|Pardon the awful SpacePhone camera focus and note the Surprised Octopus.|
On Saturday, Holo Solo and I braved the Bay Bridge closure to run Brazen Racing's Bay Breeze Half Marathon in chilly, overcast San Leandro. Having missed our previously scheduled half with Brazen due to more important things, I was really looking forward to running with them again. And, as to be expected, they did not disappoint!
The start/finish line was conveniently located down in San Leandro Marina Park (next to Marina Golf Course) with pretty decent parking both in the lots surrounding and in a neighborhood a block or two away. We opted for the neighborhood parking after a quick drive-by as the lots looked full. Wandering over we grabbed our bibs and safety pins, de-jacketed, restroomed and corralled up with a few minutes to spare as the directors made jokes, instructed the crowd as to the aid stations and turn-a-rounds and generally made everyone feel at home. As with the New Year's Eve and New Year's Eve back-to-back races, Bay Breeze Halfers were set to be starting at 8:00am on the nose, with the 10k starting at 8:15am and the 5k at 8:25am; which is ideal.
The course itself was flat and fast along the water, and when I say along the water I don't mean "at the far end of a beach and the water is 100ft away" (I'm looking at you, Surf City Marathon), but "holy crap the water is RIGHT THERE, please don't let there be any swells". Apparently, last year the race was on an extremely windy day, so I can only imagine that the runners got a little damp on course.
|Who wears short shorts?|
Anyways, shooting us out of the Marina Park, we ran alongside a small dog park and past Tony Lema Golf Course, into Heron Bay and through the Hayward Regional Shoreline. The 6.5mi Turn-a-Round/Aid Station was barely a stones throw from the San Mateo Bridge (at which point Holo Solo stated we might as well run home since that's the route we'd be taking) and, as usual, the station was packed with all the same goodies as the first two aid stations on trail: cookies, M&Ms, GU, bananas, gatorade, water and the Friendliest Volunteers.
From there, we retraced our steps, received endorphins from the one and only Endorphin Dude, hitting the first two aid stations along the way, and ran into the finish line happily managing two kills in the chute (cramped quads and calves be damned!), which makes running a fairly slow half feel a little bit better. One day I'll learn to give myself recovery time after a marathon...
After stretching, rubbing, icing and lazing about at the Marina for a bit, Holo Solo (2:09) and I (2:17) ambled our sore selves back to the car with the intent of mainlining eggs and bacon as soon as possible. With the help of Yelp we found Restaurant Bay Watch and proceeded to gorge upon biscuits & gravy (Holo Solo) and a Bacado Omelette (wHBO) before high-tailing it back to San Francisco and into our ice bath (accompanied by a fine Belgian Ale, of course).
Once again, I cannot rave enough about Brazen Racing. From start to finish they prove again and again to be a class act. Case in point- originally having rego'd Holo Solo for the Bay Breeze 10k, when we missed Coyote Hills due to more important things, we'd made a deal that he would run the half instead. I contacted Brazen asking if I should work with Active.com to arrange a refund and re-register H. Solo for the half through them and within a few hours they'd messaged me back saying to send them the difference in check form and that they'd gone ahead and switch H. Solo into the Half category. That is some Class A customer service, kids!
H. Solo and I had a rough race due to fatigue on my part and lack of training on his, but thanks in part to our sheer collective stubborness, but mostly to Brazen's welcoming demeanor and the overall good experience, it is almost impossible to look back on this race negatively. All that being said, see you nutters in Lagoon Valley!