It's been a long time since my last post. Various reasons, no excuses - the usual!
Anyway, it has been brought to my attention (thanks, Heather!) that I kind of left the reader hanging a little after the last article with such tantalising wording as "that is a story for another post".
This, then, is that post.
As I probably mentioned, I went for five runs during my time in San Francisco.
The first two runs
The first two runs were the same route that took place in the Eastern half of Golden Gate Park. You can have a look for yourself on Endomondo.
The first day was pretty intense - running about in a new city, not entirely sure where I was going or how to get back. A lot of my time on the first run was spent looking about, trying to remember important landmarks for when I eventually turned around.
I needn't have worried though, after taking a turn round Stow Lake, I effectively re-traced my steps back to my lodgings. The main things that stick in my mind from that first run are the wide-ness of the roads and the size of the trees, as well as the fact that there seem to be (what to me are) skyscrapers in a park!
de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park
Come day two, I was a lot more confident, but wanted to do the same route again just so I could look about in a slightly more relaxed manner. As a result I got up close and personal with some ducks - a form of wildlife I am pretty used to - although they seemed pretty large and fierce-looking!
The third day was a change. I wanted to reach the Pacific and see it in "the flesh" (rather than from the seat of a plane). So I had a crazy idea of running all the way through Golden Gate Park to the ocean and then running all the way back.
To be honest, I wasn't even sure I would be able to make it - it was a long run - longer than I'd been running up to this point and it was the third day of running in a row. Both were bad signs! However I was determined to give it a good go, and set off!
Wow. I am so glad I did. There was so much to see in the Western half of the park. I mean... bison! Bison?! In a city park? Complete madness, and yet there they were, lying about quite happily as I puffed and panted past.
Bison in Golden Gate Park
I kept on running and was then treated to the sights of windmills - something I didn't think even existed on that side of the Atlantic...
Windmill in Golden Gate Park
After a bit more running, there was the Pacific, stretching out for thousands of miles in front of me. I took the liberty of stopping to admire the view and breathe in the Pacific air. The weather was calm and I took a few pictures, while regaining my breath and seriously wondering just how hilly the return journey was going to be since I had spent a surprisingly large amount of time going downhill it seemed.
After about five minutes of standing about looking like a crazy tourist, clicking away with my phone in my running gear I decided it was time to begin my journey home.
I spent a few minutes running along the coast before heading back inland and making my way back through the pack, back to familiar territory. While there were no amazing sights of sounds to accompany me, I did appreciate the occasional shower that I got to run through as the vegetation was watered. A real help in keeping me cool, although I could have done without the squishing noise that my shoes began to make!
I was particularly happy with how the route I took looks in Endomondo. Even though it ended up being quite slow (the return journey nearly killed me!) I was so happy that I did it. A great feeling when it was over!
The fourth day
My last run of the week so I wanted to go out with a bang.
Now that I was a veteran of the area West of where I was staying, and I had a reasonable grasp of the area to the East (due to walking and taking the bus to and from the Buffer office) I wanted to venture North to see if I could reach the Pacific by another means.
I didn't think it would be too hard - much easier than my westerly route, surely.
Oh dear, oh dear.
I had obviously been somewhat spoiled in terms of hills as I ran through the park. Sure, there had been hills, but they were small and relatively short.
Getting to the Pacific was fine. Too easy really, it was all downhill. All the way, always downhill. And steep. Very steep in places. So steep in fact that I couldn't really run properly and had to be quite deliberate.
And of course with each step I took down these mountainous declines I knew I would have to come back up them. I figured it wouldn't be too hard.
Seeing the Pacific again was great - like an old friend. And I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge in all its misty splendour. I again indulged myself my taking some pictures of the sights - from the Bridge in the west to Alcatraz in the east. But all the time I was thinking of the hills of the return journey.
I was right to be worried.
They started off okay - sure they were hills, but they weren't too steep. I could just about cope this - it would be hard but do-able I thought.
Then it got silly.
Just your typical San Francisco hill
It got steadily steeper and steeper until I couldn't run - I had to walk up the street instead. But it wasn't over - it still got steeper. In fact it got so steep that the sidewalk turned into steps. Which I still walked up, incredulous at the angle I had been having to lean at. How this would ever work with snow and ice I don't know - does it ever freeze in San Francisco?
All in all, this route was probably a bad choice!
The fifth and final day
Having had an amazing weekend of fun and frolics around Lake Tahoe, my final day of running was back to my regular route. Which is funny in itself as it was only my third time of running it. Weird to have a regular route so soon!
It was nice to be back to the familiar and have a run that didn't stretch me too much. A nice way to round off the visit and to see my old friends the ducks at Stow Lake. And all the hills were most pleasant.
Duck on Stow Lake