I love San Francisco for so many reasons, and now I can add one more to the list. It’s only here, of course, where you can combine a 99-year-old footrace with crazy costumes (or lack of) and turn it into a 7.5 mile long party. It may sound contradictory to include a race in the same sentence as a party, but that’s just how it gets down in the City by the Bay. Every year, thousands trek out to SF to participate in the ING Bay to Breakers footrace, and this year, I was one of them.
I didn’t quite know what to expect since this was my first time running in a race since track meets in middle school. But not only that, I’m not the total party girl either. I wanted to get my run on, since it is Physical Fitness Month. but I also wanted to enjoy the sights and sounds and dress for the occasion. I geared myself up in some Nike running shorts with Betsey Johnson lace tights, 80’s legwarmers, some new Nikes, a North Face fanny pack, and an Adidas track jacket- all topped off with a homemade skunk hood and tail. Yes, I ran around looking like a skunk.
Ok, to say that I ran the whole race would be a complete lie, but I did try to run any fast break I could. The most I ran at one point was the last mile and a half. Normally, I would never think to even walk across the whole city, let alone run, but I had ambitions to go from the bayside to the ocean for the sake of the race. However, at some points it was just impossible to run. Why? For one, towards the beginning of the course, the crowd was just too crazy to maneuver through. Imagine, endless drunkards in matching costumes, dancing from float to float. It’s obvious that some people aren’t there to stay healthy. While I found it quite amusing to browse through all of the costumes, I really wanted to break a sweat.
About the time you get to Golden Gate Park, the party vibe dies down, and although you see the occasional birthday suit and costume, you start to feel like it’s really a race. I could have kept it running for the rest of the 4 miles, but that was also quite impossible. Why? I didn’t properly train and prepare myself for the race. I didn’t even stretch, and I had a few glasses of wine the night before. Oh, and I barely ate breakfast! If I were serious about racing, then I would have been there right when it started, before the debauchery began. So during my quick sprints when the traffic was low, I thought about how I can better prepare myself for next year. It’s the 100th year and I’m trying to make it count.
Try these tips for preparing yourself for a good run:
- Eat a high-protein breakfast. You can try some bacon and eggs to pump those muscles up. Just make sure you eat at least a few hours before your run.
- Don’t pig out. You may think you’ll need to eat a super burrito to give you the energy to run the distance. Eat just enough to keep you satisfied, but not overly full, and after the race you can replenish your body with a good hearty meal.
- Have some fruits as well. You’re going to need to go to the bathroom before your run, because you don’t want that extra weight weighing you down. Fruits are high in fiber to help cleanse your digestive system, and you’ll get a good dose of natural sugars to keep you energized.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid the alcohol. Beer will be everywhere, from kegs on boat floats to shopping carts with six-packs. If you can barely walk when you drink, imagine trying to run through a city terrain! Run straight passed the liquor and go for the water. Plenty will be provided after every mile or so.
You may be sore after the run, and let me tell you, I’m feeling the pain right now! Try these tips for the post-run:
- Eat a banana. Bananas have potassium that can help soothe sore muscles.
- Throw on your swimsuit. Swimming can be quite relaxing for your body, and it can be so fun you don’t even know you’re working out! Invite your friends too, the more, the merrier.
If you think these costumes are crazy, just think of what I didn’t take photos of!
I highly encourage anyone to make it out to San Francisco for next year’s Bay to Breakers. Combine fun, funky fashion, fitness all in a footrace and you’ll have one of the best times out in Frisco.
Now, I officially have 1 year to train…and figure out my costume.
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