Yesterday Mariel and I did the 7K run/walk for the 2004 Bridge to Bridge. We started about 20 minutes late because we couldn’t find parking. They told us to park at the Embarcadero Center (the parking was free with our race bibs), but all of the parking structures were “full” when we got there, so we drove around the block a few times until the little “Full” light outside went off. After parking, we dashed out of the car and to the start area. There were quite a few stragglers like us, so we basically joined the crowd. After a few minutes, I turned to Mariel and asked, “Where’s the start line?” After a few moments of thought, she answered, “I think we’re already in the race.” I didn’t believe her until we passed the 1 mile marker.
It was a typically cold and overcast day in San Francisco, but once we got going we appreciated the cool weather. The route started at the Ferry Building, followed the Embarcadero for much of it, and ended up at the Presidio. We went at a fairly leisurely pace, even stopping at Pier 39 to use the restroom. We finished about 1 hour, 15 minutes after the start of the race. Afterwards we picked up our free Bridge to Bridge t-shirts and wandered around the finish area, picking up free stuff.
After a while Ozomatli took the stage. I had heard of them back in college but never really got into their music. Seeing them live really changed my mind. They put on an incredibly high energy show, which was good because that kept my mind off the cold. In addition to being fantastic musicians, they are a band that is committed to social justice and political activism. One of the band members was wearing a “Bush Sucks” shirt, and another made a statement about how we need to get Bush out of office. Their biography on their website describes how their last album was released on September 11, 2001 and instead of cancelling their tour, they kept playing, recognizing the power of music to bring people together.
The low point of the event was at the announcement of the winner of the men’s 12K. The 2nd and 3rd place runners were both from Kenya and the announcer described how the finish was really close, and that the eventual winner passed the two Kenyans at the very last moment. When the winner came up to accept his prize, he told the crowd that he had a friend who won a silver medal in the men’s marathon at the last Olympics and that he was glad to see an American up there because “we’re always getting our butts kicked by foreigners.” Then he went on to say how glad he was that an American won. There was nervous laughter from the audience, and his comments definitely made me feel uncomfortable. I won’t even go into how nonsensical it is to refer to non-Americans as “foreigners” at an international sports event taking place in Greece. Besides that odd occurance, the event was a lot of fun.
Afterwards, we had lunch at the fru-fru Ferry Building before heading home. For dinner, I made potato leek soup and also squash and zuchinni, and Mariel made ribs before I fell into fatigue-induced delirium and had to go to bed. Good weekend.