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San Antonio (FL) Hill Run

I'm learning a lot about Florida, after living here for most of my life--and not just from the seemingly recent onslaught of bizarre national news headlines--but also from running in new places. This past weekend I finally went out to the city of San Antonio, where runners and cyclists gather in hordes for hill training. I've known about this place for a couple of years, but I haven't really wanted to make the 45-minute drive out there so I could endure more difficult terrain on my already-challenging long runs. But because I chose a hilly marathon this year, it was essential that I get in more hill training than the one Ohio run I did the weekend prior.

So Tim and I headed out there early Saturday morning to meet a bunch of others at 6:00am. I would be running with my run-buddy Nicole, and neither of us had been there before, nor did we know what route we were running. But luckily some veterans of the course gave us basic directions, and then then guys took off with us following behind.

The landscape was beautiful--tall, shady trees lining the roads with open fields behind. And the weather was, dare I say, cool. It didn't feel like the dead of summer in Florida. I'm not sure if it was a fluke on that particular morning, or if the area is just cooler because it's farther north, but it was rather lovely. I felt somewhat like I was back in Ohio, also because of the hills--which approached rapidly on our course. And let me tell you, anyone who doesn't believe Florida has hills has never been to San Antonio. These hills can hold their own. We basically stayed on the same main road for nearly seven miles, and the flat parts were few and far between.

There were times during the run when I kept waiting for the resting point--usually after reaching the top of a hill; but we only stopped twice--once we reached seven miles, and then at about 11.3 miles, where the organizers had dropped water and sports drinks for everyone to take from. These types of drops are essential when running in places without water fountains along the route, so I was extremely grateful (and thirsty!).

We finished our run in good time--averaging a 9:37 pace, which is much better than I'd been doing on long runs prior to that (Ohio aside). I accredit the added speed to the weather, but also to running with Nicole. She's a faster starter than I am, so I am challenged to get into a quicker pace from the beginning; and I tend to be a faster finisher, so we make good partners in that way.

This upcoming weekend I'll be running my first 20-miler of training. It will not involve hills. Wish me luck!


B.o.B. said…
Awesome job lady!!! Those hills are tough. :)

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