That’s right: I’m in San Francisco.
I’m here on a business trip and only on the ground for a couple of days before heading back to Lyon but this doesn’t mean that I won’t be trying to get a run in while I’m here. It’s going to be difficult to get a normal run in, though, as the change in time and the jet lag means my body clock is all over the place. Still, I wanted to get out and explore the city a little and running is a great way to do that so, as long as I didn’t get lost, I knew I would enjoy even a few minutes on my feet.
Being my first time in San Francisco, I had dreams of running to and then over the Golden Gate Bridge. However, from the apartment where I was staying that sort of run would be a +30km outing and only a day after my 35km long run in the hills around Lyon. This would overload my body a little too much and would call for getting out of bed even earlier than I would already have to in order to meet my work commitments in the city. Hence, I decided to explore a little of the city center instead and see the city as it was waking up.
I left the apartment and made my way down Valencia towards Market Street. A review of the Strava maps suggested I could follow Market all the way to the Embarcadero, take a loop around and then shoot straight back to home. The chances of me getting lost were lower than an attempt to find a way up some of the many hills in San Francisco and I could get back relatively fast for a morning run.
Valencia and the Mission District seemed to be full of restaurants which, perhaps the next time I am in San Francisco, I’ll get a chance to try. Some of the Mexican restaurants, in particular, looked great and I’ll have to check Yelp to make sure I hit up the best spot when I do return. Turning right onto Market, I found myself on the main road running through the heart of the city’s business district and enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of a city coming alive.
I didn’t run with headphones this morning. Partly this was to avoid the problems of not paying complete attention to the traffic and sounds around me in a new city, but partly it was to make sure I got the full experience of the city as it woke up. There was plenty of noise on Market, with people chatting, cycling, driving (of course), asking for change, sweeping up, and working out, too. Yes, there were other runners making their way down the main thoroughfare of the city like I was including a guy running with his dog and making all sorts of noise as the collar and whatever was attached to it clanked for the block I was chasing and passing him.
At the end of Market Street I found the Embarcadero and turned right to follow the water. Here the breeze picked up and I was cooling off as I made my way south. I rounded AT&T Field, the home of the San Francisco Giants baseball franchise, and then crossed over a small bridge to follow 3rd Street through Mission Bay. Near the University of California San Francisco I made the right turn onto 16th Street and I congratulated myself on not getting lost to this point. Now all I had left was the three kilometer drag slightly uphill – very slightly, considering how hilly this city is – back to Valencia. This was the slowest part of my run and I was unlucky hitting red traffic lights along the way that forced me to stop and wait. Still, when I took the left turn back onto Valencia and made my way back along a now somewhat-familiar street to home. When I made the final turn and clicked stop on the Garmin I had banked a good hour on my feet and seen a little of city I will be getting to know better in the future.