I don't understand people who can't run alone, or who have to run with music. To each his own and all that, but I still don't get it. How better to bounce around your mind, explore the depths of your own soul, to truly get to know yourself than venturing off with nothing else but your own two feet and the will to keep them moving.
And no better way to get to know a city than to run around it. Through its quiet avenues, over its lonesome hills. Take in its vistas, see its people, feel its buzz. San Francisco lends itself to endurance running better than most cities, but that's the beauty of running: You cannot shape the trail, you have to run it.
The warmth of Potrero yielded to clouds as I crested Bernal Hill and descended into that no mans land between Bernal and Glen Park. Up and over San Jose on a pedestrian bridge I had only ever seen from below. A new route, blocks from one I'd run maybe a hundred times.
I crested Mount Davidson, slid down through St. Francis Woods, mansions of decades past when money connected these estates to downtown through a subway now long since gone. Down Sloat, my familiar path to the beach. Running along The Great Highway, you could barely make out the oil slick ankle biters through Ocean Beach mist, a perfect day for gentle long boarding at one of the world's most treacherous breaks.
Another right and I was into the Park, winding up past the buffaloes and hundreds of runners out for their morning jogs. Pass everyone, get passed by no one. This is my training mantra, hard to follow on these easy long runs -- especially when I'm supposed to be rehabbing.
My legs felt miserable, no spring, no juice. To be expected, given my erratic training of late, getting used to Potrero's steep climbs and a general lack of anything resembling consistency for the past couple months. Another running wonder, how you feel on any given day doesn't matter. You weave it into the run -- feeling lousy is just another chance to train your mind to run when you don't feel like it.
I started to tire towards the end of the Park, but found a pony tail to chase down through the panhandle. She ran well, and we coasted at six-minute pace along the gentle slope.
I curtailed my run for the sake of expediency, catching up with Luchi and Jess at IndyMart, a local craft fair in the Potrero Flats where Jess was setting up to sell clothes. I grabbed the keys, bolt cutters from the office to use on the front fence which would come out later in the day, and drove home.
Not my fastest 17 miles but my Achilles survived, sore but not hurting. The only problem with the run is that it reminded me how much I love being out there for hours on end, getting to know myself. And how when I can't do that, the rest of my life suffers.