So, you know the cliche that everyone attributes to their parents or grandparents; the one about walking through the snow to school, uphill both ways? Well, I'm starting to think that we should lay off of them. I'm pretty sure that our grandparents went to school in the middle of the 12 mile route that I ran today. Why do I think so? Because, miracle of miracles, someone figured out how to map a run that resulted in us running UPHILL for, I'm not kidding, 95% of the route.
I never thought that this was possible but, it happened. We started at Baker Beach and ran up a series of steep hills to get to a trail head of Lands End Trail. Lands End Trail is GORGEOUS- but hilly. There's a staircase in the middle of it. Then, we had a little reprieve and ran a brief downhill by the Cliffhouse Restaurant. Then, we entered Golden Gate Park which, in and of itself, is a long, gradual hill. Great. My poor group was struggling because not only were we tackling hill after hill, but it was getting HOT outside.
Most of my pace group is running the half-marathon and they broke off from me and one other trainee at one point so they could complete nine miles. The other trainee, L, and I were determined to smash the twelve miler so we trudged on. We were lucky for a little bit as we had a good stretch of flat, shady road in front of us. Turns out, that would be it for "easy" terrain. We found ourselves climbing steep street after steep street. We turned into a golf course parking lot (it was on our route- we didn't get lost :o) ) only to find that this was another hill.
Finally, we reached the last mile and discovered that it was all completely....down hill. However, it wasn't gradual, relaxing, or even comfortable. This downhill was steep and our bodies ached with every step. The impact on this downhill literally sent shock waves through my muscles. I was cursing the coaches, the designer of the route, the sun, the person that invented running...pretty much everyone and everything at this point.
Eventually, it ended. And L and I had enough gas in our tanks to finish with a little burst of sprinting. Once we checked in with the coordinator of the run, though. we both basically collapsed to the ground and made a feeble attempt to stretch our destroyed legs.
So, the moral of the story is- maybe Grandma was telling the truth about her trek to school, uphill, both ways. It suddenly seems so much more feasible...