Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Super-Naked-Fun 2014 Bay to Breakers

This morning, I had the pleasure of "exposing" my 7-year-old, Sophie, to the great San Francisco bacchanal known as the Bay to Breakers 12k. The 103rd BtoB was a classic run, complete with costumes, nakedness, and a fair amount of tolerated debauchery. A race for some, a party for most, and a great time for all!

This was Sophie's longest race to date, although technically she had finished BtoB twice before in her pre-running days (Daddy always gets an official entry, just in case she wants to someday run it 50 times). Months of big talk about training and getting costumes ready soon came down to "OMG, it's tomorrow!". A temporary mustache tattoo and her inov-8's would have to do.

(Sophie dons the blue moustache...what remained after donuts, that is)

(28,000 official entries this year)
(This guy says the egg is this way)
(Sophie flicks a tortilla, a BtoB start corral tradition)
The officials were nice enough to allow her into the Seeded corral with me, where she got to line up with the Kenyans and Aggies, get a pic with Ape Hashbury, and wish well fellow runners Ian Sharman, Bob Hearn (again donning an impressive sequin thong, this time with cape), and many more as we hung around for a late start. Once the gun went off, we quickly stepped to the side for a more pedestrian pace.
(Sophie gives Ape Hashbury a hug!)

(Lining up with the Aggies and Kenyans...maybe some day!)
(And we're off!)
(The streets of SF belong to the fruits and nuts for a day)
"Pedestrian" was definitely the pace of the day for Sophie. There was just too much stimuli to focus on running. Look, Pac Man! Mermaids! Sponge Bob! Vikings! Dinosaurs! NAKED PEOPLE!!!! What's not to love?
(Colorful, warm, and safe - not a bad costume!)
(Hustling through the first mile)
(First naked sighting!)
(Sophie's reaction)
Hayes Hill was it's usual party, and Sophie was thrilled that we were nearing the halfway point. We tried some run a block/walk a block, but didn't push ourselves into sweaty territory. Daddy didn't want to ruin it. ;-) The salmon, who run the course backwards, gave us some high fives as we made the climb.
(Um, yeah...)
(Go, salmon!)
(Spectators dress up as well!)
(Giants in bikinis)
(Hayes Hill is packed!)
(Yip, yip, yip, yip, yip)
(Nerd humor)
(Hayes Hill)
(Sophie makes it to the top...DON'T LOOK TO YOUR RIGHT!!!)
(Oh, forget it...they're everywhere)
(Daddy, what is that? Honestly, I have no words)
(Dragon coming through!)
(My bad, she's catching up to the other dinosaurs)
(Plenty to take in)

(Daniel Boo-yah!)
We soon found ourselves along Hwy 1 at the finish, crossing the line in 2:08:49 for 19,628th place (Sophie was 64th of 152 in the F14-under age group!). Hurray, that means more snacks! And a finisher medal that likely won't leave her grasp for the coming week. It was hard to say who was beaming with more pride, Sophie or Daddy!

(There's the finish!)
(Sophie does it!)
(Finish line fun)
(Chillin' on the bus ride back)
Sophie said her favorite part was "getting a picture with the pink ape", and was still baffled at why anyone would run naked. But soon she thought of her younger sister, Quinn, who will strip at a moments notice to do her naked dance for any stranger interested. "It's nice there is a race for the Quinn's of the world". Well said!

(Winner Geoffrey Kinisi breaks into dance after his 35:10 victory)
The official naked person count for us was 12 this year, a far cry from the 44 we counted in 2010, but still respectable. One more BtoB in the books!

- SD

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

This May Be The Greatest Gift A Trail Runner Could Get...

My wife is a genius. I've always known that about Christi, but in case there was any hesitance, her birthday present to me this month has proved it without a doubt. It has already turned out to be the greatest trail runner b-day gift I've ever received.

