Bay to Breaker – May 15, 2011

What a crazy weekend!  It all started on Friday… I had a conference in the morning and then took the bus, not just any bus, but the 19 Polk to 8th and Brannan to pick up my bib, chip and packet.  While on the bus which was filled with tourists, regular people minding their own business, and an assortment of possible no-gooders (the bus goes through the Tenderloin, a not-so-desireable area of San Francisco), I met this lady who is a student at the Academy of Art.  We got off the bus together, picked up our packet, and walked around.  When I was ready to leave, I hailed a taxi and told her she could ride while I paid, since she was going my direction anyway.  We talked about possibly meeting up at some point during the foot race.
On Saturday, we drove to Sacramento for Caitlin’s basketball tournament… strange as it may sound… she plays in an Asian basketball league – the players have to be of Asian descent (any percentage) so that there would be somewhat of a fair competition.  In other leagues, Caitlin could be guarding girls her age but are 6-8 inches taller than her, and she’s already almost 5′ 6″!  We took separate cars because the tournament was held on both days.  I got home around 10:00 p.m. and had to prepare for rain… went to the other house looking for a poncho but only came up with the plastic hat.  Then I got my windbreaker ready and two plastic bags and rubber bands to cover my shoes from getting as wet.  I prepared my food as well:  peanut butter smeared on a bagel, banana, two baggies of peanut M&Ms.  Then I had to look up the BART schedule, etc., such a long process…  By the time I got into bed it was 1:00 a.m. – I hate sleeping in the house alone, so it took a long time before I stayed asleep.
I wake up at 6:30 to realize that it was a nice clear morning, which I didn’t prepare for!  I had to find the sunscreen and decide whether to wear a jacket or not, etc., all which took a few more minutes that I had hoped.   I drive to the SSF BART station, park, and get to the platform in time to sprint for the train,,, pretty much like any workday!  I started to see people in costumes. The best one on the train was the guy who dressed up like how Brian Wilson appeared on the George Lopez Show as the Captain.  After getting off the train which was my normal stop when I go to work, I walked two blocks to my corral right when it was allowing people to go through while tortillas were flying all over the place… suddenly I starting seeing giant green ones too.  Yikes! Those would hurt!
It didn’t take long for the naked guy to find me… actually, I found him next to me.  I got away… and found myself in back of another one.  The interesting thing is that I saw less than 7 naked people throughout the whole walk, not that I was looking or counting or anything (it’s not my fault they kept appearing every so often!).
I’ve been having this Achilles tendonitis pain for over 3 years.  It occurs pretty much right away when I walk, whether at a foot race or during a short walk to the car.  Every so often, it will go away after the first mile or so, but most of the time it doesn’t, so I’m walking with some discouraging pain that makes me feel like my calves are going to explode, even though the pain is right below that.  Mind over matter (not!)…
We passed by the fire station on Howard Street, and the firefighters were watching us go by.  Many took photos with them, which they accommodated.  There were a lot of spectators as well, and many were interested in taking photos of those naked people…  AND at some point, some of the spectators were naked too!  Any excuse to remove clothing in broad daylight in public, I suppose.  This is San Francisco after all.
That Hayes Street Hill – well, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined because you could only walk so fast, and there’s entertainment all along the street, so you walk, look around, and soon afterwards, you’re at the top.  According to my notes (yes, I took notes), it took me 15 minutes… which is nothing for 4-5 blocks of purported 11% grade.  Right before the top of the hill, my brother-in-law, Jeffrey, runs into me, literally and purposely.  How is it that with 55,000 people, he finds me at the most difficult moment trudging up that hill?!
After mile 3, we started entering the Panhandle area.  I saw this great portrayal of the movie, Up.  A large Asian man was dressed like the little boy, carrying this massive bunch of balloons with a house underneath it.  Soon I was in Golden Gate Park.  At the water fall, I asked someone to take a photo of me, which turned out fine.  At the bison park, I asked this lady to take a photo of me…  it turned out she was drunk, so she had to do it twice.  As I walked away, I hear her friend say into her phone, “Oh, she just fell over!”  Oops…
At the mile 7, the marker was ground level, so there was a short line to take a photo which I did.  Only .46 miles more to go… by this time, I was really beat and was ready to stop walking soon, but I hung in there and finished… 3 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds after I started.
What I forgot to mention was my new friend… even though we didn’t walk together and actually never saw each other again, we texted each other every so often throughout the walk, and that really helped me get through.  The leg pain was a little discouraging along with the time it was taking me.  The purpose was not to get a personal record, but I had still wanted to be faster than the 25-26 minute/mile pace I was going.  Although there are many distractions, and I prefer to walking alone, it’s encouraging to know someone is kind of around, not necessarily physically but at least in thought.
I picked up my medal soon after I finished.  I was quite impressed because it wasn’t plastic.  It was made out of a very heavy metal.  I thought there was a finisher shirt at Footstock, so I walked another maddening 1.5 miles there only to find that there was no finisher shirt and had to walk at least another .5 miles out of the park to where my sister-in-law, Margaret, picked me up.  That 1.5 miles to Footstock took me almost 50 minutes!  Margaret drove me to the restaurant where I picked up my recovery meal, Beef with Tofu over Rice.
I’m glad I did it… and I will probably do it again in the future… I’m not positively sure it’ll be next year though only because I feel like I’m still recovering!  My body ached all over for about 4 days, and I haven’t exercised since, but I know I need to continue…
So that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

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