May 27, 2011

The Pinky Problem

As I suspected, my rogue pinky finger seems to be the result of some minor nerve damage, most likely from poor form and fit on my bike. I first noticed it a little over a week ago when I was swimming, but figured it might just go away on it's own. Well, it obviously didn't, and it actually got worse after each bike ride. It doesn't hurt and I haven't lost any sensation, but when my hand is flat and my fingers are straightened, my pinky drifts off to the left and I can't make it move toward the other fingers. It's surprisingly frustrating to be telling my body to do something with my mind and for it not to listen physically. I've also noticed that my grip in my left hand has weakened a bit. Since it wasn't getting any better, I consulted my coach/boss Pat who first suggested it was nerve related.

The next day I went to see a local sports somatic practitioner - known for his quick, to-the-point, and often extremely painful treatments (I also saw him a while back for some hip issues). His diagnosis was a compressed nerve (ulnar nerve I think?), probably from an improper bike fit. He had some fancy term for it, but all that stood out to me was the word "palsy". He went to work on my forearm, literally making me swear out loud several times, and then we were done. My pinky was a little closer, but still drifting a bit. Later that day I discovered that my arm was bruised where he worked on it, and my pinky was once again off on it's own.
it looks like a weird Star Trek sign!
 
I did some Googling (of course), and actually found a lot of stuff on nerve-related hand problems for cyclists, but they all seemed to involve numbness and loss of sensation, not lack of motor control. The common term I found was "handlebar palsy", caused by a compressed ulnar nerve. This sounded similar but not quite right... 

I decided to make an appointment with my sports chiro (who I'd been seeing for my hips during AR 50 training). So this morning I went in and got a similar but slightly different diagnosis: crushed nerves in my left arm/hand, probably from both improper bike fit and my hand placement while riding. I usually have my hands on the hoods with my thumb on one side and my fingers on the other side. Apparently this is compressing/crushing some nerves which is causing me to lose functionality in my poor little pinky : / He worked on my hand, forearm, and upper arm, gave me instructions on how to tweak my grip on the bike, and told me to come back in next week. Apparently nerves take longer than muscles and tendons to heal, so he told me to be patient. After all this though, as of tonight it's honestly no better than it was last week. My entire arm, on the other hand, feels like I got punched and is slightly bruised : ( While I'm glad it's not a debilitating injury or even a painful one, I'm slightly discouraged and don't really know what to do next. Certain things, like tying shoes at work, washing my face, and swimming are a bit harder. And while it's minor now, I don't want it to turn into something serious.

I'm definitely planning on getting refit for my bike by a professional, possibly getting some new handlebars (mine may be too wide for me), and there's also a good chance I'll be adding some clip on aero bars soon, too. This is all just unfamiliar territory for me, so thankfully Pat and some of my coworkers have been helping me out. My next bike ride is tomorrow and I plan to try switching up my grip a bit to see if it helps (or at least doesn't make things worse). Cross your fingers (ha!) for my little one!

May 24, 2011

Vineman Week Five

5/16-5/22

After a drop down week last week I was looking forward to ramping things back up. I didn't ended up with a perfect week, but I'm happy with how things went. I got in two rides, including my longest and fastest ride to date, two runs, and 3 swims, including a new endurance-focused workout. I also did my first brick (ride-run) with a strong ride followed by a super speedy run. I also developed my first (kind of strange) triathlon "injury": a semi-paralyzed pinky finger. More on that later.

Monday
[brick]
bike: 21 mi, avg 17.3 mph.
I took advantage of my first day off for the week with my first brick of the season. Pretty much from here out I'll be including a weekly brick workout consisting of a ride of 1-1.5 hours followed by a run of 30-40 minutes. I've been doing some reading and research and it seems that doing these shorter bricks consistently are more beneficial than doing long, near-race distance bricks because the latter are too taxing on the body. Basically you just want your body to become conditioned to running after riding, and apparently it doesn't take much to do that! So I kicked things off this week with a medium-long ride down to Discovery Park and back. It was kind of ugly out and the forecast said to expect rain, so I headed out the door and crossed my fingers that it would hold out a bit longer.

