What I Think About When I Am Running

Over the weekend, having had a couple of sunny mornings out on the bike, I planned to go for a run on Sunday, when it was forecast to rain through the day. I was lucky in that the rain petered out around the time I was aiming to leave, and so motivation was not a problem.
What I noticed, though, as I was thinking about the route I wanted to take, was a familiar disconnect between physical distance and what I would call ‘psychic distance’. I wrote about this in connection with riding last year; right now I am pushing at those boundaries again, having made it out by bike to Fairfax on Thanksgiving morning, allowing me to feel ready to go further in the near future if I get a chance.

In terms of running, I had thought about getting to Mount Davidson. We had a very pleasant roam on Saturday afternoon, up to the top of Twin Peaks, where it was unusually free from wind, and talked about the possibility of revisiting the city’s highest point. There is a fairly direct route from where I live to the summit, via Market and Portola, but I thought I would save that for the return, which left me plotting an outward leg over Diamond Heights and down Glen Canyon. That part I have done enough times to feel totally okay with, but it was the stretch between Bosworth St and the top of Dalewood that added the sense of unknown – as I have noted before. The roads meander around as they climb the southern slopes of the mountain, making it seem much more arduous than it really is, though of course I had already climbed up two long inclines by the time I got there.
It was dramatically misty on the open spaces at the top of the mountain, with no real views, though eventually the looming shadow of the Salesforce building appeared on the horizon. Coming down from the top of Portola, the city stretched out in a wan wintry end-of-afternoon light, with a stream of car headlights marking the city side of the Bay Bridge. From that angle, the city looks pretty small.
And the entire loop took me just over an hour, much as the run to the ridge had the previous weekend, well within my comfort zone after all.

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