I *heart* SF

Days like this past Sunday remind me why I moved to San Francisco. On Sunday I ran in the Bay Area Track Club's inaugural Bay Area Cross Challenge (http://www.bayareatrackclub.com/page/BAXC-2011) and had an absolute blast! A competitive field, lots of spectators, fast course... all the ingredients for a great race!

Pre-race chat with my coach, aka Dad
The race reminded me why I chose to move to SF after college. I chose this city to pursue both my professional running and career goals, to be close to family and friends, and to train for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 10k with like-minded athletes. San Francisco offered me the most opportunities... I'd pondered Washington DC (career goals/grad school), Flagstaff (running goals), and Cleveland (boyfriend). But at the end of the day, the Bay Area was the right place for me. It hasn't always been the easiest transition, but Sunday's race was an affirmation that I'm in the right place and doing the right thing with my life.

Thanks for coming to cheer, VJ, BA, and CT!
A huge part of what made the race so great was the PEOPLE! There's such a wonderful running community in the Bay Area, which I'm so glad to be a part of. The Bay Area Track Club did an awesome job of bringing together a stellar field -- the women's race boasted the American Record Holder in the 5k, an Olympic marathoner, and a number of other professional and emerging elite runners. It was an honor to race with such a talented group of women, but even more fun for me was getting to visit and catch up with so many fellow runners. Before the race, it was like Grand Central Station - you couldn't walk more than 10 yards without running into someone you knew. From seeing Cal and Stanford running friends to old UCD xc teammates to my family to old coaches to good friends who came out to cheer, I had a great time -- there's no place I'd have rather been on Sunday morning than the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park in SF :)

As I was cooling down through the park with my NBSV teammates, I couldn't help but feel incredibly lucky to train in this beautiful park in this vibrant city... to be able to run along the beach and watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean... to run under the Golden Gate Bridge and watch the fog roll across the bay...to live in the Bay Area where I'm surrounded by running friends and training partners... THIS is why I live in this city and why I heart San Francisco!

Now that I've professed my love for this city, let me give you a quick race recap:
I started the race out conservatively, ran the first 2K comfortably before moving up during the second 2K loop. I had to dig deep during the last 2K, but finished strong in 11th place overall (http://www.sml1.com/recordtiming/batc/baxc11/baxc11_wom_res.txt). In retrospect, I wish I'd worked harder with 1K to go and had been looking ahead to 9th and 10th place, instead of worrying about someone passing me... but hindsight is 20-20 and there's always something you can learn from a race. In San Diego in 2 1/2 weeks, I'll be focusing on racing the person in front of me, not behind me. Despite this critique, I'm really pleased with my effort -- it's a big step forward after a rough couple months. Things are looking up!

Wishing you lots of joyful running,
Home stretch