I ended up at Stanford University for a conference late last week. Work paying me to take a trip out to Cali? Sure thing! I did some research, and not wanting to drive to my runs I found a local spot called "The Dish" that is apparently a big running spot for those in the Palo Alto area. I found a route on mapmyrun.com that started near my hotel and made its way through the Dish, uploaded it to my Garmin 305, and was on my way.
...or so I thought. When I went out for my 12-miler Thursday evening, things just didn't seem to be working out. First off, I couldn't figure out how to work the navigation function on my Garmin. It was my first time attempting to use this feature and I really should have played with it on routes I know back at home, I just didn't have time to do so before my trip, so I ended up winging it with my directions. Luckily I had studied the map a little bit and carried a map with me. As I plodded along I soon realized I had eaten too much and too recently due to the big late lunch we got at the conference. (My bad, that would be my inner fat kid coming out). This led me to feel full and heavy with every footstep - not a comfortable feeling. Add that feeling to the 95 degree heat with bone dry air (I'm used to running with a bit of moisture in the air), and I wasn't feeling too hot (no pun intended).
...then I got lost. I thought I studied the map and knew where I was going?! Apparently not, so out comes the map and I figure out where I made the wrong turn. I eventually make it to the Dish and think "ok finally I'm not fighting with the traffic of cars, just other runners". Then I hit the hills. Holy hell! ~500' of elevation gain over a mile... doesn't sound like too much, does it? Well, it was tough. Really tough. One section had a 18% elevation gain, needless to say I walked that section. In the end, I survived. Barely, but in one piece.
The awesome hills (note sarcasm)
Friday's 7-miler was better. I drove to the Dish and ran 2 loops. Not as full of a stomach either, but it was still hot and dry.
Saturday was the best of the Stanford runs. Got out early before the heat hit (in the 60s and 70s most of the run) and ran from the hotel out to the Dish, did 3 loops and headed back for a total of 16.2 miles (10 shy of a marathon - darn so close). I even got to see the sun rise over the mountains, what a sight!