If you work downtown and prefer running outdoors, jog on down to the lake. Getting in a three-miler a couple times a week can be a true challenge, especially for busy people who always find themselves, er, on the run. That's why Lake Merritt makes it so easy, even for the multitasking, perpetually late wackos among us. Parking is a breeze, and it's difficult for anyone to spend more than 45 minutes making the loop. This time of year, when the sun hangs out much longer and lower, the shimmer along the banks makes it an inviting, even serene place to trot. Runners who choose the softer grass trail, and who have an active imagination, can transport themselves outside our bustling metropolis and into, say, a rolling trail beside a placid creek bed high up in the mountains. (The scent of duck and goose poop may even assist in creating such mind-altering scenarios.) Of course, the reality remains: Lake Merritt is conveniently located smack-dab in the middle of downtown, offering the most accessible urban jog in the East Bay.