Bay to Breakers, like other major holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, holds a special place in my heart.
Look beyond the ludicrous costumes, copious amount of alcohol consumption and inebriated festivities. At the heart of it all: I find a sense of community. San Franciscans — young and old; clothed, naked or costumed; athlete or amateur, unite to be happy, plain and simple.
This year’s 106th annual Bay to Breakers marked a personal triumph for me. Instead of casually walking the race course while part of a strategically and meticulously planned group costume, I decided to run the race — for real.
Set to run in the first group, Corral A, I was surrounded by all walks of life – Wonder Women, Pokemon characters, and tie dye clad hippies — who were serious and ready to take on the 7.46 mile course. The disciplined demeanor and intense energy soon subsided, though flying tortillas came to save the day. My fellow racers and I were under attack and quite often were whacked in the head by flying tortillas. This was the lively, upbeat Bay to Breakers spirit that SF cultivates.
The entire race, while brutal and painful, was somewhat meditative. No naked participant or the brutal Hayes Valley hill could break my concentration.
From the sunny Embarcadero bay to foggy Ocean Beach, I finally made to the finish line. While my calf muscles are now throbbing in hatred because of my choice to run that far, I had the rest of the morning to leisurely walk the course and soak up all that good energy that first attracted me to the race. Another added bonus? I got to snap pics of my favorite costumes.