Sunday, 15 May 2011

EATING MY HAT

Alright. I'll admit it. When I woke up this morning at 4, I was hoping to hear the sound of pounding rain outside my window. I was not jazzed about running another Bay to Breakers. I have not been jazzed about running much of anything for a while. Had the weather "experts" been right about what to expect this morning, I would have gotten my wish, and stayed home and watched the B2B on TV. They called for rain, strong winds, possible thundershowers and...can you believe this...HAIL! It rained before the race...and drizzled a teensy bit while I was running through Golden Gate Park...but that was IT!

Got into the City at about 6:30 for a 7am start. Found a sweet parking spot...and headed for Corral C, where I was hoping to meet up with at least three running pals. Turned out one had bagged on the whole thing and two others were late. I started alone...unless you count the thousands of others I did not know.

This year's race has new sponsors, who, by the way, did stellar work, I must say. I was worried the new rules limiting the participants to JUST 55-thousand, banning booze, floats, and nudity would just take the magic out of it. Didn't happen. I will say I saw only one person flagrantly imbibing, tossing back some Jim Beam. She was handling it pretty well, for 7:15am. I did miss Cal's Tiki Bar, but all-in-all, I think the booze ban achieved its goal. The spirit was goofy, and fun, not out-of-control stoopid! There were many pleasant references, however, to the excess of years-past.

The course was alive with all manner of delight. These folks were powered by Tiger Blood, apparently. I passed them, Tiger Blood-less, regardless. At this point we're still in Mile 1, running west on Howard Street, heading for the hard right turn at the Chevron station on 9th. The best part of this mile for me was coming up on my good pal, Paul, and his young son, Connor. We did a quick catch-up...and then I headed off, hoping to reconnect at the end. Didn't happen.

We stay on 9th for about a quarter-mile, turn left on Hayes, travel through the good eats paradise that is Hayes Valley...and onwards to the infamous Hayes Hill. This is the only hill on the course, but it is a doozy. There's no point trying to run up it, unless you're one of the elites, who, by this time in the race, were about to win the big money about four miles west of us. The cyclone fencing I'd heard was going to be erected here, to keep runners from peeing on residents' doorsteps, was not.

Once over the Hayes Hill, it really is all flat or downhill the rest of the way. We cruised through the Panhandle, where we were were serenaded by Surivor's "Eye of the Tiger" and some disco delights, before we entered the magic kingdom that is Golden Gate Park. I love this place. And you never know who you'll run into.

Or, what! Seriously. Those are bison. In the city park. If you're from here, you don't care. If you're not...it's pretty cool, right? This is literally...where the buffalo roam.

After the bison, it's pretty much a tumble down to the Queen Wilhemina windmill, and the hard left on the Great Highway at Ocean Beach...and about a quarter mile to the Finish.

I posted a 1:29, according to my Garmin 305. It's not my fasted B2B, but not my slowest, either. I would have loved to have come in at 1:15 or 1:18...but I haven't been running for a while, so I'll take what I get, with bells on.

If you're wondering why this post is entitled as it is...it's because I really thought, I had lost my love of running. Turns out, I may not have. I learned over the past couple of days, through the excitement of those I know about this event, that the magic of running, for me, has always been about the people I've met, run with, shared wine with, shared beers with, shared burgers with, shared potato-encrusted shark steaks with, shared amazing barbeque with, shared free pasta with, shared amazing paid-for pasta with, shared English Mars bars with, shared cheddar goldfish with, shared hotel rooms with, shared early morning shuttle bus rides with, shared dreams and aspirations with...shared life. I'm eating my hat, because I was wrong about not missing all that.

By the way. If you're wondering about the whole nudity thing during this year's B2B. It has NOT gone away. If you want to see a picture of the 50-60 year old dudes who thought we wanted to see their junk, check out the post before this one. I have a shot of the same guys from this year's race. They have nothing to add. For those who wonder about the female nudes...there were, by my count, none. That is, unless you count the young lady above. I have it on good authority, there's nothing much under the tutu. I'm just saying.

Gotta run, gotta ride!

6 comments:

TokyoRacer said...

Glad you had fun. What's Zazzle?

marty said...

great report. looking forward to seeing over here. i'll be armed with beers and mars bars

rUntoNamAste said...

Ahem, you forgot to mention sharing bomb-diggity coffee :) Sucks that we didn't get to run together, but what doesn't suck is your newfound running spark. And for the record, I saw lots of naked ladies. Yessir, I did and I have unpublished pics to prove it ;)
See you in 2012? ;)

Rachel said...

sorry we didn't get to meet up! but that was certainly one helluva race! glad to hear that your love for running is back...i think at some point, all runners go through a falling out phase. but the great thing about running is that it's always there waiting!

RoadBunner said...

I missed you, too! Argh! This was definitely one of those, know way too many people doing the race to keep track of and no good place to try to meet them afterwards types races.

I'm glad you found a little bit of your running mojo again!

Amber said...

Glad you're not tired of running yet, you inspire mine