California

47 Hills – Sutro Heights Hill 45

I started my run on a clear, breezy morning. I hadn’t realized that it was the same morning as the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, a short, yet punishing tri that starts on Alcatraz with a swim to the Marina Green, then an 18-mile cycling course, finishing with an 8-mile run that returns at Marina Green. And throughout both the bike and running courses, there are hills, lots of hills.

Sutro Mansion

The original Sutro Mansion

What this meant for me, was that a lot of the area I was planning on running was going to either be cut off or a bit more difficult to get to, so I rerouted my run and enjoyed watching a bit of the tri along the way.

20170611_100758

The view from the top

Adolph Heinrich Joseph Sutro was born in Germany in 1830 but served as mayor of San Francisco from 1895 until 1897. He made his fortune in the Comstock Lode in Nevada and built not only a huge mansion at the top of a hill overlooking Ocean Beach, but also the well-loved Sutro Baths. The remains of the baths still exist and can be explored on foot.

20170611_092323

Sutro Heights grounds

Sutro Heights checks in at 200 feet. It watches over the Pacific Ocean quietly and if you happen to drive past, enjoying the ocean view, you’d probably miss its tranquil setting. Adolph’s gigantic mansion is long gone, but the site remains and it is worth a visit. The hill is one of my favorites; you can run in a circle and then continue down to the beach, or go across the street to the Land’s End path. There’s plenty to see and it’s usually pretty quiet. The backside of the hill also has a fun and very sandy way to get down if you want something a little more adventurous.

20170611_100732

I decided on the sandy back route to avoid the cyclists and ended my run watching some of the race at the end of Golden Gate Park. This hill is one of my favorites in the city. I hope you can enjoy it sometime too!

IMG_20170611_102734_639 (2)

Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Note: All the hill elevations and listings were taken from another website http://www.47hills.com and used for a personal challenge so bear that in mind if there are any discrepancies.

Keep Moving Forward!

47 HILLS – THE 47th HILL

I’ve lacked inspiration and motivation lately. In the past, just running and looking forward to races was enough, but after my last injury it seems to not be any longer. Maybe it’s because I’m not doing as many races now or it could be something else, but I decided to look for a unique and fun challenge; one that I could also share on my blog. And I found it!

San Francisco is a city of hills. There are tons of them here. There are 47 known ones, according to this website I discovered: www.47hills.com

So after scoping all these hills, I’m going to run up every one of them. This will take at least 47 weeks, maybe sooner if I get through them at a quicker pace. But it’s not about speed. It’s about enjoying the hills, the scenery if there is any, and looking up any history that goes along with it.

Disclaimer:  All my information about each hill’s height, etc, comes from the aforementioned website. So, if an error is made, take it up with them.

This is merely for fun, not for any historical significance or discoveries.

So, without further waiting, I give you:

#47: Rincon Hill

1703-rh-boundaries

map of the Rincon Hill area

At a mere 100 feet, Rincon is barely worth mentioning height-wise, but it’s pretty important in the history of San Francisco. Rincon means inside corner in Spanish and before the 1906 earthquake, it was a very important neighborhood. In the 1805s, rich settlers built their homes here. The views were unparalleled. But with the quick development of the city, many hills with flattened, larger buildings were built and the views disappeared. The mansions were sold, torn down and the rich settled elsewhere.

20170604_081417

The foot of Rincon Hill on Harrison near 3rd St

Once again it’s home to wealthy transplants, buying highrise condos among the weaving freeways. I love running in this area on weekends. Clogged with traffic during the week, it’s calm and quiet on weekend mornings. The construction is growing so fast I see something new every time I pass by.

20170604_081936

The top of Rincon Hill is on the property of an expensive highrise condo

The hill isn’t hard to tackle either walking or running from either side and it’s a nice addition for any distance.

RinconHillHistoricPlaque_20120211

Historic plaque

Keep moving forward!

PEACE OF MIND

20170519_183505

My view of the ocean from my run

I was listening to some country song during my run this morning, I don’t remember which one and it really doesn’t matter, but the song said that he found peace in a glass, or something similar. As I ran around the Marina Green, enjoying the beautiful sunshine, I thought how wrong the songwriter was.

And it brought me back many, many years…. more people than you think suffer from alcoholism. Believe this. It was my life for a long time.

Never once did I ever find peace in a glass.

For the better part of the remainder of my run, I mulled over this. Peace, drinking myself into oblivion? Yeah, right. Try the opposite. I drank because I hated myself. I drank because I hated my life, how on earth would getting smashed make anything peaceful?

