There was no better way to cap off a picture-perfect week of summer weather here in Northern California than with a race that’s so quintessentially San Francisco: Bay to Breakers.
If you’re not familiar with it, B2B is the oldest consecutively run annual footrace in the world (since May 1912). Quirky and boisterous, the event is quite literally interwoven into the fabric of the city as the course weaves through it — a true reflection and celebration of life between the breakers and the Bay.
Coming Full Circle
The first and only other time I ran B2B was a few months after I moved to San Francisco from Boston in 2005, so this year’s run was special for two reasons: First, Hubby and I got to run it together this time; and second, we figured it’d be a fitting way to celebrate as our time here comes to a close (more on that soon…stay tuned!).
As a total newbie almost a decade ago, I was expecting your usual footrace…but was instead greeted by flying tortillas at the start line and a crazy array of outfits — from elaborate team costumes to full nudity (rollerblades and top hat optional) — not to mention fun traditions like a group of runners dressed as salmon “swimming upstream” (against the flow of traffic).
This time around, I knew it’d be a tamer affair because there was a no-tolerance policy for alcohol or wheeled floats. But Hubby and I were still excited to partake in the festivities with a few of our friends and 40,000 other
Because the 12K race starts near the San Francisco Bay, a few blocks from The Embarcadero, and runs west through the city to finish at the Great Highway where breakers crash onto the Pacific Coast’s Ocean Beach, the logistics can take some work.
But with my 50K coming up in just a few weeks, we decided to kill two birds with one stone and jog from home to the start, do the race, then jog/walk home from the finish to make it our weekend long run.
The race started about 25 minutes late, but — in true B2B fashion — did not disappoint.
From the costumes, the people-watching and the photo ops (see below; I’ll spare you the rest of the shot), we were three miles in before we knew it.
By the time we were about halfway, the crowds started to thin out a bit — or rather, the runners separated from the rest of the pack.
Word to the wise: This isn’t a PR-friendly race! Expect to do a lot of bobbing and weaving, but that’s the whole point — to go slow and savor every moment.
I’m not even sure what our finish time was (update – 1:37:45), and guess what? I don’t care!
It was such a blast to do a race like this for a change, complete with stops to say hi to friends, bathroom breaks, scenic detours and picture taking.
Speaking of…this was one of my favorite scenes of the day. This family’s costumes were a fan-favorite, and the kid up front was just hamming it up!
Although there’s a whole contingent of racers for whom it’s customary NOT to wear pants for B2B, that was one tradition I was ok ignoring. Instead, I wanted to take the opportunity to support a local brand: DDCC (aka “Dirty Diana’s Clean Clothes).
I first spoke to owner/designer Diana Mitchell last fall when she was in the midst of her Kickstarter campaign. Since then, her business has been going like gangbusters, so I thought it’d be fun to create a B2B outfit around one of Mitchell’s most popular styles — the Fly Girl Capris — and check in with her to see how things are going.
Not only did the capris perform beautifully (and that’s not always an easy task when you throw in a tutu and lots of miles), but they were comfortable, breathable and — best of all — flattering. On a side note, Mitchell also ran in today’s race, so it was the perfect time to catch up!
Kinetic Fix: Last time we chatted, you were raising funds on Kickstarter to launch the line. You reached your goal (congrats!), but can you give us an update on where you’re at & what you’re doing with DDCC now?
Diana Mitchell: Thanks, Jen! The post-Kickstarter production was a success with most of our rewards shipped on time. We’ve been receiving awesome feedback and requests for new products, which I was able to incorporate into the Fall 2014 collection. While the spring line was launching, I was designing and fitting fall, and shot the sample line for our lookbooks.
I’ve also been working on growing the wholesale side of the business in order to expand the customer base and get the product in more cities. We were picked up by several Dailey Method locations, who like to feature women-owned and -made in USA lines. It’s been great to see people reacting to and loving the products, and it’s exciting to see the business continue to grow.
KF: So feedback has been good? I know you’ve been hard at work, testing the line on the streets & studios of San Francisco.
DM: Everyone loves the V Capris. Customers constantly tell me they can no longer buy pants without a zipper pocket, either because they store their phone in it while lifting weights, or their keys/id while out running.
They also go crazy for the V wasitband and love that it’s anti-muffin top. The Bustier Bra is a big hit for yoga and for wearing every day, and our Obi Cover-Ups have been flying off of the shelves due to the cute design and crazy softness!
KF: I don’t doubt it! So let’s talk design because you’ve nailed it – I’m particularly loving the anti-muffin top waistband and slimming seams on my capris. What was the inspiration there?
DM: I’m 50% Greek, and I like to say that it shows 100% in my love handles. Normal waistbands with elastic often pinch and create an unflattering, spill-over-the-sides appearance, which you can see even on skinny models. I regularly struggle with finding the motivation to work out, and if I put on something that makes me feel ugly that’s it!
As soon as I experienced a crossover waistband, I felt more confident and inspired to work out, and knew all of my future pants would have to incorporate that design. There are so many obstacles for women when it comes to fitness, and I truly believe that feeling and looking good in what you’re wearing shouldn’t be one of them!
KF: I completely agree. Switching gears…time to pay it forward: Where are your favorite places to work out in SF & why?
DM: For me nothing quite beats running outside. I love seeing what’s going on near my house and beyond and keeping in touch with the seasons while getting some fresh air. Glen Canyon Park near my home was recently made over, and I love doing my short runs on the trails there and then adding in some hill running through Diamond Heights.
For Yoga I follow my favorite teachers, Ana-Mari Hamada and Cynthia Bates, who teach at the Abode of Iyengar, the Iyengar Institute and the Yoga Tree Potrero, respectively. Ana-Mari was my first yoga teacher, and her warmth and intuitiveness cannot be matched. Cynthia has has a no-nonsense teaching style while still being playful and fun. I love going to both of their classes.
I’m always on the hunt for new workouts, though, and I’m hoping to try out the Dailey Method soon, as I hear great things about their classes!
KF: So one final question: What’s next in terms of both your work and workout plans?
DM: For workout plans, I plan on running the City Beer Runs 5k’s monthly, and will be doing the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in October. My goal is to get under 2:00, so I’ve got my work cut out for me since I have trouble running for long periods without hills.
In terms of DDCC, we’re just starting to order fabric and gear up for our fall production. You can look forward to our popular items offered in fall/winter colors, along with new products based off of customer requests.
I’m also producing a new zip-up hoodie, which is a big deal since that is the first product that DDCC launched. You can expect that line to arrive in August/September this year, and we’ll be planning some fun events, trunk shows and giveaways!
Want to see more of Diana’s designs — and read all about her running adventures? Check out the DDCC site here.