For me, it is a combination of the two. At times, I’ll be running and get lost in watching a dog playing in the grass and think about how Mika would love to be out there with me; other times, I’ll see another runner maybe a quarter mile in front of me and focus on trying to catch up to them.
This past Saturday, I was along the Embarcadero running 13 miles with a couple friends. Six of those 13 miles were along the Embarcadero (roughly three miles each way as an out and back). With our run starting at 8am, the foot traffic was light coming through Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 and picked up a little near the Ferry Building (image above with nice stretch of the Emarcadero). Due to the Farmers Market, there were plenty of people along the way with the “Look at all the runners out today” faces, a common look among early morning tourists.
On the way back from the park heading towards the Marina, I tend to enjoy the views of Coit Tower, Alcatraz, and the natural skyline of downtown San Francisco. Sure you can view these things on the way to the park, but I like to divide the ‘out and back’ into 2 different experiences. Either way, it is a fantastic 3 or 6 mile stretch that includes a number of visual stimuli and a great running environment with wide sidewalks to allow for the number of runners, walkers, cyclists, roller-bladers and tourists all enjoying the scenery in their own special way… perhaps for the first time.