We all have problems we’re dealing with in our lives. But there are better and healthier ways of dealing with them than with destroying ourselves.

For me, running is my outlet. When I couldn’t run because of my injury, it was really frustrating. Our lives are not easy and we cannot get by just working, eating and sleeping and expect to be happy. There has to be more.

Having a healthy hobby won’t cure all of our problems, but it gives us at least a short break away from them. And it gives us something else. It gives us a look a little distance away from them. Once I’m out on the road far from my apartment and my not-so-great neighborhood, what was bothering doesn’t seem so immediate or troublesome.

And if running doesn’t do it for you, then maybe a nice walk or hike will, or a bike ride, or lifting or yoga. The whole point is to give yourself a gift of a healthy hour or even a 30-minute vacation away from all the negativity dragging you down. That is what I call Peace of Mind.

Keep Moving!

Just For Fun

For two months I didn’t run. I attempted to heal or cure or whatever, my IT band issues, but it instead of going away completely, it remains. It is better than it was, this is true, but I had hoped that by stretching and resting it for eight weeks, it would feel better running again.

Nope. It still gets a little sore. Granted, I am going a little slower and shorter distances. I’m taking it easy.

The time off wasn’t in vain, however. I consider it to be a useful time of reflection and it did help me put things into a much healthier perspective.

I do believe I was trying too hard to be better. Self-improvement is a good thing, but when we push ourselves physically too hard, too soon, we’re asking for injuries. I wanted (OK, still want to) to be fast. I’ve had a great desire to be a better running, run faster than I did. And in actuality, I am 30 seconds faster right now than I was a year and a half ago.

20170421_145600

The beginning of the trail in Golden Gate Park

But where I live there are just not many slow runners. Or so it seems. Most people here in San Francisco are speed demons. Someone told me they were slow at 10 minute miles. I would have killed to run that fast at one time! I can do that pace really pushing myself, sprinting, but comfortably? No way.

I’d love to start a group of slow runners and I still may. But I’m no longer going to push myself to injury to fit in to any of the established running groups. Some of them say “all paces”, but how fun is it to be the only one slower than everyone else at every run? Unless you are that one person, you don’t know what that’s like. It’s stressful and not all that enjoyable.

20170421_145828

So green!!!

I ran twice this week. My first run was a simple run from home down to the Bay along Market Street and the Embarcadero. My IT band was sore the first mile, but felt better as I ran. This is progress. I told myself.

Tonight’s run was pure joy. Because of eight non-running weeks, I’m a little out of shape, so my trail running isn’t what it used to be. It will take some time to get back to where it was. Work was slow at the end of the week and the big boss was out, so we were let go after a half day. Who wouldn’t be in a good mood after that? I zipped home, changed clothes and took the bus to Golden Gate Park to run my favorite trail.

I know it well, even though I hadn’t run it since last November. It had been a while. But just starting my run I smiled and everything was okay. The weather was in the high 60s, a cool breeze whistled gently and the sun was bright. The trail was empty, except for a couple hiking. Even the disc golf course I passed was quiet.

20170421_151111

The Redwood Grove

We’ve had so much rain, the park was bright green and lush, with flowers popping up everywhere. My pace was slow, but not terrible. I found myself more out of breath than I would have liked, but that will improve. And my IT band? Not bad at all.

I’ll take it easy and see if combined with strength training it gets better. I have a huge deductible in my medical insurance and no money right now, so it’s not like I could see someone even if I wanted to and taking time off isn’t an option anymore. I’ll just enjoy that I can run, even a little and see what comes.

Keep moving forward!

HERE & NOW

Buffy

A great tragedy struck recently. Netflix didn’t get a new contract with Fox entertainment so they are cancelling Fox shows effective April 1st. This includes my favorite television show of all time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No shows has been able to show the angst, pains and loves of growing up quite as well as Buffy. Combining searing drama with humor and a little horror, plus even a musical episode, Buffy has been my favorite since its inception.

And now it’s going away…..

Because of its impending disappearance, I’ve been watching as many of the 7 seasons as I can. One reason why I loved this show so much is that it took time to bring out life’s problems and dealt with them in a very well-written, entertaining way, sometimes with vampires, other times with the Apocalypse or even worse. Yes, worse!

So, there was one episode I watched last night, “Normal Again” in Season 6, that really hit home. It was one where the evil trio of the time, Warren, Andrew and Jonathan created a demon who stung Buffy and made her think that her whole life was just her imagination and that she was really confined in a mental hospital. The demon made her think that everything that was real was false and that she should stay in the created world because the false one (the one with her friends in Sunnydale) was part of her sickness.