I planned to incorporate some harder intervals suggested by my boss/coach of 2x10 minutes in a harder gear. I have to mention that since I started riding, I've been very hesistant about shifting, partly because I don't really know what I'm doing, and also because I like the gear I'm in : ) Plus the bike trail is pretty darn flat so constant shifting isn't really necessary. I sucked it up though and decided to experiment, so about 20 minutes into the ride I shifted my rear gear into a harder gear and expected to really struggle. Then a funny thing happened - I started going faster. My RPMs definitely dropped, but I was getting more effort out of each pedal stroke. It wasn't so hard that I couldn't keep it up, and I actually ended up staying in that gear for the majority of the rest of the ride. So much for intervals I guess! When I shifted back to my usual gears it was such a weird sensation; I felt like I was just spinning the wheels and going so slow! I only messed with the rear gears on this ride ( I keep the front gear in the middle ring), but I think I may have to start playing around with different combinations. It started to sprinkle on me in the last few miles, but the downpour waited until I started my run : )
ominous dark skies mid-ride...

run: 3 mi, 8:02 avg pace.
I wanted to start my run as soon as possible after finishing my ride so I dropped my bike off, changed my shoes, grabbed a visor, used the restroom, then was off! Transition was probably no more than 5 minutes. As I remembered, my legs felt heavy and awkward, but strangely good, too. My muscles felt loose and my legs fell into a rhythm pretty quickly. I didn't feel like I was running faster than usual, but when I checked my watch a mile in I was going more than a minute faster than my usual pace! I didn't know if I could maintain it, but I decided to just keep running on feel without constantly checking my Garmin. At 1.5 miles I stopped for a minute to catch my breath and cross the street, and could feel a little fatigue from the faster pace. After the breather I headed back home, and ended up clocking my fastest split on the last mile! Final splits: 8:13, 8:01, 7:51. It was a totally weird run, but exhilarating at the same time. I think the ride really warmed up my muscles which allowed me to run faster, even though initially they feel heavy. And, as usual, running in the rain was incredibley refreshing : ) Things are definitely off to a good start, and hopefully all my bricks go this well!

Tuesday
run: 4 mi, 9:17 avg pace.
Didn't have work til the afternoon so I took advantage of my free morning and headed out for an easy run. Only put in four miles, but felt pretty good, if a little tired. It's still feeling harder than usual to run these paces, but I'm glad I can at least still do them. I really need to get more consistent with my running so I can gain some of my endurance back, but I'm finding it so hard to fit it in along with cycling and swimming. And honestly, I just haven't been looking forward to or enjoying running lately. I keep justifying it by telling myself I'm already a runner with a base and I need more practice with the other two sports, but I need to get back in running shape, too. Hopefully I can get back into the running swing of things soon. 

I had planned on swimming after work as well, but I ended up getting out more thana half hour late thanks to a last minute customer, and figured by the time I finished swimming it would be 9pm, so I ditched those plans settled with just the run for the day.

Wednesday
swim: 1,200 yds, 35 min.
  • warm-up: 200
  • 100 w/ kickboard
  • 1x400 easy
  • 1x400 w/ pull buoy
  • cool-down: 100
I ended up not going into work after waking up with a headache and sore throat, but by late afternoon I was feeling abit better so I headed to the pool for a swim. It was nice to go a bit earlier in the day when there was still plenty of sunlight! It was a warm, sunny day so the water actually felt great. I decided to try a different swim workout that my boss/coach put together for me that was focused more on longer sets and endurance. The 400 yard set was a little difficult. I swam as continuously as possible, and took 5-10s breaks a few times. I took it slow and easy though and managed to get it done. I'm using the pull buoy in pretty much every workout now, mainly for easy recovery sets in between harder or longer intervals, but also to focus more on my stroke form. I'm more relaxed when I use it and I get a good arm workout, too. I enjoyed this workout, too, and will certainly be incorporating it into my weekly swims, hopefully adding on more yardage as my endurance improves.

