Last week, the Hus-friend and I ran Bay to Breakers, where you run from the bay across the city to the “breakers” (the ocean). Since it’s such a goofy event, I didn’t feel any pressure to run quickly, which was good because we had gotten in late the night before from the beach.
We didn’t run in costumes, sorry to disappoint.
At the starting line, people throw tortillas in the air. I got hit with a few, but it was worth it to see tortillas flying through the air.
While I was waiting, the couple next to me started taking selfies, so I photobombed them by smiling broadly at the camera. When they inspected their photo, they must have noticed me. They looked over at me, frowned, and then turned away from me to take another selfie. Whatever. I would have enjoyed being photobombed by a random stranger at a race full of naked people. (There was definitely also a guy videotaping his junk at the start. At least I wasn’t that guy.)
It’s pretty hard to run Bay to Breakers for time because it’s such a party. I had to dodge and weave around drunken revelers, slowly walking five abreast. And I definitely got a splash of pee on my legs as I ran by some guy just urinating in the middle of Howard street. That was great. Not.
The biggest challenge for me was the Hayes Street Hill. I made a point not to walk, so I ended up running v-e-r-y slowly. It was a struggle, and I was definitely out of breath by the end! However, I do think I’m getting better at running hills. Thanks, SF. (Apparently, I ranked 536th out of 1426 participants in the “Hayes Street Hill Challenge.” Okay.)
Still, it’s more of a family-friendly event than you would expect given the amount of nudity (Dick count: 15+) and recreational drug use. It’s hard to imagine an event with both old naked guys and families pushing kids in strollers all just running together anywhere but San Francisco, and that makes it really special. For example, I saw some pre-teen boys passing out water in Golden Gate park as two naked guys ran by. The boys glanced over and then just kept passing out water cups; they didn’t even point or say anything. I was impressed. I bet their parents made a point to teach them acceptance and open-mindedness.
Despite the nudity and drunkenness (or perhaps, because of that has made the race a big deal now) Bay to Breakers is a very corporate event. I got no fewer than five pre-race emails from Zappos telling me to download the app or buy branded swag. The post-race party was full of swag and samples and…people. I did appreciate the free potato chips I got though.
Just look at that sunny California beach!
After meeting back up, the Hus-friend and I walked back through Golden Gate park, which was a fun way to see different costumes. I really enjoyed the “jellyfish,” though decorated umbrellas seem like such a pain to carry for 7.5 miles.
I’m glad that not all races are that crowded or crazy or full of drunk people, but I’m also glad that Bay to Breakers exists. (Full disclosure: I used my wellness stipend from work to cover most of my entry fee, so that made it a lot more “worth” it to me.) I’ll probably run it again next year!
I really didn’t care at all about my time, but here’s the breakdown of my race. Man, I love downhill miles.