A Tour Through San Francisco

Workout: 19-mile run

In thinking about where I wanted to run this 19-miler, I considered a few different trails. But really, a trail can only be so good for so many miles. And with the temperatures climbing considerably last week, I decided the City would be the best place to run.

I have felt an affinity to San Francisco since I first visited it back in the 90's, while on my way to college. From that very first visit, I knew that this is where I would end up. I love everything about it – the history, the culture, the Giants (and 49ers too), but especially it’s scenery.

I plotted out this plan:

1. Park at the Embarcadero Center 2. Start running from the Ferry Building to AT&T Park. 3. Head back towards the Ferry Building and continue on the Embarcadero 4. Run through Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square and the Aquatic Center 5. Continue through Fort Mason 6. Head to Crissy Field 7. Up and across the Golden Gate Bridge 8. Loop the entire route back to the Ferry Building

I’ve run this route many times for training runs and races, just not the entire thing all in once run. I was excited for it!

But of course, last night was the one night I had a decent night’s sleep and actually slept right up to my alarm. I had to force myself out of bed this morning, but was able to make it out the door before 8 am, as planned.

After parking, I walked to the 24-Hour Fitness in the Embarcadero (I have an all-club membership) for once last bathroom break and to gather myself together. In hindsight, I should’ve brought my gym bag with my swim gear and left it in a locker. I could’ve gone there after the run and used the sauna, steam and whirlpool, as well as the stretching area. Will definitely do this next time.

As I started running, I felt really sluggish, despite having had a good night’s sleep. I decided I don’t like to have a rest day before a long run. It takes me longer to feel comfortable.

I had my iPhone packed in my iFitness belt and wasn’t planning on taking any photos. But then I ran past AT&T Park and saw that they had all new photos in the display windows. I couldn’t resist. As a result, this will be a photo-heavy post.

AT&T Park

Buster
Buster

{C Buster Posey aka my favorite player}

Wilson
Wilson

{Closer Brian Wilson}

Team
Team

{The World Champions}

TickerTape
TickerTape

{The ticker tape parade}

For the record, I took a ton more photos, but I won't bore you with them.

Embarcadero

I looped around the park back to the Embarcadero.

McCoveyCove
McCoveyCove

{This is McCovey Cove, the back side of the ballpark.}

BayBridge
BayBridge

{Bay Bridge}

On the run back towards the Ferry Building, I ran down one of the piers, just for fun.

FerryBldg
FerryBldg

{View of the Ferry Building from Pier 14}

CoitTower
CoitTower

{Coit Tower}

Fisherman's Wharf

I continued down the Embarcadero, reaching Fisherman's Wharf.

Pier39
Pier39
Boat
Boat

{That photo of us on the Bay in my last post? It was on one of these boat tours. For $15/person they'll take you on a stroll of the Bay.}

Boudins
Boudins

{On the front side, you can watch them bake their famous sour dough bread.}

GhirardelliSq
GhirardelliSq

{The famous Ghirardelli Square}

AquaticCenter
AquaticCenter

{The Aquatic Center. There was an open-water swimming class that was just getting started. Tons of triathletes in this area.}

Fort Mason & Crissy Field

After the Aquatic Center, I headed down another random pier, which looped to be about a half mile.

viewfrpier
viewfrpier

{View of the City from the pier}

Then it was up the infamous Fort Mason hill that always kicks my butt! Here's a photo of Alcatraz from the Fort Mason Hill:

alcatraz
alcatraz

After the Fort Mason Hill, I ran down the Marina Green and onto the Crissy Field area.

Swells
Swells

{I ran right along side the swells.}

Mako
Mako

{I took a photo of this boat because "Mako" is my late grandfather's name.}

CrissyFieldBeach
CrissyFieldBeach

{This was still a little early, but on the way back, the beach got crowded! Lots of folks out enjoying the nice weather.}

Golden Gate Bridge

From Crissy Field, I ascended up to the GGB.

CrissyField
CrissyField

{View of Crissy Field from the climb up to the bridge}

GGB
GGB

So one thing to know about the GGB is that it's not flat. I guess you could say its "rolling hills?" The inclines go up and down.

Once I got to the Marin side of the bridge, I stopped to use the facilities and refill my water bottles with water from the water fountains. I didn't realize how thirsty I was because I actually downed several bottles before filling up and heading back.

ViewfrGGB
ViewfrGGB

{View of the City from the GGB}

BTW - there was NO WIND on the bridge! How amazing is that?!?

That was the last of my photos since the rest of the run back-tracked the route.

While on the bridge, my right calf started to hurt again, in the same spot where it bothered me the last 2 long runs, but it eventually went away.

When I came off the bridge I was just starting 13 miles and still feeling pretty good. I had been eating an Espresso GU every 5-miles and I really noticed the impact on my energy level (must be the double dose of caffeine).

I ran back through Crissy Field thinking what a happy place it was - dogs playing, kids playing, people just out enjoying the day.

The temps were climbing and I was wearing a double-layered long-sleeve shirt. Though both were light, I was really warm. I had already gone through both water bottles, so I stopped at a water fountain to refill, again, downing a few more bottles before a final refill and continuing on.

Fisherman's Wharf had gotten crowded with tourists. As I darted through them, I noted that they do not pay attention to their surroundings at all. Half of them didn't even notice me trying to manuever around them. I finally copied a few other runners and just ran in the street. Traffic was light so it was a non-issue.

I hopped back on the sidewalk at Pier 39, where it was much wider. I had about 1.5 miles left and this is where I started to battle. Cardiovascularly I was fine. My right hip hurt, but it was manageable. It was my feet that hurt the most. I was so tempted to jump on a trolley and just ride back to my car. But once I hit 18 miles, I told myself to suck it up and finish it.

I had my Garmin set to countdown the miles, so I did just that...9-8-7...you get the idea, until it finally beeped "Workout Finished" and I found myself right in front of the Ferry Building - 19 miles exactly!

I walked around for a bit, stretched a little, crossed the street and just sat, resting, in Justin Herman Plaza for a good 20+ minutes. Once I felt sort of normal again, I made my way back to my car where I had Gatorade and bananas. I waited a bit before leaving, just to make sure my legs felt okay, then I drove out.

No sooner had I left the garage my left calf; i.e., the good one, charley horsed. Luckily I was in the left lane and there was an open parking space that I immediately pulled into. I had to get out and walk it off. I stretched it out and guzzled down another Gatorade. I sat in my car trying to massage out the cramp for about 10-minutes, then prayed to God that I'd get home without it happening again.

I put the car in neutral every time I had to come to a stop, and miraculously made it home in one piece (including a stop for a double-double from In-n-Out.

I survived another long run. The usually cool temps, frequent water fountains, and mix of turns, flat, hills, and sandy terrain of Crissy Field makes San Francisco a great, great running town. I'm doing all my long runs in the City from now on!

route
route