It would have been easy for Buffy to stay in the safe place, in her imagination. To stay with her mother and father (who in her imagination had not divorced but were happy together). It would have been simple to live in a comatose state, her brain thinking that the pretend world was real.

But she couldn’t. She had an evil to fight and had to find a way to reality.

We also have to fight our way to reality. It’s very easy to dream of what our lives might be like. I find myself doing this a lot, especially when things aren’t going so well, like now. I think of what my life would be like living in an area where I could hear birds singing from my apartment, or hey, having green grass to walk on, instead of hopping over dog poop. I dream of having enough money to pay my bills rather than choose between paying a bill and buying fresh produce. It is a challenge.

But the more we daydream and pull ourselves away from what we need to do, what we MUST do, the more we pull ourselves away from the Here & Now.

We must focus on what is to be done, today, right now, this very moment. If we can complete today’s tasks, then our tomorrow will be brighter. This is a fact!

Keep Moving Forward!

Brrrrrrrr!!!

In my old age, I’m not liking the cold weather very much! OK, I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area so the only time I’ve experienced cold weather is traveling to cold weather destinations, which is enough to tell me they are nice places to visit but not for living!

20161204_101558.jpg

The Main Square at the Presidio

So now that it’s near winter, these freezing, or near freezing mornings make early Sunday morning runs difficult. I had promised myself I was going to get up early today and go run before 8am! Not a chance! I was out by 9 but that was later than I wanted. Oh well. It was a beautiful morning and still only 45 degrees.

20161204_102720.jpg

View of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance

Brrrrrr!!!!

Eventually, I will move to Florida and then my bones won’t ache so much when I get up in December.

Cheers!

 

SF BAY BRIDGE RUN

Last Sunday, I ran on the newly opened San Francisco Bay Bridge bike/run path. It’s a little over 4 miles each way and goes all the way to Treasure Island. The way to the island is flat for 2 miles and then a very gradual incline for 2 miles.

Once at the Island, the running path isn’t open yet, but it looked like they were working on it. Hopefully it will be opened in the next couple of months.

This is a great course, easily accessible by car or BART to MacArthur Station and then the free Emeryville Shuttle to the shopping mall. I really enjoyed my run and will do this again in the next few weeks.

20161106_100118

The Bay Bridge Path 

20161106_100101

The only part left of the old Bay Bridge

20161106_100943

Treasure Island ahead

20161106_102342

Treasure Island from the Bridge 

Look forward to more runs and more posts!

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOOD FOR THE SOUL RUNS

headlands-sunrise

Sunrise over the Bay

The first part of the year I spent a lot of time increasing mileage. And it wasn’t always enjoyable either. While I increased my mileage, I had to deal with IT band pain and a constant weight battle.

It’s funny, after my disappointing San Francisco Marathon finish, I felt as if a great weight had lifted. I had put so much pressure on myself to do well (I wanted to do BETTER than at CIM (Calif International), that the closer the race got, the more I knew I would be luck to merely finish. After it was all over, I went back and readjusted my training to try something new for the second half of 2016.

This weekend I prepared to go running in the Marin Headlands. I don’t get up there as often as I would like or as I should. It’s so close to San Francisco, yet it feels as if I’m hundreds of miles away. It’s accessible by bus which makes it the perfect place for me to go. No need to spend tons of money on a rental car or wait for someone to go with me (like that happens).

headlands-uphill

One of the many uphill parts of the trail

Friday night I bought myself an early Christmas present. I picked up an Osprey hydration pack. It was on sale and I was going to buy one anyway. Sunday was the perfect time to try it out. I’ll get to the review later.

I woke up at 4am and caught the 7:17am Golden Gate Transit bus. It’s a beautiful ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. I reminded myself that the last time I was there in the Headlands, it was foggy, windy and bitterly cold. This time it was a beautiful day. Breezy but not cold, warming in the sun, but not hot. I couldn’t ask for better running conditions.

The first part of the run is always very hard. It’s one mile straight up the side of the mountain, nearly 1,000 feet gain in elevation. Highway 101 gets smaller as the noise disappears once I reach the top. I decided to go to the right, on the SCA Trail. Then it’s level for a very short time, but mostly uphills and downhills, lots of both. The way I took eventually got me to Rodeo Beach the long way around the mountain with much to see and plenty of energy to use.

headlands-10-23-16

Headlands Panorama

When I’m out on the trail, I love the sound of my feet hitting the dirt. I love the sound of the wind wrestling through the brush and the songs of the birds. I love the rhythm that sets in once I find a good pace and it is then when I’m able to relax my mind and exorcise all those toxins I’ve been carrying with me. What negativity I might have had when I got up that morning are gone by the time I finish this strenuous but very worthwhile run and I am tired and happy.

