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Life is a roller coaster ride
Time turns the wheel and love collides
Faith is believing you can close your eyes and touch the sky
So shine while you have the chance to shine
Laugh even when you want to cry
Hold on tight to what you feel inside and ride

Lyrics to “The Ride” by Martina McBride
Kicking off a New Season in San Francisco

Kicking off a New Season in San Francisco

Today is officially the last day of summer and the first day of Fall.  A beautiful time for me and a wonderful time in San Francisco.  I believe if Mark Twain had stayed for the Fall, his famous quote would have read, “The coldest Winter I ever spent was the Summer I spent in San Francisco, but the warmth of its Fall Sunny Days and Foggy nights give the city it’s charm the makes it so beautiful.”

This is now the time to enjoy its 40 hills, its 49 square mile (some say its officially47) and some of its over 3000 wonderful restaurants.  Tourists are gone, the weather is at its best, and if you want to venture up to the Napa wine country, it is time to see the Fall crush of the grapes which many say is the best time to visit.

Someone asked me recently, “What is with the midnight runs?” They really aren’t at midnight, but I have to admit they are later than most people run.  They are also somewhat of a sore point with my wife as she doesn’t like my running in dark clothes with no identification on me.  The truth of the matter is that while I am running sparsely populated streets at night, I do run a pretty regular route, I run on sidewalks and even some of the parking valets around know my schedule well enough to tell me if I’m running late, early or slow.  Last night I was even able to tell the valets at Spruce Restaurant the score of the late night ESPN game.

Running the streets of San Francisco is where I do my best thinking.  Sometimes those nagging issues you’ve been dealing with for days or weeks just somehow find a solution at mile #2 when you’ve got that lactic acid building  in your leg, but you stretch it out running up the steep incline on Upper Fillmore imagining you are Rocky only to find Gino’s liquor store and the last patrons of Jackson Fillmore coming out of the trattoria with sated appetites instead of a big statue at the top of the stairs overlooking Philadelphia.

It is my favorite time to run in San Franciso.  The end of summer in San Francisco usually means our hottest days are coming.  It  means nights filled with low lying wispy fog that drenches your face during your runs.  It also means those deep fog horns blaring throughout the night.  During the day the fog blows out to sea and the days are filled with 80 degree weather. My dad used to call this fog, San Francisco’s natural air conditioner.  It is so refreshing and almost is like our Spring in many ways.  In fact with baseball season ending and football season beginning, it is like a whole new season, especially in San Francisco, home of the 5 time champion 49ers.  Growing up going to games with my dad it was the time of hope and new beginnings.  To me it still is that way.  Now it’s with my own son.

Running the streets of San Francisco, with foghorns blaring I just smile to myself thinking about the great time I had at the ballpark with my son earlier in the day, introducing him to the people who have sat around us in the same seats for 30 years.  The same people who gave me cookies and milk when I was his age now give them to my son.  My son has no clue how he’s just living my life from 30 years ago.  Cheering on the 49ers, high fiving strangers after a great play and eating terrible food that give you a stomach ache when you get home.   It’s a cyclical pattern in life and yet it is a new beginning.

I can look back 30 years, but these days while I celebrate a year since my wife’s breast cancer surgery, I also look back a year when I was playing nurse to my recovering wife.  It still isn’t over with her pending surgery coming.  This will again hopefully be the last surgery for a while.  This is one cycle I don’t want to have repeat itself.  A year can make a huge difference both good and bad.  There is no doubt in my mind that my wife and I are stronger than we were before.

So back to my running, I’m not an extremely spiritual person as  I’ll go to church for special occasions, but running has been my place of worship and my confessional.  Each run is my own search for the truth.  I don’t run with others, justw ith my thoughts.  It is where I ask myself if I truly believe. It is where I push myself and question my actions and where I look for the answer to many of life’s questions.  It is my solitude that allow me to begin a new day every day with renewed energy.  There is a running commercial where the person has to get through that first mile before they reach that special runner’s place.  Yes, that the runner’s high.   It is true for me like many.  I feel better after an exhausting run that before I left.  San Francisco has a part in that.  It is that friend that is with me on every run.  Its streets are the paths in life that I go over time and again.  Yes Fall is here in San Francisco and my motivation is higher than ever.