Moving and Running and Running and Moving

We move tomorrow. I feel “between homes.” The apartment is piled high with boxes. The house has a newly refinished hardwood floor that I haven’t even seen yet and a week’s worth of mail that may or may not be for us.

Tonight is the final push — get the donate-ables donated, the things that need to be returned to friends returned, the “maybe there will be just one more thing for this one” boxes taped up and labeled. I hate this part of the process, where the order of early packing (a box of books! another box of books! all the DVDs! pots and pans!) gives way to the chaos of odds and ends, a book with a spice rack with a swim cap with a record.

I cannot wait to be moved in.

disaster zone

I ran one of my most standard routes on Tuesday morning and didn’t fully realize until later that it was the last time I’d walk out my door and run it. I started running back when we lived at our first San Francisco apartment, but I became a runner when we moved to this neighborhood. For the past four and a half years, I’ve been separated from Golden Gate Park by just two manageable chunks of city: the Panhandle, a flat, pedestrian-and-bike-only pre-park, and the Wiggle, a bike route through a series of winding turns that proves that in this city, the flattest way between any two points is almost certainly not a straight line.

Together, the two segments are almost exactly 1.5 miles. One loop is an out-the-door-and-back 5K. Keep going at the end, and all of the wonders of Golden Gate Park are right there. My mental mile markers have been set for years: 5 miles exactly to the ocean. 10.65 round-trip, if I go up JFK and back MLK. For a 10K, I turn at a particular rock near an overpass; in the last three miles of my first half-marathon, I thought to myself, “it’s just like running home from the rock.” The Wiggle itself, I’ve never loved; too many un-synced stoplights, too much road rage as pedestrians and bikers and drivers (and I’ve been all three) fight for the right-of-way. But I know its contours; I know when a sprint would get me through the Divisadero light and when I should just pull back and enjoy the break, where to turn off if I want to grab coffee, how to pretend like I don’t know the guys outside the paint store were catcalling runners in Spanish.

When I move, the barrier between me and the park will be virtually gone. I think I can count on two fingers the number of stoplights — hell, maybe the number of stopsigns — between me and the closest entrance. I can see it from my stoop. I can be there in two minutes. I’ll have to learn my mile markers all over again, and maybe get used to reversing my loop. Maybe I’ll learn the south side of the park as well as I know the north. I’ll be closer to the trails.

All in all, this move should be a swim-bike-run upgrade. Track workouts can be a normal thing, since I’ll be a cool half-mile warmup away. Eventually my pool-running gym will be my regular gym, and I’ll be able to walk there in less than 10 minutes. I might try biking to work, since the time difference between my bike and train commutes will be negligible. I won’t have to do so much waiting around on shorter runs; I can just hop right in, no worries about the lights turning and adding time pressure to a crunched morning workout. Yoga is a work in progress; we may end up back in the old neighborhood for that. But the platonic ideals of all my other favorite sporty activities will now be just steps outside my door.

I’m still going to miss the Wiggle, though, annoying stopping and bus crossings and all. I’m sure I’ll have new favorite routes before long, recalibrate my landmarks, spend more time running by the ocean. But still — right on Scott, left on Haight, right on Pierce, left on Waller, and so on? Right now, that still feels like coming home.

The Wiggle

4 thoughts on “Moving and Running and Running and Moving

  1. Cheryl says:

    Oh man, Divisadero paint-store catcalling guys! (I live in Hayes Valley and it sounds like our routes are/were very similar to GGP!) Good luck with the move!

  2. Linda says:

    Enjoy all the new adventures. Happy moving day!

  3. Jen says:

    Having just moved last week, I feel your pain. I’ve had to tweak my running routes too. Good luck tomorrow and enjoy your new home!

  4. Angela says:

    I’m glad you’re staying close by because I want to run with you more!

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