Among Lake Merritt's small army of runners, walkers, and joggers, the clockwise-versus-counterclockwise debate runs quiet but deep. Powerless to the forces of habit and muscle memory, most folks end up planted so firmly on one or side or the other that they can't fathom running the lake's 3.4-mile perimeter the opposite way. Ultimately, it's a personal choice, and there's no right or wrong answer. However: if there were a right answer, it would most definitely be clockwise. A battery of completely unscientific field studies have concluded that this is the slightly less popular route — which means, of course, fewer bodies to weasel past and/or get stuck behind. But, more importantly, there's something about the wind on the southeast side of the lake: Go the wrong way — meaning counterclockwise — at the wrong time, and it'll damn near blow you over. But go clockwise — especially along that stretch between Lake Chalet and the gazebo — and you'll feel like you're flying.