This has been a year of numerous positive changes, a welcome development after the wrenching dislocation that was 2009. In addition to my proud ownership of a 2010 Prius, this year I ran my first half marathon ever.
I didn't play as much as other children; although I participated in various organized sports I was never very good. By the time middle school rolled around I chatted with teachers at recess instead of playing. Mom would encourage me to play more, but after a desultory effort I would return to the house to watch TV or read. Cerebral joys have always been the most intense for me, and that will never change. But these days I'm able to appreciate the wisdom of being more balanced in my activities. (For years, whenever I had to list my hobbies on a questionnaire, the answer was "reading and writing.")
And so, there I was at 6 AM this Sunday, on the San Francisco Embarcadero. Since early April I've been training, with the goal of adding a mile each weekend and doing several runs during the week. The 1/2 marathon is 13.1 miles. The week before I ran/walked 12 miles in around 2.5 hours. On Sunday I ran the entire half marathon in 2 hours and 15 minutes.
It helped that the run began around 6:45, in foggy and cool San Francisco. The East Bay is always hotter and I was usually getting a later start. People cheering along the way also gave me a boost, and the nutritional supplements (my first and only time drinking Cytomax) were essential as well. My favorite part of the course was 27th Avenue in the Outer Richmond, just before entering Golden Gate Park. This was the most "neighborhoody" part of the route, and it was fun to see people watching us from their windows.
The course ended in Golden Gate Park's Rose Garden. We ran along the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf, Fort Mason, Crissy Field, over and back across the Golden Gate Bridge, through a tip of the Presidio, down through the Richmond, and then into the Park. The full marathoners charged on, on a course that went through the Haight and the Mission before getting back to the Embarcadero. The first half is harder because it's hillier (and more beautiful). As I crossed that 1/2 marathon finish line part of me wanted to keep on running.
Maybe that was adrenaline talking. But I hope to do the full thing next year, even if my legs become grumpy.