Running is by in large a selfish endeavor. Every once in a while like this year from New York, you get to run for something else, but most of us run basically for our own satisfaction, release, joy or whatever it is that keeps us pushing through what most people consider to be unnecessary levels of suffering.
And as such, you end up having to make selfish decisions, choosing time on your feet over time spent with family and friends. Maybe its worth it, maybe its not. At the final tally, perhaps I'll wish that I spent more time with people who care about me and less time bouncing around inside my skull. Or maybe I'll wish I had dragged myself out of bed before dawn and laced up my shoes more often than I did.
Knowing I was already late to meet a friend for drinks, I ran anyway. With my flight tomorrow, I knew I'd be all over the place and wanted to make sure and get in one more run before I left.
Flat is hard to find where I live, a blessing and a curse. I headed out on Cesar Chavez as the sun dipped behind Sutro and cruised out to 3rd Street. A flat, but generally unattractive sliver of the city. Without a particular route in mind, I turned right rather than the usual left and made my way towards Bayview.
Over the bridge I saw what looked like a well-established bike path along a road running out to the water. I turned to check it out, cruising past what looked like a big postal service sorting center, which I never knew existed. Piles of dirt and cranes to the left, the beginnings of a decades-long project to ready this area for development.
At the end of the road I saw what looked like a park, so I kept going. Heron Head Park -- a name I'd heard but a park I'd never seen. Concrete yielded to a dirt path and I was immediately surrounded by marshy wetlands, a reminder of just how much of the city's waterfront is built on landfill.
The path extended out into the bay and it reminded me of my very early running days at the Palo Alto Baylands. A quiet bay to the right, a gentle rise above carpeted in public housing projects. I checked my watch and looked back at the sun, deciding to turn back early rather than head all the way out to the end. I'd have to explore the whole thing another time - there's selfish and then there's your friend is just going to stop waiting and leave.
I turned around to the pink-tinted sky and the sun disappearing behind the quiet hills to the west. Another urban discovery to be re-explored when I had more time. Which I hardly ever feel like I actually have.