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.
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!”
Oakland Marathon Week 4 training, with links to dailymile:
Mon: No Garmin run at easy effort.
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
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!!