There are a lot of reasons that I run—to channel my Type A personality into something healthy, to stay fit, have fun, I enjoy racing… but mostly, I love that running lets me see things that “normal” people might miss and that it gives me time to reflect on things much bigger than the minutia of each day.
I had to go to San Francisco for work last night and, conveniently, had a meeting near SF this morning, so I spent the night. I had a workout on the schedule, but it was a tempo pace workout so I didn’t need a track. After consulting with Aron and my friend Julia, I planned to run along the Embarcadero in San Francisco.
From time to time, like everyone else, I get sick of waking up at 5:30am to get my miles in before the responsibilities of real life start. It’s tiring, it’s cold, it’s dark… But every once in awhile, if you’re lucky, you are rewarded with something spectacular that keeps you coming back for more. This morning, I got a little reward.
I headed down Market street, passed the Federal Reserve and ended up near the Ferry Building and ran along the water in San Francisco. It was still dark and San Francisco felt a little bit mysterious. Like the city was still sleeping and I was intruding on its morning routine.
The views were spectacular—the Bay Bridge was lit up and glowing and I was treated to a quick tour of SF’s famous sights. As I ran I just kept reminding myself to soak it in—the smell of the bay, the sourdough bread rising (and oh the smell of those sweet sweet carbs was calling to me), the sound of the fisherman slapping their catches from buckets to the restaurants, the seals… I just loved it.
After the Bay Bridge I ran through the Pier 39 area, to Ghiradelli Square and up a hill to the Golden Gate. Although I could have been done I thought to myself, “what the heck!” and went ahead and jogged myself across the bridge and back. As I was coming back, the sun peaked over the fog for a brief moment and I got to see it rise over the San Francisco Bay. It was amazing. I don’t talk about faith much here, but it was just like God said to me, “I made this morning for you. Enjoy this—when you woke up this morning I knew you’d love it.” And I did.
Even though I’ve been to San Francisco many, many times there was something special about seeing the City by the Bay on foot, with no one around.
And although the workout went well and I hit my paces for a solid 9 miles this morning, that’s not important. I was reminded, as I often am, that what we do is a privilege. Right now I know a few people who have been in terrible accidents, are injured or for whatever reason just can’t run. They honestly cannot do what we do. They don’t get to see the sun rise over the bridge or smell the bay before anyone else or feel their heart thumping in their chest while sweat pours off their head. They don’t get to start their work day knowing that they’ve seen things no one else has or pushed their body to a new limit. Watching their struggle reminds me that we have legs and lungs and muscles that work—and that’s a miracle.
And that, my friends, is why I run.