Its remarkable, and a testament to just how much I dislike waking up in the morning, that morning runs are still a novelty for me. That the crisp morning air and the quiet streets still surprise me in their ability to refresh and get the day started right.
The marathon now in the past, I returned to the Heron Head Park, my last San Francisco run before the race. I went all the way this time, out to the end of the path where only the sounds of the dump could reach me. I turned, looking back at those hills I last saw bathed in pink light, the sun dropping out to sea. This time, all I could see was the nearby hillside, littered with projects.
San Francisco is in many ways the most hypocritical city I have ever experienced. All its claims of progressiveness and diversity are sharply juxtaposed against the stark lines drawn between neighborhoods, the utter lack of ethnic mixing. Our housing projects are the most glaring example, scattered bastions of poverty and crime, often sitting blocks from million dollar homes whose owners only concern for their neighbors is to make sure their expensive cars are safe from break ins.
I paused and ran forward in my mind, decades from now. To a time where this waterfront is developed, this pristine bay no longer blight but bling. I longed for the capital and freedom to place bets on what would in hindsight be a complete slam dunk.
On the way back, I marveled at my legs that actually felt OK. Coming back to the present, then the past, I replayed the marathon in my mind for what must have been the hundredth time. I am now able to suck the positive out of the race and identify areas for improvement. And marvel at the fact that I am at a point with my running that I can complain about a 2:58.
I hauled back up Cesar Chavez, trucks roaring by and exhaust filling my lungs. It didn't bother me -- I was just running.