While I was swimming, I noticed that my left hand wasn't cupping water very well and my finger felt strange. I paused at the end of a lap to take a look, and oddly enough my pinky finger was drifting off to the side, away from my other fingers, and I couldn't make it move back! I didn't really know what to make of it; it didn't hurt and it wan't numb, I just couldn't make it move. I had a hunch that it might be bike related, and just hoped it would go away. In the meantime I felt like some kind of Star Trek fan making a weird hand sign!

Thursday
swim: 1,200 yds, 35 min.
  • warm-up: 300
  • 4x50 (on the 1:05)
  • 200 easy w/ pull buoy
  • 4x50 (on the 1:05)
  • 200 easy w/ pull buoy
  • cool-down: 100
Another post-work evening swim. I'm almost starting to look forward to and enjoy these swims. I usually get there toward the end of the kids' swim team practice and I always feel much better about my swim skills when I watch the kids floundering across the pool : ) I did my 50 yard interval workout again to get things done quickly. My pinky finger was still doing it's own thing and not listening to me, but didn't impeed my swim too much. Ended up being a good but uneventful swim.

Friday
bike: 40 mi, avg 17.6 mph.
I had 40 miles on deck for my long ride this week, 5 more than last week. I decided to do two 10 miles out-an-backs in each direction from my house, hoping that it would break up the distance for me a bit. After my gear epiphany Monday I started out the ride in a slightly harder gear than usual, and as a result was holding a much faster speed than usual. My first 10 miles were at an 18.5 mph average with 4 miles over 19 mph! I know for more experienced riders this is nothing, but for me this is fast. Not surprisingly though, the harder effort tired me out sooner, and my speed dropped a ways over the rest of the ride. By 20 miles I was back where I started and my average speed had dropped to 18 mph, and by the time I finished I had an average of 17.6 mph, which is still my fastest average speed ever, and on my longest ride, too! Looking back at my splits, 6 miles were at 18+ mph, and only 8 miles out of 40 were sub-17 mph (all were 16 something). It's encouraging to know that I can go faster, and now I just need to build my endurance to maintain these speeds for longer.

During the last half of the ride I got a strange craving for lemonade, so as soon as I finished I hopped in the car and headed to Starbuck's (yes, they have lemonade and it's quite good, too). It totally hit the spot. My legs felt a little tired post-ride, but not too bad for a long ride. I was a little bummed to find that my weird pinky finger thing was actually worse after the ride, leading me to think once again that it is bike related, perhaps a pinched nerve from a poor bike fit. Made a mental note to look into it if it didn't get better.

Saturday
rest.
I specifically scheduled Saturday as a rest day because I had to work all day and then I had a party to attend that evening. My great aunt Annie (aka my grandmother's sister) was turning 97 years old which meant a big celebration with family and friends : ) That side of my family must have some awesome genes; my grandmother passed away last year at 94 years old, and their brother will be 92 this year. They all grew up in Italy and immigrated here when they were in their 20s, so I think that made them extra tough : ) My grandmother was quite the firecracker! Anyway, it was a wonderful evening with delicious Italian food, lots of wine, and good company. I have no doubt we'll eventually be celebrating 100 years!
me & Annie
sisters (my grandmother and great aunt)

Sunday
swim: 1,200 yds, 35 min.
  • warm-up: 300
  • 4x50 (on the 1:05)
  • 200 easy w/ pull buoy
  • 4x50 (on the 1:05)
  • 200 easy w/ pull buoy
  • cool-down: 100
I had plans to either bike or swim after work, and decided that more time in the pool would be better for me than a short bike ride. I had plans in the evening, so I wanted to just get my workout in quickly so I opted for my workout with the 50 yard intervals since it seem sto go by faster. For some reason though, I was just not feeling it from the start. I was tired and the workout just felt harder than usual. I was glad I did it, but also happy to be done.

Totals:
swim - 3,600 yards
bike - 61 miles
run - 7 miles

May 20, 2011

Vineman Week Four

5/9-5/15

Woah, I'm just a wee bit late getting this up - sorry!

