Panting in San Francisco with the red-headed Louisa and the frizzy blonde Noreen

Well, not exactly what you are thinking!
The hotel I was staying at in SFO had a guided run at 6:30 every morning. Yes! Interested runners meet at the front desk and a hotel staff either Louisa or Noreen will lead a running tour of the City. How fantastic is that?

Two other guys and a girl gathered by the front desk and we stretched a little. In dashes Louisa, our guide. Bright red-haired, clad in tights and a baby pink blouse, she was definitely in shape and ready to put us through the paces. With her pouty lips and clipped british accent she lays out the rules. We stop and go at the red lights and if you are slow, well, just follow the same way back to the hotel – Survivor mentality!

Louisa leads us on Market Street, which is SFO’s main business thoroughfare and lined by high-rises. At this hour thankfully the streets were relatively empty and we could even run through the STOP signs. Market street ends on the Embarcadero which curves along the San Francisco bay and rims the city's eastern side.

It is a fabulous run/drive, akin to Marine Drive in Bombay. We turned south at the SFO Ferry terminal which brings commuters to the city by the water taxi. Louisa, mentioned that they also have a fruit and vegetable market inside. As we started running along the bay, there were no traffic lights and we kept a decent pace. The sun was rising over the water just below the deck of the Bay Bridge. Wow! It actually rises over the bay and sets in the Pacific Ocean. The South Beach area we were running through is very upscale, Beautifully terraced homes, with huge windows lined the bay.

We arrived at the new SBC baseball stadium – a beautiful structure which blends architecturally with the surrounding neighborhood. At the end of the drive, we turned onto Third Ave and headed back to the hotel. Third Ave is more of a working class neighborhood with narrow streets and crooked sidewalks. Dodging street signs and lamp-posts and darting on or off the street was fun. Along the way, I get tips from Louisa about her favorite restaurants and she even points out her favorite sandwich shop. With heart pounding we arrive back at the hotel after a superb 3+ mile run.

As we huddle at the front desk, Louisa rolls out a cart full of juices and delicacies as a treat for the runners. Fresh orange juice, fluffy croissants, and danishes smothered with raspberries, blueberries or strawberries. I probably consumed more calories than what I spent running. This was truly a very satisfying run.

Louisa, with those shimmering red locks and long legs definitely knew how to please a guy. Make him sweat and then … feed him well 🙂

… the saga will continue.

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