stillhowlyn's travels 2010 travel blog

Petaluma downtown water front!

Schollenberger Park!

How happy can you be at 6 a.m.!

Aboard the ferry, the "Red Tape" group make costume adjustments!

Don't be fooled, it's freezing cold!

Ferry Bldg., Embarcadero!

Caught up in the crowds!

...And the City!

I had a front row seat!

A great band!

Crossed the street. There he is....!


Where's my ship?

T-shirt caught my eye!

It's official! 1:48:24!!!

Howard just plain refuses to grow old gracefully. He likes to run several times a week if possible and here in Petaluma we have Shollenberger Park across the street from our Elk's Lodge parking. Schollenberger provides a beautiful bird sanctuary, seasonal lake, and wetlands adjacent to the Petaluma River. There is a two mile circular trail and a couple more miles in side trails to the marina and Ellis Creek. It just so happens that our arrival 3 weeks ago to spend time with our family included an ulterior motive! The third Sunday in May is the annual San Francisco Bay to Breakers 12 K ( 7.5 miles) foot race and Howard plans once again to join in the fun and craziness of thousands of people in all manner of dress (or otherwise)!

Sunday May 16:

We set our clock for a 5 a.m. wake up call which was totally unnecessary since I had been awake since 2! Howard made his usual great coffee, and, after a few sips, I was innervated* enough to get into the basics of dressing and making sure my back pack had all the essentials: camera gear, water and snacks, map of the city marked with the appropriate muni-bus stops, money, ID and cell phone. I also carried a light-weight fold-up stool, purchased at REI, to sit on while waiting at the end of the race. *(It was interesting to note, innervate and enervate are opposites!)

Howard had laid out his running clothes consisting of a new bright teal-colored shirt meant to stand out in a crowd, then decided to add a long-sleeved shirt underneath it for the predicted 50's, cold, foggy day. A small fanny pack with his cell phone, ID, and money was snapped on and we were out the door by 6:15 a.m.

At the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, we boarded the San Francisco bound vessel at 7 a.m., along with a whole bunch of other race participants, side-liners, and party-goers. The fun was just beginning! Once we arrived at the Ferry Building we exchanged a quick hug and kiss, and Howard hurried off to find his starting corral near the intersection of Howard & Beale Streets. The runners are grouped to start according to their estimated time for completing the race, seeded first and so on. Howard, not being in the "fast" category, was situated somewhere near the last third of the pack, thus kicking off about 8:20.

I just took a deep breath and allowed myself to get caught up in the moment. As soon as the camera came out I forgot how overwhelmed I was and enjoyed the sights of the city and the revelers. There were policemen and public transportation people on every street corner to give help and directions. I soon found the bus that would take me across town to Fulton & 30th in Golden Gate Park, then a short walk to where I planned to park myself at about the 6 mile mark along the course on JFK Blvd., where Howard said he would be looking for me on his left. First problem, I have to cross the street which now contains thousands of runners in very close formation!

Well, that wasn't going to be happening so out came my little stool where I sat on the edge of the street, listening to a terrific band, Blind to Reason, playing some great "oldies", trying to fine-tune the camera's settings and obviously needing more practice in motion shots as many photos are blurred. (Note: I have a self-imposed rule NOT to use my camera on auto!) I had a front row seat at one of the greatest spectacles ever!

When the race pace slowed somewhat I cautiously made my way to the other side, saying a lot of "sorry’s" as I jogged and weaved. I'm seeing a lot of teal-colored shirts coming at me but soon I see "the one and only" who appears to be in his “zone" of concentration. The pictures tell the story as you see Howard's reactions to me yelling at him, jumping out with the camera, his recognition (sort of), and finally a funny "aha" moment!

He still had another mile and a half to go, so I packed up once more and started heading toward the after-race "Footstock" festivities. We had agreed that he would call me when he crossed the finish line at the Great Highway near MLK and Lincoln and we would eventually meet up along the way. Now he sees the benefit of that second cell phone I forced on him!

The Footstock event was crazy and crowded so we decided to pass on the long lines for hot dogs and drinks and get a bus back to the Embarcadero. It must have taken us an hour or more since our Express bus dropped us off at the Civic Center with several miles to go to our destination. Once there though we found a great seafood restaurant for our celebratory lunch and devoured a crab melt and Ahi tuna on sourdough, and toasted the day with Anchor Steam beers. Somehow afterwards there was enough energy left to wander around the Ferry Bldg. and purchase wine, a loaf of Acme sourdough, and 6 Scharffen Berger truffles "to go"! The sun was coming out as our 3 p.m. ferry departed for the 45 min. ride back to Larkspur and then home.

The official results and race photo have been posted: 1:48:25, 4 minutes faster than last year...Way to go, Howard!

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