Seebo's Run

A running commentary on my training and whatever else emerges from that.

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, August 07, 2009

Doing It When I Can

In San Francisco now on the third and final leg of our honeymoon. And yes, I've been running for the past three days straight.

Before getting in to San Fran yesterday, we spent the previous four days in Healdsburg, a small town in the northern part of Sonoma County. Like Sonoma, a great getaway spot for enjoying wine and food. The pace is a bit slower in Healdsburg, however. Despite there being plenty of folks with the same intentions as us, it is definitely more off of the beaten path. And instead of staying in town, here we had a cabin on Fitch Mountain just outside of town, overlooking the Russian River.

This was a perfect place to stay, but the narrow winding roads amidst the hills made me a bit skittish about running. Monday I took the day off. Tuesday Reba and I went cycling through the Dry Creek Valley, which I counted as cross-training. By Wednesday I needed a run, so I took the narrow roads around Fitch Mountain and into Healdsburg. And it wasn't so bad. Traffic was sparse and the hills were not as steep as they seemed from the car. Route was mapped for me here. 6 miles, untimed.

Yesterday, we got in to San Francisco and had a few hours in the late afternoon before dinner. I laced up my shoes and went out along this route. This was a fun route. Not much good for training, as it was a 100% urban run along city streets punctuated with intersections. Even with my city running skills there were various intersections in which I couldn't help but stop. Its also a bit disorienting that the west coast car culture is much more accommodating of pedestrians. So when I cross a street against traffic, planning to flow through the traffic, that traffic abruptly comes to a halt for me to pass, even when I am clearly and flagrantly jaywalking. It's very disconcerting and somewhat disarming, as paradoxically I feel forced to wait to cross at the green because of this.

The route was a good cross section of San Francisco - starting off through South of Market in a neighborhood that felt like it should have homeless people and services, although it was largely devoid of street life and the only service area I saw was a big St. Vincent de Paul center. Then chugged through Mission, Castro and Tenderloin neighborhoods. 10k in 51:13.

Today I took Reba out to the Embarcadero (heading up Market St. the wrong way first) and then turned off at Fisherman's Wharf to make my way aimlessly through the city, seeking only to return in the general direction of Union Square and to avoid the really steep hills. I largely succeeded at the latter, realizing that I have very limited sense of direction and that San Francisco is a difficult town for me to get oriented. The areas I went through weren't as interesting and I felt like I was running without purpose, all the time stopping for intersections and forgoing any sense of rhythm. I set out to run anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes, got back to the hotel in 64. Didn't map it (couldn't if I tried), guessing it be around 7.5 miles.

All this leads me to the question I posed myself on my Healdsburg run: why do I run on vacation. It kinda-sorta feeds the addiction; it kinda-sorta maintains my fitness; it sometimes, like yesterday, is a good way to see the city but other times is a slog, like today. So I don't really have a good answer, but I do it anyway. When I can. And I don't get too stressed if I don't.


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