7.46 miles, in a tutu

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


This is what running in a tutu looks like. That's me next to the woman in the white shirt, crossing the finish line (and simultaneously stopping my watch) at Bay to Breakers on Sunday.

Believe it or not, the tutu was surprisingly comfortable -- no chafing, no riding up. It stayed put and actually kept me warm -- and man, San Francisco was chilly that morning. I think I'll wear the tutu again at some point. Maybe I'll get really silly and run 13.1 in it one day, just for the hell of it.

Anyway, Bay to Breakers was a lot of fun. I ran with Neveia (my CIM running buddy), who was in a pink tutu, and my friend Sunny, who was sans costume. (Let me emphasize that though he was not in a tutu like Neveia and me, he did have clothes on, unlike quite a few other runners in the race. You can't have an event in San Francisco without bringing out the nudists. At one point on Saturday, Neveia checked out a naked runner and announced: "I think he's wearing a cock ring!" I will never, ever forget this moment.)

We got some great people-watching in before the race started -- saw "Avatar" creatures carrying cans of Bud Light, runners dressed as British redcoats who had forgotten their pants, and a group of guys in pastel suits and sunglasses à la "Miami Vice," pushing a speedboat down Market Street. Seriously, it was awesome.

The race itself was tough to run, though -- not because of the course, but because of the sheer volume of people. The starting line and first few miles were pretty much one big clusterfuck. Tortillas were flying (I'm still not sure what the significance of this is, but apparently, it's tradition to throw tortillas at the beginning of the race), people were in the wrong corrals, and I felt like I was trying to avoid collisions with walkers and tourists who would randomly stop in the middle of the road to turn around and take photos. I had to dodge spectators too -- huge groups of drunk people in costume (my favorite was the group dressed as strips of bacon) lined the course, and they didn't always stay on the sidewalk. As a result, the first three miles of the race were slow-going.

The crowd situation got a little better at Hayes Street Hill, although I still had to do a lot of weaving (dodged a guy dressed as a giant carrot). But man, it felt awesome to pass tons of people on that hill: See this tutu flying past you? Yeah, that's right. Someone's done her hill work. Honestly, one of the best parts of the race for me was realizing that I had no reason to fear Hayes Street because I was totally prepared for it.

Anyway, after that, the race was smooth sailing. It was fun running down the Panhandle and seeing all the house parties -- made me nostalgic for my old SF life. The crowd of runners thinned out quite a bit through Golden Gate Park (although I almost got run over by a jogging stroller), and Sunny, Neveia and I were able to pick up some speed. We finished strong, sprinting down the Great Highway to the finish line. Sunny crossed first, then me (1:17:39) and then Neveia (who actually had to backtrack a bit because she had dropped her bib on the course).

Afterward, we met up with a few more friends and had brunch and beers at Park Chalet. I devoured a dungeness crab benedict like no one's business.

And yes, I wore the tutu the entire time.

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