My last outdoor run was last year, technically. I ran 15K to end 2015 on a combination of my two favorite hometown routes–Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park. On this route, I get to enjoy the calming waves of the Pacific, the nostalgia of my old neighborhood, and the many hidden gems throughout the park.
I’ll admit, Great Highway can get a little boring at times, especially when you have to get through the painfully predictable street names of the Outer Sunset. I grew up in this neighborhood, just blocks away from the beach. I memorized all the alphabetized streets as a kid and used to recite them with pride. Coming back here as a runner and counting down the long stretches between each street from Irving to Yorba in each direction is almost as bad as watching the seconds on the treadmill slowly add up (except, you know, the incredible views and cute dogs along the way).
This used to really bother me, until I arrived as a visitor for the first time. The crisp winter air, blue skies, and rolling waves were refreshing after having been away for so long. I haven’t complained too much about the grey skies in London just yet, but I knew I needed to take advantage of San Francisco’s unique scenery and appreciate what I had taken for granted.
The best part about running in this area is the variety of routes you have available to you. You can run up and down Great Highway, along the sand on the beach, through the maze of inner trails in the park, up that nasty hill towards Sutro Baths (sometimes I don’t know why I put myself through that suffering), and even all the way across Coastal Trail, overlooking Golden Gate Bridge. I ran a few different combinations of these routes during my stay, and was fortunate to avoid the clouds and rain that actually do exist in California (I always have to convince my British friends of this fact).
Now that I’m back in London and over my worst case of jet lag to date (can’t believe I slept in for 13 hours this morning), it’s time to get disciplined about running on the weekends. This is probably my only chance to get some sunlight, unless I figure out a lunch break running routine. Until then, I’ve been hiding away in the gym, “running” on the elliptical. That being said, I’m looking forward to getting some fresh air this weekend!