Weekend in the City

Saturday : May 15, 2010

Drove to San Francisco.  Traffic was a real pain once we got to Berkeley.

Stopped at Scrapbook Territory in Berkeley where I picked up some new goodies.  Love, love letter stickers.  My new favorite — the wood grain letters from Calico Studio and Cosmo Cricket.  And the Tiny Type letters, also from Cosmo Cricket, are also fabulous!

Shared a burger at Barney’s Gourmet Burgers.  The burger was alright but the sweet potato fries rocked my world.

Drove to the SF Design Center to pick up my race packet + t-shirt.  Was not impressed with the sports expo.

Paid $3.50 to park the car in the Union Square parking lot to use the restroom at Macy’s.  Since the $3.50 covered us for an hour, we decided to do a little shopping.

Met up with my brother’s boss to pick up keys to his apartment.  Hung lives in a charming apartment complex in the heart of the city where parking can be a real pain.  The lots are expensive and street parking can take anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes!  The parking spots are small, drivers are aggressive, and the traffic is horrendous.  I now remember why we don’t go to the city very often.

Perused the aisles at Timeless Treasures, a cute, quaint antique store filled with lovely vintage home furnishings and sign letters. Joan, the store owner, has been collecting vintage sign letters for 11 years and has an quite an impressive collection!

I love the combination of letters in “you rock.”

I purchased a large vintage metal highway letter “A”.  The letter, complete with the original reflectors, came from highway signs in New York.   Can’t wait to put it up in my scrap studio.

For dinner that evening, I devoured a bowl of cioppino at the Woodhouse Fish Company.

Sunday : May 16, 2010

I was up at 6:10 a.m., getting for the race.  Tried a new brand of yogurt and decided that I didn’t like it.  For breakfast, I ended up consuming a piece of chocolate, a handful of dried apricots and a serving of caramel rice crackers.

Left my brother’s apartment at 6:50 a.m. and walked two blocks to the bus stop, hoping to catch the bus to the starting line.  Waited for a few minutes at the bus stop and then realized that the buses going by are part of the express line and do not stop along the route.  I walked about 15 blocks to the starting line, amused by the vibrant display of costumes that filled the streets.

It was a chilly morning but 60,000+ people made their way to the wildest and craziest race known in America.  I found Corral D, which is close to the back of the pack, and squeezed my way through the crowd to get myself as close to the starting line as possible.  My goal was to have fun while running a decent race (preferably under 1:24:00) so I worked my way to a comfortable spot in Corral B/C.

The people behind me are in Corral D.  And that’s just the beginning of Corral D — it extends several blocks back.

The party began well before the race.  By the time I got there, thousands of people filled the streets, dancing and singing while guzzling alcoholic beverages.  There were plenty of tortillas and beach balls flying through the air, hitting people in the face and shoulder.  A ton of tortillas ended up on the ground and on the soles of our shoes.  I feel for those volunteers who signed up to clean up after.

This event is really a big celebration of humanity.  People of all ages, walks of life, sizes, and shapes filled the streets wearing vividly colored wigs, skin-tight superhero costumes, and ballerina tutus.  A team of vikings ran the race clad in horned hats and wielding plastic war axes.  A school of sharks maneuvered their way through streets with impressive fins on their heads.  The streets were filled with spectators who photographed and cheered on the runners.  Some of the spectators set up camp along the park and had parties of their own — guzzling down drinks and seeking free hugs.  I was impressed by the team of youth centipede who, in the end, left me in the dust.  Some bared it all — revealing way more than anyone wanted to see.  (OK, the running in the nude thing bothers me a little.  I mean, no one wants to see all of your body parts that are supposed to be covered up bouncing along the streets.  Plus, I really don’t need a naked body brushing up against me when I’m out for a run.)

I’ve run this race five times now and the Hayes Street Hill continues to be a challenge for me.  (This photo was taken before the hill.  I handed my camera to a walker — she walked forward as I ran backwards for this shot.  Such fun times.)

I turned on my Garmin five minutes before the race only to have it die.  Completely out of batteries!  Since I’m so used to pacing myself with the Garmin, running without it for 7+ miles was challenging.   Plus, the eye catching costumes and crazy partiers along the street guzzling beer at 8:30 in the morning kept me pretty distracted.  By not eating a good breakfast and forgetting to drink water along the way, I found myself out of fuel at mile five.  I walked more than I wanted to and resorted to eating the  sport beans in my pack to provide me the energy to finish the race.

Finished the 12 k (7.45 mi) in 1:27:40.  Not as strong of a finish as I hoped but I had a great time.

Edited (5/18): According to the official ING Bay to Breaker race results, I completed the race in 1:25:06.  Of the 60,000+ people who were out there, I was the 9,875th person to cross the finish line!  Because I was part of the first ten thousand to cross complete the race, my name appeared in the Monday edition of the San Francisco Chronicle!  Wooo hooo!!!  Must find a way to get myself a souvenir copy.