See you later, Oakland

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Gypsy Runner and I are moving out of Oakland.  While I hate the general process of moving, especially since I’ve done it 4 times in the past 5 years, the thing that makes this move even more emotional for me is leaving Lake Merritt.  I’ve been a runner off and on for the past 15 years, but it was moving to Oakland in 2011, and being a quarter-mile away from the Lake, that made me a more consistent runner.  Living only a 5-minute walk from the start of the Oakland Half Marathon is what started me on this path of being obsessed committed to running.

One of my favorite views from Lake Merritt

One of my favorite views from Lake Merritt

What was it about Lake Merritt?  As much as I loved living in Berkeley, running those hills as an out of shape beginner was a difficult hurdle to overcome.  In contrast, Lake Merritt is flat, has no stoplights, and can be anywhere from 2.7 to 4.4 miles in perimeter, depending on the route.  The other thing I like about Lake Merritt is the diversity of people who run and walk around it — folks of all ages, races, and socioeconomic status use the Lake every day.  It makes me feel like part of the Oakland community.  Related to that, my regular morning running routine meant that I often saw the same people at least weekly.  There’s the older man with a long beard and blue knit cap who always flashes me a peace sign and there’s a middle-aged African-American man who always says hi and once stopped me to ask just how many times I usually run around the Lake.  There’s the cute Asian couple who speed-walks around the Lake, always with the husband 10 feet ahead of the wife, both of them waving to everyone they pass.  Recently, I’ve come to appreciate (and loathe) the stairs of the Cleveland Cascade, which have become a great way to interject some strengthening into an otherwise flat run.  I’ll definitely miss having Lake Merritt so close by, but the good news is that I won’t be so far away that I can’t just stop by after work for a quick jog or on the weekend to run one of the LMJS 4th Sunday Runs.  As for all of the things I’ll miss about Oakland… well that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.  I’d like to think that this is not a goodbye to Oakland and Lake Merritt, but a “see you later!”

Sunset on the Lake

Sunset on the Lake

**

Oakland Marathon Week 4 training, with links to dailymile:

Mon: No Garmin run at easy effort.
3.5 miles

Tues: “Strength” workout: 3 x 2 miles @ 19:00 (9:30/mile) with 0.5 mile rest intervals.  Actual splits: 18:41, 18:30, 18:52.  Followed the run with 7 x Cleveland Cascade.
8 miles @ 9:45/mile

Thurs: “Race pace” workout: 8 miles @ marathon effort.  Ran in the afternoon to avoid the rain.  It ended up being quite speedy, relatively.  Splits: 9:30, 9:30, 9:20, 9:29, 9:31, 9:26, 9:25, 9:25 (average 9:27).
8.7 miles @ 9:31/mile

Sun: Long run – ~6 miles at the Upper San Leandro Reservoir + ~13 miles on the Lafayette Moraga (paved) Trail.  Worst long run in ages.
19.7 miles @ 11:21/mile, 1400′ elevation gain

Upper San Leandro Reservoir...before the rains came

Upper San Leandro Reservoir…before the rains came

Total: 39.9 miles.  (Aack, so close to 40 miles!)  This week was a mixed bag, with the highlight being Thursday’s workout.  It felt awesome to run by feel and come up 15-20 seconds faster per mile than in previous weeks.  Woohoo! The low-light was today’s long run.  I originally planned to run 20 miles next weekend, but then our calendar was filling up which made the logistics very difficult.  I decided to run 20 this weekend instead, and to run on Sunday because that was when it was supposed to stop raining.  Well, Accuweather totally failed me, because whereas Saturday morning was gorgeous, it rained for about 2/3 of my run this morning.  I also had a bad attitude for whatever reason, and it never improved, so today’s run was pretty awful.  To follow-up on the previous discussion regarding whether 20-milers are necessary during marathon training, I realized today that they’re quite helpful physically and mentally.  It’s hard to get to that really dark corner of your psyche during shorter runs, and man, did I fight a lot of demons today!  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get my mind right when it comes to race day – which is in 3 weeks!!

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About

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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11 comments on “See you later, Oakland
  1. Cathryn says:

    I really love this – so sweet. I think the roads that we run or cycle regularly kind of become part of us, and it’s hard to leave them. I also loved what you said about the people you see regularly – I have them too…the nice guy with the dog, the floppy haired Asian guy, the hand-crank-bicycle-wheelchair guy. They’re kind of comrades. You’ll miss them, but you’ll make new running buddies too.

  2. Angela says:

    Hope you find as welcoming & perfect a running spot in your new home! I’ve always enjoyed Lake Merritt when I’ve run there (which has not been often, but still. Enjoyed.)

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Angela. I’ll be trading one lake for another (Merritt for Chabot), so I know I’m in good hands as far as running routes go. And I’ll be very close (like, 5 min jog close) to a public track, which I’m very excited about!

  3. Moving is always so bittersweet! Good luck w/ the transition!

  4. Dominick S. says:

    Better to test that psyche now than to do it for the first time on race day. You will be much more prepared now that you got in that 20 miler. As for leaving the route you grew to love…I feel ya…part of the reason I keep holding on to my really expensive for one person place in Pasadena is because I love my running routes sooooo much. You’ll adapt and now that you’re a seasoned runner you will appreciate all the new trail runs in your new hood, right, you are closer to trails?

    • Jen says:

      I totally agree that it’s better to feel like complete sh*t during a training run than during the race. However, it also brought back a lot of traumatic memories and feelings from MCM. I keep reminding myself that crappy runs and races happen – they are just a part of life.

      As for the new place, we’re not that close to trails, just closer than we are now… which logistically means getting into the car and driving 10-15 min each way to access the trails. It will be worth it though for the increased number of possible routes and regular hill strengthening. Plus, as I noted in my response to your other comment, we’ll be a 5 min jog from a public track, so that’s definitely going to be a part of my weekly running routine.

  5. I dont’ know if I mentioned this to you or not, but we’re actually considering moving to Lake Merritt. We’re looking to move to a cheaper area (rent-wise) than North Berkeley, and Lake Merritt and Elmwood are the two frontrunners right now!

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