Hayes st. Hillsenior runner @ BARTBarrel of Monkeys!not much clothesnot much clothesstarting corral
Crayons + Box100th yr birthday cake guy100th yr birthday cake guy100th yr birthday cake guyChicken FeetChicken Head
Mr. & Mrs. Beer CanAngel, WIlma & Fred, Beer canFred Flintstoneangelsflouncy skirtsman in tutu
starting linetutus! pink!smurfsbunny men passing out carrotsbuttsSalmon running against the stream

100th Bay to Breakers 2011, a set on Flickr.

I did it! I ran in and finished the 100th Bay to Breakers today! As you know, I had a lot of conflict over whether I should even do this race or not. But after figuring out schedules, I realized it was possible to enjoy 24 hours at the spa and still do the race. Which is exactly what I did. Verrrrrrrrrry relaxing.

soakin in the hot waters with Junior

I got home last night around 9pm and got my race pile together. While I was doing that, I realized to my dismay that I had left my sturdy ankle brace up at the spa hotel. ARGHHH. But then I remembered the nifty KTT tape I’d gotten at the Las Vegas marathon, and I whipped it out along with the instructional YouTube video on How to Tape An Ankle, and I figured it would have to do.

race pile

I got up at 5:30 and my helpful spouse helped me tape up the ankle. Then I put on some compression socks, had my whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter (breakfast of champions) and headed out to the BART station. First thing I saw was this elderly gentleman with his race bib and a big cane. Which put a lump in my throat!

The train was full of people with great costumes and a lively happy atmosphere. I did not wear a costume of any sort – not even my Totoro hat – because I thought it would be raining and I didn’t want to deal with a soggy costume. So I was just wearing my regular running stuff which felt pretty mundane.

We all piled out at the Embarcadero and just followed the massive hordes of people going toward the corrals and the start. It was so so so so much fun seeing everyone’s costume. There were more tutus than you could shake a stick at (@Mizfitonline, you would’ve LOVED THIS EVENT). And a bunch of crazier things. I think my favorite was the Barrel of Monkeys. ADORABLE.

barrel of monkeys!

For some reason, it’s tradition to start the Bay to Breakers by tossing thousands of tortillas in the air. I have no idea why, but the tortillas were definitely flying. Also big beach balls. Yeah, it was a party! It was fun inching up to the starting line with all the revelry. People were in very good moods.

Finally we got to the start and it was different from any other race I’d been in because at least half the people there did not pick up speed at ALL after crossing the line – they just kept ambling on in relaxed fashion. But I think I’m conditioned to pick it up after my foot crosses that line so I did start jogging right away. It felt really good! I was just having a great time looking at everyone. I passed a bunch of blue Smurfs and some guys in bunny costumes passing out carrots. Huh? Cute, though.

I did see quite a few naked people. How come the people who run naked have bodies that probably look a LOT BETTER in clothes?? LOL.

There has been a lot of talk in B2B lore about the dreaded HAYES STREET HILL and when we turned onto Hayes I was like, OH NO! but truly it was not so bad. It isn’t as steep as the hill around the corner from my house. I decided I’d walk up it just to save some energy but I walked FAST and passed a bunch of people. It did seem like so many people were just… strolling. Which was fun. So the left half of the street was running and the right half was just out for a slow amble through San Francisco.

Lots of people out on their steps and patios, partying it up and watching everyone. Many of them were also dressed up and that was fun too. Although I just read about some guy falling off his roof with “life-threatening-injuries.” Ugh. I actually have no sympathy for drunk people who get hurt doing stupid things. Sorry.

Miles 2 and 3 went by pretty quickly. I was so jazzed to get to the top of the hill and then sort of fly down the other side. I was feeling very good around mile 3.

Then when we started getting near the Golden Gate Park panhandle – mile 4ish – my left knee started talking to me. Then it started crying and I was like, WHAT? is this? It was unlike any other knee pain I’d ever had before – the back (posterior) part of my knee, right in the center. It sort of came and went over the next couple miles, and sometimes it felt worse to walk, sometimes it felt worse to run. I spent the second half of the race just trying to figure out a gait that was the most comfortable.

In spite of the pain, I loved running through Golden Gate Park. I lived on the outskirts of the park for the first four years I lived in San Francisco, and I just adored that park. Especially the buffalo, which were right in my neighborhood. I got very emotional when we passed the buffalo.

First glimpse of ocean!

Man, do I love Golden Gate park. I was happy to pass the mile 6 and 7 markers, and then at some point I saw the ocean I knew that was it – the breakers in Bay to Breakers! Woo hoooo!!! I went through the finish line and then I really started feeling the daggers in my knee. I limped pretty much the rest of the way. We had to go another MILE to pick up our medals and food. I have to say, the post-race snacks were awesome: chocolate milk (post-race nutrition of champions!), hummus and crackers, and Laughing Cow cheese. Which rocked.

I had bought a ticket for a bus to go back to the starting line, and I was hobbling pretty much at that point. Another 3/4 mile to the bus pickup! OWWW!

Got my medal. (yay!) Got on the bus (double yay!). Then I started feeling all sorts of post-race misery and general decomposition – upset stomach, chills and shakes, KNEE PAIN and overall fatigue. I dragged myself to the BART station and made my way home where I promptly took a very hot shower and passed out for a couple hours.

In spite of the orthopedic mess, I am really glad I did it. It was super duper fun and just festive and great. I didn’t see people being rowdy or drunk, just having a great time. I’d say about HALF the people were walking and just having a good old time. It was fun to be in a race like that – unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.

I want to do it again. And next year I’m definitely running in a costume! I saw lots of people wearing their pajamas which seemed very comfortable and easy. Next year: race in sushi pajamas! Yay!

Now… I reallllllllllllly hope my knee is better by Friday for the Fitbloggin‘ 5k….

I earned that finisher's medal!