San Francisco is now among my favorite.
As a Dodgers fan, it pains me to say I like anything about this place. But the fact is, after running six miles this morning with an industry buddy of mine (also a writer for Sweden's version of Runner's World), I think San Francisco offers just about everything a runner could ask for. If I were to devise a ratings system for the best running spots in the world, it would likely include:
- Varied terrain (flat, hills, trails, road paths)
- Friendly pedestrians/motorists
I'm probably missing a few, but you get the idea. Today, San Francisco checked off nearly all four on the list. Of course, the only thing preventing an absolutely perfect score on the run was the blustery weather. Then again, at least there wasn't a cloud in the sky at 8 a.m. No fog. No rain. Pure sunshine. A great way to start the day.
My friend Thomas and I ran from my hotel at 4th and Market up Powell Street to California. From there, we navigated the daunting hills until we reached Van Ness, turned right at Jackson Street and looped around until we hit California once again. The views of the Bay and Golden Gate bridges high atop the hills were spectacular. If I didn't forget my camera at home I'd show you, so the generic web image atop the blog post will have to suffice! (We actually did run that hill though!)
This morning's workout called for a hills run, and wouldn't you know it, San Francisco has plenty to offer. I could really feel my training pay off as I was surprised how easily I was able to bound up them and not feel winded at the end of the run. In discussing with Thomas, I concluded that running hills is mostly mental. If you look forward to the hills and see them as a big opportunity to improve speed and endurance, then they are fun. If you just want to "get through them," hills suck. Which best describes you?
Capping off the run were the many motorists and pedestrians who moved their cars or bikes back off the crosswalks so Thomas and I could pass easily. That just doesn't happen in LA! The best part though? A bunch of kids waving to us from the charming cable car chugging up California Street. Just one tiny memorable moment on a year-long journey.
I've always felt that the best way to get to know a city is to run or bike around in it. Today was no different. As a SoCal native, I used to be anti-NoCal by nature. After just an hour's run today, my stance is changing dramatically.
I can't wait to get back up here and run again soon.
258 days and counting.