Embracing the SF-Berkeley Challenge

Contributed by Kara Ruecker

Kara Ruecker is a 2016 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon Ambassador and endurance athlete who has set out to complete more races in California this year, including completion of the SF/Berkeley Challenge. Her personal blog is Run Bird Legs Run.

This year especially, I am very motivated to get back to racing. Having a 6 month break will do that for you.  When I originally thought about what I’d like my 2016 racing calendar to look like, I had three goals:

  1. Get myself back to marathon shape by the end of 2016 (10 months post baby)
  2. Run multiple half marathons, maybe some 10K’s and only 1 marathon (so not to burn out a la 2014)
  3. To run more races in California.  Although my co-workers kindly (I think) refer to me as a true Califoregonian, it’s time to embrace the CA side of the equation.  I’ve lived in the bay area for almost four years now and I love it.  Northern CA has so much to offer, especially in terms of amazing races so I don’t need to spend every extra $ I have flying up to OR to get my endurance fix on.

With those three goals in mind, The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon was my first stop.  I’ve been wanting to run this race for all three years I’ve been in the city but it’s always conflicted with previous trips.  This year was going to be different.  I made the commitment in November and blocked it on my calendar.

I found the Berkeley Half on November 20th.  What better way to ingrain myself in a community? Plus it starts less than a mile from my new home and works with the CIM training schedule.  And any race that is the Sunday before Thanksgiving – the week where I inhale ALL the food and drinks – has my vote.  Since I’ve lived in Berkeley for over four whole weeks now, I am pretty much an expert and can tell you that this is an awesome running town.  There are runners EVERYWHERE.  The course covers the best parts of Berkeley plus some added views of the Bay so it was a done deal.  After that decision was already made, this magical unicorn appeared:

I love challenges, whether it’s completing all 12 legs of Hood To Coast, drinking all the top IPA’s, or traveling to all 50 states.  Like most endurance addicts, the bigger the challenge the better.  Anything to make me run further and faster.  It starts with an innocent sprint triathlon and before you know it you’ve spent thousands on gear and have an Ironman on your calendar.  I do better when I have a carrot to chase, so add some checkpoints and some extra bling, and I am there.  I’ve run many races because they are part of a challenge and I’ve never been disappointed.

If you live in the Bay Area or are looking for an excuse to visit, I highly recommend signing up for the SF/Berkeley Challenge.

Two great cities, two great courses, three great medals and you can pick your poison for running lengths.  If you’re an avid runner, join me in the half marathon distance, if you’re just getting started there is a 5K option at both races or mix and match as you see fit. Put those resolutions to work before they fall apart on Sunday with Superbowl snacks.

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