No vacation, even a mini-vacation, is complete unless I have made sure to take a run. I woke up at a reasonable hour despite the unreasonable hour I went to bed, left my faux-down comforter and faux down extra firm pillows, and got into an elevator full of families headed out to Sea World and the Zoo only to stroll by the valet as if I were just tootling around before picking up my pace. And there I was, running.
Perhaps this is due to my insatiable love of Oregon, but I cannot help but want to compare cities in other states to my favorite Oregon cities. Usually, this does not work out in my favor, since each city has its own unique flavor (it does! Lick the air!), style, and groove. But at I ran through the bottom-most city of California, San Diego, I found myself thinking over and over how much it looked like Portland.
First of all, the city was remarkably clean. I ran through the GasLamp district, and something that was akin to a financial or business district, and the sidewalks were litter free, the streets were litter free, people were stopping at stoplights, and even the trees were trimmed. I have not seen another city with such cleanliness since my days in Portland, which also boasted such a neat and tidy sidewalk that I thought perhaps maids had been hired just for me visit. This made for easy running, as there were less obstacles to overcome and maneuver through.
There was definitely a ripe crop of homelessness blooming, as I see in any city I run through. San Francisco was totally the worst because often the homeless would sleep on edge of the sidewalk by the street in residential districts, which always caught me off guard — I once was about to jaywalk across a street and at the last second saw a man lying there and I leapt over him with my usual lack of grace and almost nose-planted into the ground, and I was so worried I had scared the bejesus out him…only he remained calmly asleep, with a light snore. Anyway, the amount of transient people was off-putting and distressing, and yet they too had a sort of Portland-quality to them. A calm, working through it vibe.
The air definitely was different than other air I have run through lately. It lacked any sort of mugginess, any consideration of condensation. It was breathable. In fact, it was almost not hot. Of course I sweat, but that might have only been due to me being me, and not due to the sunshine. With the flat terrain and the smooth air, I became interested in the San Diego Marathon — I definitely could imagine 26 miles under such nice conditions.
As I headed back to my hotel, I saw a staircase that had caught my eye the night before: the convention center staircase. I’m not one to back down from a flight or two of stairs, and I have been missing my crooked Oakland staircase with palpable heatbeats lately, so I jogged over and did four sets of up and downs at a high pace to work off the access energy (and the guacamole and margaritas from the day before).
My favorite thing about a vacation run? Leaving my towel neatly on the floor after my shower. It feels so wrong, and yet so right.