Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Running in Oakland

This past weekend was a long, holiday weekend, which afforded a great opportunity for the Boyfriend and I to visit a friend in Oakland, CA.  He graduated from the same PhD program we are in, which is how we know him, and now he is working for the Man out in Cali.  We bought some cheap tickets on JetBlue and enjoyed a direct flight to and from SFO.  Our initial plan was to head to Tahoe for some skiing and boarding, but alas the winter has not been agreeable to those who love snow sports!  Tahoe has received negligible snow fall this season and the ski areas have had nearly daily highs in the 60s.  Definitely not conducive to skiing.  We skipped it and decided to do other, fun Bay Area stuff instead.

While I had previously visited the Bay Area (only briefly), it was the Boyfriend's first time.  We did lots of sight-seeing in San Francisco, ate good food, hiked the Marin Headlands, walked around a lot, went wine tasting in Sonoma, explored downtown Oakland, and rode the BART extensively.  We were gifted with four beautiful, sunny days with clear skies, which was very nice because we were outside A LOT.  No vacation is complete without some running (of course) so I also slipped in runs on three of the four days I was in Oakland.  Because of our friend's proximity to it, I found myself running around Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland.  This lake is actually a tidal lagoon from the bay, and therefore salt water. There is a path all the way around and one loop is 3.1-3.5 miles (depending on the exact paths you choose).  I was a fan of Lake Merritt for two reasons, 1) the scenery is absolutely gorgeous and 2) it is a safe place to run without traffic intersections.  I would highly recommend it for any visitors to Oakland.  The lake is adjacent to a lot of beautiful municipal buildings and churches, and there are green parks lining much of the shore.

I also enjoyed running in the dry, crisp and cool mornings.  Oakland definitely has a dry climate, and the difference was stark compared to swampy Austin.  Furthermore, the mornings were always cool (35-40F), which is a very nice running temperature for me.  On our last day there, I even got the Boyfriend to run 4.5 miles with me around the lake, and it was a very nice treat to have him come along!

Back in Austin, which means back to my usual (i.e. boring) running routes.  The weather is fluctuating between cold and damp and warm and humid.  I guess if everyday was like a vacation, we wouldn't need  travel to take a break!