Friday, November 19, 2010

Training Log - Thursday, November 18, 2010 (San Francisco, California)

What a fantastic afternoon for a training run. No cloud in the sky and just the right temps not to get hot during the run. I had the opportunity to squeeze in a great run during my business trip. I managed to convince Gerry and Mike, two colleauges from Ireland, to accompany me for part of this great run. I ended up running from Fisherman's Wharf to and across the Golden Gate Bridge and back for a total of close to 12 miles. It took close to two hours, but it was well worth it. Considering the many times I stopped to take pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, the 10 minute pace was acceptable to me. Thank goodness to the hotel concierge, who was certain it was only a mere 2.5 miles to the bridge. If Mike had known the real distance (close to 4.5 miles) he would probably have told me to "buzz off" and to go by myself. However, he did come along and made it to the bottom of the bridge, after a nice climb through Fort Mason and a beautiful run along the beach of San Francisco. Until today, I didn't even know that there were beaches along the bay (see below).


The run literally had a little bit of everything, roads, trails, climbs, stairs, tunnels, and a magnificent bridge section, of course. I managed to get some great shots of the different San Francisco landmarks along the way. Running through Fort Mason National Park (see below), the different marinas, the Presidio, and Fort Point (by accident) was a lot of fun and gave me a lot of different views of the city and its sights.


Aparently, it helps to pay attention so you dont miss a turn. As a result, we ended up at Fort Point, where a nice police officer informed us to turn around to get to the trailhead leading up to the Golden Gate Bridge. Otherwise, we would be arrested for trespassing a secured area and who wants that, right? Anyway, after this little half mile detour, we finally found the trailhead leading up to the bridge. At this point, Mike decided he had had enough "fun" for the day and turned around to head back to the hotel. I proceeded up some wooden stairs, which induced a brief Laurel Valley flashback, followed by some nice uphill trail that snaked its way up the hillside. At one point, I actually had to duck to run through a short tunnel before arriving at the South end of the bridge (see below).



After taking in the sight for a moment (see below, Fort Point is in the bottom left corner of the picture), I proceeded to run across the bridge for a 3.5 mile out and back section that was both breathtaking and a little scary at the same time.


Half way across the bridge, Gerry was crossing my paths as he was on his way back to the South end. He had opted not to trust the hotel concierge and instead hailed a cab that took him to the bridge, allowing him to have all the fun with half the effort;-) Just kidding, well done Gerry. Around this time, I also noticed a plaque with an interesting inscription describing the history and people involved in building this magnificent bridge (see below).


While I am not really scared of heights, running along the edge of the bridge with the water hundreds of feet below was imposing to say the least. I kept thinking about the engineering effort it took to build this bridge and the maintenance required to keep it safe. I'm gonna have to do some reading on Wikipedia to brush up on my GG Bridge history.

On the way back, I decided to really put it in cruise control and just take a break when needed to take pictures (The image below shows one of the beautiful ships docked at one of the marinas in San Francisco. Alcatraz is in the pictured in the background).


While pictures are a great way to remember the sights you've seen and to share this with others, they don't replace the actual opportunity to be there and take it in first hand. If you ever get to do this run, I strongly suggest you bring your camera. Otherwise, you"ll have to copy my pictures and what fun is that;-)

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