Sunday, July 8, 2012

Running Adventures in San Francisco

This is a bit late, but you'll have to excuse me!  I've been held up by a death in the family (and an extra trip) that came between my trip to San Francisco and an already scheduled vacation.  Again, better late then never, right?

In mid-June, I headed to San Francisco for the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.  I stayed with my old friend Nick.  Here's a pic of sunset from Nick's roof:

A lot of people don't run when they travel for work.  But I do because it's a great way to see a new city.  I got to town on Saturday, and discovered Sunday morning that nobody goes running at 5:15 AM in San Francisco.  San Francisco ain't Boston.  I got made fun of by a lot of transients for not having any shoes on.  It wasn't too much fun, so I decided that I'd run after the meeting instead.

On Monday, I got back from the meeting at 5:30 PM, and had planned on having dinner with Nick.  But Nick didn't stop work until 8, which left me plenty of time to go for a run!  I ran out of his apartment and quickly found Buena Vista Park.  This place is beautiful, and it smelled nothing like New England.  I can't describe it - totally different plants.  I liked it so much I ran up it twice.  Here's some pics of Buena Vista Park:

I then headed to Golden Gate Park.  Here are some pics of Golden Gate Park:

When I was leaving Golden Gate Park, I was starting to bonk.   I tried to go shopping at Whole Foods on Haight, but that not the best idea since it was still several miles from Nick's apartment.  I kept trying to bargain with myself regarding what I could possibly run a few miles back with.  Then I saw the line...  and realized I'd never make it back to Nick's by 8PM if I waited.  I put my groceries back on the shelf.   No problem, though.... all the samples of olive oil, pizza, cookies, and gelato had pulled me out of my bonk.

I got lost on the way back to Nick's, and asked a lady walking a dog for directions to a corner near his house.  She looked at me funny and said, "You do know that it's a few miles away, and over that hill, right?"  She was pointing to Buena Vista Park!  Yay!  I got to run through Buena Vista Park again! I made it back to Nick's in time to go to dinner.  Good times.

But that's not even my best run!

My best run took place on Wednesday.  With the help of some people on the Runner's World Trail Running Forum, I had a plan for a long run in the Marin Headlands.  But first, I needed to do a little preparation.  I didn't have a fancy ultrarunner vest / pack thingy, and I've been scraping by using my car as an aid station.  I had ordered a couple, but I'm very short waisted, and the ones I've ordered have been too large.  So I jury rigged a bag onto my current hydration pack (Camelbak Charm).  Here's a pic - it worked great!

I started out at the Golden Gate Bridge and ran across:

Then I took the Coastal Trail towards Tennessee Valley:

I took this to the SCA and Alta trails, where I got some spectacular views of Sausalito.  I didn't know what Sausalito was before, but it looks pretty fancy.  And there's some cool forest in here, too.

Then I took the Bobcat Trail to the Marincello Trail, and ended up at the Tennessee Valley stables. 

Here's me in the Tennessee Valley.  You can tell I'm not from around here because I'm wearing the Target C9 instead of InkNBurn.

Next, I followed the Coastal Trail up to Hill 88.

This climb was so hard that that I had to stop and take pictures of berries.

But I made it to the top!

That's Rodeo Beach from Hill 88:
So I decided to go down there.  

Some cool sights on the way:

 I stuck my feet in the ocean when  I got to the beach.  The water was cold!

I stayed overly long admiring the surfers.

From here, I ran around the lagoon and attempted to pick up the Coastal Trail again.  I ended up doing some bonus miles, as it wasn't easy to follow the trail.  It kept going up and up FOREVER!  Is that my trail?  

(Yup.  It was.)

I was starting to get worried about making my flight, and I had also noticed that my cell phone was missing.  Oops!  But finally, I saw the Golden Gate Bridge:

And I ran across.  I think the grand total ended up somewhere around 19 miles. 
Epilogue - took public transit back to Nick's, made my flight, and replaced my dumb phone with an iPhone.  Thanks everyone that helped me make that trip a reality!