Despite living in a city of over 800,000 people I manage to keep finding myself (purposefully) alone and thankful for it. My most recent discovery is Montara Mountain, just 15 miles south of my neighborhood, the sleepy Richmond District.
To help you get perspective on just how crazy I've become, I'd like to tell you that last year, in October, I could hardly run 1 mile. Now, with the encroaching 35K race in December, my weekly "short" runs average between 8 and 10 miles, with my long runs starting to inch towards 15 miles. I'm a glutton for punishment. I signed myself up for a 13.8 mile trail run this weekend that has 3,900 feet of elevation gain. To give you some more perspective on that type of climbing, the Nike Women's Marathon took place today in this fair city, and the course map states that "there are a few tough hills along the course, climbing over 300 feet." Yup. They call 300 feet tough and that's on smooth pavement with aid stations every few miles. I love it.
I will say this about marathon runners: this morning I walked the dog into Golden Gate park to watch the early finishers (the sub 3:00 hr runners) and I was truly inspired. When you're slow like me, you never get the chance to see these people in action, because they are WAY ahead of you. But having the chance to watch these ladies rip through the park in their 20th mile was incredible. I was charged up! So I got my ass to Montara mountain and did my 9 mile run with 2,200 feet of climbing and felt pretty good about it. It's sunny and warm here. The mountains don't look like Oregon mountains, but I'm growing to love them for what they are. The views are unbeatable.