I want to be honest right up front, here.
I am NOT a runner. I am not BUILT like a runner. I do not have LEGS like a runner. I do not have the GAIT of a runner. I do not RUN.
And yet…suddenly, I am. I’m doing. I’m running. Far. And I kind of like it.
This past weekend I ran the 100th Year of the Bay to Breakers, a 12k (7.46ml) race across San Francisco which is more like an EVENT than a race. Most people come in outrageous costumes (or naked) and drink…heavily…before, during, and after the race. There are floats, tortilla tossing, costume contests and 100,000 people all gathered for the same purpose- RUNNING AND FUN!
And that’s exactly what it was. I was thrilled that this was my first “real” race, where I’ve been in training to do the distance, been trying to work on my time, and got geared up with Gu packets for energy, an arm band for music, and sweat proof clothing as you know how important this is for an Italian like myself to stay (as) dry (as possible).
I, at least, felt like a runner.
What really excited me was that I was actually doing something that I had just learned (if that’s the right word, I’m not sure actually…) after the ripe ol’ age of 30. I’ve mentioned in other posts that it’s super hard to teach an old bitch new tricks, and if you don’t “have it” by our age, you won’t ever have it. But since I’ve turned 30 I’ve learned to drive a stick shift automobile (which is integral for everyone, and is especially hot for females), stay in a job and in a relationship, and that running is for everyone: old, young, naked, fast, slow, ME, etc.
There were many things that almost scared OUT of doing the race. 100,000 people…yah, that’s a SHIT load of people and I have a big thing about being in crowds where I cannot gauge the actions or reactions of those around me. I was actually having small panic attacks about the closeness of it all.
And then there was the weather, which predicted thunderstorms and heavy wind. I don’t even like to run in sunshine and dry weather, what was I possibly thinking about running in pissing down rain??? And it seemed as though I was going to do the run alone due to my running partner(s) all hurting themselves and calling themselves out for the count.
None of these ended up ruining my day.
At 7AM, the sun broke through the fat, low, white clouds, giving a God like halo around the Bay Bridge, and a warm rush through the thousands of folks waiting for the starting gun. I, surrounded by two wonderful girlfriends who manned up and made the trek with me, started getting bashed in the head by another B2B tradition: Tortilla Flinging. Suddenly the air is filled with whizzing disks which hit you every which way, drop to the dirty, wet ground, and are immediately picked up and tossed into the air to smack some unprepared fool in the head…again.
At the start of the race, there are so many people packed together, you can only walk for about 10 minutes until some space becomes available and you don’t have to be DIRECTLY behind two nude men in their 60s wearing nothing but a pair of running shoes and a balloon…tied around their…waists…..
As main streets are blocked off throughout the city, it gives those not running a chance to participate as well, by opening all of their windows and garages so music of their choice (“Eye of the Tiger” every few blocks) can blare out for entertainment. People are throwing parties, drinking on their roofs, and waving at the passersbys like we were famous…or something. It literally felt like a block party….with running…across a city. Radness.
My time was 1:37:00, and it felt awesome to cross the finish line. It became very clear that all that I was worried about was for naught. I wasn’t tired, burnt out, or in pain. I felt invigorated and ready for another 7 miles. Actually, I was pretty bummed that the race was over, I just wanted to run and run and run. WHO AM I???
…They call me Flash….Flash Giovanniello.
Let’s see how this goes. Let’s see if this is just a fad. Let’s see if I am adapting to my own life. And let’s see if I can go further, do better, and reach higher.