After a having a pretty successful week three, I was hoping to keep the momentum going but life sort of got in the way and this week turned in to a bit of a drop down week. I've decided that in the long run I'll benefit from the rest and I can use the extra energy to kick butt the next week. One notable thing that I want to share is that I'm lucky to be getting a little bit of coaching from my boss, Pat. An accomplished triathlete and multiple Ironman finisher, he certainly knows what he's talking about, and I'm infinitely grateful that he's taking the time to help me out. Not only did he come out to a swim workout to give me some tips, but he also wrote up several workouts for me to do both in the pool and on the bike. But more than anything, he's been an awesome resource to answer all of my (often silly) questions : ) While I'm on the subject, I also want to mention that I am pretty darn lucky to work where I do (Fleet Feet Sac) with the people I do. A couple of the guys are avid and experienced cyclists and have been uber helpful in answering my (many) cycling questions. Getting back to my training this week: I got in two quality swims, just one ride (but was my longest yet), and a couple runs, including the wild and ridiculous Bay to Breakers 12k. Like I said, definitely a drop down week, but I'm ok with that. Onward!

Monday
swim: 1,100 yds, 40 min.
  • random laps w/ drills
  • ladder: 50, 100, 150, 200, 150, 100, 50
My boss, Pat, came out to watch me swim and give me some pointers. I was pretty nervous to have someone watch me swim, especially someone as accomplished as Pat. But to my surprise, after watching me swim a few laps he said I actually look pretty good! Specifically, he said that despite being a beginner, I don't have any of the common beginner problems. Of course there are definitely things I can work on to become a better and more efficient swimmer, but it was nice to hear that if nothing changed, my swimming would still be decent. He had me do several laps focusing on different skills and gave me some really valuable advice, too. Before he left me to finish my workout, he had me swim a 50 fast, and lo and behold he said I actually look better when I'm sprinting! Ha, go figure. After he left I finished up my ladder and decided to call it a day. I actually don't know exactly how many laps I swam with Pat so I'm going with a ballpark number for my total yardage.

Tuesday
rest.

Wednesday
swim: 1,200 yds, 35 min.
  • warm-up: 300
  • 4x50 (on the 1:05)
  • 200 easy w/ pull buoy
  • 4x50 (on the 1:05)
  • 200 easy w/ pull buoy
  • cool-down: 100
This was one of the workouts that Pat put together for me. It sticks with the same total yardage I've been doing, but challenges me to work a little harder and swim a little faster. Despite being a little tougher than I'm used to, I actually really liked it! The set of 50s on the 1:05 basically means I have that amount of time to swim a 50 and then rest for however much time is left (for me, about 10-15sec). By the 4th one I was definitely winded, but I managed to push through and finish strong. One other thing that Pat turned me on to is using the pull buoy more. I always kind of thought of it as "cheating" if I used it too much, but Pat brought up a couple good points: first off, the buoyancy of the pull buoy is similar to the buoyancy I'll be getting from my wetsuit on race day; second, my legs are working a lot already with all the riding and running I'm doing, so it's ok to give them a break in the pool. I actually feel like my arms get a better workout when I'm using it, too, and Lord knows my T-rex arms can use the extra work! So after the 50s I got to rest a bit using the pull buoy, then it was one more set of 4x50 then a cool-down. I definitely see this workout become a weekly staple!

Thursday
bike: 35 mi, avg 16.9 mph.
Pat helped me come up with the progression for my long rides, which basically worked out to adding 5 miles each week, topping out at 60 miles (race distance is 56). That meant I was doing 35 this week, which would be about 2 hours. I decided the route ahead of time, opting to head upstream toward Lake Natoma and do an out-and-back. Everything was going great til I reached Hazel Ave, then I hit some of the hills (probably insignificant to most, but huge for me!). It was pretty warm out and my legs got a little tired after the climbs. I was a tad slower on the second half, but I was happy with my average speed considering the distance. As usual, spotted lots of wildlife including a deer and a rattlesnake sunning itself on the trail. And I'm just putting it out there as a prediction, but I have a feeling my first crash will be the result of swerving to avoid the pesky little squirrels that run across the trail...
turnaround at Lake Natoma

