Runs around the world #20

San Francisco, USA

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Where I’m staying in San Francisco is really close to The Golden Gate Park. As I’ve found everywhere, parks are [mostly] a runners heaven, and tend to be full of people doing all kinds of fitness-ey things. This one was no different; lots of walkers, runners, cyclists. OK, so there were also a lot of homeless people and people sat smoking weed, but this is San Francisco, where that seems to be normal pretty much all over.

If you know anything about San Francisco, it’s probably that it’s hilly. Now, when back in the UK, I didn’t mind hills really. I’d got used to running up them. I used to run home, which was up the top of a hill. I used to do hill sprints up Steep Hill in Lincoln (not easy, but I used to do them). I’m not as fit as I was, I’ve mentioned that before. I’ve not done as much running, and although I climbed a fair few mountains in New Zealand, it doesn’t mean they were easy (or that I enjoyed them). And I certainly didn’t run up any mountains in NZ (although I did run down one). Luckily for this temporarily lazy runner, the park is pretty flat.

So, I did a lovely little round route of 4 miles. From where I was staying, I ran down the hill (oh yes, I’m staying on a hill) to the park, through and round a bit of the park, then back up the hill. I hadn’t actually planned on running back up the hill, but I was nearly at 4 miles and I needed to get to a round figure on my runkeeper stats. I’m sure most runners can identify with this slight OCD-ness.

The famous San Francisco fog was around this particular morning, but there was also a bit of sunshine. But not too hot. Perfect for running really. I’d not run for probably about a week, and I’d been a bit lazy in Auckland and dipped out of going for a run with Ross one morning, and so really had to force myself to go here, but once I’d got going I remembered why I loved running. It felt great and I just enjoyed the pure beauty of running in a new place, not really knowing where I was going, just enjoying the new views and surroundings.

Whenever I run in a place with a lot of other people, especially people going the other way, I always feel tempted to high five them. I thought about it a lot on this run. I was in America after all, surely out of all the places I’ve been, this is the place for it? But, I chickened out, despite feeling mildly hyper/giddy/hysterical (it’s those endorphins you know) as everyone coming the other way just looked SUPER serious. Still should have just done it. I did chat to a bloke who offered to take my picture when he saw me taking a selfie after I’d finished. He then told me about some more trails up in the hills where there was poison oak. Not sure there was the need to lift his shorts up to show me where it had got him, but hey, this is San Francisco. Everything and anything goes.

I’m still surprised I can run 4 miles. I feel like I’ve hardly run at all over the last few months, so I’m glad there’s still something left in there. I feel really quite unfit so it’s always a nice feeling to have churned out just over 4 miles quite easily (including ending a run on a bloody steep hill). As I come to the end of my trip, I CANNOT wait to ramp it up now. I’m chomping at the bit. I do need to sort out my damaged shoulder though, but hey, I can still run, and that’s enough for now.

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Fitness frenzy.

Classes at the Sports Centre finished today for the summer, and I still had two passes left that I’d already paid for. So I decided to have a bit of a fitness frenzy and go for Boot Camp then Zumba back to back, after a short run with the ICT URC (ICT Unofficial Running Club). However, it didn’t quite work out like that. A meeting overran which mean URC never happened. So, I decided to go for a run after. But I got to the Sports Centre to find Boot Camp wasn’t on because there wasn’t enough people. So, I changed my mind and decided to do Zumba then a Spinning class. So I had a bit of time to kill, the rain was pouring so I decided to go on the treadmill in the gym to do a little run. BIG mistake. Oh my word running on a treadmill is SO BORING. The only time I’ve done it is when I used to go to the gym YEARS ago before I started running. I now know why I love running outdoors so much and why people call it the Dreadmill.

It’s DULL; there’s naff all to look at. It’s HOT; there must have been air con but I miss the breeze of outside on my face. There’s lots of people around and I don’t like just running next to someone and not talking. We were all plugged into the TV’s like robots. Erk. I’ll not be doing it again for a long while. Only if I really, really, really have to.

Zumba was fun but I don’t love it. I do it though, but I do it badly. I struggle to follow the steps because I have the co-ordination of a drunken sailor at the end of a weekend bender. I just can’t get my feet to move in the same way as the instructor, no matter how hard I try, and so most of the time I just end up doing my own thing, occasionally catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror and trying not to cringe. I look BAD. I think I need to be drunk to have any kind of rhythm.

I love spinning though, I haven’t been enough this year. I’d not been to this particular instructor’s class before. It was hard, especially after having just knocked out a 5km run and an hour of Zumba. But it was good. I like hard things. Makes me work. What’s the point in doing exercise if you don’t push yourself. Like the people that go to the gym and leave looking exactly the same as when they went. I’m never going to pull at the gym because I tend to leave looking like a big red sweaty mess, but, let’s face it, that’s not why I go. As weird as it sounds, there’s something quite satisfying about feeling the sweat pouring off/down your body. To quote a well known phrase that I see all over the place; sweat is fat crying. I worked hard, take THAT body fat and stick it up your ****.

I think I might sleep well tonight.