Tag Archives: Running

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.


Am I a runner?

Fake runner

I play golf, but I am not a golfer.  I fish, but I am certainly not a fisherman.  I run, but am I a runner?

I think the answer is yes.  I will never be confused with an elite runner, or even a very good runner.  Maybe someday I will flirt with a sub 2:10 half marathon:  not fast, but my speed is not why I can be called a runner.   Running is a different animal than many sports.

Anyone can go out and take swings at a golf ball, but unless you have a low handicap, most won’t put you in the category of “golfer.”  Anyone can wet a line in the lake or pond, but it takes a lot more than that to become a fisherman.  Running is different.  To be a runner, you just have to run.

If it is on the internet - It must be true

If it is on the internet – It must be true

Anyone who puts forth the effort can certainly be considered a runner, and count themselves among the running community.  I don’t subscribe to the attitude that you are not a runner unless you break 1:45 in a half marathon, or 25 minutes in the 5k, etc.  To me, to be runner, you don’t have to be fast.  You don’t have to be thin.  You don’t even have to be particularly good at it.  You just have to have the will to do it, and the dedication to keep doing it.  That is yet another beauty of running.  I may not be able to keep up with much of the running community, but that doesn’t mean I am not a part of it.

If nothing else, I can call myself a runner because I have said almost every one of the things in this video.

Rural Running

skunkOur long run this weekend took us to our hometown, which is where we like to do our long runs.  Our families are there, and we still have a place there.  It is mostly rural, with lots of farms, forests, and fields.  Most importantly for us runners, it has a lot of long, straight, low-traffic roads.  My mid-week training runs are usually from subdivision to subdivision, dodging cars on the road between them.  I enjoy these runs, but they do not compare to the beauty of our long runs in the country.

The scenery is gorgeous.  The drivers in the cars that do pass, do so with a wave and a smile.  On this particular run, we saw cows, horses, a muskrat, Canadian geese, sandhill cranes, and two dead skunks (luckily, they had been there a while).  The cows seemed every bit as interested in us as we were in them as they came to the fence to check us out.  The horses just looked at us like we were crazy.  We passed rustic old barns and gleaming new ones, and were able to take in the fresh country air.  Just like the roadtrip games in the car such as sign alphabet, and I spy, rural running presents the opportunity to play games to pass the time while on a long run: What’s that animal?  What’s that smell? What’s that sound?

About those skunks.  We met the first one about 1 mile in, and the second one was at about mile 8.  They got me thinking, what do you do if meet a live one or fresh one?  Honestly, I had no idea what I would do.  You can’t exactly go to a nearby house and ask for help.  First, there aren’t too many close by.  Second, who wants someone stinking like skunk showing up at their house?  My only conclusion was that if I had such an encounter, I would have to turn around or tough out the rest of the run.  It would certainly be a PR for whatever distance that would entail.  I will just have to hope I don’t meet the critter halfway through the run.

But just in case, I now have a de-skunking recipe (albeit one designed for dogs – but if you are in a situation where you need it, who really cares?).  I share it below for anyone interested.  I bet the ladies running the RunDisney Princess 1/2 Marathon didn’t have to worry about that this weekend.  Still, the scenery along our run was every bit as gorgeous as the scenery at Walt Disney World, and I felt even more blessed to be there.


(Adapted from Humane Society of The United States)

Mix together:

1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at your local pharmacy)
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap
DO NOT get the solution in the eyes. (If you don’t have peroxide, baking soda, and liquid soap on hand, use vinegar diluted with water.)

Caution: Do NOT save this mixture or make it ahead of time, as the mixture could explode if left in a bottle.

Scrub, Clean, and Rinse
Don’t leave it on too long (peroxide can bleach). Rinse thoroughly.

Next, wash with shampoo and rinse thoroughly.

You can rid your clothes of the smell by using regular laundry detergent mixed with a half-cup of baking soda.

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?


The Beauty Of A Winter Run

Let's run that way. . .

Let’s run that way. . .

I cannot tell you how hard it was to go out for our long run this weekend.   This was our first long run since the Walt Disney World Marathon, and it could not have been more opposite, weather-wise. Then, it was sunny with temps in the low 80s.  This time?  Temps in the low 20s.  Cloudy.  Windy.  Light snow blowing.  However, after my last post,  we couldn’t skip this one.  I am glad we didn’t.  It turned out to be one of the more beautiful runs I had been on, in a cold sort of way.  

We tried to pick a road that would not have too much traffic due to the fact that snow covered parts of the roads.  It is one thing to have to get into the grass to make room for a car.  It is quite another to jump into a slushy snow pile.  We decided on a road outside of town where the river had just receded.  It turned out to be a good choice.  There were only a few cars along our way.  Surely more more than one of them wondered about our sanity. 

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

The landscape was gorgeous.  The sound of the sandhill cranes filled the air.  The horses came out of their barn to see those crazy people running down the half snow-covered road. The snow added so much to the beauty of the run.  I felt so lucky to be able to be there in that moment with the opportunity to enjoy that view.  Yes, it was a harsh winter’s day.  But it was one filled with beauty, and a bit of slush in our shoes.  Each of these pictures was taken along our route.  I am glad we walked out that door.

Checking on us

Checking on us

River Receeding

River Receding

Winter Beauty

Winter Field

It’s A Lovely Day For A Run

Photo Credit: KiG (aka Er.We) via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: KiG (aka Er.We) via Compfight cc

Snow.  Wind chill in the single digits or worse.  Schools are closed.  But the sun is out, and the roads are clearing.  To Run Or Not To Run, that is the question.

The answer to that question may say a lot about you and why you run.  If you run to ease stress, and it has been a stressful week, then yes, it is a good day for a run.  If you run because you have made a commitment to get fit and be more healthy, then yes, it is a good day to run.  If you run for fun, then yes, it is a good day to run.  If you run because people say you can’t or shouldn’t, then yes, it is a good day for a run.  If you run because that marathon you completed last month really kicked your butt, and you want to see to it that it does not happen again, then yes, it is a good day for a run.

In fact, as I thought about it,  I could not come up with a good reason no to run, even on a day like today.  My mind had a counter argument for every excuse I could think of.  (Too cold!  Add layers, you’ll have a good running story to tell).  I suppose that means that my conversion is complete.  That, or I am just crazy.  Either way, it looks like a lovely day for a run.