Friday
run: 4 mi, 8:55 avg pace.
Decided to take advantage of our weekly employee run from the store, mainly as motivation to get my butt out of bed. As usual, the rest of my coworkers who showed up are super speedy so I ended up on my own. I stuck with them as we headed to McKinley Park, then slowed a bit to my own pace as we started our laps. Although I managed to maintain a pretty decent pace, I was pretty fatigued for the whole run. My legs were just tired (I'm guessing partly due to my ride the previous day), and I found myself stopping several times at the water fountains to rest. This is sort of becoming a trend on my runs; I can run my usual paces (and even a tad faster), but it's hard to maintain them without needing breaks. This probably means I should slow down a bit til I get some of my endurance back, but my ego has other ideas : / I know I need to start building my mileage back up, but I lately I've just found myself not really looking forward to running, mainly because it feels so much harder than usual.

Meant to swim after work, but my coworkers tempted me to come out for dinner and drinks instead. As important as my training is, I feel like I often let it get in the way of ever having any social life, so I decided to nix my two-a-day plans and settle for just 2 swims this week. I had a great night, so no regrets!

Saturday
rest.
Worked a half day then had to pack and run a few errands before heading to the Bay area, so I unfortunately ended up taking a second rest day this week. Oh well!

Sunday
run: 7.9 mi, 13:17 avg pace.
Had an epic time running the 100th Bay to Breakers in San Francisco! This one's been on my list for a while, and I'm so glad I finally got to experience it and all the wonderful debauchery it's famous for. Didn't end up being a very serious run (uhh check out our pace!), but I covered the distance so I'm counting it as a workout : ) If you haven't run Bay to Breakers yet, what are you waiting for?!
100th Bay to Breakers!
just about sums things up : )

Totals:
swim - 2,300 yards
bike - 35 miles
run - 11.9 miles

May 18, 2011

Bay to Breakers (Race Report)

Every runner has their list of must-do races that they hope to experience in their lifetime, and San Francisco's infamous Bay to Breakers had a spot on mine. To call this a "race", however, can be a little misleading. It's more like a giant party with 55,000+ participants making their way through the streets of San Francisco to the Pacific. Costumes, nakedness, a healthy dose of adult beverages, and general wildness are in abundance, giving it the feel of a parade more than a running race. In other words, making it an event you have to experience, at least once. I was excited to participate this year, in particular, because it marked the 100th running of Bay to Breakers, and I liked to think I'd be a little part of history : ) In addition to celebrating the centennial anniversary of the race, there were also plans to crack down on much of the debauchery the race is known (and both liked and disliked) for, namely alcohol consumption and nudity, hopefully making it safer and better for the city while still keeping things fun. I went into it with no serious plans to race, and rather enjoyed the sights and sounds, took a millions pics, and even chugged a beer mid-race : ) Basically, I had a blast!

I had to work Saturday morning so I didn't leave for the bay til almost 6pm. A while back I had made plans to do the race with my coworker, Julia, and it just happened to work out that she was from the Bay so we had a free and convenient place to stay. Julia headed down earlier and was able to pick up our packets, so I didn't have to deal with the madness of the expo. The drive to the bay was relatively uneventful, until about 40 minutes in traffic slowed and I saw smoke up ahead. I assumed there had been a crash, but as traffic slowly moved forward and I got closer, I realized that the bushes in the divider of the freeway had caught fire! A truck just beyond was pulled off the the side and looked to have been involved, but I still can't figure out how it all happened. I made it to Julia's place (with an incredible view of the bay, btw) just in time for some dinner. We finished the night off with a movie and then proceeded to crash.
 wtf?!
race packet!

