Chasing 42

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Archive for the tag “San Francisco Running”

My SF Chronicles: Loving the Bay Bridge

After making the Golden Gate Bridge a priority, I found myself much more open to exploring other areas of the city. Having ventured west the day before, I figured I would venture east towards the Bay Bridge. Although perhaps not as iconic as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge is no less impressive. Along the way, feeling more comfortable being in the city itself, I was able to take in the public art that San Francisco has to offer as well.

Nothing but love for SF art!

Nothing but love for SF art!

One of my favorite aspects of running in a new city and exploring the area is keeping an eye out for the various forms of art that the city has decided to incorporate into the urban landscape. Public art is certainly not unique to urban areas, but larger metropolitan areas seem to have a flair for pushing the boundaries of cultural expectation. At the same time, cities like San Francisco have served as canvases for some of the history’s greatest artists and those still trying to craft a legacy for themselves.

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I made my way from the hotel down to entrance of the bridge, and passed some amazing artwork along the way. When I got down to the shore, the view was just as impressive as I was hoping it would be. The whole area was teeming with runners, families out for a walk, and other tourists who had come down to capture pictures of the bridge, as well as the public art in the area. I ran along the running path following the shoreline in either direction to get a sense of the area, and even stumbled across two wedding parties and a couple that appeared to be taking engagement photos.

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As with my first run, the other defining feature of my route, aside from the scenery, was the hills. The elevation chart below my route should speak for itself. I would like to say that my legs were starting to acclimate to the elevation changes, but I’m pretty sure I would have needed several more weeks before I truly grew accustomed to the inclines. However, the buzz of the traffic along the Embarcadero, combined with the visual stimulation of diverse faces and locations, was enough to keep my adrenaline pumping long after I returned to the hotel for a delicious sushi dinner!

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Bay Bridge Run 2013-05-08 at 8.52.08 PM

My SF Chronicles: A Golden Gate Kind of Day

As I mentioned, I recently traveled to San Francisco to attend a professional conference with 14,000 other educators from around the world. The sheer size of the conference was a bit overwhelming, and the choice of sessions was incredible. My days were completely packed, and my mind was left racing with ideas for future research and new ways to analyze and interpret my current work. I even had the opportunity to hear from Claudio Sanchez, NPR’s education correspondent, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The NPR nerd in me was pleased beyond belief!

Despite the packed schedule, I still found time for several amazing runs around the city. Running in a city is by far my favorite way to explore a new place, and San Francisco did not let me down! I arrived on Friday, and had most of the afternoon and evening free, so I took the opportunity for a longer run down to Golden Gate Park. My hotel was only a few miles southeast of the bridge, so navigating my way there was relatively easy (even for the directionally challenged individual that I am!).

Boats ready to head out at Fisherman's Wharf.

Boats ready to head out at Fisherman’s Wharf.

I headed generally north and found my way to Fisherman’s Wharf before heading west towards Golden Gate Park. By the time I had reached open water, I was already reminded of the fact that Iowa is a very flat place, and there happen to be quite a few hills in San Francisco! I’ve said repeatedly that I need to incorporate more hill work into my workouts, and I was left thinking about how much stronger I’d be if I had to train in San Francisco on a regular basis!

The Golden Gate Bridge from a distance.

The Golden Gate Bridge from a distance.

I made my way down to the beach, and ran down along Crissy Field on the wonderful trail system, heading towards the Golden Gate Bridge. I, of course, stopped plenty to take pictures, and it was incredibly refreshing to be running in a new area with new sights. The air was certainly cool and windy down by the water, but I was so enthralled by everything around me that I didn’t mind in the least. As I got closer, it was great to see all the other runners out, enjoying the day, as well as the windsurfers out on the water. I followed the winding road past piers, and ended up at an abandoned factory near the base of the bridge. The sign I found made it clear that this was a frequented running route for locals!

Soaking in the SF sun! (and wind :) )

Soaking in the SF sun and wind!

I slapped the sign, and then turned back around to head up an amazingly steep set of stairs to another trail that led to the entrance to the bridge. There were plenty of observation points along the way, which provided breathtaking views of the bay and the bridge, as well as Alcatraz in the distance. I made my way to the top, and paused to take a few pictures. Just then, a young man noticed my Chicago Marathon shirt, and we started chatting. He had just recently gotten back from the Boston Marathon, and had finished a mere 10 minutes before the bombs went off. It was an incredible reminder of the close-knit community of runners that exists throughout the country, and how it brings everyone together in times of struggle. We are a hardy bunch not to be trifled with, as if the fact that we voluntarily run for 26.2 miles (or more) wasn’t already a good indication!

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A turn-around point if ever I saw one!

A turn-around point if ever I saw one!

I ran to the middle of the bridge, and then turned around and headed back. The sun was about to set, and I wasn’t quite comfortable enough with this new city to go running around at night. I made my way back via some new trails, and now some even steeper hills as I worked my way to the other side of Crissy Field. There was a beautifully wide running path, along with an excellent bike bath as well, and I found my way back to Fisherman’s Wharf, and retraced my path back to the hotel. In the end, I had logged around 12 miles, and it felt like I had been going up hill the entire way! My quads were certainly burning, but it was a satisfied burn after an amazing first run in San Francisco.

Such beauty by the bay!

Such beauty by the bay!

Heading West: A Break in the Action

I’ve mentioned before how much I love to travel, and how much I love to explore a new destination on foot. Tomorrow, I’m hoping on a plane to San Francisco to attend a conference, and I’m looking forward to squeezing in a few runs while I’m there! The schedule is jam-packed, but I won’t be able to pass up running through Golden Gate Park, and exploring the many different scenic treats that the Bay Area has to offer. I considered registering for a race while I’m there, but the logistics just didn’t make it feasible or cost-effective.

I think I'm going to get a bit more hill work in, eh?

I think I’m going to get a bit more hill work in, eh?

So, you can expect a break in the blogging action while I head out west for a week or so, but look forward to hearing about my running adventures in San Francisco when I return! There may just be some other exciting news to report when I get back as well, so stay tuned…

That's not a grain silo in the background!

That’s not a grain silo in the background!

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