Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best Running Vacation Ever!

So, this is a really long post. I have a habit of wanting to remember every single detail from everywhere I go and my memory is about as good as a squirrel’s, on a good day, so I need to write it all out.  I have been to San Francisco 3 times but every visit provides even better memories!


***

We bid farewell to our favorite city, San Francisco. I am writing this from the passenger seat of Angela’s little Chevy as we drive all the way back to San Diego. [UPDATE: It took a whopping 12 hours to get home due to traffic!]  We are going to stop at a 24 Hour Fitness to go for a run because we’ve been stuck in this car all day. Traffic was horrendous – way worse than anticipated. We need to get out and stretch our legs … and burn off some of the 5 lbs of candy we’ve eaten on this road trip.

Where do I begin with our perfect running mini-vacation?  Every single day involved exploration, running, and plenty of eating.

We spent Thursday night in Carmel, which is about 45 minutes north of Big Sur and 2 ½ hours south of San Francisco. It took us over 8 hours to get there so we were ready to sleep the instant we arrived at our hotel at 10pm. We showered and snuggled into our fancy robes and before long we were fast asleep in our luxurious king size bed, our heads happy on their fluffy pillows and our bodies thankful for the expensive mattress.

The next morning we took our first run in Monterey Bay after breakfast. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so beautiful. We got extremely lucky with the trail we chose (the Pacific Grove Coastal Recreation Trail) as it was all crushed gravel along the bay and the ocean. We probably stopped 10 times to soak in the view and take a few pictures. When I run somewhere that beautiful I can’t stop smiling. I occasionally leap like a child and scream with excitement when something really astounding comes into view, like the whale that a nice couple pointed out to us. It was incredible and we almost missed it.



We were so at peace out there surrounded by the ocean and the colorful plants. The trails were far from crowded, allowing us to feel like it was just us at times. We walked down to a private little beach area and breathed it all in.

Monterey is quaint and peaceful with no shortage of charming coffee shops and cafes. The kind of place I’d love to retire.


We headed up to San Francisco after our run in Monterey Bay. We rented a super chic apartment in the Mission District, adjacent to Dolores Park and just a couple blocks from the Castro. The location was perfect and the apartment was what I hope to one day attain. Our San Francisco run was from Crissy Field over the Golden Gate Bridge and back. This route is chock full of runners and dogs. I was shocked at how many people run with their dogs off of leashes. I’ve never seen such happy pups! San Francisco dogs are probably some of the fittest dogs out there. Even the old labs were chasing after their owners at a faster pace than the two of us. I was very impressed.



Later that night, we went ice-skating down at the Embarcadero and I only fell once.  It was pretty darn romantic, if I do say so myself. 

Although I’ve been to San Francisco before, I’d never gone out of the way to visit Muir Woods, until now. We decided to hit up the trails on Christmas day. I am so glad we finally did. The size of the trees makes you feel so tiny and insignificant. I’ve never seen anything so large and it blew my mind. We quietly took it all in and did a nice little hike through the trees.



Christmas night involved take-out thai and finally some lazy time on the couch watching Sex and the City and playing games.

It was a quick trip but we packed it full of so much fun and we soaked up so many beautiful sights that it truly felt like a vacation. Our last run will be on treadmills side-by-side at a random gym along the way home, not nearly as exciting as our other running adventures.

While we missed our families back in Illinois, it was so nice to be in our favorite city on Christmas. San Francisco feels like home and hopefully one day, in the distant future, it will be.

37 comments:

  1. Wow! Sounds like an amazing trip. We were in San Francisco last November and it was BEAUTIFUL. I didn't go running, but my husband did -- he ran right up one of those big city hills (at least he says he did). Drat, I can't remember the name of it now ... just googled it ... Nob Hill!
    Take care.

    ❀Barbara❀
    My Running Shortz

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  2. Oh my goodness....I am so so incredibly jealous! That is incredible and I am so happy that you two go to do this together. Those views are incredible! I think Billy and I will have to copy your idea!

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  3. What a wonderful trip for you both. You just traced a road trip I took countless times as a kid (lots of family all over CA). Monterey is a magic place for me, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Pick ups copy on Cannery Row when you get a chance and enjoy some Steinbeck!

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  4. So wonderful!! And so beautiful...you and the scenery!

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  5. Beautiful!!!

    I love the first picture!!!

    SF is my kind of place! I wish I could live there!!!

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  6. Okay, this sounds so amazing (and that pic of you running with the ocean behind you - AHHH) - you are making me plan out in my head our next family vacation. Do you think what you did (Carmel, San Fran) would be a good trip for a family? We've never done CA at all. We'd probably fly in somewhere and rent a car and explore. The kids are old enough that we could leave them and go on some runs (for sure that one you did on the Pacific Grove trail). Amazing. Thanks for sharing, looks like the most wonderful trip.

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  7. What an AMAZING trip! That looks amazing. X

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  8. looks like a wonderful time! can't wait to one day visit.

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