I had checked the forecast the week leading up and saw that we were in for some interesting weather: 70% chance of rain and thunderstorms! Keeping consistent with the forecast, the sky on my way there was dark and ominous, so Julia and I expected the worst and tweaked our outfits accordingly. Speaking of, when I signed up for B2B I fully intended on running in full costume. I had nothing particular in mind, and as race day got closer, I just couldn't seem to settle on anything. And then before I knew it, it was Saturday and I had nothing planned. So in a last minute mad dash I threw together some things I had and ended up representing last years' Baseball World Champions and San Fran hometeam, the Giants! I already had a Giants shirt and hat, so I just paired those with my bright orange Nike tempo shorts, and at the last minute, my Nike windbreaker, and I was set!

Our alarms went off much too early, 5am to be exact, since the race start had been moved back to 7am this year. It took some coaxing to get me out of the warm and comfy bed, but eventually I started getting ready. We had thought about having a drink or two pre-race to get into the spirit of things, but we both ended up being so tired and anticipating the cold, decided to skip it. It was definitely gloomy outside, but we enjoyed some cautious optimism when we looked across the bay at the city and saw clear skies! Still, it was a bit chilly when we got outside so I was glad to have my windbreaker. We got dropped off at BART and, along with many others, made our way to the city! Julia and I registered early and were in Corral C with a 7am start time. Obviously, the corrals are like a spectrum, ranging from the elites in Corral A, to the drunkest revelers in the final corral who walk the race, many of whom never even make it to the finish. So I figured being kind of in the middle would allow us to run when we wanted to, but also see some fun and wild stuff : )
still half asleep while we wait for BART!

Anyway, we didn't end up getting to the city in time to start in our corral, so we decided to move back and start with Corral D about a half hour later. When we got to downtown SF, everywhere we looked were runners in crazy costumes. The excitement in the air was definitely buzzing and got stronger as we made our way to the start line along the Embarcadero. The crowds got thicker and the costumes more intriguing as we got closer, and we also found ourselves treading on the remnants of the traditional "tortilla toss". Seriously, the street was covered in tortillas! Finally we got to the start and after waiting just a few minutes we were off! From our first few steps, we knew there was no way we would be able to run the whole race - it was just way too crowded, and even in Corral D most people were walking. So we dodged folks for a while and stopped to walk and take pictures whenever we felt like it.
 downtown SF
 Julia & I
tortillas!
 a sea of people
 waiting to start
there it is!

Within the first mile we spotted our first nekkid person and cut a tangent across the crowd to get a pic. It ended up being the first of many for the day, despite the supposed ban on nudity. We only saw one woman baring all, and the rest were all older men - exactly the people you don't want to see naked!! After the first few, I decided I really wasn't a fan. More power to you if you can rock your birthday suit in public, but I'd just rather not look! My last comment on the topic - it was funny to see the different ways the nudies displayed their bibs!
 1st nakie! notice the number on the lunch box!
 haha : )
 a naked giant!
 
There was so much to see in the first mile that it seemed to take forever to reach the first mile marker. The course cut through downtown San Francisco, surrounding us with tall building on either sides and lots of spectators out cheering and joining in the partying fun. The skies had stayed clear and the gorgeous blue skies made everything that much better! Once in a while we'd glance behind us and it was almost overwhelming to see the throngs of people - literally, a sea of people. We ran in stretches, stopping to take pics of our favorite costumes. Around mile 2 we came across one of my favorites of the day - the salmon! From what I've heard, this group is there every year, dressed as salmon, and runs in the opposite direction (aka salmon swimming upstream). We caught them as they were taking a break to dance to some jazz, and I couldn't resist catching it on video. Check out the hilarity below:
 mile 1
human piƱatas!
 box of crayons : )
photo op
dancing salmon!
 
