Presidio

FIXED ON GOALS

Presidiot Run a 5-27-16

The Presidio

Ever since I’ve gotten older, I realize I have the attention span about the same length of the life of a sand flea. I get bored easily. Oh Shiny! I can be drawn to fun, new things without much effort.

But I’ve composed a short list of goals I would like to…I WILL accomplish in the next three to five years, so my focus must be on them.

So, when a great sale on running clothes comes up, or I see something extra delicious at Trader Joe’s, with extra calories to match, the temptation is so great to give in. This gets worse if I’ve had a bad day at work, or if I’m feeling especially venerable. I decided if I have a catchphrase to remind myself, or to smack myself, maybe it will make it less likely to spend or eat too much. Or miss the gym, or be mean, or…

Sometimes the pressure is so great that’s when I’m at my weakest point. And it is then that I really MUST have the strength to ask: How is this helping me? How is reacting emotionally going to help me reach my goal?

View of Presidio 5-27-16

View from Inspiration Point, the Presidio

I had a weak moment earlier this week. It’s a lot harder for me in my fifties to bounce back from eating badly or missing a workout. Unlike just ten years ago, the weight gained doesn’t just fall away. It takes twice as long. But bounce back I did, with two great runs and I’m off to the gym early today, the Saturday of Memorial Weekend.

This isn’t to say that there are no fun things worthwhile spending money on. Last weekend I went to two concerts and saw some great live music. I don’t regret it at all and I know there will be more. Once in a while, I’ll feel like going out to eat, or buying a new outfit as well. But these things can be worked into my budget, not done at the risk of losing sight of my dreams.

Going off my way of eating or budget isn’t the end of the world, but it is a detour and could cause a delay in getting to where I truly want to go. I have to decide if it’s really something worthwhile, which some things are, or if it’s just an emotional trigger. It never hurts to ask myself this before making a choice.

I finished the week with a great 4-mile trail run through the Presidio last night after work. There are so many trails through this corner of San Francisco I love not even knowing where I’ll go and just letting it happen. The weather was perfect and it was an excellent way to start celebrating the long weekend.

Cheers!

The Spire 5-27-16

The Spire, the Presidio

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THE NEXT STEP

Presidio 1-31-16

The Presidio

Getting to the testing site isn’t easy via MUNI. Located near the old Candlestick site, it’s a long ride on the 9 and then a long walk down to the Executive Park on the east side of 101. Nevermind that my lasting memories of this place were from last July when I failed the NASM Certified Personal Trainer’s exam, so I cautiously made my way to the location. How many more hours could I have studied? I asked myself. I know this, I will pass this! Also went through my head. I took Buster along for good luck; somehow the little guy seemed to make me feel better.

I had spent so many hours studying at night after work, on BART, early in the morning. I had sacrificed so much just to pass…and GUESS WHAT??!!??

I PASSED!!!!!

I took my time answering the questions; I went over all of the questions a second time to make sure I understood them and answered them correctly. I’m glad I did too, because I found two mistakes I made the first time!

I was happy but even more relieved. Now I can move on to the next step.

I’m not young, but I’m not dead yet either. If I want to change my life, I need to do it NOW. But, because of circumstances, I can’t make radical changes all at once, so I’ve worked out my plan in a series of steps. My next step will be to complete a new resume with my goals towards a new career. I’ll let you know more in a later blog.

I ran 15 miles yesterday. It was a glorious morning, one of those types of blue sky days that I wanted to frame. It was a good run, my legs felt good and I’m doing much better on the hills. I took the run slowly and concentrated on form and getting the whole distance out. I’m figuring out when I need to take in water, electrolytes and food. It’s all coming together.

And also, with some of the stress of passing my exam gone, I can focus on losing weight, which is another one of my goals this year.

It’s difficult to express how much of an accomplishment this victory was for me. I failed the exam the first time I took it and that defeat hurt badly. But, it didn’t stop me from getting back up and trying again. And since then up until passing it Saturday, I have been studying hours and hours, working to know the material. At night after work and running, I study, on BART going to work and going back home, I study. In the morning with coffee, I study. Putting in the effort was well worth it.

And now to plan my next course of action, stay tuned….

Cheers!

LONG RUN ADVENTURE

Long runs are my adventures. Preparing for them is like packing for vacations. It takes so long….first, I have to remember to eat right the day before, make sure I get the right amount of carbs and not go overboard on the protein, skip the red meat and spicy foods, prepare my electrolyte mix and first and foremost (!!) have clean running clothes. Gack! How many times have I wanted to run and not had anything clean??!?

