A quick trip to the San Francisco Bay Area gave me a chance to keep a new year’s resolution: run when I travel. We spent three days up north and went running every day.
Day one: Lake Merritt, Oakland.
After a day of driving and a good night’s rest, I woke early and ran two miles through Oakland to reach Lake Merritt. Fortunately, I remembered to pack my gloves. Temperatures were in the low 40s, a good deal cooler than Southern California. I ran a brisk three mile loop around the lake just as the sun rose. My run ended with a two mile climb that took away the morning chill.
Day two: Tiburon.
On the other side of the San Francisco Bay, we spent an afternoon in Tiburon. Ruby and I ran the bike path downtown, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. I continued on my own and turned back at Blackie’s Pasture, at the edge of Richardson Bay. I headed home with San Francisco’s skyline in the distance.
Day three: West Ridge Trail, Oakland Hills.
What started out as a short run on my last day turned into an adventure. From the trail head I entered a redwood forest and ran steadily uphill. When I reached the ridge, the trees cleared and I started to loop back. I soon found myself surrounded by more trees and losing elevation in the wrong direction. Five miles of wrong turns and doubling back later, I reached a road that was still a few miles from home.
What was supposed to be a four mile run turned into ten. Not what I was expecting but a great way to end my trip.
Our family traveled to the Pacific Northwest this Summer. I’ve always had trouble fitting in my runs during vacations but this trip was different. My son Alex joined his high school cross country team and has to maintain a weekly mileage count. So we teamed up and explored all of our stops.
Vancouver Harbor: our first run was seven-miler in downtown Vancouver. It was raining but since rain rarely visits LA it felt like a gift. We had an excellent workout. A network of paths surround the bay- leftovers from the 1986 world fair- and we seemed to join all of Vancouver’s runners this morning.
Stanley Park: the next day we headed along the same path in the opposite direction. Our route took us north along the Seawall and into Stanley Park.
Soon we were looking out to the Pacific Ocean and spied Victoria Island in the distance. The fresh air energized us and put some extra spring in our steps.
Vancouver was a perfect city for running although some of the locals cautioned us to test perfection in February…
Seattle: at our next stop we stayed in the Queen Anne neighborhood, a hill just north of downtown with a great view of the skyline:
Since we were on a hill, there was plenty of elevation change and even a few flights of stairs. As in Vancouver we marveled at the green surrounding us. Our run took us mostly through residential streets plus a cemetery and was a great way to explore the city.
Portland: our final destination and another great running city. Portland is compact enough that on our first run we crisscrossed the Willamette river, explored downtown, and made it back home in time for breakfast.
Exploring while running is a great way to understand the character of a place, and Portland’s neighborhoods were very green and a pleasure to run through.
Adding running to our trip made it one of my favorite vacations ever. As a bonus I was able to train with Alex. It won’t be long before he leaves me gasping if I try to keep up with him. From now on I’ll remember to pack my running shoes when I travel.