san francisco

Running the 47 – #38 Washington Heights

It’s been a while since I’ve written or even ran on the hills of San Francisco. You thought I forgot about them, didn’t you? Well, no, I did not. I did have to take some time away from it, though, so rethink what I wanted to do because the whole naming them Part 1, 2 etc wasn’t working so well.

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View of Downtown

It’s back now and I hope to bring you at least one hill per week, or close to that. I can’t promise I’ll have one every week, but it will be more often than it has been. And they will be called “Running the 47”. A much better name, don’t you think?

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Looking up on Anza

This week, I went west to the Outer Richmond. Washington Heights encircles the blocks of Geary Blvd, 28th Ave, Cabrillo St and 34th Ave. From the top at Washington High School during the times it is clear such as this morning (and that is never a given), the views are really nice.

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Looking north towards the Marin Headlands

At 260 feet high, the hills are elevating. I had to walk up one block of Anza it was quite steep, but the rest was very runable. The area is quite and residential. The birds were chirping and just a couple blocks from Golden Gate Park, it’s a lovely area.

My run continued down through the park and I finished back at home. It’s been a good day! Cheers!

Keep moving forward!

 

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ALOHA 10K

To say that the past few weeks have been trying would be an understatement. One by one, things have happened in my life and they set my goals back. But that doesn’t mean that my goals are gone.

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Daybreak

No freakin way.

Sometimes things take a little longer than expected, I am impatient, after all. I seldom plan for unseen surprise events, like sickness or emergency bills or very, very, very bad days. But life goes on as does the desires to reach my dreams.

Last week I suffered through an eye infection. My left eye was swollen and hurt and I couldn’t see too well. I stayed home from work and got it checked out. Luckily it wasn’t too terrible and eventually got better. But between being sick and lethargic, my fitness had dropped. I am now working at getting back to where I was and then go far beyond.

I made a pledge with myself to not use my credit cards and I have kept it for nearly two months now. This means, though, that I won’t be signed up for a lot of races or buying the cool gear I want. Electrolyte mixes and energy food will be made at home and the future races I do sign up for will be the ones that really matter.

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Cute Medal!

Sunday was my first Aloha race and I’m very glad I did it. Both the 5k and the 10k course was the same, with the 10k course, being a double loop. It started in front of Sports Basement in the Presidio near Chrissy Field and ended on the field itself.

Weather has been very warm lately, which is typical for Northern California in late September. Hot days and cool nights are lovely. I arrived at the Presidio before the break of dawn and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise. Participants started arriving. Many were dressed in Hawaiian grass skirts and Hawaiian shirts. There were dog entries in the 5k, so plenty of pups were on hand as well as kids. It was a very festive, fun atmosphere.

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Can’t beat this view!!

Both the 5k and 10k started promptly at 8:00am. I reside towards the Back of the Pack, so there I was for the whole race. I didn’t PR or have my worst time and I didn’t finish DFL (Dead F**king Last). I maintained a decent pace and enjoyed the course. How could I not with such beautiful surroundings?

The race is so well coordinated and the volunteers were top notch. I will do this one again!

Keep Moving Forward!

47 Hills Part 7 – Irish Hill

Irish Hill is or WAS the 39th tallest hill in San Francisco. At 250 feet, it doesn’t seem very tall, but at one point it was and then it disappeared, seemingly overnight.

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Here is what used to be Irish Hill (RIP)

Sitting in the Dogpatch area of San Francisco, this area has a long history. In the 1800s, it was an industrial neighborhood, and the city made quick work of leveling many of the hills. So, Irish Hill had to go to make space for some sort of factory. It sits at Illinois Avenue and 18th Street, just east of 3rd Street. Union Iron Works had a big mill around there and also within the vicinity were several shack-type hotels for the workers.

Even though the hill had disappeared the area was known as Irish Hill for a long time. The area was poor and filled with mud. The city never bothered to build wooden sidewalks there and it was known for the blue-colored mud permeating everything. Gangs ran everything, from the saloons to collecting hotel rent and that led to The Blue Mud Wars in the 1880s in which rival gangs fought bitterly for control of the area.

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The shipping yards across from Irish Hill

Now, the only battles are amongst rival real estate agents. Outrageously-priced condos are up everywhere, including where Irish Hill once stood. There is no trace of the where the hill once was and anyone who remembers it is probably long gone.

I took my run through this area, one I am quite familiar with, as it is a really fun place to run, and took a few pictures of where I thought the hill would have been. The private security guard of the condo asked me what I was doing, and I told him about the history of the place. He was surprised. No one knows anything about the south part of San Francisco.

In fact, even just a few years ago, this part of the Dogpatch/Potrero was desolate. Except for The Ramp and The Mission Rock restaurants, this area didn’t have a lot to offer near the water. But this is one of the few parts of San Francisco available to grow outward. So there is no choice.

And it was a lovely morning. I feel grateful to see such a wonderful sunrise.

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Now THAT’S a sunrise!

During my run, my IT band bothered me more than I liked. I decided to incorporate more yoga into my daily routine to see if this helps. I’m going to try everything I can. Quitting running for two months didn’t help, so if I do stop running, it will have to be for a much longer time and I’m not ready to do that. So, yoga it is!

I will stay positive and hope this helps!

Cheers! Keep Moving Forward!

 

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!

 

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 Part 2 – #46 Mint Hill

The Bay Area is known for being bone dry from mid-May until Mid-October. So today, when it rained, just a little, we were a little surprised. It wasn’t cold, just the usual low 60s, the same it would be if it was foggy and windy, but rain!!

Mint Hill is 150 feet. It is where the US Mint – San Francisco is located, hence the name. This is the second Mint in SF, the first is at 5th Street near Mission. It is open to the public and presents many exhibits throughout the year. The working mint at Mint Hill is closed as produces coins. For more information on the Mint, you can check out the government’s website: www.usmint.gov

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Mint Hill and the active US Mint Building

Since the hill isn’t very big, it only takes about a block’s uphill walking to get to the top, it is at the bottom of the list of SF hills. But the best part about Mint Hill is the neighborhood. If you walk up Buchanan Street from Market Street, check out Hermann, Webster and Waller Streets. It’s a lovely neighborhood for walking, running or just to look at pretty houses. The streets aren’t clogged with cars either. It’s a nice neighborhood.

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Victorian treasure in the neighborhood

Now that I’ve found it, this won’t be my last run here.

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Waller Street Steps

As I work up the list, the hills will get bigger! Keep an eye out for Hill #45 and check out my first post on the SF Hills, Hill #47 – Rincon Hill.

Keep moving forward!