Sunny Times in San Francisco

Today was one of those Bay Area days where I was glad I remembered to wear sunscreen (confession: I don't always...). I ran around Crissy Field and up and across the Golden Gate Bridge (GGB).

Crissy Field - Golden Gate Bridge Running Route
Crissy Field - Golden Gate Bridge Running Route

I always feel nervous and excited when I plan to run the GGB. I look at the bridge and marvel at its majestic grandeur and almost can't imagine that in just a few moments I'll be running across it. After all these years, it still brings butterflies to my stomach.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field

But I have always run great miles across the GGB and today was no different.

It didn't quite start out so great though...

Last night I went to the SF Giants game where the G's sent love to Boston...

I got to bed much later than planned. When I woke up this morning I was functioning on about 10 hours of sleep over the previous two nights. I was feeling pretty crappy when I started my run.

Shortly after I started running I fell in step with an older gentleman named Jasper. I was wearing a New York Marathon shirt that I bought from last years expo before the race was cancelled. He asked me if I knew who Fred Lebow and Grete Waitz were. I said, "Yes of course - he started the New York Marathon and she won it a lot (nine) of times." He smiled and said, "They were my friends." For the next couple of miles I was treated to hearing stories of the times they all ran together.

Hearing the stories made me feel rejuvenated and put an extra "pep in my step."

Also, being that I always run alone, I never knew what "conversation pace" meant. After running just a few miles with this fellow, I do now. I also realized how much more pleasant running is when you have someone else to chat with. There's so much more I have to say about this topic, but I'll save that for another day.

After I parted ways with Jasper I climbed up to the GGB. It felt more difficult than I remembered which freaked me out because this climb is in the very early miles of the San Francisco Marathon (SFM). At that moment I couldn't even running 16 more miles after the GGB portion of the course.

But then I stopped myself from thinking about it. I am trying to think in a more "process-oriented" way vs. focusing on results. Doing this helps me stay focused on the present. So I just made a mental note to myself that I have seven weeks to run more hills.

Because I had gotten an early start running up to the bridge, it was fairy empty at first. I can't remember ever taking a photo on the GGB with hardly anyone else on it.

Sporting my new San Francisco Marathon hat on the GGB
Sporting my new San Francisco Marathon hat on the GGB

After the Boston Marathon bombing, this run felt a little different. I really took the time to appreciate the opportunity I have to run in such a beautiful city - and feel safe doing so.

As I ran I looked at everything around me and took it all in. There is truly no other place in this world I'd rather be living.

Running across the Golden Gate Bridge
Running across the Golden Gate Bridge

Speaking of feeling safe, I passed a group from the US Army who looked like they were on a training run.

A group from the US Army running across the GGB
A group from the US Army running across the GGB

There were also several police officers on bikes riding back and forth across the span of the bridge.

When I came off of the bridge, I saw this sign...

GGB Trails
GGB Trails

I have never run on the back (west) side of the bridge so I decided to be a little adventurous and run the 1.1 miles to Baker Beach. Unfortunately I only made it about .30 miles before the trail was blocked because of "dangerous cliffs."

Cliffs on the west side of the GGB
Cliffs on the west side of the GGB

I tried to go another way but it appeared to be the top of a roof. I saw other runners climb down the roof. I thought about doing it myself but I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get back up so I turned around and headed back. But not before I saw this view...

Trail on the west side of the GGB
Trail on the west side of the GGB

So beautiful.

As great as this run was, I felt kinda bad about it.

Originally I was supposed to run 18-miles today. But I begged my coach for a cutback week and he cut it down to 10-miles. But then Boston happened and I felt bad about cutting back the miles and thought about doing all 18 miles anyway. But when I woke up this morning I knew that with my lack of sleep, and the extra warm temperatures it wouldn't have been the run I wanted so I stuck with the 10-miles.

Except I didn't run 10-miles. I only ran 8.32-miles.

In "taking it all in and enjoying the run", I found myself stopping to take a lot of photos (a lot more than shared in this post), then chatting with tourists and taking photos for them. Because I was wearing a race shirt and hat, a lot of them asked me if I had run Boston. I laughed and said, "Umm, no."

{Side note: I usually never stop and talk to people on my run, but since I have been running without my iPod I've found myself doing so more often. I usually get so annoyed with tourists, but in the aftermath of all the past week's turmoil, I made an attempt to be nicer and learned that not all tourists are annoying (just the ones who ride bikes without helmets and crash into people...}

Anyway, while I the actual running time was a solid run, the elapsed time ended up being waaay longer than I expected and I simply ran out of time to close out to 10-miles. I had brunch plans and ended up having to cut the run short.

So while I feel bad about doing so, ultimately I don't. This past week has taught me to appreciate what I have and not sweat the "small stuff." While 18-miles, or even 10-miles, is not "small stuff", neither is 8.32-miles. It's a lot better than running zero miles, or not being able to run at all.

I'm happy for the enjoyable (key word) miles that I was able to finish.