Tag Archives: Bay to Breakers

The Party Run – Bay To Breakers Recap

Bay To Breakers

This ain’t RunDisney, but that’s OK.   I had no idea what to expect, but I knew going in it was not going to be a wholesome experience.  It was, however, a blast.  It had all the positivity of a RunDisney race, with a heaping helping of mischief thrown in.  This is a bit of a long post, but there was a lot to see.

Our experience started with the Greater Body Expo.  I was not too impressed with the expo, but then again, I am admittedly no nutrition nut. Much of the items at the expo were along those lines.  After an extra mile walk or so back to our hotel (we forgot our bibs, which were required to pick up a shirt), we got our t-shirts so we could avoid the lines at the finish.   But really, most folks don’t run the Bay To Breakers for the expo experience.

After spending the previous day in wine country, we got up early and headed to the start line in our super-hero finest.  They were expecting 30,000 runners, so we headed out a bit early for the 7 am start.  Surprisingly, getting into the corrals went perfectly smoothly.  We got to our corral about 30 minutes before the start and met up with some of my wife’s friends.

Waiting and People Watching

Waiting and People Watching

I think I may have pulled a neck muscle looking around while waiting in the corral.  It was a people watcher’s dream.  We got to see all the other runners making their way to the other corrals in every kind of costume you could imagine:  from simple to elaborate, fully covered to fully naked.  I expected to see some folks au naturale, but I saw more than I bargained for.  It was funny to see how those going sans clothes really didn’t care who saw them.  They really embraced it.  I found this out right away.  I was snapping a picture of my wife’s friend trying to surreptitiously get a gentleman in the background.  He obliged by stepping in for the photobomb, and even posed for a pic with my wife and her friend.  I will spare you the posed picture, but you get the point from the “photobomb.”

Not shy. . .

Not shy. . .

One other tradition in the starting corrals is the tossing of tortillas.  They were flying around by the hundreds.  The fly surprisingly well, but act like banana peels on the ground after being trod upon by thousands of runners.


This was a great Manny impersonator – and two photobombs.


The Corral Filling Up


Ready to go!

Following a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombings, we were on our way.  Just as getting into the corrals went smoothly, so too did the start.  We were in corral C, and things moved quickly toward the start.  Next thing we knew, we were on our way up Howard Street, knowing that Hayes Street Hill awaited at Mile 2.


As the run began, there was certainly an air of celebration about the race.  The spectators were great, and our fellow runners were a moving party.  One gentleman even ran with us for a bit to share an off color joke about Superman and Wonder Woman, and the Invisible Man.


The “F It Up” Cheerleading Squad

Those around my age remember the show “Full House,” and the iconic shot of the row houses in San Francisco in the opening of that show.  Until I signed up for this race, I was not sure where those houses were.  Ever since I found out they were at the top of Hayes Street Hill, I had been looking forward to seeing them in person.  Usually, I would be dreading a hill that rises about 200 feet in a little over a half mile.  Not so much this time.  I was looking forward to seeing the legendary Hayes Street Hill party.


@ The Base of Hayes Street Hill


It kept moving, even with all these people


Out of nowhere. . .


We found Waldo on Hayes Street Hill!

As we neared the top of Hayes Street Hill, we met the famous Salmon centipede group.  Each year, this group (tied together like all centipede entrants) starts at the finish line and runs upstream to the start line.  They were already on mile 6 when we hit mile 2.


The Famous Salmon running upstream to spawn. . .


Parties all along Hayes Street


Finally! Our legs were burning a bit by this point.  I don’t remember all those porta pots on Full House. . .

Hayes Street Hill lived up to its reputation.  The excitement of the spectators was awesome, and really motivated the runners.  I am sure there were thousands who never even made it past Hayes Street Hill, instead deciding to stay for the party.

Not us though.  The good thing is that it was all down hill from here.  We plodded on toward Golden Gate Park.  Along the way we saw Elvis, the running of the bulls, more super heroes, ballerinas, fairy tale characters, more naked folks, and even a tree.  I was quite impressed with the tree.  This outfit had to be heavy, and it had the history of the tree in Bay To Breakers on the back.  Best I could tell, the tree was going on 30+ years of appearing in the race.  The bands along the course were great as well.


This had to be heavy!


The Sharks were out. . .


The run through Golden Gate Park was gorgeous. . . and down hill. . .and shady. . .


We meandered through Golden Gate Park and headed toward the finish.  At about mile 6, my calf muscle decided it was done.  After a short break to try to convince it otherwise, we entered the home stretch.  I really like the last couple of miles of this race:  Down hill, shady, tree lined, even a waterfall.  For us first timers, the last corner is great, as you leave Golden Gate Park and suddenly the beach appears.  It is truly a gorgeous finish.

100_2640a 100_2641

We made it to the breakers.  It was a bit chilly for a dip for me, but that did not discourage a lot of others.  We made our way through the finish area.  I had a flight to catch, so we did not get to hang around much.  We made our way to the shuttle back to the start line.  I could only imagine how “fragrant” the shuttles got as the day wore on.