Next up was Hayes Street and the infamous Hayes Hill, the only real hill of the course. It's definitely no joke - it's both long and steep, so obviously we decided to walk it. It was while we were trudging up this bad boy that we passed a liquor store and decided that it would be a good idea to stop in and chug a beer. We figured it would make for a good little pick me up, and thus mile 3 became known as "the beer mile" : ) We finished walking the rest of the hill to let it settle, and eventually it gave us a little kick! When we reached the top we got sprinkled on briefly as we ran through an odd patch of rain, but by mile 4 it was clear skies again as we entered Golden Gate Park.
 starting up the hill!
 still going up...
looking back...
 the beer mile! it was a good idea : )
 oh ya know, just enjoying a beer mid-race
we can finally see the top!
entering Golden Gate Park
 
I spotted another favorite for the day: an Up!-inspired costume complete with a mini house floating away by a bunch of balloons! Definitely put a smile on my face : ) Over the next couple miles the crowds thinned a bit and we were actually able to run a bit more than before. I ended up randomly running into a couple people I knew from Fleet Feet which was fun, considering just how many people were out there. Just after mile 4 I realized we were running on the same route as the San Francisco Marathon as we passed the brightly colored Flower Conservatory. Brought back some fun memories from my last SF race!
 Up!
 Flower Conservatory
this looked so fun!
hello, sunshine
love this
unicorns do exist!
better than the real thing
silly pose for the photogs!
 
The course continued to wind through Golden Gate Park and was all flat and downhill to the finish. If you've never been to GG Park, you have to understand that it's not a typical park. It's huge and has all kind of things like museums and zoos within it's borders. Case in point, as I was running I glanced to my right and spotted a herd of buffalo! Yes, buffalo, just grazing and ignoring the madness going on around them. Clearly I was pretty jazzed to spot them : ) Soon after we spotted another awesome costume - a man cross-dressed with a "bubble booty" - yes, he had actually made a voluptuous butt that emitted real bubbles! Funny and creative! By this point I was down right warm, and had tied my windbreaker around my waist. It wasn't uncomfortable, but looking back on the pics I realized it looked more like a skirt! Ha.
 buffalo!
 bubble booty!
thug shadows
 me and my windbreaker "skirt"

Before long we were leaving the park and could see and smell the Pacific. Obviously from all the weaving we knew the course would be longer than 12k, and we ended up recording the race a full half mile longer. Regardless, when we saw the finish and saw that we were at 1:43, I told Julia to sprint so we could come in under 1:45. The finish was pretty uneventful actually, but we did finish with an official time of 1:44:44. Considering all of our photo ops, the crowds, the beer mile, and chatting with others, I'm just fine with our time. This is definitely not a race I would run as a race, so time wasn't really a big part of the experience.
a pic with the Pacific
 kick to the finish!
first Bay to Breakers in the books!
 
After crossing the finish line we joined the crowds once again to make the one mile plus trek to collect our medals and shirts and ended up back in Golden Gate Park at the finish festival, Footstock. The medals were actually really cool and are a limited edition to celebrate the centennial, so I'm glad I got one! The shirts on the other hand sucked. For one, they were cotton, and for another, the logo was screen printed, and it wasn't even straight on mine! The finish festival wasn't bad, just the usual vendors, food, and music. We stuck around for a while, stocking up on free samples and scoping out some more awesome costumes, and then made our way through the park to meet Julia's folks.
 rockin' our awesome medals
 raccoon! haha
Pacman
dressed up pup!

On our way, we spotted a gopher peeping out of his hole in the grass. Surprisingly though, he didn't dart back underground, but actually stuck around, munching on the grass around him. I even managed to get super close to him and he didn't freak out! I'd never really known what a gopher looked like because they usually disappear so quickly - turns out they're super cute!
 my little gopher friend : )
look at his chubby little cheeks!
 
As we headed back to Julia's place we drove past the Golden Gate Bridge, and on such a beautiful day we couldn't resist stopping (ok, I sort of freaked out at the view and they kindly obliged me and stopped). It was seriously breathtaking; I think I could have spent the entire day there just staring, a smile stuck on my face. Just beautiful. I always forget what an amazing city San Francisco is, and I need to start taking advantage of living so close!
I ♥ SF
 just breathtaking...

We spent the rest of the day hanging out, getting lunch, and seeing a movie (Bridesmaids - hi-lar-ious!) before I made the drive back to Sac where the weather was not so nice. I couldn't have asked for a more fun weekend and Bay to Breakers experience. It's definitely a crazy and eccentric race, but one that everyone should do at least once!
100th Bay to Breakers: a race I won't forget!