No? Okay, maybe not, but everyone toeing the line at yesterday’s Across the Bay 5K and 12K couldn’t have asked for a better day in the city. Though newly acquired by Represent Running, the Across the Bay race actually has a longstanding history as long as I am old — one that Bay Area locals were happy to see continued.
Somehow I talked my friend Erin into getting up at an ungodly hour (for her at least, my pup Olive likes to wake me up at 5:30am regularly,) on a Sunday and driving out to the city to run a 5K. I will admit maybe there were some promises of eating vegan mac’n cheese at Homeroom afterwards that served as a bribe of sorts, but at least she agreed that it’d be good to get out and get some fitness in. After a quick stop in Oakland to grab her, we made it to San Francisco in record time, thinking we were going to park at the Ghiradelli Square structure and walk over to the start line… but upon arrival we were quickly reminded that the 12K runners had to arrive even earlier and get shuttled to the start in Sausalito. Luckily, we managed to weasel our way into parking inside Fort Mason, and the walk to the start line was both short and gave us a good preview of how the race would start. As you can tell from our sunglass-laden faces, it was bright out at 7am! Maybe Karl the Fog decided to take a day off. We can’t say we weren’t thankful for that.
We weren’t doing the race to set PRs, but to have a great day. Erin has been joking as of late that as my pregnancy progresses, this is the only time the two of us will naturally be the same speed, and I for one am happy to still have a buddy to run with. If we weren’t going to be fast, we figured we could at least look good. Decked out in Sparkle Athletic skirts and sleeves, silver for me and purple for her, Erin and I quickly made friends with a gal we spotted rocking a checkered visor and tiered neon rainbow skirt from the same company. Over time I’ve found that no matter where I am running, no matter what distance the event, Team Sparkle makes for insta-friends. Before we knew it, the countdown was on and we were off — and up the hill Erin and I had previewed walking down.
While I didn’t take any photos during the race itself, take my word for it when I say it was capital G gorgeous out. [Edit: thanks to Across the Bay sponsor Hoka One One providing free race photos, I do now have proof of how nice it was out! Photos at the bottom of this post.] By the time we hit the Mile 1, both Erin and I had pushed down our sleeves. In a tee, shorts and lightweight calf sleeves, I was feeling pretty good! We cruised through the park, down towards the water and got to spend a few minutes with a picturesque view of the Golden Gate herself before we turned and were heading back towards the start line of the out-and-back course.
As I puttered along, holding pace and chit-chatting, swigging a bit of Skratch here and there, I reveled in how good I felt. At 21 weeks pregnant, recent runs have been a bit touch-and-go for me. The weight shift has become real and new aches and pains have presented themselves, but not enough to keep me from trying to sherpa on. With a FitSplint maternity belt giving me support, I embraced feeling good through every stride. There was no struggle, just happiness to be out there, moving. I probably couldn’t have asked for 3.1 better sunny, easy-feeling miles than I had yesterday.
We glided back down the hill barn-powered, skirts sparkling in the warm sun and through the finish, where not only did we clock in a sub-40 minute 5K, it was the first time ever Erin heard her name announced as she crossed the line! After declining water from some very enthusiastic volunteers, we easily found our way down the path to grab medals and snacks. (Notably both Erin and I are vegan and were pleasantly surprised at the post-race eats. We had our fill of raspberry fig bars and bananas, as well as an açaí drink each.)
I could tell as we sauntered along that neither of us was feeling too wiped, and we were both still smiling, which to me said we did it right. After picking up our race shirts, we sat and snacked by the water for a bit, making up stories about the folks who were open water swimming and occasionally stepping in to help take photos of folks who, like us, had arms only long enough to get faces in a post-race selfie. As I looked around, I realized I had returned to the start and finish area of my first ever race, the Presidio 5K back in 2012. Sitting there on the stone steps, my little one kicking away after presumably a good 38+ minute nap, I couldn’t help but feel that somehow things had come full circle, readying me for a new chapter.
After chatting a bit with an old (speedy) coworker who had just finished the 12K, we celebrated our run with a quick stop at the Fort Mason Farmer’s market and then headed back to the East Bay where we managed to snag a table at Timeless Coffee for brunch. Driving home, I smiled to myself and thought about how things will have changed should I take the event on again next year — but only time will tell. The 5K course was definitely one I’d toe the line for again.
Thank you to all the volunteers, sponsors and expo folks who gave out free schwag, and special thanks to Hoka One One for the free course photos. As always, thank you Represent Running for another well organized, fun event. While I am a proud ambassador for Represent Running as a member of Team Run the Bay, all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.
Division place: 179 of 621
Gender place: 106 of 386
AG place: 27 of 64 (F 30-34)