Before I recap the week, I want to thank all of the people who have donated to my Running for a Better Oakland fundraiser! I’ve been so touched by contributions from friends, family, and even strangers from the internet. Thanks to their generosity, I’ve surpassed my original goal of $1000, but I hope the donations don’t stop there! There’s still plenty of time to make a contribution to an extremely worthy cause.
This past week was full of high points and one very low point. The one “low light” happened during Tuesday’s 6-miler. I finally got around to doing hill repeats and I was (smugly) running back to work when a passing cyclist groped my left butt cheek as he rode by. My first thought was, “Wait, is one of my friends playing a joke on me?” But as the man rode past me, I realized too late that I had been assaulted. I had no recourse but to yell, “Hey!” I was running on what is usually a well-traveled greenway, but unfortunately there was no one on that particular stretch at that time – something that the cyclist probably considered before groping me. It made me so mad, but there was very little I could’ve done. Even running with a body alarm or pepper spray wouldn’t have helped – he rode away so quickly, I hardly had time to react before he was already 10-20 feet ahead of me. Since the incident, I’ve been trying to be more aware of my surroundings while running and only wearing one earbud. Hopefully something like this (or worse) won’t happen to me again.
Moving on- there were some highlights last week too! I finished the week with 42.6 miles, my highest weekly mileage so far. About half of those miles were on trails and included over 3000′ of elevation gain and loss. Also, as I mentioned above, I finally did some hill repeats – yay! On Wednesday, I had one of the fastest midweek runs of this cycle. Maybe it was leftover adrenaline from Tuesday’s incident, but it was one of those runs where I found it very hard to run easy. (Or rather, running faster felt easier than slogging along.) I usually run that particular route at about 10:30/mile pace. On Wednesday, I averaged about 10:00/mile for 8 miles. Even though the pace wasn’t particularly brisk, this was as close to speedwork as I’ve gotten all training cycle, and it felt great.
The best part of Week 8 wasn’t directly related to running at all: I had my last big work/personal deadline for a while. One of the hardest parts about this training cycle (compared to previous marathons) has been juggling more obligations – both work-wise and socially – with running 5 times a week. I’m grateful that at least my boss has been extremely supportive and understanding about my training. Anyway, we had a big event at work on Thursday, and afterwards, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Looking ahead, I’ve got 5 big weeks of peak training, including three 50+ mile weeks and my first trail marathon. Then, it’s 3 weeks of sweet taper before the big day! I’ll leave you with some photos from Saturday’s scenic but tough trail run at Pleasanton Ridge with a great group of ladies.