It was foolish to tackle a seven-mile course for what was pretty much my first run of the year, but it was great to get out and run. I took lots of walkbreakssomething I wouldn’t ever have done a few years ago. But a few years ago I wasn’t over 200 pounds and a few years ago was before I broke my foot. At this point, just getting out there is a victory.
That is itself a strong argument that it was foolish to go all the way to the Ferry Building. The trouble with that line of thinking is that shorter distances aren’t as fun. That has nothing to do with feeling tough for handling a longer distance. Even when I was in my best shape it took me a couple miles just to get warmed up and to get into a rhythm. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like 5K races. A mile or two miles in I’d still be complaining about everything hurting and how difficult it was to keep going. A 3.1 mile race meant that just after I’d get smoothed out and really start to enjoy the run, it would be all over.
When I got to the point where I should have turned around, I was feeling good and wanted to keep going. It meant running along the Embarcadero and seeing everyone else running, watching the waves on the water in the Bay. It meant having the running experience that I used to enjoy. It was a lot slower that I used to be, but the scenery was the same.
When I did turn around underneath the clock tower of the Ferry Building, I started walking back to give myself a rest. Though I haven’t been an actual club member in years, I wore my old GGTC jersey for old times’ sake and because it has pockets in the back like a cycling jersey, making it easy to stash my ID and phone. I hadn’t walked as far as Cupid’s Span when I heard a voice say, «hey, keep going Golden Gate!»
That got me to get moving again. The fellow who had voiced his encouragement spoke with an Australian accent. He kept a very reasonable pace as we chatted down the length of the Embarcadero to AT&T Park. I don’t know whether he was going slowly for my sake but it was good to have the company and the even pace. It was runners’ smalltalkupcoming races, past injuries, how much of it all is mental and so on. Then at the Lefty O’Doul Bridge we shook hands and I went across the bridge while my temporary running partner turned North towards the Willie Mays statue.
That’s what all runs ought to be. A little more distance than is wise, great scenery, and some moral support along the way. Unfortunately, my knees were protesting for the next few days, which meant that the extra distance got in the way of turning the run into the beginning of a habit. As great a day as it was, I really do have to stick to shorter runs and walks so that I can keep them going with greater frequency.