California

47 Hills – Part 8 Mount St. Joseph & More!

The 40th tallest hill took me a while to get around to running it. I wasn’t thrilled about it, to be honest, it’s not the most scenic spot in San Francisco. In fact, if you’ve spent any time in the city, you’ve been here. At 250 feet, it’s the same height as a few other hills but what makes it different is that a shopping mall stands on top of it.

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Even on a foggy day, the view is nice

Yes, there’s a Best Buy and Target on this one. The cross streets are Geary, Presidio and Masonic. It’s an extremely busy intersection. The views of Downtown are pretty nice, if you go to the top of the parking lot. Other than that, it’s not that special.

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On Geary at the base of Mount St Joseph

Because I wasn’t that thrilled with the 40th place, I’m including some pictures from my run this last Sunday at Mt Tamalpais. It was a wonderful 7 mile run from Mt Tam to Stinson Beach. I don’t get up there very often because the bus ride is long and expensive. But I’ll do it again when I can.

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Near the top of My Tamalpais

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Top part of the Matt Davis trail

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The top part of the trail is dry, yet the bottom part is so damp, like a rainforest

Life is good. Things are not perfect, but when is it? My running and workouts are the best part of my day and I can’t ask for more.

Keep Moving Forward!

 

 

 

47 HILLS – Part 7 – Precita Heights

AKA: POLISH HILL

On the website http://www.47Hills.com it was called Polish Hill, but it’s probably more well known as Precita Heights. It sits Southwest of Downtown, just on the outskirts of the Mission. I’m sure on a clear say with blue skies, the view of the San Francisco skyline is amazing. The morning I was there it was overcast, so it wasn’t great.

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The neighborhood is really terrific. Most of Precita and Bernal Heights are still very much old school San Francisco. It was refreshing to run through a part of the city that hasn’t changed much, since nearly everywhere else I go is disappearing at an alarming rate.

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Folsom St goes up to Bernal Heights

In a future post, I’ll write more about the taller Bernal Heights, so until then enjoy what’s left of the San Francisco we used to know.

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Precita Park

Keep moving forward!

 

 

47 HILLS – PART 6 ALAMO HEIGHTS

Everyone knows this hill, or part of it anyway. They know the row of Victorian houses, lovingly called the Painted Ladies, either from the hundreds of pictures taken over the years or from the 80s sitcom “Full House”, recently brought back by Netflix.

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Views of the Victorians and the SF skyline

Alamo Heights is also known by runners by being the highest point of the Bay to Breakers, the largest 12k race in the US, quite possibly the world, held each year the third Sunday in May. The Hayes Street Hill is a killer!

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Looking up into Alamo Square

The hill is the 42nd highest in San Francisco, 225 feet in height, it seems higher because of the steepness of Hayes, Grove and Fulton Streets. The hill rises abruptly and makes for a great workout either running or walking. I conquered it in a nice run after work and my quads screamed afterwards on my way back home.

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Very dog-friendly!

The park at the top is quite nice and includes a huge dog friendly area. Expect brisk winds, especially when the fog rolls in.

Coming up, another San Francisco hill!

Keep Moving Forward!

 

WE WILL RETURN TO OUR STORY IN A MOMENT…

After posting diligently about the San Francisco hills, I’ve taken a quick break and will get back to them later this week.

Things have been busy; my workouts have been great and I’ve been running well. My downfall comes with eating. I eat healthy, just as I always have, but losing weight is difficult. Combine that with the rare occasion when I have a cheat meal and I gain all my weight back. I’ve realized that I need to cut my portions back from what I used to eat. Even with all the workouts and running, I simply cannot eat as much as I used to eat. Such are the ways of getting older.

But giving up is not an option and if I continue to MOVE FORWARD, I will lose the weight I desire and reach my goals.

Have great workouts and continue MOVING FOWARD!!

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Part of the trail in Golden Gate Park

 

47 HILLS – PART 5 CATHEDRAL HILL

At the 43rd tallest hill, Cathedral Hill is one of the most noticeable hills in San Francisco. If you’ve spent any time in SF, you’ve traveled on Geary past it. At 206 feet, it isn’t very high, yet the views are pretty good. My after work run around Gough Street and Japantown just down the street was a lovely way to see the hill.

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The busy corner of Geary & Gough (you can see Downtown in the distance)

Some say Saint Mary’s Cathedral looks like a washing machine, earning it the name the “Our Lady of Maytag”. The roof is designed to reflect a cross if seen from above and inside is quite impressive.

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St Mary’s

I can’t wait to see what the 42nd hill is!

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Geary Street west down Cathedral Hill

Keep Moving Forward!

47 HILLS – PART 4 COLLEGE HILL

For a couple of weeks, I battled IT band problems. It kept me away from running for over a week, during which I stretched and walked and still managed to get to the gym. It was hard, because both my legs were letting me know I had to do a lot of extra work to keep running.

And so I will! I will keep going to the YMCA. I will keep doing the stretches, the leg strengthening exercises, squats, planks and lunges I must in order to run.

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The Top of College Hill

This past Sunday, I got back on the road and continued my 47 HILLS story for my blog.

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Looking up College Hill

College Hill is the 44th highest hill in San Francisco. It’s so unremarkable that you’ve probably never noticed it, ever, even after riding by it a hundred times on the MUNI #14. I didn’t even think of it as a hill, yet when I ran up it Sunday, you bet it’s a hill! It sits in the Outer Mission area, just south of Glen Park to the east of the Excelsior, near the turn off for Highway 280. There are a few good restaurants in the area and just a mile or two down Mission is where all the action starts, so this is a fairly sleepy part of town.

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Neighborhood businesses on Mission at College Hill

It hasn’t changed much in the last few years which is nice and Glen Park BART just up the street makes this a convenient place to live for quick access to Downtown.

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The view down College Hill west

After running around the area a little bit, I’m happy to saw my legs feel great and I can’t wait to run some more!

Keep Moving Forward!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Historic plaque

Keep moving forward!

PEACE OF MIND

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!