What is it? An outdoor shower

(So cool)
And not just any outdoor shower...just look at that bad boy! First I thought she got it just so I could have the thrill of being naked outside (as thrilling as it was at age 3, natch). But I've been surprised at how much we actually use it. Kids got too dirty playing tag? Throw them in. Dropped a bag of peat moss on your lap (yes, did that)? Jump in, clothes and all. Did your rescue pug get into the neighbor's garbage AGAIN? Hose him down. Ninety degrees on your lunch run? Jump in one more time! Who knew a little hot water and screen could go so far! I've taken less than two showers inside since it showed up two weeks ago, and probably 30 outside.

(Waterfall up top, foot/3-year-old shower on bottom)
And let's face it...taking a shower with the sun on your shoulders and birds chirping is just...right, you know?

The true genius of Christi's gift (aside from getting the whole thing built while I was traveling for work) is that it keeps all of our dirty clothes, shoes, pets, and bodies OUTSIDE where she prefers them. Nicely done! All for a few grand in contractor bills...a relative bargain for a clean freak.

(This is the flow at 10% capacity...waterfall ready!)
Some gifts are good, a few are great, and a handful are legendary. Tip o' the hat, my love, this one is my new gold standard!

- SD

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Coastal Bliss at the 2014 Big Sur Marathon

Last Sunday, I had the great pleasure of joining 6,400+ runners for the 29th running of the Big Sur Marathon in Big Sur, CA. It was my fifth time at this epic race (and doing the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge), and my final race in the M40-44 age group. The weather was perfect, and ultrarunner teammate Michael Wardian showed us how it's done by shattering Masters records left and right with his overall win. I couldn't have asked for a better way to ring in the new age group!

The light rain couldn't dispel my clan from tagging along for a weekend in Carmel, CA, particularly our two dogs who were thrilled to be along. Carmel is as dog-friendly as a town can get, with its leashless beaches, dog-friendly restaurants, hotels with dog beds, and free biskees at every corner. Everyone they met had plenty of time for petting, and an occasional salty runner leg to boot. 

(The "dog menu" at The Forge restaurant includes The Quarter Hounder, and even steak!)
(Martha tries to convince me she's a lap dog at Carmel Beach) 
(7-year-old Sophie in her natural element)
(Ace, our one-eyed Pug, gets to sit at the big people table)
My legs were tired from Boston Marathon a few days previous, but given I had eased up to enjoy the epic Boston day, there was a bit more left in the tank than previous B2B's. My original goal of improving last year's combined time of 5:38 was also out the window (needed to be in the 2:40's at Boston for that, and ended up 2:55) so I decided to just go with how my body felt. For the first few days, my body felt like scarfing cheese fondue, peanut butter pie, bloody mary's, and plates full of fresh oysters. I quickly learned that "do what the body feels" is something you start at the beginning of the race, not two days before. ;-)
(Pierre from France adds his own red, white, and blue to the race)
(Danni Baird and I don our foil and garbage bag-inspired outfits)
(Dean at his halfway point - the start!)
(Chris Eide, Kenley Gaffke, and I just before the start)
(Color guard and doves)

(Team Vitargo runner Michael Wardian checks his watch while the ladies stretch and levitate)
We got a glorious break in the rainy weather, and by the time we arrived at the start, it was a balmy 45 degrees with just enough cloud cover. There were plenty of familiar faces, including Ian Sharman (2:39 at Boston), Michael Wardian (2:23!), 2x Womens champion Nuta Olaru (2:37), ultra runners Chris Eide (2:59), Danni Baird, super master Bert Keely, Kenley Gaffke, Dean Karnazes (who ran finish-to-start-to-finish at both Boston and Big Sur), Verity Breen, and dozens more. It was stunning to me how many had run Boston this year (~400) and still looked fresh! Me, not so fresh thanks to a slight cold (thanks, Quinn) and a food hangover from waaay too much wine and birthday cake. Nonetheless, at 6:45am, they sent us off!

(First mile is all downhill....just like Boston!)

(Hwy 1 is ours!)
Any thoughts of convincing my body it wasn't three pounds heavy with cake were quickly dismissed as I hit the VERY FIRST port-o-potty. Sigh...never a good sign in a marathon to stop 0.6 miles in. And 2 miles in. And 5 miles in. LESSON LEARNED. AGAIN. Or not, probably. ;-P

(Spectators at the River Inn came a long way!)

