Friday, August 12, 2005

Bay to Breakers picture

I finally checked out the Bay to Breakers website to see if I had any pictures from the race in May. The Bay to Breakers race takes place each year in San Fransisco, and is supposedly the longest running race in the country. (Longest running, as in it's been taking place for the most consecutive years than any other race) Its roots lay in a foot race held to raise moral at the turn of the last century after the great San Fransisco earth quake. In true San Fran style, though, its not your normal race.

Although there are world reknown athletes that run the race, and compete for large purses, there are also lots of people dressed up and many drunk people meandering across the city. Imagine Halloween with 50,000 people. Now imagine them all running 7 miles across the city.

I dressed up in a "Freudian Slip" costume. Surpisingly, the slip was incrediably comfortable, although I woulnd't recommend a polyester one. It doesn't breath very well. The run went better than expect, especially considering what I had done the day before. The race was on a Sunday, and on Satruday, I had done a pretty intense 11 mile trail run, followed by a mt bike around same loop. This lead to huge cramping issues in the calves during the bike, and I was pretty sore aftwards. Following that, It drove to San Fran in the evening to register for the race, and then slept in my car to wake up early the next day for the run. When the race began, I started slowly, intending on going easy, enjoying the atmosphere, just loosening up from the day before. By the time I reached the steep hill in the city, however, I had loosened up a lot, and going up the hill gave me energy to actually start going at a good pace, which I kept up the rest of the race.

Me smiling for the camera while crossing the finish line!

As I mentioned before, many of the people in the back pack are drinking during the race. Shopping carts with kegs are a common sight, although that is really just for the amatures. The real dedicated partiers have carts the size of parade floats, complete with a full bar, roofs over it, ect. These roaming parties have 15-30 people in their group, with it taking 5-6 to be pushing at any given time. This is an all day event for them.

Other attractions inclucde the salmon runners, who dress up in huge foam fish costumes, and run the course "upstream", starting at the finish and going towards the start, squirming and jumping their way through the crowd in a line.

Of course you can't leave out the Bare to Breakers either; those dedicated to doing the entire race donning nothing but running shoes and a number.

One of the more interesting features was the tortilla throwing. The race start was filled curb to curb with people, for many blocks, as one would expect for a race like this. Many people had large bags of tortillas and were wildly throwing totillas like frisbees into the air to land down on the crowd. At one any one point there were dozens of flying flour discs going in random directions. Then I turned the corner. Dozens of tortillas in the air at any given moment? Scratch that. Make it hundreds. As you got closer to the start line, you were walking over one big floury mess covering the pavement. No one I talked knew where the tradition had started, just that it was a tradition.

At the end of the race, there was the typical after race events, with a playing field in a park taken over by vendors. This is usually ok, except in this case, the race planners had not actually provided any food themselves. They were completely relying on the vendors "free samples" as post race snack. Needless to say, this didn't involve fruit or juice. Instead, it was chocolat milk, candy, paper products, and dental floss. This is extremely irresponsible on their part. When I pay $50 bucks for race, part of that money, in my mind, goes to having fruit and bagels at the end of the race. Plain and simple. That's point of organizing a race. Instead, you'd have to stand in a half hour line, to get what ever crap was given away for free.

One of the event stands was from Southwest Airlines, who was hosting a costume contest. They were only keeping the stage open till a certain time, however, which meant that the only people who were eligable, were people who actually "ran" the race. This drastically cut down on the entrants, and I decided to enter. After that, though, I got pretty bored, especially with the lack of food, and decided to head home. Three days later, I got a phone call saying that I had won one of the prizes, an all expence paid trip to Phoenix, AZ. I'm not sure what the appeal is to go to Phoenix, when you all ready live in CA, but it works good for me, since I have freinds there. Unfortunately, I never received the prize, which was supposed to be FedExed to me shortly afterwards. I sent them a letter a few weeks back, and am still waiting for the reply.


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