On the way back, we saw throngs of people in costume.  They were not part of the race, but were making their way to Hayes Street Hill for the party that would last all day.  We all thought that if we were a bit younger, we, too, would be heading to Hayes Street.  But reality set in, and I headed for the hotel to get a shower.  My flight home awaited.

There is no bling to show, as they did not give out medals this year.  However, I will go away with a lot of great memories of this run.  It was really a blast.  Check another off the bucket list.


Random Running Thoughts Of No Particular Usefulness

I couldn’t come up with anything coherent,  so I thought I would fire off a few random, useless thoughts on running.

1.  You know technology has progressed, and that it has you in its clutches, when you use your GPS watch to get data on how far you walked when you mowed your yard.  1.44 miles in the back yard. I would have had a faster pace, but my yard was out of control.

2.  I don’t know whether to be excited or a bit scared for Bay To Breakers in a couple of weeks.  I think I will be ahead of most of the debauchery, and I am on a rather tight flight schedule to get home, but I want to see the “sights.”   Might need to have an R rated recap for that one.  It should be really interesting.  Ryan Hall, the US Half Marathon record holder is running.  So are folks like this:


3.   Motivation of the day #1:

“Have you ever felt worse after a run?” – George Sheehan

I don’t think I have ever felt worse after a run.  I have felt plenty bad.  Beat down.  Winded.  Drained.  Bloodied.  But never worse. . .

4.  Speaking of costumes.  It was fun to wear a bit of a costume in the KDF Mini-marathon.  I am not fast enough to look like a serious runner, so who knows, a costume just might be added to the rotation here and there for the larger races.  Heck, I wore the same shirt for 4 of my first 5 half-marathons.  A little variety is in order.  It is fun trying to think of something new.

5.  Motivation of the day #2:

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”  – George Sheehan

Works for me.  I gave up beating the other runners long ago. . .But I also signed up for another marathon because the last one kicked my butt.  That little voice said to try again.

Fun Run – KY Derby Festival Mini Marathon Recap

Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon

I was really looking forward to the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon.  It would be our 7th Half-Marathon, it was our first repeat half, and we had some cool costumes to run in.   Also, it was our first time to get together with a lot of other runners since the tragedy in Boston.  I was not sure how it would go, since I had not trained very well since the Run The Bluegrass half at the end of March, and my wife’s sporadic hip issue reared its ugly head in our last long run.

To add to the uncertainty, the morning of the race started off on a bad note.  I had returned from a business trip to Chicago the night before, and was not as organized as I would have liked.  As a result, I forgot my Garmin.  I felt like I was flying blind.  We use the run/walk method by distance, not time.  Luckily I had my Ipod, so I decided to just wing it and use the time on that to estimate our walk breaks.  It turned out OK though, we ran nearly identical splits each mile.   I still felt a little naked though.

We made it to the start line a few minutes before the start.  My wife and her friend went whole hog on their outfits, while I was not nearly as put together for this one.  We were taking our Bay To Breakers outfits for a trial run.  We had decided a couple of months ago to go with the super hero theme.  I, of course, was Super Man, my wife was Wonder Woman (naturally), and her friend was Bat Girl.

Ladies love the abs. . .

Ladies love the abs. . .

Dynamic Duo!

Dynamic Duo!

Folks immediately asked for pictures with Wonder Woman and Bat Girl.  Superman was the photographer of course.

Pre Race Fun

Great Pre-Race Atmosphere!  And plenty of port-a-pots!

The race started right on time, with great weather and an awesome, boisterous crowd cheering the runners.  The first six miles flew by as we took in the sights.  The first couple of miles runs through downtown Louisville with lots of interesting sights, incuding the world’s largest Louisville Slugger bat, and this:

Yup - it is all there. . .

Yup – it is all there. . .

After leaving downtown, we headed out towards Churchill Downs, following tree-lined streets filled with cheering fans.  Some offered high fives, others offered their rears for runners to smack.  Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.  We got a lot of great comments on our outfits, though I realize most of them were for the ladies. . .

I think lots of folks were jealous of Super Man.

I think lots of folks were jealous of Super Man.

At mile 8, we entered Churchill Downs.  We hit the infield as some Derby hopefuls were getting their final works in on the track.  I remember last year at this point, I was really feeling it.  This year I felt much better.  Wonder Woman took her turn at the camera, and I also got a blurry picture of one of the horses on the track.  It was really a treat to get to run through the track while the horses were working and Derby preparations were underway.

Famous Twin Spires

Famous Twin Spires, and abs of steel. . .

More Great Athletes @ Work

More Great Athletes @ Work

At mile 9 we exited Churchill Downs, and headed back down the tree-lines streets toward the finish.   The last 4 mile stretch is mostly a straight shot to the finish, slightly downhill.  Once again, these last few miles felt better than they seemed last year.  Wonder Woman’s hip twinged a bit, but we powered on toward the finish.  Baseball picture day and a soccer game later in the morning wouldn’t wait for a little hip issue.

