Steve picked me up at 5:45 on Tuesday morning and we headed to Ocean Beach for an easy run on flat ground. We'd planned to jog back and forth along a half-mile stretch of pavement between the road and the sand until we'd done three miles, but a section of the Great Highway was closed to traffic so we took advantage of its long, even terrain and ran that instead.
Mostly we stuck to the roadside, tracing the solid white line typically reserved for pedestrians during times of normal service, but every so often we'd allow ourselves to drift toward the center, feeling rebellious and silly as we did so, making our way through the darkness on this big famous boulevard that, for one cool morning in early autumn, belonged only to us.
At the halfway point we turned around to see bikers and joggers and men wielding surfboards moving about, criss-crossing the blacktop before us. Far off, the horizon line was aglow in pastels. When our three miles were through and we'd made it back to the car, sweating and out of breath, our hands numb from the ocean wind, we stretched our legs and watched the sun emerge to treat the West to a glorious barrage of rose-colored sky.