against walkers, but it creates problems for runners when these walkers are placed in the same corral or above runners because they we have to run around them, wasting valuable energy.

Hot Chocolate 2016

Love the medal

When the race started, I realized I was running at a faster pace than I had planned. But it felt good! So I kept up this faster pace for the rest of the race. I PR’d my last time by 6 minutes! I love the course. It starts in Golden Gate Park near Stowe Lake, winds through the park to Ocean Beach, going south on the Great Highway to Sloat and back up, through the park, uphill, ending on JFK near the deYoung Museum. It’s pretty level, except for the very gradual up and down hills that if you forget about, will get you.

I’ve decided that I will do the race again next year. With this faster time, I can get into a better corral. And maybe I can PR again.

Cheers!

FIRST RUN OF 2016

Buster 1-1-16

Buster in Golden Gate Park

It was one of the coldest tuns of my life, but this morning’s run was also the first one of the new year. So many possibilities for this Leap Year, so much ahead!

I bundled up in a long sleeved running shirt, Under Armor running tights, hat and gloves, but still felt cold to the bone. Instead of staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve, I went to bed early and was up just before 5 am. I don’t drink and I’m not much of a fan of celebrating the new year anyway. It’s much more fun for me to be up and out early, even in the cold, to get a run in.

Ice on puddle 1-1-16

Icy puddle

There were only a few other early runners and walkers out as the sun peeked sleepily through the trees. It was the perfect morning to be a live, running, enjoying my run, I even enjoyed the cold while I ran.

I have big goals for this year. I reached most of the goals I set for myself last year, only a couple fell short. I got to New York City to see my beloved Rangers and visited the greatest city in the US, I ran my first marathon in 28 years; those were two huge goals I accomplished in 2015.

1-1-16

It’s cold, do I look cold?? 

For 2016, I have a few things I want to complete.

  • Lose 20 pounds and stay healthy
  • Run 3 marathons
  • Pass my CPT exam and move forward with my career
  • Save money

Those are my goals. I know I can move closer towards them.

Cheers!

PS: If you’re wondering what or who the little feline guy is at the top of the page, that’s Buster. He’s my running mascot. I found him on a run, took a picture, shared it on Facebook and then my friends wanted to see more pictures of him. So, you’ll see more pictures of him. If you have Instagram, he has his own account: @busterrunstheworld and you can follow me at: @Martha_Runs_SF

RAIN, FINALLY!

Rainy GGP

Rain in GGP

California has had a drought for a few years. But this is an El Nino season and time for the rain the earth so thirstily desires. I wanted to get a few miles trail running in after work and I knew that if I didn’t hurry the rain and sunset would catch up with me. The closest place to get to a trail was Golden Gate Park, so I made it just in time.

I got out there as the raindrops started. On a chilly, rainy Friday night, I had the park almost to myself. Golden Gate Park is larger in acreage than Central park in New York City, but in winter in a city made up of so many newb transplants who desire nice weather, you won’t find many who are hearty enough for anything like a rainy evening in the park.

Trail running is a good challenge for me. Even the mild and relatively easy trails in the park are enough to slow me down and take my time, especially around the tall eucalyptus trees. When the rains and winds come around, they lose not only their leaves but their branches and those get hard to notice as the shadows of nightfall get broader and darker. I nearly got tripped up over a couple of them. And, then there are their acorns, those are so easy to slip on when they get wet! Yikes!

As the darkness started overtaking the light, I knew I was getting closer to the end of my run. It’s pretty familiar running grounds for me; I’ve run in the park many times on these trails but the rain started to get a little heavier through the tree branches and I knew it was only going to get colder and wetter.

By the time I got home on the bus, it was pouring and so cold! I was one happy runner! There is NOTHING like finishing a great run, no matter the weather. Non-runners can never understand the true joy we running fanatics have after running in gnarly weather. It’ll be our private joke. *Wink Wink*

Cheers!

THANKSGIVING TURKEY TRAIL TROT

Thanksgiving Morning 11-16-15.jpg

Early morning in Golden Gate Park

Every year on Thanksgiving, there is a small race in Golden gate Park. This little race raises money for the track department for Lowell High School, so it’s the highlight for many in the San Francisco west side community.

But what happened this year had all of us completely stunned. The race directly Steve, sent us an email the day before letting us know that the UHaul van, holding all of the t-shirt and many of the goodies to hand out after the race, including water and food, was stolen, right from in front of his house!

This was terrible, shocking now. It was taken from a good neighborhood and anyone who knows anything about San Francisco, knows that every neighborhood is expensive. It’s not like there’s a cheap area here any longer.

So, Steve and many race participants scrambled to gather as many replacement items as they could, so we had what we needed for the race, except for the shirts. Which is sad. They’re not performance shirts, they’re white, cotton, but still worn with pride by racers knowing their race fees went towards a good cause.

Turkey Trot Gifts 11-26-15.jpg

Prize Table

When I got to the race, I checked in with people and saw that for the first time, a news station van was there. If it took a theft for the news to cover a race that’s been happening for years, so be it. People were in great spirits waiting for all the races to begin. There were first the kids runs. There were a few different age groups and the kids run with the Turkey, who leads them across the width of the Polo Fields. Then they’re each giving a small stocking filled with candy. Fortunately, those weren’t taken.

After the children’s races, the 5K walk and the 5-mile run began. They start at the same time, but then the 5K turns off and finishes which the 5-miler goes a bit farther. I love this race because it’s mostly on trails throughout the western section of Golden Gate Park.

Steve and me 11-26-15.jpg

My friend Steve and Me 

This year, many runners weren’t used to the trails, it appeared and some tripped and fell. Also, there were a couple loose dogs one runner had. I asked him to please leash his dogs because I nearly tripped on the smaller one who kept running in between us.

Next year the race will come back stronger than ever. I can’t help but wonder why moving companies don’t have GPS on their UHaul trailers though…

I did PR and cut 2 minutes from my previous best time. It was a good race and a great morning.

Cheers!