THIS, this very day (!!!) is why I run!!! Find your trail, exorcise your toxins!

Cheers!

MILE AFTER MILE…

I finally bought new running shoes, with finances as difficult as they are right now, it takes a couple months to plan out strategically but fortunately, I won’t be training for a marathon for a few months, so these new Brooks Ghost 9s should last a little longer.

img_20160923_200736

Golden Gate Park trail 

I’ve also set some new and different goals for myself. For a few months anyway, I’ll be focused on get leaner and faster rather than just running longer distances. With the exception of this weekend when I ate a box of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Jojos (I know, I know, but they’re delicious!), I have been good about my eating and I’ll get back on track tomorrow.

20160923_181345

GGP trail

It isn’t going well finding work in fitness, so I’ve changed that goal. I don’t know if I’m going to find a paid part-time job in fitness, so I’m going to look for more volunteer work to get more experience until I can afford to get my certificate in Senior fitness. That cert will help me get a job in the area of fitness I desire. I can’t afford to work for minimum wage fulltime at a gym in town, but if I can get the experience and knowledge, maybe I can a position at a senior center.

20160923_190052

Sunset!

I’ve had good runs over the last week, including a terrific trail run Friday night. I was lucky enough to see one of the most beautiful sunsets! Yes, times are not easy right now, but at least I can still enjoy the scenery of my city!

Cheers!

SF GIANTS HALF MARATHON

This year, the San Francisco Giants Race was held on 9/11 and I really love the shirt design. I also love the Brandon Crawford bobblehead! I was very close to time I ran it last year, which was a little over 2 minutes faster. Unlike last year, I felt zero IT band pain and my run itself was good.

20160909_182103

Crawford Bobblehead, shirt, bib, and my running companions 🙂 

Let me start in at the beginning. The race does have a great packet pickup. I LOVE picking it up in AT&T Park. It’s really cool to be able to go inside an empty park, plus they have a lot of vendors, race reps and plenty of samples.

The half marathon and 10k started at the same time this morning: 7:00am, with the 5k starting later after 10:00am. Perhaps this was one of the problems. I spent the first 3 miles, jockeying constantly through walkers doing the shorter race. How great it was to finally breathe and space out once they had turned around! I would like to see them start at a later time so those of us trying to actually better our times and not just out for a stroll could get past the walkers.

20160911_055553

Beautiful 9/11 Tribute

One of my biggest peeves since I’ve bene doing this race is the same one I have for every race EXCEPT the Hot Chocolate Race….not enough porto-bathrooms! Come on! There are thousands of runners, can you get a few more? The Hot Chocolate folks are the only ones who seem to do this right, they have plenty! And, can you believe someone tried to cut in front of me in the line. Yeah, didn’t happen! I had been waiting for 20 minutes and wasn’t about to let anyone cut in front of me. Had they had a small child and ask nicely, I probably would have, but just trying to hog in without waiting, NO!

20160911_100603

Best Seat in the Park, for a few minutes

Another thing Hot Chocolate does is divide the runners and walkers up into more corrals. The first few specifically say NO WALKERS. I do apologize because I’m sure they’re wonderful people, if they are walking in a line blocking everyone’s way, it’s a huge pain. Every race should have signs posted: “Walkers Stay To The Right.” It really is up to the race directors to provide guidance to participants, especially because many of the Giants fans there may not have done other races and don’t know how things are usually done. Race direction is getting very lackadaisical anyway.

20160911_100204

I’ll just sit here a little while longer…

And maybe I’m alone in this, but those runner/walker types can be annoying, especially if they don’t bother looking behind them when they stop running, or if they think they can keep walking in the left with all the runners. No, you too, stay to the right.

The last thing that made me a little cranky was at the nutrition stop, I heard they were going to have Clif Shot Bloks, which I love. When I got there, they were giving out sample size Clif Bars, I’m not going to eat that during a run! Fortunately, I normally bring my own fuel so I don’t have to worry about it, but don’t BS me, Folks!

Other than those irks, I felt good, my legs felt good and there were some nice food giveaways after the race. It was also excellent to sit in the loge seats afterwards. I’ve never been in those before, and probably never will again!

Now for a couple days’ rest and back to tackling my next goals. I’ll let you know soon what I’m up to!

Cheers!