The morning of the run I’m up at least two hours before I leave to give me enough time to eat and have coffee. Ah, the elixir of the gods! Blessed coffee! I always hear of people who don’t need coffee, well, I couldn’t, no I would NOT get out of bed if I didn’t have an awaiting cup of hot, delicious coffee. It is my one vice, as I don’t partake in alcohol. And I’m particular in my coffee beans. So I enjoy as good of a coffee as I my budget allows me.

Once I’m on the road, I head out of my quiet neighborhood, yes even Downtown San Francisco is quiet early on a Sunday morning, what direction I go depends entirely on my mood. Sunday’s run took me to Sausalito, across the Golden Gate Bridge.

The morning weather was cool; perfect for a run. My body felt great; everything was clicking. I ran down Union Street that would be jammed with brunch goers in a couple hours. But now only a few dog owners and scattered runners are out. I turn into the familiar gates of the Presidio.

The Presidio of San Francisco used to be an Army base for over a hundred years. Now, it’s part of a national recreation area and it’s magnificent. It has hundreds of miles of trails for bikes, hikers and runners. Maybe the park is a little too built up, too many hotels, restaurants and businesses, but it’s still quite nice, especially in the early morning.

GGB 11-22-15

View running up to the Golden Gate Bridge

And early morning is the only time to run across the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately, I arrived there after eight, and there were already packs of tourists. Somehow, some folks think that being a tourist means not having to think. I yelled at a tourist with a selfie who blocked the entire pathway and nearly decapitated me as I ran past. Those things are dangerous! Haha!

I’ve said it plenty of times and I’ll say it a few more….running on the Golden Gate Bridge is overrated. There are far too many tourists crowding it and it’s always windy and cold. Do it once, maybe twice, but if you must do it, continue running to get way past it into Marin County. The bridge stressed me out, but after I got off it and run downhill on Conzelman Rd towards Fort Baker any stress that still existed melted away. The views of the bridge from below, of SF Bay and the vista beyond and of Horseshoe Bay in front of me were stunning. It was worth the trouble of running on the bridge. Had I just run the two miles on the bridge, turned around and run two miles back and continued my run in San Francisco over the same, familiar courses I had done a hundred times, I don’t think I would have had the same satisfaction that this new discovery gave me. This was special.

The last time I had explored Fort Baker was during a hike I had taken about a year and a half ago. I spent most of the day hiking around south Marin County. I had a great day, as I remember, so this was just another terrific memory of the area.

Under the Bridge

Under the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin

Now I faced a long, incline out of Horseshoe Bay. It wasn’t too steep, but it seemed endless. That hill took me a while. And just as it ended, I was in Sausalito and nearing the end of my run. I ran the last mile along the water and enjoyed some nice views.

Angel Island

Angel Island from the ferry

I took the Golden Gate Ferry back to SF and with coffee in hand, sat back, taking in the views. It’s been a great morning.

Cheers!

LONELY IS THE NIGHT

I finally ran my longest marathon training run last Sunday. I finished a great 20-mile run and other than being just a bit sore, my whole body felt really good. After my near-disastrous 17 mile run a couple weeks back, this made me feel so much happier and better about my upcoming marathon.

With winter quickly approaching, daylight shrinks and the darkness grows. This means lots of miles spent in the dark. I always want to be a safe runner, so I don headlamp, reflective gear and am very aware of everything around me at all times.

Last night I ran up to the Presidio and took one of my favorite paths Lover’s Lane. It was especially dark and cold. Not a soul was around for most of my route through the Presidio until I got down to the structures near the Presidio YMCA where an SUV driver nearly hit me while I was crossing in the crosswalk.

Coyote Alert

Coyote Alert Post in Presidio and Buster

The stark, wispy cold of the path was a little spooky but it was mostly fun. To the right were the warming, comfy homes that once housed Army officers, now belonging to wealthier folks of San Francisco, while to the right were shadows of eucalyptus trees and dense shrubs. I always run a little slower during these very dark runs, mostly trying to be careful not to trip over cracks or misplaced branches or piles of leaves.

For the first couple of miles through the park, I didn’t see another runner. It was really cold; the mist made me shiver, I was pleased I wore a long sleeved shirt, but thought I’d better wear a cap next time out at night. I didn’t run see another runner until I hit the flats near Chrissey Field.

It truly is a solitary run, even when only at 6:30 at night, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. It beats dodging the throngs of slow walkers and cyclists who block the way during the weekend afternoons.

Cheers!

THE HEART OF TRAINING

Sunset in the Presidio

Sunset in the Presidio

It’s late October now, soon to be November. The weather has finally started to cool and hopefully, one day, it will rain again.

