Sunday, May 22, 2011

Slower Than A Nekked Guy: A Recap Of The 100th Bay To Breakers 12K

By Bobby Aswell

Yes, it’s true!  At the start of the 100th Bay To Breakers 12K in San Francisco, he came by me like a flash!  Reminiscent of the 70’s song ‘The Streak’ (by Ray Stevens), ‘… there he was, nekked as a jaybird … yes they call him the Streak, looka dat, looka dat, fastest thing on two feet …’.  And then he was gone, mooning me and all of the other runners he left ‘behind!’

What a race!  Elvis was there!  As were the Keystone Cops, men in tutus, superheroes, monsters, and more!  And of course, the notorious naked runners!  Nothing boring about this race!

Threatening rain all week, start time was almost perfect for racing:  ~48 degrees and partly sunny.  Starting at sea level near the Embarcadero area, Jean and I lined up with 54,998 other registered runners, and thousands of bandits, and were ready to rock the centennial version of the race.  The countdown began:  15, 14, 13, …, 1 and we were off!

10 Minutes Before The Start
 Right away things got interesting!  After running a few yards, one woman after another started passing me on the right.  Dressed in all black and tied together at the hips with rope, I realized it was a human centipede made up of all women!  And not just any women, very fit women running six minute miles!

A few seconds later, on my left, out of nowhere, there he was!  He blew by me like I was standing still!  Nothing on but his birthday suit and a pair of running shoes!  Man, he was really mooning, I mean moving!  The crowed loved it and was screaming and cheering like crazy!  Not even a minute into the race and all of this already!

Running on, the course was rolling for the first couple of miles before approaching the big daddy, the Hayes Street hill!  For what seemed like an eternity, this hill kept going up and up and up finally cresting with the steepest section at the end, climbing an 11% grade!  Having run 5 marathons in the prior 10 weeks, my legs felt like lead going up that hill!  I kept grinding away and finally reached the crest completely whipped!  It took me the entire 4th mile to recover.  It was definitely one of the toughest hills I’ve run in a race!

After recovering from the hill, you entered the most beautiful section of the course, Golden Gate Park.  Full of lush greenery and beautiful flowers, energy filled the air as the street was lined with spectators screaming and yelling and cheering you on!  This was like an instant gel giving you a quick burst of energy to keep you moving ahead.

Apparently centipedes are hard to drop as the all dressed in black female centipede reappeared in the 5th mile.  This gave me an extra boost to pick-up my pace so I latched onto the side of them for a mile or so before finally dropping them on a long downhill.  From this point on, the course was mostly flat with a few downhill sections.

Upon exiting the park, we turned left onto the Great Highway for the final stretch to the finish.  Greeted with a major headwind, the view was magnificent as we ran alongside the Pacific Ocean all the way to the finish line!  It’s definitely one of the most beautiful finishes you’ll ever run.

Dead legs and all, I crossed the finish line in 48:47.  With a few minutes to kill before Jean finished, I pulled out my phone and started taking pictures.  Some of the characters I saw included Jack Sparrow, a masked wrestler, a manly man wearing a pink bodysuit, and a group of women dressed like bees forming a human centipede.

Several minutes later, out of nowhere, a gorgeous rainbow filled the sky!  It was magnificent!  I snapped a shot of it and then looked up and saw Jean heading towards the water table.  She finished in 1:00:15, a great time considering she hasn’t been racing any.

After grabbing some goodies and sampling everything from coconut milk to cheese and crackers to hummus, we picked up our commemorative finisher medals.  New for 2011, the medals were specifically designed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the race and are awesome:

100th Bay To Breakers finisher's medal!
Continuing on, we arrived at Footstock, a huge post-race party loaded with freebies and vendors selling almost any kind of food you could imagine!  Since it was in the low 50’s, and we didn’t have any clothes to change into, we quickly grabbed some freebies and headed to the Muni bus to catch a ride back to the starting area.

A short bus ride and jog later, we arrived back at the Hotel Griffon, took showers, ate brunch, and headed to Pier 33 for the departure to Alcatraz.  The next few hours were spent exploring the ‘Rock’ before heading back to shore and eating a fabulous dinner at Sinbad’s on the San Francisco Bay!  After dinner, we headed back to the room to relax before packing for the 4:45 am departure to the airport the next morning.

All in all, this was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken!  Besides celebrating our 14th anniversary, Jean and I got to participate in a historic road race, shop along the Embarcadero, visit Alcatraz, and eat magnificent food!  A trip of a lifetime!  Can’t wait to go back!

Jean and I post-race

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