This morning dawned drizzly and gray… perfect for running 10 miles! 😛 It wasn’t drizzling enough really to be a bother and it did clear up by the end. I’d gotten an e-mail from Melissa that something had come up and she wouldn’t make the run which meant… I was a pace group of 1 today. Was rather hard to motivate myself out the door but I figured running 10 miles in a drizzle with the next pace group slower was a heck of a lot better than either doing it alone or suffering the consequences of skipping it (OUCH!) so I dragged my lazy behind down tot he site. There I met a member of the SF team who couldn’t get up to the city for this training, and was in the SF version of my pace group there. So it was a good thing I showed up, as I did indeed have a group!

So for today’s run they started us with a warning that we would include hills. On a gravel path. 😛 We were strongly discouraged from running downhill (my knee needs no such discouragement, I know better!) A mile in I am cheerfully scoffing at the trail, “where are these hills I was warned about? My FLAT roads at home are hillier!” and so the trail said “oh you want hills?” yeah. It looked like a 30% incline up the side of a dam (well actually it LOOKED like about 60% incline which means it probably really was 30%). My running mate was having a slow starter day due to it being spring break and her teacher body no longer used to 8 AM, so we decided to be kind to our bodies, seeing as there were 8 miles to go, and just walked the hill. I could feel it in my knees just WALKING down the thing! No way I’m running down on gravel… Thankfully the turn around point for the first leg was right past the hill, so we were soon back at pace. We also got a weeeee bit slowed down by some technical difficulties (I had managed to reset the interval programming on the watch and couldn’t figure it out while moving), and one point where we turned the wrong way trying to get back to the paved 2nd leg of the trail.
Somewhere along the paved leg of the path it must have stopped raining… didn’t really notice it until about mile 7 or 8. So you can tell how non-rain the rain was… I hit the second turnaround point feeling better than I had at 5 miles last week, and managed to do the run intervals all the way, but BOY were my last 2 miles slow. My running partner was a kick though. She too has run a marathon before (I swear I’m the only first timer int he group!), and was regaling me with how fun it is to every week, do something you’ve never done before. 3 steps past the 8 mile marker she was cheering me for having gone further than I’ve ever gone before. it was a good thought, it definitely kept me running to the end. I was definitely the one holding us back on the last leg, and we finished in about 2:11, which is a bit more like 13 mins/mile than 12… 😛 but we’ve never been lectured for running too slow, and they had expected slow times with the hill additions. All in all, I feel more tired than last week, but better physically. I’m in a lot less pain, and no weird foot pains. So I think I’m finally in the right shoes.

My plan for this week? Well I’ve been thinking my route needs some spicing up. That hill experience has reminded me all too clearly of WHERE I am running this marathon… SF isn’t exactly what you would call a flat city. I think this shall be a hill week and we;ll see what happens. Any and all advice on how to run DOWN hill in a way safe to weak knees is welcome. So far I walk anything steeper than, say, 10%. I’ll let you know how it goes (or if I chicken out, 😉 )