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Training — San Francisco! November 16, 2009

Posted by Richard Lowe in Training.
Tags: , , , ,

Sorry I’ve been away for the past couple days; my wife and I flew up to San Francisco to spend her birthday weekend—why is it that girls get a whole weekend?—in the Bay Area. We saw old friends, spent time with her family strolling through Berkeley, and ate some amazing food—crab and garlic noodles at PPQ Dungeness Island; Peruvian rotisserie chicken and tapas at Limon Rotisserie; thin-crust style pizza and beer at Pizzeria Delfina. Despite the festivities, I also needed to do a 12 mile run (which would also make me feel less guilty about stuffing my face!).

I spent some time researching a good route to run in The City that could encompass 12 miles. My friend Susan, who lives in Oakland, had a co-worker recommend the route from the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero to the Golden Gate. Turns out, it was just about 12 miles, fairly flat, very pretty, and had a Farmer’s Market where Susan and Chelsee (my wife) could hang out and wait for my return. I checked it out on a map and decided to go for it.

The day started a bit gloomy, as many days in November do in the Bay Area. I was worried about warmth as I still only have summer running gear, but did pack my long sleeve running shirt. When we hopped onto the BART in Oakland, though, the clouds had started to part and a bit of sun peeked through. By the time we arrived to the Embarcadero, the sun was fully out and the day was looking up.

We got to the Farmer’s Market and Chelsee and Susan went off to explore. I was a bit hesitant as to how I would handle my longest run ever on my own and without the comfort of my other Roadrunners, but there was no turning back. And so, I was off.

Turns out, it was the best run of my short running career. There must of been a bit of an adrenaline rush, because as my feet were hitting the pavement, I felt stronger and more powerful than I had ever before. I think the prospect of seeing my favorite city in the world (well, maybe after Paris) in such a unique way had me energized. To see these sights that I had seen before in this way, on foot, made them feel brand new, like I was blazing a trail through uncharted territory.

I mean, who knew that I—a person who hated running less than two years ago—could use only my body to explore one whole area of San Francisco? To start at the Ferry Building—

with the sights and smells of it’s Saturday Farmer’s Market—

and run past the Transamerica Building,—

Coit Tower,—

Pier 39,—

Ghirardelli Square,—

Fort Mason—

and it’s incredible view of the Golden Gate Bridge,—

through the Marina,—

past Alcatraz,—

through Crissy Field,—

all the while watching the giant red icon get closer and closer and closer until,—

I was finally directly underneath it…

was transcendent. I felt like a spirit seeing the city for the first time. Much like how I felt when I did my first run to the Pacific Ocean, there was a unique sense of power that I’ve never had before. I mean, I just freakin’ ran to the Golden Gate Bridge!

Distance: 11.62 miles
Time: 94:43
Pace: 8:10 mile

I’m figuring out that running these new routes is having an added emotional and spiritual effect, as well. While my daily training runs around my neighborhood are more of a grind, these longer runs where I explore new areas and see cities in a new way feel like they go by way too fast. As Susan, Chelsee, and I sat on the BART to return to Oakland, I thought about how I felt like I could run for another two hours. And I guess that’s a good thing, since the marathon will require it!

P.S. The route I ran—from the Ferry Building to the Golden Gate Bridge—is the first quarter of the San Francisco Marathon on July 25th. Hint hint…


1. Chelsee - November 16, 2009

Oh man. I should have run 12 miles, too to work off all the food. Susan! I’m much thinner without you in LA!!!! : )

I’d rather have you back, nonetheless.

Great job Richard! We had great weather. Can’t beat it.

2. legalstyle - November 16, 2009

THIS IS MY RUN! Seriously, so glad you enjoyed it! This is my exact run! I do it, like, 4 times a week and never ever take it for granted. It’s breathtaking every time. And I always hit my hands on that fence, only because i’ve seen other people do it – not because I know why it’s there.

P.S. San Francisco Marathon. Do it! It’s a great race!

RJL - November 16, 2009

Haha, yeah, I had a great time. I was wondering about those hands at the end of the run, too. I thought it was a neat idea, though, to have something for people to touch before they return.

By the way, how’d you find my blog?

3. The Vegan Anti-Hero - November 17, 2009

that run looks amazing. and jealous.

RJL - November 17, 2009

It was pretty amazing…!

4. Nancy - November 17, 2009

I love SF! It’s my favorite city, but haven’t been there in years.

I’m glad you had fun in SF; I felt jealous too.
I used to walk the Golden Gate when I lived there once. Maybe next time I’ll run across the bridge!

RJL - November 17, 2009

If you do the SF Marathon in July, the route runs the first 6 miles I did, then crosses the bridge, turns around, and goes through Golden Gate Park. It sounds awesome!

5. Nancy - November 17, 2009

PS. I loved the pictures. They brought back lots of memories. Thank you for sharing them.

6. Kameron - November 18, 2009

Awesome pictures, saw on the SFMarathon Twitter retweeted your blog post.

This is actually my weekely long run, I usually run from coit tower, through fishermans wharf, past fort point, through the marina, through crissy field, across the golden gate to marin and back. Its about 13 miles (or about a half marathon). It’s awesome to see all the great sites on the run but a tad bit annoying trying to steer through all the tourists.

To answer you and legalstyle’s question, the hands at fort point are called “hoppers hands.” Hopper is someone who works on maintenance on the bridge and noticed usual runners always touched the fence at the dead end. Hopper got hands installed for runners to touch (if you look below, there are also two paw prints for dogs)

Hopper also helps save many lives of people who attempt to jump off the GG bridge. You can find more info about hopper at http://www.hoppershands.blogspot.com/

RJL - November 18, 2009

Thanks for finding me. It seems like a lot of people like this run and I definitely see why.

Very cool about the “Hoppers Hands” placard. I didn’t notice the paw prints–next time I do this run I’ll surely look out for them!

Are you running the SF Marathon in July, then?

Kameron - November 18, 2009

Yeah! I’m not sure if I can do the full marathon though. I’ve only been training for about 4 months now and I can only last the half marathon. Either way, I’ll be running it. Good luck training!


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