Tree-lined streets

Tree-lined streets

Keeping our steady pace, we rounded the corner by the Yum! Center and headed to the finish line at Slugger Field.  The crowd lining the street was great, and you could hear the roar at the finish.  At about mile 12 we saw some folks from the Reeve Foundation taking on the last mile of the race.  They were truly inspiring.  Also, thoughts of Boston came to mind at this point and gave that extra boost to the finish.  We powered to the finish, and completed #7.  6 minutes faster than last year, but not a PR.  But hey, we got to meet Elvis at the finish.



Once again, the folks at the Derby Festival put on a great race.   It was fun, well organized, and had awesome crowd support.  Oh, and there was this to finish off our race day:

Spanx, thong, and a dollar. . .

Spanx, thong, and a dollar. . .Bay To Breakers, here we come! Love the looks of the passersby!

The next day, the organizers put on their first Kids’ Races, with distances from 50-800 meters.  The little guy grumpily completed the 50m, while big brother flew through the 400m.  They got their own finisher medals, and were proud little guys.  It was a good way to finish off the race weekend. I look forward to the 2014 version.  Hopefully it will be #12 or so.

Just like daddy!

Just like daddy!

Flying to the finish!

Flying to the finish!

More Bling!!

More Bling!!

Running Season & Running For A Reason

First off, I feel pretty good about my last two weeks of training.  I did not miss a run, in spite of having a trial and a conference to attend.  In fact, I think the runs actually helped in both circumstances.  Training is going well.  Seeing all the races this weekend that my friends, Nascar drivers, and Team RunDisney participated in added to the motivation to keep it going, and reminded me that running season is beginning.  I was amazed at the times of Nascar drivers Kasey Kahne and Jimmy Johnson at the half marathon they ran the morning before qualifying for the Daytona 500.  Both sub-1:30!  Congratulations to everyone who raced this weekend.

Things are getting ready to shift into a higher gear for me.  A two mile run with my oldest son in a couple of weeks (can’t wait!); only a couple more long runs until Run The Bluegrass; and then it is the Kenucky Derby Mini Marathon and Bay to Breakers in short order after that.

Snowy lunch run

Snowy Wed. lunch run

Warm Mid-Morning Run

Warm Fri. Mid-Morning Run

I thought I would share the weather for my last two runs.  It is a miracle I am not sick.  Wednesday brought a snow burst and 30 degrees.  Friday brought a conference in Fort Lauderdale and 70 degrees.  I think I enjoyed the 30 degree run more, and was actually excited to get to run in the snow, although Fort Lauderdale warmth certainly had its benefits.  I felt blessed to be able to run in both climates, but in Fort Lauderdale I missed running my long run with my wife/running partner.  I think it was our first long run that we have not shared over the last year or so.

On another note, for anyone looking to make a training run more meaningful, I would suggest the Sandy Hook Run For The Families, taking place on Saturday, March 23.  No, you don’t have to go to Connecticut.  You can run or walk virtually and join the more than 10,000 runners and walkers that will be participating in Hartford, CT, to support the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. You can enter the race as a “Virtual Runner” for a $25 entry fee (until 2/28 – $30 after that).  You run a 5K wherever you are. They will list your name in the results (without a finish time) and will mail you a race shirt after the event. Your entry fee is a 100% donation to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.  What a great idea to support a great cause.  If you’re going to run or walk anyway, why not sign up for this?


Just Be Awesome. . .

AwesomeI saw this quote recently, and for some reason it turned out to be my motivation for the day.  In fact, I told my son this today when he was nervous about his presentation at school.  It seems so simple – just be awesome.

When I first saw this quote, I thought of the Nike slogan – “Just Do It.”   That slogan was very successful, and served as motivation for countless people.  However, I think it could use some improvement.  Just doing it is a start.  Getting out the door is a start.   Getting moving is a start.  That first mile, 5k, 10k, or half marathon is a start.  However, I have found that once you “do it,” you want to do it better.  That’s where “Just Be Awesome” comes in.

To me, “Just Be Awesome” doesn’t mean I have to be the best or the fastest.  If it did, I might as well find another hobby.  I am never going to be mistaken for a top flight, or even a very good runner.  It means doing it right.  It means having fun while doing it.  It means not taking shortcuts.  It means enjoying it.   “Awesome” has many meanings:  magnificent, fun, surprising, inspiring, beautiful, wonderful. . .(Really, it does. I looked in the Thesaurus).

So, my goal is to make that next run Awesome, no matter when it is or where it is.  It may not be a PR, but it will be awesome.  If I can meet this goal, I cannot imagine how great I might feel.  Luckily, this year looks to have a lot of potential for Awesome in it:  WDW Marathon, Run The Bluegrass, Derby Festival Mini Marathon, Bay To Breakers, Dumbo Double Dare – and whatever other cool runs we can find.  And from the way our boys are talking about wanting to run a bit themselves, they are in for some Awesome as well.  Can’t wait. . .