Sunday, July 30, 2023

BBFR 5K Race Report

 I'm "publishing" this race report on the day of the race, though this report wasn't written until early 2024. 

Sitting by the pond in the filtered sunshine, I took a deep breath and decided it was time. I was about 10 feet from my closest neighbor, and no one seemed to be paying me any attention. I took off my t-shirt, then my bra, and then, finally, my shorts. I busied myself putting my running shoes back on, and sneaking glances to see if anyone was looking at me as I sat there wearing a hat, socks, running shoes, and a lot of sunblock. Nope. No one batted an eye. Of course, they were all already naked. 

I don't know the first time I heard about the Bare Buns Fun Run, but I feel like it was some time before 2012. It seemed so crazy, so bold. Running 5K buck naked? Could I do such a thing?

Apparently there are nude 5Ks in many places. The Pacific Northwest had three (three!) for years, with this race, one in Issaquah, and one in Vancouver, BC forming a "buns across the border" series. (No, I am not making this up.) But Kaniksu Ranch is home of the original BBFR, and they've been hosting it since 1984, pausing only in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When I first heard of the race I put it on a "someday??" mental list. I even registered for it a few times. The first time I chickened out, plain and simple, and didn't go. The second time the race was cancelled due to COVID. The third time, in 2022, I tore my meniscus and had surgery 3 days before race day. In pre-op I looked at my doctor and said, "So, in theory I'm driving to Spokane on Saturday and running a 5K trail run on Sunday." He looked at me and said, "Nope. That's not going to happen."

So I decided that 2023 was the year. I booked a motel in nearby Loon Lake, booked a night across from the Grand Coulee Dam for the Friday night, and blocked out my calendar. 

Wil had said from the beginning that he wasn't interested in doing it, but he did decide to come along for the weekend. We headed out of town early on Friday, getting to Coulee Dam in time for dinner and then watching the laser show after dark. 

laser show on the dam!

Saturday we slowly made our way to Loon Lake. We didn't like the town much, but I think we expected a public beach somewhere, like at Medical Lake. Nope. 

Sunday morning I got up and headed to Kaniksu Ranch. It was weird to not put on running clothes. 

I drove and drove and drove, occasionally glimpsing signs. 

tiny sign... but I was on the right track

that's better

I got to an outer gate, noticing that someone was setting up a water station with dozens of cups of water. The car ahead of me turned left up a road, and I drove up to the man in the hi-viz vest. It was only then I noticed that the vest and a large sun hat were the only things he was wearing...and then noticed that the man putting out cups of water was buck naked. 

not my photo -- cameras and phones aren't allowed in the park, for obvious reasons!

I was told to just keep driving until I was told to park. I joined the line of cars driving up up up the hill, past dozens of campsites, past the central gathering space, with the clubhouse, the pool, the great lawn covered in tents. 

Eventually I was motioned to park off the side of the road in a little group of 4 cars. I turned off the engine and tried to decide what to do next. 

I watched a woman get out of the front car. She was wearing a coverup and carrying a bag, and set off down the hill. The couple in the car behind me seemed to be deciding what to do. The gentleman stepped out of the car and out of his clothes, but his lady was deciding if she wanted to keep wearing her coverup and whether or not she wanted to put something on underneath. And the young man directly in front of me stepped out of his car naked, grabbed a cooler and lawn chair, and started to head down the hill. 

Fretting that I would get lost, I got out of my car dressed, grabbed my bag with a town, some water, sunblock, and a book, and hustled after him. 

As we walked downhill, he stopped, looking a little lost. Some of the roads were roped off to cars, but we figured that we could walk down. I nervously chatted with him -- he wasn't there for the race, had been to the park before but it was never busy like this, he was feeling a bit turned around.

On the "main road" we met a woman who said she knew where I could pick up my timing chip. She said this was her second time doing the race, that she was a walker ("I'm too big to run!") and that I would have a blast. My parking buddy stopped at the pool, and my other companion went up to the clubhouse while I picked up my chip. 

When it was almost race time, I sprayed on more sunblock and headed up to the walker start area, because I figured I would walk more than I would run. Cue nervous chatter... luckily cut short by the sound of the cannon. (A cannon!) A man next to me ran off and, without thinking, I decided to follow. 

The race ran past the pool and clubhouse, then down the hill to the gate. A little farther along to a turnaround, and then back up the hill. I moved along pretty quickly, passing runners and walkers. 

Honestly, I soon forgot I was naked and surrounded by naked folks. The handful of people wearing clothes were the ones who looked strangely out of place. Two women were in flesh-colored shapewear and (eye)masks. (Masks?!?) When I was on my way back up the hill I met some people sauntering down with a water sprayer, and another person playing a guitar. 

Back in the main part of camp, we had to make another loop up and around the clubhouse. I was feeling good, so picked up speed for the downhill finish. The home stretch was lined with cheering people, and I passed a few runners before crossing the finish line. I was handed a coveted "nude finisher" shirt. Yes, I still think this is weird. 

I decided to take a glance at the results... I was in 2nd place in my age group! The timer noticed and said, "Looks like you get a medal!"  A medal? A MEDAL???

no, I don't expect I'll ever wear it...

I had to wait around quite a while, sans phone, for ceremony. So I took a shower, had a very nice dip in the pool, shopped for souvenirs, and chatted with other runners. 

Someone told me I was FAST down the home stretch, which made me laugh. 

When my name was called I went up to get my medal amidst cheers. After the end of the ceremony I hiked back up to the car, put on my shirt, and drove back to Loon Lake. 

I picked up Wil and we drove to Soap Lake where we stayed for a night and took a couple of dips in the lake -- another dream completed!

After the race I had a little buzz going. Second in my age group? (Out of 10!) Maybe it could be an annual event! But then I realized, nope, I don't need to repeat it. I had been brave and done the run. And got a medal!!!

Bare Buns Fun Run 5K


13:08 pace

No comments:

Post a Comment