Tomorrow is Halloween, but I’m not into it this year. With my dad’s passing and my marathon training, the thought of having to think of a costume was just another chore I dreaded, and one that wasn’t at all necessary, so I’m skipping it.

This Sunday I’ll go for the longest run I’ve done in half my life, 18 miles…not since I ran the only marathon I’ve ever done in my twenties have I ever pushed myself so far. I’m excited, nervous, scared and trying to be brave, all at once!

Last night I ran 8 miles, which is a lot for a midweek run. It was enough to run to and through the Presidio and back home. And it was enough to have to make up a batch of homemade electrolyte mix before I went out.

I’ve also been working very hard to shed a few pounds. Granted, I should have been losing weight for this sooner, but with all that’s happened, life was just too stressful. I’m not THAT much over weight, but losing a few pounds would really help with the stress and strain my body is and will be taking. My focus is where it should be now, on eating right and doing the best that I can.

I was thinking on my 4-miler tonight that all the strength training, stretching, and runs I have done are doing some good. My legs feel good, my runs usually feel all right, of course there is the occasional bad run, but those are the anomaly rather than the norm, and my confidence in my own abilities is growing. I can really see the progress I’m making!

December 6th isn’t far away and I’m sure the butterflies will start up soon….

Cheers!

Fort Point Run

Ah…..

Today was my return to longer runs. I can say, for the first time that my 6-mile run this morning was the first without knee or IT band pain or tightness. And it was a magnificent run!

I left the apartment around 8:30am and ran up Van Ness through Fort Mason down the Marina into the Presidio. I turned around at Fort Point (not before taking a couple pictures first) and ran back past Sports Basement towards the Marina.

Fort Point below the Golden Gate Bridge

Fort Point below the Golden Gate Bridge

My total distance was 6.4 miles and though there were some stops for traffic lights and a couple walks for water and Clif Shot Bloks, it was a good, smooth run with no mechanical problems whatsoever!

The very coolest thing this morning was during the 5th mile….I was running along in the Presidio and saw a big red tailed hawk. He swooped down and caught what looked like a gopher in his talons and took it away to a rooftop across the service road. I’ve never seen that before!

Red Tailed Hawk

Red Tailed Hawk

The morning was cool, overcast at first and a bit breezy. I did see some clear skies on my way back home. I felt so good afterwards, I could help but smile.

My next race is the Turkey Trail Trot 5-miler on Thanksgiving and then the Hot Chocolate 15k in January. There are plenty of other races I could do, but I’ll probably skip them; races aren’t cheap and I must save money for my New York City vacation next February.

This week will be busy. I’m hoping someone signs up for my beginning running class (go to http://www.joinvint.com for more info). But even if they don’t, I still need to get to the YMCA at least twice and keep my running going.

Oh, and the 49ers won today! Cheers!

11-16-14

Three Weeks to Go…..

The San Francisco Rock & Roll Half Marathon is April 6th, so I’m nearly through with my training. Today, was my second to last long run. I went out for 9 miles. I was thinking I could do 8 to 10 miles, because last week I was supposed to get in 8 miles, but due to my cold, I only ran 5 miles. 

It was a good run. I started at Fulton and Stanyan at the beginning of Golden Gate Park. I covered part of the Half in my run, especially the hill up to the bridge, as that will be the nastiest. I did walk up some of the hills. Through the Presidio, heading up Lincoln to the Golden Gate Bridge, the uphill got to me and I had to walk some portions. 

But there was at no point when I felt the horrible feelings of exhaustion or breathlessness i had last week. My right thigh that had been giving me a bit of trouble felt OK, and the usual aches and pains of distance running came and went and the miles added up. 

The other plus of today was that I started out early with a relatively empty stomach, having eaten only a small breakfast of 1 slice of whole wheat toast with almond butter and a banana with coffee. Last week, I went out much later because of an early morning Rangers game being broadcast. Why they have early Sunday NHL games is beyond me, and by the time I got to the park it was afternoon. My late runs are almost always inferior. 

I feel good now, after a lovely shower and icing down my legs, as well as a couple good rolling sessions. Those help so much. Tomorrow I start spin classes, so I’ll write and say how those are. 

But, the greatest thing about my run is that I’m no longer afraid of the R&R Half. I KNOW I can do this! If I had needed to, I could have run 3 more miles today. It wouldn’t have been pretty, but I could have done it. 

Next week, I’ll go for 11-12 miles and then the week before, I’ll taper down to 7 or 8 miles. 

And now, it’s dinner time! 🙂