Running Overseas

April 18, 2009 at 6:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
photo from keltoncourt

photo from keltoncourt

One of the pleasures of going on a business trip is running overseas. Everyone says that variety is the spice of life and running new routes is always great.

Oakland has always been a regular destination for my business trips. The city has a reputation of being dangerous. I am always told to stick close to Chinatown which is the safe side of the town.

Running usually takes me to Lake Merrit. I usually start my run from Marriot Oakland and go down Broadway and right at 14th Street all the way to Lake Merrit. The loop around lake Merrit is reputedly 3 miles at its perimeter according to Runners World. It is a relatively flat route. You have ducks and geese roaming around and rowing teams practicing in the morning. There are a lot of runners both serious and beginners whom I see running around the lake.

I usually suffer at the start because of the cold weather. My tropical muscles and joints take longer than normal to warm up. Stopping and stretching is done quickly because I might freeze. I woud love to run later in the day when it is a bit warmer but it is a business trip and work is the priority.

When it gets too cold or too dark I usually end up running in the treadmill.

I flew into SFO last week and proceeded straight to the hotel. I expected this to be my last run in the area since our regional office would be moving to another state some time later this year. I made it a point to try and get some sleep so I could run around Lake Merrit. I was foiled many times by jetlag, office meetings and meals with relatives and friends.

I did manage to runs around Lake Merrit. It was a cold week because of strong winds coming in from the sea. In fact they expected snow in the Tahoe area and temperatures of 41-57 in Oakland. I pulled out my Hind running pants, put on two layers on my top and tucked my Asics running gloves into my pockets. I was ready and I would not be denied.

I was tempted to turn around and go to the gym when I felt the cold bitter wind as I stepped out of the hotel. I slowly went to a trot and I felt stronger and cooler winds blow as I crossed the streets. The tall buildings acted as wind breakers and funneled the wind through the empty streets.

The cold weather and quiet streets only magnified each painful step as a I slowly tried to warm up. Each thud of my foot would thunder up my bones to my brain bringing along with it the creaking pain as I stretched my cold brittle tendons, ligaments and muscles. I couldn’t wait to start sweating. It was more than half a mile to get to the lake and even after getting there I felt I would never warm up.

Dirt Path near Ferry Land

Dirt Path near Ferry Land

Getting to the lake I saw one, two, three and more people running. Yes, I suddenly felt at home. Some of them were wearing heavy jackets and other shirt and shorts while others had sleek running tights and technical running shirts. This was a great place to run for all sorts of runners. I decided to run counter clockwise. It was a big lake and at the distance seemed overwhelming at the start. Too many runners were running clockwise and I felt like a fish swimming against the tide. The lakeside pathway was also going through some improvements and we had to run by the temporary pathways which in sometimes snaked by the road.

The view of the lake with a team of scullers rowing at the center at dawn was a treat. I slowly started to sweat as I found a nice rhythm. Too bad I had an early morning meeting and I would have time only for one round.

Tomorrow I will plan to run around the lake twice and run clockwise for a change.

No, I will not take home memories of Oakland as a dangerous city. I will take home home memories of my wonderful morning runs in Lake Merrit at the center of Oakland with silhouette of rowers at the middle of the lake as the sun rises to a new and glorious morning.


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