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Is it Possible to Walk 30+ Miles a Week in San Francisco?

October 02, 2013 3 min read

Last week was incredible. I hit my all time walking record for one day! If you have heard San Francisco is a walking city, you will not be disappointed. I never really understood that until this week. (See below for my daily summary bubbles.)

Natasha Shallbetter

One of the best expieriences of my time in the city was a 2 mile guided run through Bernal Heights with my friend Cassandra. She is a San Francisco transplant from the Pacific Northwest, a long-time friend, world traveler and an avid runner.

The first time we ran together was in July when she visited me at home; it was 94 degrees that day. In that kind of heat, your performance suffers and you have to really want it to complete your route.  It was tough but, put feet to pavement, and she did amazing. One of things that helped prepare her for this kind of extreme was her home turf, what I like to call, Hills Hills Hills.

San Francisco is mostly hills. It's kind of insane. I honestly wasn't sure a run was in the cards for me.  However, she told me my body would adjust to the city and she was right. By Day 3 I was itching to run. I finally got a chance on Saturday. We met up at the BART station and she drove me to a quiet neighborhood. We ran through the densely populated streets and up a hill that, I'll admit, I had to walk up towards the end. Then a flight of stairs, I also had to walk up, as we made for a secluded (by secluded I mean less than 50 people) street that ended in a path to Bernal Heights Park. My lungs gave out twice as we climbed the hill (see photographic proof at the top) but I kept pushing right along with her. The hill winded up at a steep grade until at last we saw the top. From there we were met with a spectacular view and the first drops of an incoming downpour. I imagine, on a clear day you can see the entire city. She pointed out landmarks so I could get oriented  as the rain began to fall harder. THIS was worth the climb. Bernal Heights Park was recommended to Cassandra by her Airbnb host when she first moved to San Francisco.
"I had always liked to run, but I had no idea what this hill had in store for me. I remember getting to the top (slowly, after a lot of walking breaks) on a beautiful and warm San Francisco winter day, in awe of the clear 360° views, and feeling complete happiness with my decision to move to San Francisco."
 Cassandra used the hills and outdoor staircases of the city to build her endurance. She also found more challenging ways to make her way to the park, creating drills for herself along the way.
"I credit my regular Bernal runs as helping to have increased my hiking stamina, lifting my derrière considerably, and honing the ability to conquer any staircase in this city (and there are some staircases of insanity in San Francisco)."

Natasha Shallbetter

Turning around to enjoy the downhill jog the skies opened up. Running in the rain, I think, gives you more energy...we giggled and chatted loudly the whole time. We stopped to take a photo; Cassandra called running in the rain "savage beast-ing" it. We were literally dripping when we stopped to get coffee after we finished.  It was a lot of fun. I have vowed to add some of these insane inclines to my weekly training schedule. We are lucky, there are a few steep hills and outdoor stairs in Spokane but nothing can beat the urban hill training in San Francisco. I look forward to my next run in San Francisco and being more [caption id="attachment_27205" align="aligncenter" width="150"]2:02 Hours, 9,713 Steps 2:02 Hours, 9,713 Steps[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_27206" align="aligncenter" width="150"]2:36 Hours, 12,336 Steps 2:36 Hours, 12,336 Steps[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_27207" align="aligncenter" width="150"]1:34 Hours, 8,288 Steps 1:34 Hours, 8,288 Steps[/caption] [caption id="attachment_27208" align="aligncenter" width="150"]3:40 Hours, 19,327 Steps 3:40 Hours, 19,327 Steps[/caption] [caption id="attachment_27209" align="aligncenter" width="150"]1:54 Hours, 10,413 Steps 1:54 Hours, 10,413 Steps[/caption] [caption id="attachment_27204" align="aligncenter" width="150"]2:42 Hours, 16,193 Steps 2:42 Hours, 16,193 Steps[/caption]  

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