Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Scenery: San Francisco Running

This morning I had the opportunity to run in San Francisco because I am here for a business conference. I've never been to this city before, but I'd heard nothing but wonderful things.

I knew that it was going to be hilly, but when I saw how extreme the hills were, I thought that there was no way I could realistically go for a run. My hotel is in Union Square, and there is a hill next to it that has like a 25% grade. I probably would have to walk up this thing and it's long. I thought that using the hotel treadmill might be easier and safer, but my Facebook friends convinced me otherwise.

Prior to coming to San Francisco, I had scoped out this route. Some of my friends assured me on Facebook that once I got down to the water it wouldn't be hilly, so I decided to go for it. I am SO glad I did! What a beautiful run. It was so exciting to be in a brand new city, running through areas I had never seen before but had read about.

The Bay Bridge (I didn't take this photo, but this was my view)
The weather was amazing. Mid 50's and not humid. If it's truly like this all the time, then the people who live here are spoiled. I left my hotel started running in the direction indicated by the map. The sun had just come up and there weren't many people around, so I was a bit scared. But it was a nice area, so I just made sure to keep my wits about me and look strong. The first mile was all downhill. Not as dramatically steep as most of the hills seem to be here, but it was still a hill. I logged a 7:23 pace, which felt easy, so I am not sure if my Garmin was off or if it was the downhill + awesome weather that accounted for this.

At about 1.2 miles, I was at the Embarcadero. I could see the water and a massive bridge. It was so beautiful and amazing. I thought it was the Golden Gate Bridge but I later realized it was the Bay Bridge. Still it was amazing. I soon realized I was in my element as plenty of other runners started to show up. This must be where everyone in San Fran runs because it's not so hilly. I followed a man in an Ironman shirt for awhile because I figured he'd keep me on the right route and prevent me from veering off accidentally. I felt like I was in a race. There was always at least one other runner in sight-- usually like 4 or 5 others, and we were all running the same route. Plus, the scenery was completely new to me.

I continued to be shocked by my pace given my easy effort level. I assumed that after the downhill it would go back to my "easy" pace of about 8:40-8:45 but it remained on the fast side. Maybe the Garmin was off, or maybe I was just so excited to be in a new area that I had extra adrenaline.  My intention was to run 7 miles, but I missed the road I had to turn on to get back into the city (Market St.) so I ended up running 7.5:

Mile 1: 7:23
Mile 2: 8:30
Mile 3: 8:09
Mile 4: 8:20
Mile 5: 8:15
Mile 6: 8:25
Mile 7: 8:51 (back up the hill)
Last 0.5: 8:57

7.5 miles, 8:19 average pace. It felt easy and the scenery was amazing. Afterwards I just felt so invigorated and I was overcome by feelings of "I love running so much!" I sometimes don't get that feeling when running the same routes over and over near my house.

I'm registered for the Nike Women's marathon in October, so I will be running here again this fall. I'm planning on that race being a "fun run" without caring about my time. And now I am more excited than I was before!

Tomorrow I'm planning to run again, and then I fly back tomorrow evening. I'm so glad I didn't go for the treadmill option!


  1. Haha - there are people making out in that picture. Sounds like an awesome run!

  2. It's probably some couple's engagement photo!

  3. sounds like a gorgeous run! enjoy your visit!

  4. Yay! Glad you had a great run. I've been to San Francisco twice and do not have the guts to run there. I am scared of those hills. :-)

  5. glad you enjoyed running in SF. We live in the bay area, and maybe we can meet up in October :)

  6. Sarah- that would be great! I was back to my boring route at home today with plenty of humidity. Why is summer starting so early again???

  7. I too love going for a run when on vacation, it's a great way to scope out the area! Sounds like you had a marvelous time and it certainly bodes well for your SF maraton!

  8. This is a fast 1/2 marathon-

    Hope you enjoy the Bay Area.

    In SF, DSE runners puts on frequent, lowkey races-

    These are great for 5k/10K fitness checks :)