Sometimes after you start running, you get addicted. And when you get addicted, sometimes you sign up for too many races. Training for races on a repeated basis means that I often end up having to run while traveling for business or vacation. It turns out that this is one of the running gifts for which I am most grateful.
My favorite runs have been a 10 miler along the gorgeous beach in Ventura; a 12 miler through the fabulous Balboa Park in San Diego after a massive rain that caused swelling streams to ford; and early morning runs on the Mendocino Headlands and at Asilomar. I have run through a cherry blossom-filled park in Baltimore; along the Charles, rife with sailboats, in Boston; into agave at night in the Tucson foothills (with a scar to prove it); along the Cherry Creek path and down to the river in Denver; past empty fields owned by the City of Los Angeles in Bishop (think Chinatown); and through neighborhood flatlands in Fresno. I have been run-sightseeing in Washington DC, taking pictures of all the monuments I wouldn’t have time for otherwise in my one evening free. I see things I would never see and explore places I would never go if I didn’t make the time to run: the sun filtering through an early morning marine layer with seals honking in approval, another person’s way of life told through their backyard.
But in the end, running at home sometimes makes you “stop and congratulate yourself for being smart enough to live in the Bay Area and [run]”. (Well technically I stole this quote from my wonderful cycling coach, but he uses “ride a bike” instead of “run.” I think they’re both great.)
I have run beautiful road miles in Tennessee Valley in the Marin Headlands (in the rain); within Golden Gate Park and the lovely Stow Lake and Strawberry Hill; and through the Presidio, over the bridge, and into Sausalito (again in the rain). The trails of Tilden and Redwood never cease to amaze. And just the other day, I joined a local group’s run at the Berkeley Marina, watching the sun fade over the Marin Headlands across the Bay and the full moon rise over the Berkeley Hills and the UC campanile. That’s why I “run local.”