(John from Pacific Grove ran the first leg of the relay, then finished the marathon!)
(Enjoying a great overcast day)
Feeling much lighter, I cruised along with fellow ultra runner Myles Fennon (coolest ultra runner  first name ever) who was doing the Big Sur/Miwok double (yikes!) as we encouraged a first-time marathoner through the early miles. We soon joined the insanely fast Wayne Crowe, who at 58 was running his 67th marathon, and he happily paced us up the 2-mile climb known as Hurricane Hill. 

(Verity Breen is the fastest goof I know)

(Starting to warm up)

(Here comes Hurricane Hill)
(The drummers set the beat for the climb)
It was so odd to run up Hurricane Hill without a Class IV gust blowing you every which way, but this year is was eerily calm. If anything, we were sweating like crazy! But all good fun. We crossed the Bixby Bridge, hitting the half way point in 1:33:46, and my stomach finally said it was okay to go a bit harder. With that, I bid Myles farewell and headed through the rolling hills. 
(Bixby Bridge!)
(Pianist Michael Martinez never misses a Big Sur!)

(The coast belongs to the runners)
(Must be the craziest gig...don't step back too far!)
(Getting a few miles with Kenley)
(Jesus Rivera from Palmdale, CA, took even more photos than I did)
In my few moments of rhythmic solitude, I contemplated all the great times I have had in the M40-44 age group, and found this Big Sur Marathon a worthy bookend. I counted about 60 races that I could remember, including 100-milers in the mountains, Ironman's (Ironmen?), ultras, XTerra's, Turkey Trots, and so many new friends and stories...I am humbled by my passions. It wasn't that long ago I was perplexed at those grey-haired, tan and smiling runners recounting their streaks of 5, 10, 15 runs of the same race...and now I'm that guy! Yet I feel younger than ever. Adventure is the fountain of youth, I tell ya.

(Not a postcard!)
(Mile 23 is "strawberry hill")
I powered through the Carmel Highlands (Mile 20-25), which is always a tough way to finish. It's not so much the hills as the fact that we've now done 23 miles on a NASCAR-track road that has almost no flat spots, so your calves start screaming bloody murder. But there's fresh strawberries and lots of runners, walkers, and volunteers to get you to the finish.

(Youn celebrated her 70th birthday today...what an inspiration!)
(Reggae vibes mean we're almost done)
(There's the finish!)
I cruised in at 3:04:22, good enough for 26th place and 10th for the Boston 2 Big Sur (6:00:36). I laughed out loud when I saw I was 7th in my age group...Michael Wardian, now 40, had won the whole race in 2:27:45! That's a Masters CR, new B2B record, and a solid win. I couldn't have been happier to leave M40-44 behind. ;-)

(Wardian, the bearded warrior, brings it home)
Nuta Olaru (2:53) had won the Women's division for a third time, while Ian Sharman (2:41) came in 4th overall, and Bert Keely (3:03) picked up a win for M56-59. Pretty impressive, guys! Everyone was smiling, enjoying the great weather, and grooving to the music at the awesome finish line party. I grabbed a plate of strawberries and chocolate milk for the kids and headed back to the beach to soak in a few more rays.

(Martha, Quinn, Ace, Sophie and brood!)
(Hmm...maybe I am a hoarder disguised as a runner)
And with that, the door closes on M40-44 for good. But now I'm the young guy in M45-49! Young and old at the same time. Man, I love this sport.

My thanks to the 1,000+ volunteers and Race Directors of BSIM for another flawless Big Sur Marathon, and my congrats to all the runners. I will most certainly see you again!


Gear checklist:
Louis Garneau Race Tank (for inov-8 Race Team)
VitargoS2 Energy Drink (x3 scoops)
S!Caps (x1)
Custom Road Running Shoes
Dunkin' Donuts hat (from NYC Marathon)

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