My Favorite San Francisco Running Routes

A year ago, I was still struggling to run 2 miles without stopping to take a break. When my friend told me she’d run for fun all the time I thought, what does that even mean?!  Now running has become a go-to exercise and I can run 4 miles continuously without having the feeling of never wanting to run again afterwards. A lot of this is owed to the fact that I’ve found running routes I love in San Francisco, and I want to share these with you so more people can enjoy running like I do now.

SF running routes

Background map source: Bay City Guide

Route 1: Embarcadero (AT&T Park <-> Pier 23)

This is a great run any day of the week, but avoid weekends if possible. This route, and really any route by the water, is perfect for running because there are no traffic lights so it’s extremely safe and liberating. I lived by the Embarcadero for 3 years and whenever I was motivated enough to get up an hour early in the morning to exercise, I would run either towards AT&T park or up to Pier 23 and back. It’s amazing to run during sunrise on weekdays because you can see the sun come up on the water and there won’t be that many people. Avoid the weekends because that’s when tourists will claim this route as theirs and you’ll be having lots of fun trying to avoid people stopping to take pictures, bikers, and children.

Route 2: Marina (Russian Hill <-> Marina Green)

I recommend this route during sunset because it is SO BEAUTIFUL to watch the sun go down when you’re at the top of a hill. And yes, this run is hilly, but it’s so worth it for the glimpses of the city you get as you arrive at the top of each bump. Once you get past Gough and Bay, it’s pretty much flat all the way to Marina Green, which has a road dedicated to pedestrians and bikers and you can see the Golden Gate Bridge from there – weather permitting!

Route 3: Golden Gate Park

This map is deceiving because Golden Gate Park is compressed to look like it’d be a shorter run than the other two routes, when in fact it’s the longest. For this route, you can either start at Fulton St. near 25th or Lincoln Way and 23rd. I like starting on Fulton St. because then you can go towards Ocean Beach, run along the water, turn in to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and end up in Inner Sunset at the end of the run where there’s lots of good Asian restaurants. And you WILL want that after a 6-8 mile run. The key with running in Golden Gate Park is to stay inside the park as much as possible rather than run around it so you can immerse yourself in nature. This is a good run if you want a longer stretch with little distraction.

Whether you’re a new runner, a visitor of San Francisco, or an experienced runner looking for a new route in the city, I hope you find this useful. Let me know if there are any other routes you prefer that I haven’t mentioned here. I’d love to know them.

 

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New hood, new feels

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I recently moved in with my boyfriend of 4 years (yeee I know!!) and went from living in  SOMA to Nob Hill. What a transition.

After living in SOMA for 3 years, I was beginning to fall out of love with San Francisco. I was going to the same restaurants, running by the same water, and hanging out with the same friends. When I decided to move in with my boyfriend, we were totally considering moving to a different city. In the end, we settled on Nob Hill for a variety of reasons, but mostly because we were both still doing well in our careers here and it didn’t make sense to move elsewhere, yet.

I’m so glad we decided to move to Nob Hill, because this is the cutest neighborhood ever, DEFINITELY UNDERRATED. And I have fallen back in love with San Francisco. Does our view of the Golden Gate bridge have to do with it? Maybe.

We are located in upper Nob Hill, bordering Russian Hill, which is also very close to Marina. If you ask any San Franciscan, they’ll agree with me that this area is extremely bougie, with girls in yoga pants walking around at all times, coffee in hand. At first I thought, ‘ew do these girls even work out?’ And now I’ve turned into one of them, no shame.

This neighborhood is filled with cute coffee shops, amazing restaurants (most which I can’t afford), and many workout studios. The only part I didn’t like when moving into this hood, but am slowly getting used to is the hills. I’m a runner but not one good with hills WHATSOEVER, so I’ve been slacking for my fear of going up and down these monstrous streets. I’m hoping this is something I’ll overcome with time. I mean, no pain no gain, right?

All in all, I am IN LOVE with my new hub, and I still have so much to explore.

Xoxo, Viv

Turning Data into Action

To strip a data analyst’s job to its very core, it involves taking data and turning it into insights a business can act on to make more profit. What does that process actually look like step by step?

I recently worked on a project that required the exact steps I’m about to take you through. The goal of the project was to streamline a monthly 22-market marketing performance report process, making it quicker and less prone to human error. The process once required four people to put in a month’s worth of time to complete, and throughout a LOT of unnecessarily busy work. I cut that process down to just one person, some technology, and a week’s time to pull together.

So here were the steps involved in streamlining the process. I’ve also included in parentheses the tool(s) I used for each step.

Step 1: Create a data collection template
(Tool used: Excel)
  • If your data comes from multiple sources in various formats, you will want to create a data collection template that will allow you to easily combine the data every month. Excel is still the most universal tool for storing data so I recommend using Excel to create the template. If you are looking at more than a few hundred thousand rows of data, however, you may want to consider building a database.
Step 2: Clean and process data further – this step will ideally take minimal energy if Step 1 was done right
(Tool used: Alteryx)
  • Ideally, when you give someone a template, they follow it. But we’re human, and humans mess up. That’s when you want to leverage a tool like Alteryx to further validate and clean the data, then join together all data sets so you only have one or a few files to work with.
Step 3: Create charts and interactive data visualizations to capture trends
(Tool used: Tableau)
  • You’ve spent hours gathering and cleaning the data, and now you finally arrive at the most interesting part: visualizing the information for others to quickly spot trends and make decisions on how to act on them.
Step 4: Form insights and actionable next steps
(Tool used: Tableau + Email)
  • Outline trends you see right away and work with the marketing execution team to further understand what the most important takeaways are. At this point you will have taken some numbers and made them into money drivers. That’s it, you’ve done your job!
Additional Tips for Overachievers
  • Continue evolving the data cleaning and blending process to save more time and energy every time you repeat the cycle; allow the process to be malleable to data structure changes and anomalies
  • Ask for feedback from the marketing execution and other relevant teams and act upon them
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of data visualizations in enhancing your story

Fueled by endless curiosity

How do we take data, understand it, and use it to impact change? That’s a million dollar question I ask myself everyday. Straddled between media strategists and spreadsheets, I take everyday business questions, churn them, and spit out an answer to steer clients into the correct decision. There’s no right or wrong answer to the questions I get asked, but I can get darn close to a “correct” answer and help propel businesses forward. That’s the exciting part in all of this – to see how close I actually got after the fact.

In my daily life, I also ask a million questions and try to piece the answer together through information gathered from news sites, blogs, social media, and even those around me. I want to use this blog to document some of the most interesting questions I’ve been answering, provide tips for up and coming trend enthusiasts, and pave the way for those that have just begun their journey in the data world.