Becoming a runner has been extraordinary. One of the sweetest parts has been exploring and redefining my home turf on my own feet.
Today was the BEST example of that. 8 miles of 14 were across the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. A bridge I have driven over about two-hundred-million-thousand times.
Before meeting speedy buddy and IRONMAN Jessica, I had 6 miles to take care of.
I’ve been meaning to run the Emeryville/Berkeley/Albany segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail for ages. In fact, over the summer I sat in horrific traffic for over an HOUR on Hwy 80, not moving and wishing I could just abandon my Prius and run home. It’s a great trail. Lovely breeze coming off of the bay and packed dirt on the side of the pavement for when you want a softer surface. Planning to do a longer run here this coming week.
(Since I only have 40 miles to cover in the next 7 days, as Sara reminded me. Oy. )
I arrived back at our meeting spot and we headed out to the bridge! There are two paths that lead onto the new span of the bridge. We took the one that originates near the Emeryville Ikea. I was so encouraged to see so many groups of women walkers, families, cyclists, and runners out enjoying the path. As a nearly lifelong Oakland resident, we don’t get much positive press. It was awesome to see people outside and enthusiastic about the TOWN!
It’s about two miles from Ikea to the actual bridge. It was such a trip to run along the approach to the toll plaza where I have waited impatiently so many times. There’s a short but somewhat steep incline up to the bridge and then a little over two miles before the path ends, just shy of Treasure Island.
It’s a great run. It’s a gentle incline all the way to the turnaround. The kind where it looks flat but your inner thighs complain. We were holding a faster pace than my usual long runs (10:15ish vs. 10:45) but chatting and marveling at the scenery made it really fun. When we turned around, we dropped more than a minute off our pace! Downhill is the bomb. I can’t believe I held that pace at the end of 14 miles. Running with faster friends is intimidating but so, so rewarding. The last mile and a half was brutal for me. Our speedy pace caught up to me and the fog had burned off, revealing toasty temperatures. It was great to have a chance to push through fatigue. Had I been alone, I may have stopped to walk but I just kept trotting behind Jess until we were done!
A great morning and wonderful confidence boost going into the last big week of marathon training before taper. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
And now, recovery.