Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bay to Breakers

Bay to Breakers is probably the foot race for which San Francisco is most known. In fact I have friends who are decidedly not runners who have taken part in this event in the past (while pushing a keg in a shopping cart). When I moved to SF I realized that in a few years the race would hit its hundredth running and I decided to hold off and do the race in 2011.

Boyfriend ran the race in 2008 so I was there to spectate the back of the pack shenanigans. I timed an early morning run in 2009 to see the elites run by. So now all that was left was to take part in the race myself. The race is notorious for boozing and I hate how people trash the park and neighborhoods during the event. Last year was especially bad and the race even lost its title sponsor.

The race organizers promised a crack down on bandits (about 50% of the people who "take part" in the event aren't registered), alcohol, and vandalism. All of which sound great to me. This is quite the unique event because it attracts world class atheletes in the front of the pack, and the people way in the back are generally drunk non-runners who probably didn't pay and don't make it to the finish.

When Boyfriend participated in the race he ran into major transportation snafus and couldn't make it into his starting corral. Subsequently he was behind a lot of parade-type participants and had a hard time hitting his pace. Because of this, Audrey and I left my apartment at 5 am to catch the shuttle down to the start. I'm not sure what all the transportation woes were about because a shuttle was there waiting for us when we arrived, there were exactly FOUR people on board the entire bus for the entire ride down to the start area (the bus only stopped once for some people who decided they didn't want to get on). It was totally awesome.

We were some of the first people down at the start and I was treated to a pristine porta-potty. Can't vouch as to whether any men used it before me, but I was the one who took the paper wrapping off the toilet paper so definitely no sit-down action before me. Win!

We met up with Naomi and waited for the start. You know you're at a different type of running event when "runners" are smoking cigarettes (and other stuff) in the start corrals. Yuck. There is also some sort of strange tortilla tossing tradition.

This was my best result of trying to capture a flying tortilla

If you ever wanted to know what kind of a face a tortilla that was about to get trampled by 50,000 people would have...

LOTS of tortillas flying around; I got hit by one and it hurt more than you'd think it would.

There's the start line!

I had signed up to be in corral A to make sure I got as far up as possible, but I ended up starting in corral B so I could hang with Audrey and Naomi. It was a great call on my part because I had a great time running with the two of them.

In case you didn't know, Bay to Breakers is also known for nudity.

Thanks to Audrey and her photoshopskills, you won't have to burn your retinas after reading this report.

I didn't actually count the naked people but they weren't exactly scarce. For a fun factoid I only saw one naked women and the majority of the naked people were older vs. younger. So basically, all the people you wouldn't want to see with their clothes off were out there with their clothes off.

Bay to Breakers is also known for its costumes. I didn't spend too much time catching a lot of them on my camera, but I'll throw a few in the report.

Hard hat with an owl statue attached. Not sure what that is supposed to be...

We were running at a very easy pace.

Audrey showing off her fairy wings

The race starts downtown and winds its way west to the ocean

Hayes Street hill; We walked this sucker

This group was carrying a limbo stick which sadly conveniently bent right when I hit the shutter button

Balloon people? Die-hard "Up" fans?

Spectator fun in Golden Gate Park

I love this park

Even though I am not exactly in the best shape right now, 7 miles goes by so fast mentally for me. I couldn't believe how quickly we seemed to hit the park and once there I know every turn and incline to the finish.

More costumes

This one just doesn't look comfortable

My favorite quote of the day, "We can't let that old naked guy with the cane beat us!" Sorry, I didn't get a photo of the naked guy with the cane. I didn't think my camera would survive capturing his backside.

Blurry windmill shot on the way to the beach

Heading to the finish

They normally don't hand these out, but for the 100th we got medals!

The new title sponsor was Zazzle. I find it hugely ironic that with a shirt company as a sponsor the shirts were ridiculously plain and lackluster.

The bling!!

I'm really glad I ran the 100th but I definitely won't be taking part in this race again. It is costly for a 12k run and the logistics of the expo were not fun. Getting to the start and back home is not so terrible for me since I live in a convenient location for these things. But it is a nightmare for people coming in from out of town. And the crowds -- I am just not a huge fan of such huge events.

And I can definitely do without all the naked butts.


Stephanie said...

This looks like a really fun race! It would keep me very entertained, at the very least!

Average A said...

Oh man! I saw the guy with the yellow construction hat -- he had an owl attached to it! That's what that is.

Great report. Definitely not doing it again either (though Katie wants to make a tradition out of it.) It was fun to take part this year... but yeah, I think I'm done, too. :) I will go cheer Katie (and Deena, if she ever comes back!)

Glad you ladies had fun!

Average A said...

p/s: plain, lackluster, AND COTTON.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Thanks for the report and photos - definitly NOT on my bucket list! Now Dipsea - will you try that?

Re: Bunnies by the Bay. They are headquartered here in our place - started here about 15 or so years ago as a small sewn bunnies outfit and just grewed! Now they have that store in NYC, but it is the ony one besides here (in LaConner.)

I'm not telling BL about the red Panda stuff - she'll want one too!

naomi said...

Loved the race report and glad we experienced our "one and only" together!

Aron said...

Ahhh Bay to Breakers - quite the experience :) glad you got it done and got the medal! Sounds like you guys had a blast.

rUntoNamAste said...

Girl, we missed each other but there was entirely too much madness going on for B2B. And yes, it hurts to get smacked by a tortilla. I can definitely vouch for that. I had a blast! The shirts definitely lacked some flair, but I guess they allocated less funds to that and more to the medals.

XLMIC said...

I am so curuious about the meaning behind the tortilla biz. Great pics!